"The Ornaments of a Home Are the Friends Who Frequent It"
~ - Richard R. Peters, Atlanta, GA, 1885
These words are inscribed in
our hearts, and we embellished our ornaments -- friends -- by
welcoming Malou, Tippy, Doni, Cia,
Lar & Jus, and Em individually
with a garland lei, presented Hawaiian style with an Aloha greeting
and a kiss. For island folks, mistletoe sprigs are superfluous.
Clockwise from the top: Cia, Malou, DH,
Tip with Freddy, me with O, Em, Doni, Lar, Jus
Missing were Kori, who
was sick with the flu, and Jen, who
was nursing an injured husband. Both were dearly missed.
Everyone honored our
Hawaiian custom of taking off their shoes. As
you can see, everyone was dressed comfortably, like family. No one came
shoehorned into a slinky number. No one wore anything revealing or
strange. No elaborate hairdos or fancy haircuts, although I did wear
my hair down just for Malou.
The element of surprise
was the dishes that our guests brought. Who taught them to be
so Hawaiian? In the islands, you never go to a party
empty-handed, and you only bring a bag of chips
-- or plain jello mold -- if you want to ensure never being invited back.
Our evening started out with
a fresh shrimp appetizer, served with a tangy sauce; a
basket of macadamia nuts, cashews and almonds; and Lar's and Jus'
delicious home-made spinach dip and crackers.
There was beer and DH's
excellent wine choices, as well as non-alcohol alternatives.
No vile egg nog. Everyone ate heartily, which is the best compliment given to any cook.
For our main courses,
the roast turkey that DH had prepared with all the trimmings,
including a tasty oyster stuffing, and the fail-proof honey-glazed
spiral ham, served with Mom's marvelous cherry-raisin-pineapple sauce were
delectably traditional and festive.
famous Hawaiian style potato-macaroni crab salad and fresh greens
tossed with home-made Sam Choy's dressing, Cia brought a refreshing
fruit salad; Lar and Jus, a flavorful Chinese chicken salad; Malou, a yummy
pasta salad; and Em's fresh salad.
Hawaiian sweet rolls
were complemented by Cia's rolls. The island staple, white rice, was
complemented with Tip's delicious pad thai noodle dish.
The exciting part of our meal, however, was
dessert. Tip made this rich pound cake -- with cherries on
top -- to die for. Doni brought two luscious pies -- pumpkin
chiffon and raspberry -- piled with mounds of whipping cream. Cia
brought finger-sized French pastries. And Jus brought moist banana
bread that he had made himself. All of this made for a perfect
exclamation mark to a lovely meal.
The Newlyweds, Lar & Jus
I was in the company of
people I actually like. No airheads, cynics, and co-dependents. I
didn't feel anyone had plastered a perky smile, brimming with fake
good cheer who couldn't wait to be outta there.
Somehow, we all gathered
around the dining room table, and giving an impromptu speech seemed
the thing to do, and it came out of me naturally, straight from my heart:
"I've been at this
office for 18 years, and this was my happiest year. I enjoy working
with you. Up to this year, I never felt the mix was right. A
lot of people can't handle honesty; better to say nothing. If I like
you, I'll say a lot, and I won't soft-pedal, because that is not
helping you. If I'm honest with you, I believe in you and I
will help you in every way I know how. I've always had this vision
of working like a family, 'ohana style is what we call it in
Hawai`i. You feel like family to me. I want to thank you for
Then Cia, our office
manager, took over, thanked us and on behalf of her and fellow
co-workers, presented me with my favorite
gift: a VERY generous Barnes & Nobles
gift certificate. Yes! Yes! Yes! She then presented DH
with a smartly wrapped bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, his favorite fruit of the
vine, by Arrowwood winery..
This is a group who likes and respects one another, so
I ventured the first playing of "Your Last Day on Earth"
"Pretend this is
day on Earth,
what would you like to tell the person to your left?"
What was said was
personal and heartfelt, and will remain within our close
group. Suffice it to say, hearts spoke with eloquence, respect
and great affection, as we
went around the circle: Em to Doni to DH to Malou to Cia to
to Jus to Tip to me to Em.
"And you believed in me..."
Then, I stuck myself
further out on the limb and proposed the first playing of the Heart's
"What is your
heart's desire, personally and at work?"
Again, the honesty of
this group shone through, and we bared our souls. The first
step toward realization of any goal -- heart's desire -- is first,
to articulate it and then share it with those who spiritually
support you. Only then do your heart's desires have a chance to be
"A journey of
a 1000 miles begins with a single step."
~ Lao Tse
Tonight, we all took the
courageous and energizing first two steps to our hearts'
We then moved over to
the living room for a spirited white elephant gift exchange (I loved
my purple photo frame, Tip!), as well
as the gift exchange.
And then everybody
helped to clean up (yet another Hawaiian custom). An in true
Hawaiian style, everyone took home plates laden with food. The
evening ended with us bonding over tea and coffee.
On this night, everyone
shimmered and sparkled from within, and our
home has never been so beautifully ornamented.
"Life is a Gift."
P.S. If you would
like to share a portion of yourself with words, in response to
this journal entry, you may do it here.
only gift is a portion of thyself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
| what | archives