I see I haven't posted in a while so lets cover some awesome things that have happened, for your benefit and my mental health. Covid is releasing is its vice-grip on society allowing my husband and I to do some travel again. Being that he's been thoroughly bitten by the travel bug this was much needed.
Last fall we got to experience Australia for the first time, from Phantom of the Opera at the Sydney Opera house, to snorkeling and diving in the Great Barrier reef, to gorgeous aboriginal artwork and fabulous local creatures. It was a bucket-list level trip.
Shortly after that we got to hang out with some of Kumu's WONDERFUL people on Oahu and experience some outstanding spiritual places around the island, meeting local leaders, and communing with the 'aina, moving in ways that were historically accurate to the people and places in a unique and beautiful way.
That Christmas Marcia braved North Dakota... in the mid of winter... to see her first grandchild! Meanwhile my husband and I went to GA to see family out there. Got to take my siblings to escape rooms, aquarium, basketball game, ice skating and 6 Flags where my little brother learned to be terrified of rollercoasters, and by the end of the day worked through his fears. (Very proud of him!)
January entered Camp Hawaii prep time yet again, and being the 20 yr anniversary I made special wrap-shirts featuring the Hilo style lei opening the theme up to the technique and the history Danzan Ryu has in the town named Hilo. This was an emotional rollercoaster as we went through 3 different t-shirt companies and 3 additional companies for our dojo's first blackbelt certificates. At the end of the day the shirts/certificates arrived in a way that we were able to get them to camp and distribute them to the participants.
Followed up by Convention where I passed my Mod 1 physical test, and my husband took his Yondan (4th degree black belt) test. Amidst other emotional turmoil my husband took a bad fall most of the way through the test. Basically the wresting mat glued itself to his foot while he did a sutemi and didn't let go until there was a resounding "pop". One nice thing about DZR is he had several high ranking martial healers on him in minutes, and acupuncture needles in his ankle just as quick. The professors "watched his ankle deflate" and while it was sore he was able to finish and pass his test 2 days later. Needless to say I was not very productive that particular convention. I was however able to create an artwork mirroring the theme "Saisei" with Hawaiian elements, which one of my favorite healing mentors won!
This summer the attempt has been to paint the house, as it hasn't seen a coat of paint in at least 20yrs and the Hawai'i sun has been having fun with that. Needless to say the pressure washing was pretty terrifying. I would LIKE to say that task is done but it got derailed by the building of our front garden which consisted of me ripping out a 17ft hapu'u fern and a gorgeous plumeria bush and building a rock wall section in the back to receive them. 40 wheelbarrows full of dirt and one dojo wrestling match with the thoroughly cut back 300lb hapu'u and they are recovering in their new home while I built out the last 7 garden beds which now reside in their place. Much to my delight the snap peas, green peas, asparagus, tomatoes and zucchini all seem to be overjoyed at their tropical settings and we are still setting up the potato and carrot situation. Our 78yr old mom-in-law is loving her new garden and it's at a very comfortable height for her to enjoy/maintain.
Within the last week I have stepped on an additional rollercoaster with the joy of one of my artworks being sold to a fellow DZR friend. I look forward to her and her family enjoying it! And additionally with a different/visiting DZR instructor and his family in town we went to Volcano National Park, specifically the Volcano Art Center (which I've wanted to be in for a LONG time), and they were VERY excited about the hair picks I've been prototyping, so I'll be finishing those in the next week and applying to get them into one of my favorite galleries on island.
While that's been going on I got to have a life lesson (enter the low part of the rollercoaster). There was recently a Joshua staying at The Whale House, an airbnb I've muraled on twice which houses quite a few of my pieces. So when I got an email from a Joshua requesting 2 of the artworks I asked the airbnb owner, and I believed it to be the previous tenant. They sent me a legitimate check from a company in Alabama which went through this Monday, the trick was they overpaid with the expectation that I pay the courier to hand deliver the artwork to them on the mainland. My gut was nervous and I should have listened and saw the signs. I know better now. But I got a call 7:15am this morning from the Alabama company saying their accounts were hacked and that they'd be stopping the check, so I'm out $10 with the bank, but the courier fee may be more difficult to retrieve as I did willingly pay it through Paypal/credit card. Good news, I didn't provide any direct information besides my company name, address, and paypal handle. Bad news, I may be paying off fees on the credit card that are of no benefit to anyone but the scammers.
I have come to define "evil" as "intentional mal-intent" over the years, as I've come to know many individuals or instances where harm was unintentionally caused. Its something that as a healer I honestly don't comprehend how someone can get so emotionally broken or twisted that they come to believe this behavior is okay or acceptable. It breaks my heart and simultaneously makes me upset at the violation of trust. I do honestly hope they come to understand the chaotic pain they inflict on the workers of the Alabama company, and the emotional grief they put individuals like me through as we get excited that "Oh, now I can pay for this" or "Well now we can afford that", just to have it ripped away. I have of course notified Paypal, BBB, FBI, Credit card company is sending me a new card just to be safe. I've also noticed they have the credible Paypal verified companies contact info, and use a more personal looking one on the Paypal "Pay to", so I reached out to the "courier" in question and notified them as well.
Lesson learned, and I will not be accepting overpayment for goods and shipping services. It's one thing to go through the website hoops (and that's why I'm okay paying those extra fees, for this exact protection), it's another to request digital payment after so adamantly adhering to sending a physical check.
I'm choosing to do everything I can to flag them, hopefully get the money back and then I intend to ride the momentum of the artwork that DID sell, and the potential at the Volcano Art Center, and the Hawaiian Arts Festival I also just signed up for August 17th and 18th. While I was originally hoping it would be to further my business, (and maybe it will) I'm currently hoping we can at least get back to a healthy spot with the business bank account. I am also choosing to share this story with the hope that someone else can be cautioned from my mistakes. I'm not proud of it, but it is a good lesson.
So the 2023 rollercoaster continues. may it go back up as quickly as it came down.