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Vacation, time to get away

Ken and I recently took advantage of a free trip to Maui we received, courtesy of my dad.  We stayed at the Sheraton Maui for 3 nights and tried our darndest to relax for a weekend.

What better way to scream happy vacation than with a sunshine yellow VW bug.  It was nice having a rental car that was anything other than a Mustang.  I'm sure we were able to find our car much easier than 98% of the other tourists.

Ken said at least 3 times on the trip that the Bug needed some better front shocks.

On our way from the Kahului Airport to Kaanapali, we stopped in Lahaina to eat lunch at No. 1 BBQ, which was manned by a Chinese chick who was talking on her phone and making disturbed faces the entire time she took our order, the order after us, and about 5 orders after that.  I'm not even sure she was off the phone by the time we left after eating 20 minutes or so later.  Now that's customer service.

I had the meat jun, which was actually pretty good, and there certainly was a lot of it.  I guess that made up for the poor customer interaction.

The view from our room was stunning.  We had an Ocean Suite with a huge lanai because it was an end unit.  I think my friend may have hooked us up.  Thanks, man.

My ghetto stitched together panoramic shot from our room.

We had grand plans to possibly do all kinds of things during our 4 days on Maui, so we dove in and perused tons of visitors' guides and magazines.

The best part: after going through all of these, all we had on our schedule of activities was, "Monday - Guri-Guri."

I knew Ken wanted to golf, but not necessarily with me.  Unfortunately for him, he had no choice.  I wanted him to have fun, so I insisted that we play, and I promised to be good.  No, not good with the clubs, just good in terms of behavior.

I upheld my promise very well until about the 15th hole when I started getting tired and cranky, and the 17th hole when an asshole heckler yelled "Fore!" from his balcony during my backswing.  I located his position, and gave him the finger.

Ken is a lefty.  I am a righty trying to sneak away with 2 extra inches on my drive via foot positioning.

Finally, I know everyone's favorite blog pastime is seeing pictures of food.  Hence, I will leave you with these mouth-watering shots of dinner at David Paul's Island Grill.


Reconstructed California Roll.  Ken could not get enough of this.

Ken chose the braised short ribs.  The meat was really tender.

I went for the Tequila Shrimp with Firecracker Rice.  So yummy.  Even the rice was amazingly light and fluffy.

Two very full but happy patrons.  I didn't take a picture of it, but my dessert stomach wanted some ice cream, so we had some delicious coffee ice cream.  I ate way more than I should have because it was a huge serving, and although it was apparently Haagen Dazs, it didn't seem as rich and heavy.  Delicious.  Oh, I already said that.

So there it is, our first trip as a married couple.  By the time we really started to relax, it was time to head back to the jungle.  We can't wait for another vacation.  Really.


Island getaway

Just when we start to relax

Vacation expires


Neophyte golfer

Carefully manicured grass

Not a good combo


Okay, gangie, this is it!  If I don't see some better participation on this week's Haiku Friday, I will take that as a sign that it's not fun anymore, and I will play Haiku Friday out with Keyboard Cat!


Please submit your best haiku on the topic of VACATION!


Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


For Haiku Friday rules, go here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=98264376274

Optimist Prime

It should probably come as no secret that I am not easily entertained.


However, every now and then, I am introduced to something on the interwebs that just hits me like a Mack truck and makes me say, "That is freakin' awesome."


Yesterday, this was that something:



We hear so much these days about how important it is to instill self-confidence in kids.


"They need to be taught that they can do anything they want to do!  They can be anything they want to be if they just try their best!"


Well, while I agree that self-confidence is important, I'll be the first to tell you that I think our society has taken this whole positive reinforcement/coddling/everyone-gets-a-trophy thing to an unprecedented level that has contributed to the likes of the American Idol contestants who can't sing for sh** but cry and swear at the camera when they don't get the golden ticket to Hollywood.


By no means am I saying that kids don't need to believe in themselves.  They most certainly do.  They just need to realize that in the real world, not everyone is always a winner.  Sometimes trying your best just isn't good enough.


Sorry, kids.


That being said, this video was just so damn hilarious and innocent that the exclamations of "I can do anything good...better than anyone" made me want to jump right on Jessica's bandwagon and take control of the wheel.


Her schtick actually reminded me of my high school and college days when I would psych myself up just before leaving the house for an exam.


"You can do it, Allison!  Yeah!  You know this stuff.  Yeah!"


(Occasionally, a mirror may also have been involved.)


So thanks, Jessica, for this reminder that sometimes talking about yourself with unabashed optimism is something we all really need to do.


Pint-sized cheerleader

Motivational speaker

(Thirty years from now)


She says glass half full

What I really wonder is

Who drank the first half?


It's your turn!  I would love to hear your cheerleader-esque haiku on OPTIMISM or SELF-CONFIDENCE!


Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


For Haiku Friday rules, go here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=98264376274


Sheer Panic

Okay, so I'm getting married in 2 weeks.  Stress has turned into sheer panic, as I still have a million things to get done.


This is about the time I start asking myself how I got in this situation...


My answer summarized in haiku form:


Lofty design goals

I can make everything!

Sh**, just two weeks left


In honor of my idiocy, please share your haiku on any one or any combination of the following topics:


1) Taking on too much

2) Unrealistic expectations

3) Neuroses

4) Perfectionism (see #3)

5) Procrastination


You get the picture.

Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


For Haiku Friday rules, go here: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=98264376274



All we need is just a little patience

As my last blog entry (hey, 4 short phrases still counts) was about stress, I thought it would be appropriate to follow up with the topic of.....patience.


As some of you know, I try my best at managing basically 3 different schedules: 1) the Grumpy Girl business, 2) my life as a part-time CPA, and 3) HandiVan transportation for my mom and grandma.  This year, however, is extremely stressful, as I've had to add to that 4) wedding planning, and 5) trying to get my ass into shape so I can do my expensive wedding dress justice.


I've been pretty good about keeping even-keeled up until this point, but with a backlog of work and the wedding date rapidly approaching, I've been finding myself turning into a bit of a bridezilla (just a wee bit).  I know I tend to get a little snappy when I'm really stressed and things don't go ultra-smoothly.  I lose my patience with people at every little thing.


In addition, my need for patience at this time extends to my attempt to get in shape and shed a few pounds that I've managed to put on over the last several years.  I'll admit that I've never been overweight, with my weight fluctuating at the most about 10 pounds since high school.  Lucky?  Perhaps.  I'm not one of those fortunate people who can eat whatever they want, not exercise, and still not gain an ounce, but I don't need to starve myself and run 10 miles a day to maintain.  On the flip side, though, I have noticed over the years that I have an extremely difficult time losing weight.  I've gone through a few periods in my life like this one where I'm just trying to lose 3-5 pounds.  It sounds so easy, but it is absolute hell for me.


It's been about 6 weeks now since I've stepped up my exercise regimen, and I'm not happy.  In fact, not only am I not happy, I'm frustrated and, quite frankly, pissed.  I swear anyone else would have seen some results by now.  I haven't lost a pound.  I still have just as much spare tire.  My tricep fat still jiggles when I wave.


I keep telling myself to keep going.  One of these days, all the fat will magically melt away, and I'll be able to slip into that white dress and feel good about myself.





Desire to be lean

Working hard to reshape self

Damn, still got back fat


Get out of my way

There can be no greater feared

Grumpy Bridezilla


I'd love to hear your haiku on the topic PATIENCE!  Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!

no subject

Freak out.  No blog.  Haiku Friday.  Topic: STRESS


Wine-o wine

For the last few months, Ken and I have been tasting cheap wines.  All of them have been significantly under $20, with the average price being right around $10.  Our goal: to find a few reds and a few whites to serve at our wedding in April.  These days, there are so many decent wines in this price range.


I generally prefer whites because they are more refreshing.  The fact that there is zero percent chance that your teeth will end up looking like you mauled them with a mulberry Crayola is another reason for my preference.  Therefore, I have been put in charge of selecting the whites.  I have decided to look for 1) a chardonnay, 2) a sauvignon blanc, and 3) a riesling.


Ken prefers reds, so he has been put in charge (sort of) of selecting the reds.  Since I've been spending more time tasting, we haven't gotten very far there.


Below is my collage of wines we've tasted recently.  The size of each bottle is proportional to the amount that I liked it (or at least from what I can remember because I didn't really take notes).  The biggest bottles have a better chance of showing up at our wedding bar, while the smallest ones won't even make it for a second tasting.


Recommendations welcome.  You know where to find me.


Oh Riesling, I love you

Nice and sweet, but whoa - acid!

Enamel-less teeth


Reds can be tasty

Friendly like a kid's grape juice

But post-wine smile scares


I'd love to hear your haiku on the topic WINE!  Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


The skeptical CPA who stole Christmas

I can't do it anymore. 


I just can't do it anymore.


I physically cannot force myself to drop a buck into the Salvation Army bucket.


You know it's Christmas when you hit the mall and hear the constant bell ringing of the bored and oft ignored Salvation Army donation pimp.  Sure, there's the rare hyped-up young (or just mentally unstable)  volunteer with a constant smile on his/her face and pizazz in their bell dings, but more often than not, it's the semi-homeless-looking (do they pay these guys?), unenthusiastic masters of the bell whose metronome-like dings sound so sad you can practically hear the malaise and cynicism in them.


To be fair, I'd probably look just like them if I had to do that all day.  I'd make sure I mastered the art of sleeping with my eyes open prior to accepting the gig.  I'd also have to bring earplugs so I wouldn't go insane.  I'm sure after the first 10 minutes of creative bell ringing, smiling, and being passed by without any acknowledgement, though,  I'd quickly turn into the pitiful, spiritless metronome.


Anyway, when I was young, I used to love to put money in the metal bucket.  In fact, I could not pass up a Christmas season without making sure I dropped a buck in the slot at least once or twice.  The thought that I had the opportunity to share with other people less fortunate than myself was exciting to me.  I was a bastion of the Christmas spirit.


Ever since growing up and becoming an accountant, though, I have not been able to look at that red metal can the same way.  You see, as part of our audit education and training, we learn about a little something called internal controls.  In a nutshell, internal controls is a system implemented by an organization to make sure no funny business occurs a la Enron, et al.


When I look at the Salvation Army bucket attendant, I wonder, "What happens at the end of their shift?  Does someone come down and pick up the bucket, or does the attendant deliver the bucket?  What does that person who picks up the bucket do?  Does he have the only key to the bucket?  Does he count the cash in the bucket by himself, or is there someone else counting it with him?"  And the list of questions goes on.


"Do the buckets have adequate physical safeguards?  How do I know the attendant isn't busting out some surgical forceps when no one's looking to tweeze out the twenty that man just dropped in there?"


The typical slot I'm used to seeing.  You could stick tweezers in there easily.

Looks like the slot is getting fancy on some newer versions.  Reminds me of the board game Operation.

Bet you 10 bucks all the money doesn't make it to home base.  Looks like someone jerry rigged this slot so a small child's hand could fit in there.


I have to wonder if all the other accountants out there think the same way.  Maybe if a money recognition feature was added to the bucket so it actually recorded (but did not display) how much went in the bucket, the accountants would feel better.  Then, if we knew the person who opened the bucket and counted the cash was not the same person who reconciled the deposit with the electronic money counting register, we'd feel even better.


I don't think you have to ask me if I ever so much as roll down my window when I drive by those students holding the money collecting nets.


Requirements for fraud

Means?  Check.  Motive?  Check.



Internal controls?

Bell ringer, I don't trust you

He's stealing your cash


And now for the best part!  Get into the holiday spirit and share your haiku on either CHARITY or FRAUD!  Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!

Note: After writing this entry, I did realize two things: 1) some Salvation Army bell ringing stations are now equipped to handle electronic payments, which may or may not be safer (I'm now paranoid of identity theft), and 2) those red metal things are called "kettles."  I will not, however, go back to edit my profuse use of the word "bucket."

Fun with dogs

As I have well documented in previous blog entries, I am a huge feline fan. Huge. I love cats for their independence, their attitudes, their cuddly factor, and the fact that they bathe themselves and can be taught in literally 5 seconds to pee and poop in the same 24"x18" container every time.

I like dogs, but I never really considered owning one myself because of the high maintenance. However, both Ken and I were smitten by a pair of small canines last weekend, and we can't seem to stop talking about them.

At a family gathering last Sunday at my cousin's house, we were immediately greeted with a lot of "Hey, who are you?" barking from the two resident dogs, Lilo and Kushi, a Papillon-Terrier and a Papillon-Chihuahua, respectively. We're basically talking small and smaller.



We arrived before everyone else, so we had some quality alone time with the dogs. After they warmed up to us, we realized that they had completely different personalities. Lilo was calm and mellow, almost like a cat. She came and parked herself on my lap when I sat on the couch. (Okay, even my cats don't do that, but I've heard some cats do.)

Then there was Kushi. He had so much energy. It truly amazed us. He insisted we keep throwing his little stuffed toy so he could retrieve it. Over. And. Over. When one person got tired out and said they were done, Kushi would take it over to someone else to play. Perhaps the funniest part, though, was his habit of bringing the retrieved item back to you only 90% of the way. He would repeatedly drop the toy just far enough from you that you couldn't easily reach it without getting up. We quickly learned the command to resolve this: "Kushi, cannot reach." Although the dog was already out in the field waiting for your next throw, he would then trot over, pick up the toy, and move it. Then it would be 92% of the way to you. It was absolutely hilarious. Sometimes he would only move it about 3 inches. Sometimes he would basically pick up the toy and drop it again in virtually the same place. Sometimes it would even end up a little further away!

Anyway, after so much fun with the dogs, the joke around here is that we're going to get a canine companion for our cat Cocoa. Our other cat, Ipo, absolutely despises her, so we had previously toyed with the idea of adopting another cat, but obviously, that's risky. Perhaps it's time to try a different species.

Wanted: clean canine
Must like fluffy reject cat
Lots of unused toys

This can be your home!
Just follow cats' directions
And try not to stink

I'd love to hear your haiku on the topic DOGS! I know there are a LOT of dog lovers out there, so I hope to see great participation this week! Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!

Happy Haiku Furlough Friday!


The lemonade stand

A few weeks ago, I was on my normal daily schedule: work at the apartment in the morning, then head to "the factory" at the Kaimuki house in the afternoon for labor intensive work and some cat therapy.  It was the usual humdrum routine until I approached the 4-way stop a block from my house.


On the corner to my right were three little girls.  Two were sitting at a low card table holding an umbrella, and one was standing in front, holding a cardboard sign over her head that had "Fresh Lemonade" written on it with a black marker.


"Oh my goodness!" I thought to myself.  "So cute."


I could practically see the sweat beading up and dripping down the sign-holding girl's face, as it was so hot that day.  I hoped that she was wearing sunscreen.


I turned the corner, parked the car at my house, grabbed my wallet, and walked back down the block.  As I approached, I could see the sign girl still dutifully trying to get the attention of each car that drove through the stop.  As I got nearer, though, they saw me coming, and a look of hope and slight flustering ensued.


"Hi!" I greeted them.


They greeted me back.


I asked them how much it cost for their lemonade, and they explained that it was 50 cents for a small red cup and 75 cents for a large yellow cup.


I took 2 yellow cups.


The girl who was holding the sign seemed to be the shift supervisor of the group.  She explained that the purchase of a yellow cup also came with a free pack of Diamond Bakery soda crackers.  Of course the business person in me can't help but think at this point, "Okay, we've got expensive Solo plastic cups and free crackers..."  She then further explained that they were selling the lemonade to raise money to keep the community library open.  The girls were going to a craft class at the library later that afternoon, and they were going to take whatever money they raised from their day's endeavor.


I melted.  I was seriously so touched I almost wanted to cry.

As I thanked the girls and wished them luck, I walked back home and reminisced of a time 25 years earlier when two girls, one of whom was me, sat on the ground at a low card table with a pitcher full of lemonade and a stack of paper cups.  Our gimmick: a sticker on the bottom of your cup meant you got a free refill.  Oh, and my mom made andagi.  That was free with a purchase as well.


I don't think we made money, either.


It didn't really matter.



Girls on a mission

Upscale cups and free crackers

Save our library


Fresh squeezed lemonade

Sticker means a free refill

We've got andagi

I'd love to hear your haiku on the topic SMALL KID TIME!  Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


Happy Haiku Friday!




No emergency, but frightening nonetheless

I have my share of sleep issues.  While I am not a dictionary-defined insomniac and don't have sleep apnea, I often have difficulty falling asleep, and I basically never feel refreshed and rested when I wake up in the morning.  Because of this, I was especially annoyed when I was starkly and rudely awoken by this.  In fact, it happened not once, but twice in the wee hours of the morning the other night.  This is when I am supposed to be trying to get that whopping  .9% of Stage 4 slow wave, restorative, deep sleep that I apparently get (as reported in my sleep study taken in 2000), which is reportedly very close to that of some drug free schizophrenics.


At any rate, Ken and I were both annoyed at the disturbance of our slumber.  Both times, we grumbled at each other, mumbling something to the effect of, "What the F" and tried to go back to sleep as the recording replayed over and over until building security went into their little side closet downstairs to shut it off, but not before leaving us with this parting recorded message.


Did we even feel the slightest bit of alarm when the warning blared through our apartment speakers?  Heck no.  Why?  Because the damn thing goes off falsely way too often.  It's ridiculous.  Talk about a classic case of cry wolf.  I would have to say that these days, I think the majority of residents in our building just ignore it.  If the recording persists for longer than a couple of minutes, sometimes I'll get up, go to the window, and stick my nose out to see if I smell smoke.


Since I work at home, I probably hear the false alarm more often that most, aside from the retirees in our building.  But really, some of those older folks have a step up on me, as it might not seem as alarmingly loud to them in their days of declining audio clarity.  Let me tell you, I've practically jumped out of my pajamas when that horn sound suddenly blasts right above my head when I'm in the kitchen getting my coffee.


After the initial near cardiac arrest moment, I then have to endure the dude's freakish, eerie voice .  I'm sure it's made to sound serious so it gets you concerned and moving, but for some reason, it just freaks me out.  The pitch of his voice and the slightly muffled quality of the recording much like that of those old reel films we used to watch in school somehow makes me feel as if, after a couple of repeats of the warning, I am suddenly going to be surprised with this:

And then some aliens come and take me away.

Tsunami horn blare

Rod Serling imitator

Frightening Thriller

Tripped alarm cries wolf

Slight concern if smoky smell

Fire or barbeque?



I'd love to hear your haiku on the topic EMERGENCIES!  Please post to the Grumpy Girl Facebook page (where we vote) or Twitter @grumpy_girl with your entries (and I will repost to FB)!


Happy Haiku Friday!

Let me exit with one last parting gift.  In case you need some inspiration for this week's topic: