Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How (not) to win friends and influence people

We had an interesting day today.

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

I need a List

It's Monday morning, almost 10am, and I'm sitting here at the computer wasting my day away. What I need is a LIST!

To Do:

Make a List
Call Dentist
Call Housing
Call Bellows
Take out the Garbage
Un-decorate the Tree
And other decorations
And outside lights*
Pick up Hannah at 11:30
Go to the Library
Ortho at 2:30pm
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

Guest Blogger: "Nate Tells How to Build an Ukulele!"

Over the past ten weeks, I've spent three hours each Saturday morning at Hana Lima 'Ia (Made By Hand), learning to make a tenor-sized ukulele. Very fun, and challenging! Very annoying to Wendy, as I've needed the car on most occasions, due to never-failing weekend rain! I would normally ride my little motorbike to such events in the rain, but I'm getting too conservative in my older age to endure such inconveniences; water soaked wood isn't fun to work with either!

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'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...

- Nate

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka!

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say,
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!

Mele Kalikimaka!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I am working on the yearbook for our elementary school this year. The project for last week was Buddy Pictures. For just one dollar, you too could be in the school yearbook with a friend. We took over 200 pictures and most of them turned out great!

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

Flood Watch

We are in the middle of a big storm. It rained and rained and rained all night, and this morning our base is totally flooded. As I attempted to drive to seminary it was more like boating then driving.

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

Soccer Season

Hannah hasn't played soccer for a couple of years, but she decided to go ahead and try out for the high school team. First she was going to try out. Then she wasn't. Then she for sure wasn't. Then, the day before tryouts started she decided she might as well try out. She made it!

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


I had some sewing to do this morning that I just didn't want to do. I'm not sure how it happened, but I said I would sew a couple of hula skirts for some girls in our hula class. Hula skirts are easy, it just takes a little time, and I didn't want to have to go upstairs, clear off the sewing table, and sew.

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?