Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad Weather and Travel Waivers Up the Wazoo!

I cannot believe how horrible the weather has been since last week Monday. There is a travel waiver in effect for the midwest, then a waiver for the northeast, and now a waiver for the west coast. Harsh winter storms are blowing in from everywhere and these travel waivers are constantly being extended as the bad weather worsens. Its been so bad that we have been slammed with overtime to meet the travel needs of our customers. I am thankful for overtime, but I feel so badly for these poor people stuck mid destination during the Christmas holiday season in this severe cold weather. Many have been stuck for days upon days at airports throughout our country. As bundled images of passengers huddled together at terminals flit across television news screens, I cannot help but feel tremendously grateful that I live in warm Hawaii with a job and a roof over my head. I am heading off to work to assist more traveling people in need! Pacific Woman to the rescue! LOLOL... Lord, please give me the strength, empathy, and patience I need to be of service to them all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Silent Infiltration HIFF 2003 (short film)

Uploaded by sianajb

The opening aerial and outer island shots were purchased stock footage courtesy of Pacific Focus.
Every other shot is mine :) The music and chanting at the beginning are the Tovey family from Laie. The woman chanting is Kura Tovey. The Tovey family Dave, Kura, Peter and Jonathan were so cool and awesome to go out of their way to help me realize my vision. I wanted the music to be representative of the Pacific so there are drum beats and chants from various Pacific cultures. It was recorded by a dear friend, Kekoa Ahuna. Making this short was a LOT of FUN.

The short is about a Pacific islander spy who comes from a dysfunctional family. Despite the hardships he faced growing up he becomes one of Hawaii's top spies. Although successful, he is still unhappy. While he is trying to figure things out, someone is trying to kill him.

This is not a Pacific islander trying to figure out his life in a white world, but a Pacific islander living the human experience in a human world. It's not about color but about similar struggles we all face and only when we are willing to slow down and take the time to ponder things out and make some sacrifices can we find true joy and happiness.

The main character's name is Sai after my brother who passed away. His last name is Lent because only when we are "Sai Lent" and ponder things through can we find our way through the help of our Savior. The main girl's name is Alamoni after my great grandmother who was named after the first missionary tract in Samoa. Her name means "true path." The short is meant to be serious and yet fun at the same time LOLOL I hope you all enjoy it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Clean Sweet Smell of a Wood Burning Fire

About twenty minutes ago on my way home from work, as I passed Hauula Beach Park, I caught a good clean whiff of a wood burning fire. I LOVE that smell! A blur of memories flashed through my mind of girls camp, ward camp, kumbayah, and lovely yummy creamy sticky smores! LOL I just love it! I don't know why I never make the time to go out super late at night and have me a wood burning fire at the beach! LOLOL I have a similar experience when I smell the fire of freshly mown grass and dry dead leaves after a good yard clean-up. Those memories are of family, cleaning, and of good times past with many people who are long gone. As I was driving home I thought about the fire and the smoke. I thought to myself how funny it is that the smoke of a wood burning fire should smell so clean and sweet and bring such wonderful memories to mind.

Why does sharing food make it all the more delicious?

Have you ever started into a bag of candy, chips, or cookies, and felt guilty that you were not sharing it with some loved one? Or maybe on your way home you stopped by for a value meal at some fast food drive thru and you felt guilty because you did not buy more for others at home? And as you were eating these foods, did they not taste as good as you thought they would?

On the other hand, have you ever taken one small bag of candy, chips, or cookies, or some small value meal and shared it with like six or seven other people, and did that food not taste like the best you have ever had and wished you had more but you were glad that you shared?

Personally, food always taste better for me when its shared. There is less of it LOL but for some reason the food is so much more delicious than if I had kept it to myself. What is the difference? It is the same food, but it seems like the act of sharing enhances it's flavor. The same thing happens when I make food with love. If I make something with all my heart it always seems to come out tasty, but if I just rush right through the recipe because I am pressed for time, it doesn't taste as good. ;)

I specifically remember my grandmother when I was little telling me I always had to give the best food and the best portions to others. I could not eat alone I always had to have enough to share with everyone or not eat at all because that would be very rude. I remember my mother using an apple as a specific example. She said when I halved an apple to share with someone I had to give the other person the bigger and better half. They taught me this by example so when I do anything less I feel so bad and the food definitely loses its savor.

I don't know why, but doing right by food makes it taste so much more wonderful and it brings me great joy. Food and Joy LOLOL I'm still trying to figure out the correlation between the two other than the comfort I get when I eat something I crave. Food within society in general is a touchy subject no matter what culture we are raised in. I think it would make for an interesting topic of study within the Pacific because food is a very important way of expressing ourselves to one another. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Dream Wasn't Big Enough

In February of 2000 I was bit by the television production bug! It was a big bug and it bit me really hard. All my young life growing up I was always afraid of not finding my life's true passion. After my youngest brother passed away in 1999 I decided that life is too short to play it safe on the sidelines. I got out there and started to try different things hoping to find what I really love to do, and I did. I started taking Olelo Community Television classes on camera, editing, and producing, and I was in HEAVEN! I must say that I had one of the most amazing teachers I have ever had in my entire life, Tom Galli. He is someone I would refer to as master or sinsei. He was just so awesome and easy to learn from and willing to let me think outside the box. He never withheld knowledge from me and even if he didn't know something he would say, "Theoretically that should be possible," and I knew he would help me to find a way to get the effect that I was trying to attain.

As most of you know I am such a gung ho kind of person. I always reach for the moon and as a brand new client of Olelo I did just that. As my "First Works" project I wanted to do something spectacular and awesome. At that time, that meant a wonderful music rap video shot throughout scenic spots on Oahu. I along with my talent, my brother's best friend, worked countless hours on this project. As a first works project it was AWESOME (if I do say so myself LOL). I submitted it to the Ohina Film Festival that year and it was accepted. The Honolulu Advetiser (or Star Bulletin?) had asked the Ohina Film Festival people for a producer to do a feature on while advertising the festival in the TGIF section of the paper and I was selected. I remember that time so well, I was on cloud nine hundred and ninety-nine. :)

That positive experience and countless others at that time sparked in me a desire for more, to do more. I loved what I was doing and I didn't want to lose that feeling. I was actually afraid each day that that feeling of wonder and awe I felt every time I worked on production would go away, but it never did, and it never has. It was then that I had this dream, that one day I would have a movie play at the Dole Cannery Signature Theater and my name would appear in the beginning and at the end in the credits on the big screen. At the time it seemed like a huge and unattainable dream, but I felt that if I believed in myself and did the work and of course prayed really hard to my Heavenly Father for his help, that any thing would be possible.

Fast forward from August 2000 to October 2003. I had gone through a lot to get to this point and with the help of many kind and loving people, especially my family, and especially my sister, I was able to complete a short film about a successful Pacific Islander spy from a dysfunctional home trying to find himself. It made it into the Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) 2003 as one of the local shorts. I was ecstatic. I didn't realize until later that one of the screens my short would show on would be at theater 1 at the Dole Cannery Signature Theater.

My dream actually had two parts. The first of course, is that my film would play on the big screen at that particular theater. The second part was that my movie poster would be advertised in a specific spot. Now anyone who was a Dole Cannery Signature Theater lover back in early 2000 would know what awesome movie was coming soon every time he or she stepped out of one of the elevators and made his or her way to the ticket booth. Across the way and facing the elevators was a corner room lined with a glass wall. Whenever there was some hot new movie coming soon the larger than life posters would be advertised on that wall's central panel of glass... yes that is where I wanted my short film movie poster displayed! LOL And yes that is where it was displayed.

While I was mounting my poster up on the center of that glass wall, I was overwhelmed by a feeling of self actualization. I was in the moment of realizing one of my dreams and I was aware of it. It felt so surreal. I just cried. Tears of joy. I was amazed that I was actually doing something I had only dreamed about doing. Albeit it wasn't some national blockbuster and not some full length feature film, but it was a film and it was mine and it was showing on the big screen at Dole Cannery Signature Theater with my movie poster mounted on the center of that glass wall.

When I say my dream wasn't big enough, I meant it. I realized my first dream and then I didn't pursue it to the next level hard enough. Maybe I just didn't dream a second part clear enough and I may have gotten lost on a tangent, but I am glad of where I have been and what I have done because it has made me a better person, and a better filmmaker. I am ready now to dream a bigger dream. And as this year winds down to a close, I am pondering and working on the details of just what that big dream is for me.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From Funerals to Floods to Bare Butting Pillows :D

Its been a week since my last post. Can we all say the words, "HECTIC, OVERWHELMING, PRESSURED, EXHAUSTING?" Can we also say these words, "LOVE, SERVICE, JOY, FAMILY, HAPPINESS?" There is opposition in all things and if we are patient, have faith in Christ, and endure to the end, all things work out for the best. Sometimes its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I know its there and if I just keep plugging along and believe in Christ, I know He will help me through these trials and in the end I will find peace and joy.

Since last Tuesday I have been baking non-stop every day. From rolls, to cinnamon rolls, to monkey bread, and then this morning pizza crust. We were invited to a family dinner. The economy has been so bad and I haven't been working a full 80 hours so I didn't have any money to buy something to take. I hadn't baked bread in about 8 to 9 years but I had been thinking about it throughout November, so I decided to bake dinner rolls. They were fresh from the oven and we had some real butter to go with them. My cousins really enjoyed them. I was so glad. I decided, that I may not have much money, but I can bake so the next morning my sister and I made cinnamon rolls for the first time. I had actually attempted cinnamon rolls a few years ago, but they were so huge my family called them cinnamon loaves :) My uncle and his family also enjoyed the cinnamon rolls and it felt really good to be able to do something for them.

The roll recipe for the cinnamon rolls was given to my sister by a wonderful sister in our ward who is such a wonderful baker. She is such a super mom and is very inspiring to me. Through her service of sharing that delicious and simple recipe with us we were able to do something within our means to contribute to my uncle and his family during a very hard and trying time in their lives, they had just lost their wife and mother, my aunty, so it felt good to do something for them. Something from the heart with a lot of love. It's funny how gifts of love are magnified. The sister who shared the recipe shared it with love and blessed my life. I shared it with love and I know with all my heart that what my sister and I have baked throughout this week was received with love and gratitude. We also shared the recipe with two of our cousins and one of them baked cinnamon rolls today. It feels so good to share.

Last week Thursday was my Aunty's funeral. It was the same day that all of Laie and the island of Oahu was flooded. That morning the rain poured endlessly from the sky. We had not heard whether or not the funeral was canceled. We had decided to pray to our Heavenly Father for the protection of our home from the flood because we had to go to the funeral. By 8:30 am we were on our way to the Hauula mauka chapel. We got stuck in front of Hauula shopping center for about 2 1/2 hours because a bridge was washed out. When we were finally allowed to cross , we got to the chapel were informed that the funeral was postponed until the next morning. My poor uncle and cousins, I cannot even imagine their stress for aunty. I was also overwhelmed at the outpouring of love I felt at seeing relatives from throughout the island, Maui, and Utah who came to pay their respects to my uncle and his family. No matter how bad the weather was they were there and it felt so beautiful.

We stayed a while at the chapel talking story with our relatives and then went home to see how our home was doing. The Lord truly blessed us because although our house is ground level and deep in flood territory :) we were not flooded. I didn't realize how bad the flood was until I had seen all the photos that others have posted where water was literally waist deep in many places and on Saturday when we drove to the chapel for my cousin's daughter's baptism there were soaked and muddied couches, carpets, and other household items litering peoples driveways in preparation for bulky item trash pick up. It was horrible and I realized how truly truly blessed we are that our home was not flooded.

On Friday morning was my aunty's funeral services, it was beautiful. My cousins had asked my sister and me to sing a couple of songs at the viewing. I was petrified because I do not play the ukulele or piano. We always sing with my mom and she plays :) I now realize everyday how much I take for granted that my mom will always be there with all her talents. I realize I definitely need to learn how to play something :) Since Sunday before the service I had been practicing our songs on my ukulele. My playing was okay (nuff said about that) LOL and my cousins and uncle received it with much love and I was grateful because I am definitely no ukulele virtuoso! :)

The viewing started at 8:30 am and the services and meal ended at 2:30 pm. Because the ground was still too saturated with water the burial was postponed until Monday morning at 10:30 am. I felt so bad for my uncle and his family but they were very strong and the burial on Monday morning was beautiful short sweet and to the point. After the funeral service on Friday I went home, rested for a bit, and then baked cinnamon rolls for our ward party that night at 6:30 pm. The party was awesome, the food ono, and the entertainment lively.

On Saturday morning we baked cinnamon rolls for the baptism. It was a good baptism. And then rested at home for a few minutes before we had to go to work. We didn't get home till after midnight and I still had to make final preparations for my relief society lesson on Sunday. Thank the Lord it went well and that afternoon when I got home I baked cinnamon rolls for those who helped me out with my lesson, and at 5:00 pm went to ward choir practice because we are singing next Sunday for the sacrament meeting Christmas program. We are singing some really beautiful music.

On Monday I tried my hand at monkey bread. It was good, but I prefer cinnamon rolls. We went to the burial service, rushed to Kailua to pay for a bill, and then I ended up calling in to work to get some time off because I was not feeling well. We came home and another one of my cousins came over to pick up some boxes we had been holding for him since April. He just got married and his wife is so cool. We ended up talking story for about 5 hours. Can you believe that? It was a lot of fun.

One of our conversations was about how we used to fight with our siblings. Keywords "used to fight" LOL. We were talking about booger flicking when my cousin's wife brings up bare butting pillows. I'm like, "What the heck is bare butting pillows?" It turns out it is exactly what she said it is, someone putting his or her bare butt on your pillow.... GROSS! I turned to another cousin who had come over earlier and asked her if she and her siblings ever flicked boogers at each other or bare butted pillows and she's like, "No, we just fight for real." I'm like, "Wow, better not mess with your brothers!" LOLOL Then again, bare butting pillows takes the cake (or should I say... cinnamon roll? LOL). I am definitely not messing with THOSE brothers either! LOLOL

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dill Pickle Flavored Sunflower Seeds (146)

Yes they were on sale! LOL I actually love sunflower seeds, and when I saw these on sale I thought to myself, "How bad can they be?" Baaaad! LOLOL But I am not one to waste money, so I am eating them anyway, and yes I wait till I am really hungry for a snack LOL. The seeds themselves are very plump, nicely roasted, and tasty, but the seasoning on the outside shell of the seeds is not all that great. I suppose it somewhat tastes like pickles. The bag it comes in is the color of pickles LOL (I know... what was I thinking? LOLOL). I just really don't care for the flavoring. I didn't realize sunflower seeds came flavored, when I read the back of the bag there are also chili lime, smoky barbeque, and spicy flavors too. I think from now on I will just stick to the regular old salt roasted kind :D

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Being Realistic (148 & 147)

I know... being realistic is not a lot of fun :) but it gets me right to the point and I am not one to fuss and muss. During this holiday season its not going to be about what I did or did not eat or when. Holiday celebrations are going on every where, and I am going to be a part of it. I want to be a part of it. I am an involved person. I like to be involved and interact with others around me and that means being an active partaker LOL I don't need to add any unnecessary pressure to myself. I do need to be more careful and aware of my daily decisions. I have to work harder. Time waits for no one and my time is quickly running out!

Our single adult service project was a success. We went Christmas caroling and handed out gift baskets to select individuals throughout our stake. It always feels great to do good deeds. It is such a natural high and it makes me want to strive to be a better person.

BEFORE: Happy and Joyful

AFTER: Ecstatic!!!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Still Focusing on the Positive (149)

Today I had a really relaxing day, which I am thankful for. I did weigh myself and found that I gained 6 lbs back, but on a positive note I did not gain back the full 12 lbs I had lost... Yea!!! Yes that was enough to stop me from eating after 7:30 pm :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Focusing on the Positive (150)

Pops funeral service was beautiful. Vika's father (Vika is a friend and coworker) played beautiful piano music at the viewing for at least two hours straight. We arrived at the viewing at 10 am and he was already playing and played till 12 noon. I call that love and respect. It set a beautiful tone and added to the wonderful spirit of the viewing, and Pops is definitely worth it. It was really nice to hear the thoughts that everyone shared of Pops. He was a man who strove for excellence and perfection in all that he did. He always gave everything he did 200 % effort and focus. He never settled for anything less. He loved the finer things in life, and he worked hard to attain them. He loves our Heavenly Father and he loves his family. The burial service ended at 2:30 pm.

After the services we had lunch and shopped for baskets for our single adult service project this Saturday December 6, 2008. We are caroling and handing out fruit baskets. It felt good to complete that task and mentally check it off of our list of to dos.

With our shopping done, we headed home at about 4 pm. We shopped at Tamuras for necessities :) (food for our dog), went home, got ready, and at 6 pm attended Kahuku High School's production of The Sound of Music. The parents, high school students, and younger children involved in the play all did a marvelous job. The acting, singing, and props were great, and the whole play took at least three hours (I won't say any more about that LOL cause I'm being positive LOL). Suffice to say that my okole (Hawaiian word for buttocks) was so sore and my back was aching, but it was worth it cause we showed our support to members our ward and community and those moments are important in life too. After the play we left the high school at about 10 pm.

I was planning on picking up hours at work tomorrow, but I think I need a rest. These last three weeks have been so busy. It has definitely been a good busy, a busy that needed doing :) but I will be happy to relax tomorrow. :) Signing off while thinking positively! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Name is Siana and I am an Emotional Eater... :( (151)

At 7:00 am this morning I received a call from my cousin, one of my aunties has passed away. I am just flabbergasted. It seems like people are passing away way too soon! One right after another and these are not strangers, these people are family friends and people within the community. Earlier this afternoon my sister went to a wake of a dear family friend. He died of old age and we are attending his funeral tomorrow. We just attended a funeral this past Saturday of one of our cousins, and now my other cousins and Uncle are planning the funeral of our auntie. It just feels so unreal. Time is going by too fast and I am too slow to change and do what I need to do to live a healthier life.

Today I ate breakfast, lunch, and I also had a snack prepared for dinner, but after work I was STARVING! I just had to eat a jumbo jack and chicken sandwich. I came home and had some sunflower seeds. I was thinking to myself during the ending part of my shift and all the way home, "Why am I starving? I've eaten less before and been more than satisfied." I was wondering if it was because I might be feeling so emotional about everything that is going on, then I got home and read Liz's last comment. I have always thought I was an emotional eater, and today I actually felt like one. It doesn't help either that it is the Christmas holidays. I am going to really be wrestling with myself for the next few days.... Big Time! :(

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Downward Spiral (152)

Today started out really good. I got up, made my oatmeal, I even ate a good dinner, but when my sister came home at 9 pm with a plate of cake (I knew I should not eat), I put the cake in my mouth, chewed, and swallowed (the whole plate of cake). I don't know whats wrong with me. I ate it knowing full well I shouldn't, but I still did. It's like I am compelling myself to fail. So sad! I don't know why, but I defeat myself all time. :(

Monday, December 1, 2008

One More Day Closer to My Goal :D (153)

Got up at 3:30 am, quickly got ready for work, and rushed out the door. Yes, I did not prepare again! Ugh! I did okay, but I was hungry, so when a friend came by and offered butter and chocolate mochi... I capitulated! LOL I laugh but really I am crying inside :( I stopped eating at 7:30 pm but forgot like at 9:00 pm and had eaten two handfuls of buttered popcorn. I just got home from work minutes ago, and I still feel like I am doing okay. I resisted a delicious roll of Rolo's yummy chocolate covered caramels... Ohhh how I wish I could have eaten those :) but I didn't :) And right outside my bedroom fudge brownies and pumpkin mochi lie in wait! Ughhh! LOL I am resisting!