Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Nathan is taking some online classes, and one of his professors is vacationing in Hawaii this week. So today, we met up with him and his wife to spend a little time in the ocean. We wanted to entertain and impress them, so we took them up to the North Shore for a little diving.
The surf report said the waves were way down on the North Shore. Shark's Cove looked a little rough, so we decided to stop at Waimea Bay. One of my most favorite spots. I've talked about this beach before.
Unfortunately it was raining when we got out of the car. And the water was murky because of all the rain! we've had. (It is raining right now, by the way.)
Even though we had some rain, it wasn't too cold to have fun at the beach. But the water was junk! I couldn't see anything. Sometimes I couldn't even see the fins of my swim buddy.
We made our way across the bay and found some rocks with a bit of coral and fish. Whew, I was afraid we would only see leaves and sticks. We watched the fish for a good long while - humu-humu's, convict tang, parrot fish, a cornet fish, and more. Then we watched some crazy people jumping off the big rocks.
While floating on my back, I saw one young girl watching for the right moment to jump in. She let a few waves pass by, waving her arms around like she was going to go for it, but then chickening out at the last minute. She finally stepped off the rock as a wave passed. yikes. Watching the jumpers, made me feel a little sea sick.
After all our water fun, it really started raining. Along with some impressive thunder and lightening. I was wet and cold and ready to go. Unfortunately we made a sad (and embarrassing) discovery as we were rinsing off the equipment. We realized we had locked the keys in the car.
The cell phone was in the car, too.
I had to walk over to the life guard station and climb up the stairs, in the rain, and ask for help. Oh, the humiliation.... There were a lot of life guards.... Luckily I was able to phone a friend. The terrific Mrs. J went by our house, got our spare keys, and drove them out to us. Sorry Mrs. J! The life guards kindly pointed out that locking the keys in the car is better than losing them in the sand or the ocean.... maybe....
We stood in the rain a while longer as we waited to be rescued. (Hurray for Mrs. J) Then we went to lunch. But it was just a little too chilly to stop for shave ice. That was a shame. And though we were all a little wet, it was still a nice lunch. The conversation was fun, even if the diving was a little bit of a downer. (get it? diving....downer....I crack myself up!)
We returned the good prof and wife to their downtown Inn (by way of a muddy detour at the Birthing Stones, and a chance encounter with a smelly homeless man.) It was a really odd day.
I hope our little misadventure won't affect Nathan's grades!
ps - christmas decorations are still up...
pps - Happy New Year!
ppps - I hope it's not so rainy at Bellows this afternoon. And no jelly fish, either.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Un-decorate the Tree
And other decorations
And outside lights*
Dinner - Pizza
That's what I should do today....
*This was the first year ever that we put up outside lights on the house. It was so cute! I especially loved our little palm tree all decked out. But putting those lights up was so scary! Here's a photo of me and Sydney perched on the roof. Yikes!
Down, down, down, it was a long way down!
...okay. TIme to get goin'.
+++ updated at 11:17am. back to report that I scored reservations at Bellows for New Year's Eve! Woohoo!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Here is a short report about what I learned from Mike Chock at Hala Lima 'Ia over the past 10 weeks and a brief look at the steps to making a custom "Uke". The more salient underpinnings to this story really share a technique on how to waste much time in said workshop and then avoid having your spouse file for divorce :)
1. Choose the wood for your Uke: I used Bubinga for the back and sides, Engleman Spruce for the soundboard and Mahogany for the neck...cut to rough shape and inlay Abalone shell around the soundhole.
2. Glue in bracing and shape for "tonal and structural quality" - whatever that may mean. Don't gouge into Wendy's dining table!!! That would really annoy her.
John was wondering what in the world I was doing for a little while! He just kept on smiling'. This is an important lesson for you guys out there: even when your wife may have no idea that your selfish woodworking habit is really a vehicle to a good Christmas gift, just keep on smiling and tough it out!
3. Get that neck "shaped up"! Curses to those Krispy Kreme doughnut drives!
4. Bend the sides with this contraption...this part blew me away! Oh the deep-hidden secrets of the Master Luthier.
5. Join neck to soundboard and fit sides...it's starting to look like an Ukulele.
6. Block sand the sides for a nice fit of the back piece.
Add a custom label in case you want people to know who made it...Of course, this is risky because if the Uke ends up sounding horrible...well, then people will know who made it!
7. Cut frets, design fretboard, cut soundhole, glue on back and it's getting closer than it's ever been before to being complete...What?
8. Have a spunky 10-year-old help you design and cut out (with a jewler's saw), a "Honu" inlay to add a custom feel to the headstock. Sydney really helped me out on the design and cutting out the Koa, Spruce and Black Walnut for the headstock. Thanks Syd! She even cut herself out a Bubinga turtle and made it into a necklace.
9. Install headstock inlay of Sea Turtle and shape headstock to look like the wavy ocean.
10. Install bridge, tuners and strings, and then have a few "experts" play your Uke to see if it sounds good. I got two really qualified opinions. Both the master luthier and the seven-year-old agree: "It makes a good sound!"
So, when it is all said and done, the boy gets to play in the workshop...he is not altogether an idiot, because he gives his girl the Uke for Christmas, she forgives him for all of the time he's wasted and for all of the times she's been stranded without a car. And they lived happily ever after...
Coming soon: A music video of Wendy's first song on the Uke...she may need some help with this one, Abby!
Thanks for letting me be a guest blogger...
MERRY CHRISTMAS Everybody!!!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas Day,
That's the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway,
Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright,
The sun to shine by day and all the stars at night,
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii's way
To say "Merry Christmas to you."
Here's our wonky Hawaiian Christmas Tree, a Norfolk Island Pine.
They are also called Cook Pine. I think my mom has one as a house plant. I love it! Emily says Merry Christmas!
Here's what I was doing on Christmas Eve. Watched a surf competition, found 3 green sea turtles sunning on the beach, taught Emily Sydney and John how to skip rocks, and ate shave ice. Ono!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
It was fun to see all the kids wanting pictures with their friends, but I was surprised by the huge turn out. Taking the photos was a breeze compared to the editing. Not that the photos really needed much editing, just a bit of cropping, a little contrast adjust, and some unsharp mask, but I spent the entire "rain day" working on it and was left with a sore right arm from all that mouse clicking... wa. There must be an easier way...
Here are two of my favorite buddies:
ps - rain rain go away
pps - the PX was flooded and is closed due to the damage.
ppps - I can't wait to show you pictures of our Christmas Tree!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I should have turned around when we saw the first stalled car near our home, but we drive the biggest car in Hawaii, so we powered on. As we left the base, the slope of the hill by the track field was a huge waterfall, think Niagra Falls. At about that point we decided it would be best to head back home, but it took us about 45 minutes to get here. We passed 2 closed gates to get back on the base. The poor gate guard at the Lyman Gate was standing in water up to his knees, and as I flashed him my ID card, my windshield wipers were splashing him... splash.... splash... splash....
We had to wind our way around the base to avoid particularly bad spots. There were stalled cars all over the place. The water was deep and scary. Danger!
But we slowly made our way home and found out that schools are closed! Not quite as much sledding as a snow day, but still exciting.
I think I'm going to go take a little nap...
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
It's usually pretty easy to spot Hannah on the field! There she is, with the ball! Go #21!
She has a game tonight. Good luck Hannah!
This morning I am heading to the Ala Moana mall, a big open air mall down in Honolulu. I am not actually much of a mall shopper and have only been to the Ala Moana mall exactly once. And that was just for lunch. I'm going with a friend, so I think it will be fun.
Going downtown on a school day makes me a little nervous. I don't have a cell phone and I worry. I also get a little worried about traffic. If for some reason traffic is bad (ie an accident on the road, or construction, or just basic slow moving cars) we could totally get stuck. Getting stuck makes me nervous because then I would be late picking up the kids from school. And I'm never late. It may be a good idea for us to practice the "mom never showed up to get us" scenario....
But I'm sure we will have fun, and we won't get stuck and will return home in plenty of time to pick up the kids, head to a soccer game, then a science fair, then to the church for mutual. (a little pep talk for me)
one question: Christmas cards are arriving and I'm wondering if you do anything cute with yours to display them?
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
This morning I was thinking about going to the library, but those skirts were hanging over my head, so I made a little deal with myself: no library until the skirts were finished.
The skirts are done and the kids are out early today (and every wednesday) so it looks like I'll get to go to the library after all. Woo hoo!
And it turned out the sewing was rather fun. It made me start thinking about some other sewing I want to do this month. Christmas is coming and I'd like to sew a palm tree Christmas countdown (should do, like tonight to enjoy the whole countdown thing), a couple more hula skirts as gifts, and maybe some pj's.
Are you planning to make any of your gifts this year?
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I am still not eating sugar. I did just fine at yesterday's pre-Thanksgiving dinner. While preparing the candied yams, I was a little shocked by all the butter and brown sugar. More sugar than yams, actually! I skipped the yams. And the pies. I brought home some cake and cookies for the kids. I did not sneak into the kitchen to eat the treats.
My 21 sugar-free days ends next Tuesday. I feel kind of powerful and strong. It turns out I don't NEED it. There is a bag of peanut M&M's in the kitchen and I haven't had a one. And I'm not even feeling sad or left out about that. Do you know how unusual that is for me? Candy, chocolate in particular, usually CALLS to me. I am planning to stay in control of my eating and limit sugary treats to Holidays and other special occasions, not each and every afternoon.
I just ran in and weighed myself. I'm down one pound since last week and I am now at a reasonable weight for me. So I won't mention my weight again here.
That's good. In other news, I haven't been to the beach in almost a month. That is not good. I am going to fix that this weekend.
What are you fixing for dinner? I am not interested in cooking, but my family keeps expecting to eat all these meals. Crazy people. Help!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Today I have a pecan pie in the oven, a double batch of rolls raising, sweet potatoes ready to lose their skins, and potatoes waiting for the pot. And it's not quite 7am!
Yesterday was YW in Excellence for our ward. It was a fun night, and my stew turned out great. I'm not really a stew maker, so I got Sister Chang's "recipe". I wasn't sure about all the cans of tomato and the oyster sauce, but it really turned out yummy. Here's what I scribbled on my Sacrament Meeting program:
1 tray of stew meat. not the Costco size tray. Trim.
Brown meat with onion and celery until it gets kind of juicy. Transfer to crockpot. and add:
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomato sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes
I didn't know the sizes of cans so I just guessed. Let that stuff cook for a few hours, then add in:
A handful of Hawaiian salt mix
a dash of pepper
beef bullion, just a cube or two
Oyster sauce. a bit.
then maybe a half hour before serving mix some flour with water and stir it in to thicken. Add salt to taste. But not too much. Enjoy. This filled my crock pot to the brim.
Today there is a Thanksgiving feast at Nathan's work. At 11:30am. I'm glad I'm not roasting the Turkey. I woke up early to get everything going. I hope I can get the rolls done and still get the kids to school in time.
This feast could really put at damper on my no-sugar for 3 weeks thing (one more week to go. Yeah me!) Here's my plan: turkey and all the fixings including cranberry sauce = yes. Pies = no. I hope that works.
What should I wear today?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
And it almost feels cool* enough for some cheesy potato soup. Mmmm!
Just the sort of day to lay around reading and napping! So far today I have taken one two hour nap and read half a book.** Perfect! Unfortunately reading and napping does not interest the kids so much.
They were playing in the garage, watching the rain, but I just saw Emily putting on her poncho. I have a feeling I should get out some towels and heat up water for hot cocoa. It's not often that hot cocoa sounds good here.
There goes John in his poncho. I wonder why he's not wearing his rain boots?...
Do you have any weekend plans?
Later tonight we are heading into Honolulu for the Symphony. And dinner, I hope!
* if's funny how 78* with a slight wind can feel cool.
** The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society
Friday, November 14, 2008
Last week I cried to you about a little problem I was having, and I'm back to check in.
I had a goal to drink more water, stop snacking, and do all that good stuff. It looks like it's paying off, I'm down 3 pounds. Yippee!
I'm also doing no sugar with Amanda and co, and I have to say that it is working. It has been a week and two days and it's really not been a problem. I said no to brownies and pie this week without feeling deprived. In the interest of full disclosure, I was force to drink some kind of poi and banana smoothie at the ward potluck following the parade on Tuesday. I didn't actually want any, as it looked rather grody, but it tasted really good. I'm sure it was full of sugar.
In other good-for-me news, I went to the gym yesterday. My friend told me about a Pilate's class she attends, and I told her I'd meet her there. But I went to the wrong gym. I didn't realize there was more than one. Since I was going to be too late for the class, I went ahead and had a tour of the Martinez Gym. Then I headed over to the other gym and picked up a class schedule and spent a half hour on the elliptical machine. I guess that was fun, but living in such a beautiful place, I think it's silly to work out on a treadmill when I could be outside, you know?
I'll check back next Thursday and let you know if I made it to the Pilate's class...
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Our ward (congregation) decided they wanted to participate, again. We did this last year, and Nathan and his dad (both veterans) walked together. Nathan is out of town this week, so he missed all the fun. And boy was it fun....
Did we build a float? or Find some mini motorcycles to ride? or Maybe push a handcart? nope.
We just walked.
We had a few missionaries, and some boy scouts with flags, and a scraggly group of kids and parents. One child cried the entire route. Appropriate, I thought.
It was embarrassing to me, though Emily and John loved it.
Right behind our sad group was the cutest bunch of marching ukulele players, ever. There were about 50 children, all in matching yellow hawaiian shirts, strumming and singing as they walked. They were adorable. I want to join that group next year....
I saw a news camera zoom in on them and I've been trying to find video of it, but I guess it didn't make the evening news. Shucks!
I have been seeing some young wounded warriors around the base lately. There is a boy in my son's class whose dad was badly wounded in Iraq earlier this fall. The boy left school for about 2 months while he and his mom travelled to be with his dad in the hospital, but he recently re-enrolled in John's class. The dad has walked his soon to class a few times, with a walker. He has both of his legs and arms, but he seems kind of strapped together with lots of braces and wrap.
There is another dad that I see occasionally in the mornings at school. He is young and strong and has one prosthetic leg.
That is the kind of thing that brings tears to my eyes and takes my breath away. These are the young men and women veterans who need our prayers, and maybe something more, this Veterans day.
A few years ago, actually exactly 4 years ago during the last election cycle, I was driving some kids up to Mt. Rushmore for a school field trip, when one boy in my car asked Hannah what her dad's job was. Hannah said he was in the Air Force. The boy said "My dad would NEVER do that." Meaning he would never serve in the military, ewwww!
I don't think I said anything, but I remember wishing I had said something like, "whew! Isn't he lucky he won't have to, since other people are willing to sacrifice to protect his family."
And you know, I'm so glad that little boy's dad doesn't have to serve in the military if he doesn't want to, but I am proud today of those who have chosen to, expecially my own Veteran!
Isn't he cute in uniform?
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I was kind of shy at this point in my career. And easily embarrassed. Terry was (and is) really into fitness and body building. He had slightly embarrassing pictures of hot babes and nearly neked dudes with major muscles. He also had a giant sized jar of Weight-Gainer 2000 sitting on top of the refridgerator. Weight Gainer 2000 was (is?) a protein powder for weight-lifters, I think. Awesome.
I'm not telling this story to make fun of Terry. Hi Terry! But since I spent a good portion of my time at their house being embarrassed for one reason or another, this is kind of fun!
No, really, I'm not here to actually talk about Terry. I'm here to discuss that Weight Gainer 2000 stuff.
It's got a catchy name, don't you think. Weight Gainer 2000. Here is the sad tale of my own personal Weight Gainer 2008. Waaa.
Exactly 3 months ago today, Nathan returned home from Iraq. Woohooo!
Today I weigh exactly 10 pounds more than I did 3 months ago.
I have a feeling it has something to do with being content, and cooking real food, and going out to eat, and ice cream Sundaes, and forgetting to run, and homemade chocolate chip cookies, and french fries, and fresh cinnamon rolls...
Mmmmm. Sounds good.
No. Bad. Very Bad. It is time for drastic measures. Food journal. More water. More running. No more brownies.
I'll be checking in here each Thursday to
Any favorite healthy eating tips?
Monday, November 03, 2008
It was so fun. Mary has posted up a lot of awesome pictures of the grand time we had.
And it was fun.
and pigged out on shave ice
and had an all around wonderful time.
And though swimming with the humuhumunukunukuapua'a was amazing (that's not actually a humu. I think it's a triggerfish. maybe.)
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Don't forget #4 - one coolio dad to take the kids around the neighborhood so I could
read hand out candy to ghosts and goblins
#5 - cutie pie flapper girl in the dress that worked just fine.
# 6 - Bollywood
#9 - one white sheet = costume happiness
It was a fun night of dress up here in our little neighborhood. If giving out lots of candy = success, then I think we deserve a gold star. I gave away 4 giant bags and 16 smaller bags of chocolate and skittles.
Has anyone else around here eaten way way way too much Halloween Candy?
Thanks for the idea, Amanda. I think I'll try that no-sugar thing...tomorrow....
Friday, October 31, 2008
John's class has a costume parade today. I didn't know schools even allowed that any more, but John's fireman hat and boots are in a bag in his backpack waiting for this afternoon.
Here's a spooky Halloween story:
Ever the Halloweeen procrastinator, I still need to finish up Emily's dress. Last year Hannah wore a red flapper dress. All year Emily has loved that dress, trying it on to see if she was tall enough to wear it. It made her feel fancy. When we were talking about costumes earlier this month, Emily said she wanted to be a fashion girl, with the long read dress and a pair of high heel boots. Eeeek! Even though Emily felt fancy, the dress was just too long and a little silly on her. This week I showed her some flapper-girl pictures and talked her into letting me cut down the dress to fit her.
That red sparkly fabric is the worst stuff I have ever tried to sew. I forgot how much I hated it last year. It has little glitter pieces that are glued on, and the glue gums up the needle and the thread breaks after only about 10 stitches. Grrrr.
I woke up in the middle of the night with a solution to that problem. A little cooking oil! I put some oil on a dish cloth and wiped down the needle. That allowed me to sew about 2 feet of fabric before I needed to un-gum the needle with a fresh coat of oil. Problem solved, but I still need to do a few more adjustments to make the dress fit just right. It's going to be so cute!
Sydney is keeping her costume a secret. Shhh! I'll post photos tonight.
Hannah says she is too old to trick or treat, but she and her friend are dressing up in Toga's and will pass out candy to the "little kids." Too old to trick or treat? scarrrrrry!
I hope your Halloween is a fright!
Sorry I've been avoiding you. I hope you don't take it personally! I'll try to keep in better contact.
From your old friend,
Saturday, September 20, 2008
At bedtime I had this whole routine. I would turn off the lights in the front room and turn on the light in the kitchen. I would turn on all my bedroom lights and then go out and turn off the hallway lights and stair lights. I would make sure the light was on in the little bathroom and that the door was only about an inch open, then I would make my way to bed, turning off lights until my bedside lamp was the only light on (besides the kitchen light and the little bathroom light which I left on all night every night.) Then I would read until I was ready to sleep and I'd switch off the lamp by my bed.
The light from the little bathroom let me feel safe, but wasn't so bright that it interupted my dreams.
With Nathan home now, I don't leave any lights on. I feel safe. Isn't that the best?
Here's the spooky part. The other night I stayed up reading while Nathan went to bed. Everyone was asleep but me. When I was ready to go to bed I turned off all the lights, even the little one in the kitchen and the one in the little bathroom. I remember pausing to ask myself if I needed to leave that light on to light my way to bed, but then I decided I didn't need it and I turned it off and went to bed. That's not the scary part, yet.
In the morning I woke up at 5:24am, as usual, unfortunately, and got up to make a little breakfast for Hannah before seminary. I found my glasses and brushed my teeth and headed out of my room.
And then I noticed something spooky. The light in the little bathroom was on, and the door was open just so.
I know I didn't leave it on. I am 99.5 percent sure I didn't. I asked Hannah if she had come downstairs before I got up and she said no. Later in the morning I asked Sydney, Emily, and John if they had gotten up in the middle of the night and used the little downstairs bathroom. They said no. Nathan said no.
How did the light get turned on?
I'm sure I didn't leave it on.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Time to eat some Mango.
Mango is my favorite new fruit. I love it. I could eat mango every day!
It is mango season in Hawaii. You can buy mango all over the place. I like to stop and buy mango from a car that parks along California Avenue in Wahiawa. I also buy local mango at the Commisary or at fruit stands along the North Shore. If you are not lucky enough to live in Hawaii, you can buy mango in your local grocery store. I hope...
I don't think I ever ate fresh mango before we moved here, and I had no idea how to cut one. Luckily, my friend Myrna is a mango expert. Her mango tree gives her way too much fruit. She freezes mango for mango smoothies and mango cake. Myrna showed me how to cut a mango to get the most out of the fruit.
You have to let mango ripen, just like peaches or pears. When you are able to press the fruit in a little, like a pear or a peach, then it is ready.
Some people are very allergic to Mango. It is usually the skin that causes the irritation. So be sure to wash your mango and peal it first thing. Myrna says to peal your mango in long strips from the top down. Don't cut too deep and waste that good fruit.
A ripe mango is slippery and juicy. I usually peal and cut mangos (mangoes?) right over the sink. Once your mango is pealed, you can start slicing off the meat in long strips.
A mango has a large furry pit. You know you have reached the pit when it gets difficult to slice. I think it feels kind of icy when I am cutting close to the seed. After you have removed all of the mango from the pit, you are ready to enjoy.