Monthly Archives: March 2007

a bike date!

first bike ride together since we moved here! getting an acai bowl and smoothie afterwards :)

It’s a biathlon today – hike then bike! Our first bike ride together since we moved here – thanks to Sammy’s first babysitter (other than Gramma, whom he sees as more of a nice plush toy than a babysitter!). My friend Heidi’s daughter (Holly) watched Sam for two hours while we went out and rode about 14 miles (just a short one for starters until I get used to skinny tires again!). There are few hills around here, but we bagged all of them that were available. It felt nice to pump the legs. I am one of the few weirdos out there who love going uphill and dread downhill. I actually had to look at my bike computer several times to be sure of this, but I rode faster UP hill than down. (Jenni – you will laugh at this – I actually hit 19.5 mph going UP and only went 18.5 DOWN – I’m not a big racer like you! ha ha!). I get freaked out by the speed on those little tires with glass and rocks and wind out there to really mess me up. It was so fun to be on the Bianchi again. The ride is like you’re gliding through warm butter. Dave had the bike all cleaned up and ready for me to hop on so all I had to do was get Sam squared away for his playtime with Holly.

The whole ride went well until we headed back the short 1 mi from Lanikai Juice, where we got lunch. I am a total nut in traffic. I have no confidence at all amidst all those cars. So I ended up biking down a super busy street because I couldn’t manage to turn left at the intersection. This meant I had to somehow turn left in the middle of moving traffic further down the road. Then, I had to dive out into traffic the first chance I got, but in my frantic and decisive state, I ended up signaling out into traffic WAY too soon – like two blocks too soon. To cover up for this latest blunder, I decided that I should just match speed with the traffic. This meant going 25 mph. That doesn’t seem like a lot for a car, but it’s a lot for a bike! I just hauled arse with Dave watching in amusement (and gasping trying to keep up I imagine, because I’m SUCH a stud). I finally turned left, just before a car coming the other way (because no WAY was I going to overshoot the turn after all that work, not to mention I can’t go slow on skinny tires like I can on my mountain bike – I’d fall over). To spare you any further pain as you sift through this longwinded story – I ended up turning onto the sidewalk, got slowed down by grass when I ran out of sidewalk and managed to work our way home without further incident.

a beautiful start to the morning

sunrise hikeI am so lucky to have friends like this here. It’s been 5 years since my last sunrise hike, and I’m sure I’ll remember this one just as much as the first. The sunrise was gorgeous, the air peaceful, the friendship warm, the coffee hot, the food tasty… We are blessed. More pictures in the album. Thank you ladies, and aloha kakahiaka.

humuhumunukunukuapua’a

Video: Sam dancing at the Farmers’ Market.

Pronounced: “hoo-moo-hoo-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-poo-ah-ah”

Mom, Sam and I had a great time out on a glass-bottom-boat trip where I finally learned how to say the name of the Hawaiian state fish. It means literally “fish with a snout like a pig” and is also called a triggerfish. The lady on board the boat has an education background and gave a lot of good kid-level information on geology and marine life. She did a great job helping us visualize the name of this fish and I finally learned it 🙂 Sam can even sort-of say it…if you know what he’s trying to say you can decode it! More pictures from the trip in the Album above.

Last night the three of us (mom, Sam and me – Dave was working late) went to the Farmer’s Market for dinner, music and some produce. It’s a really neat gathering of community folks, and you can eat really well…cheap! Like it 🙂 The video above is Sam dancing to the music, which was quite good. What we didn’t catch on film was a cool head-banger move that he did a bit later. I don’t know how he keeps his balance so well. It helps that his center of gravity is a bit lower!

Today he went to the dentist (or the so-called “big mouth doctor” because Sam learned long ago from Gramma how to make a “big mouth” and a “small mouth”). Our dentist is fantastic – he’s an adult dentist but has three little boys so he knows how to relate to them. Sam has a little spot on one tooth that I’ve been watching. It doesn’t look like a cavity and we’re not sure what it is. We’ll keep following it, and our dentist will do some checking around. I’ll take a picture of it for him so he can solicit well-informed feedback from his colleagues. Sam did a great job opening up and letting him check. He got sick of the whole thing at one point and put up a good protest (he’s quite “vigorous” in his disagreements, although he rarely does this). But he calmed down right away and we proceeded. Mom was a big help on this visit and we enjoyed some nice reading time in the waiting room. We celebrated his first dental appointment with a little lunch, and of course – since we all have a sweet tooth – the best cookie in town.

A Hawaiian triathlon for kids – hike, swim, eat (then nap!)

A dip after a hike… 2007-03-27kailuabchlunchtimeromp-2.JPG 2007-03-27kailuabchlunchtimeromp.JPG

Excerpt from a note to my friend Ang…reprinted here for expediency since it relays a day in the life…

I’m just heading to bed late – working again, on that encyclopedia 🙂 So glad Melodie is back! I definitely want to see pics of Matt! Wow – Josh pins quick, huh? That is great! Have you pinned him before? I only got to put on dave’s dive pin, and I managed to get it upside down (not a good sign for a diver – all the other guys laughed at me!). sam and I hiked the pillbox trail today. we hiked all the way through. he did really well. that last 1.5 mi on the road back to the truck stank though. i was so hot, thirsty, tired and hungry.  we went to pick up my mom, then to “a-awai” : ) then hopped in the water, me fully clothed and sam in a diaper only, before sitting on the sand (all wet because we’re fools and don’t care) to eat. it was a sight. the waves knocked a croc off, so i was chasing those down with sam messing around hanging from me with one arm. then he took a face-plant in the sand and ate a whole mouthful and didn’t want his head dunked in the water to get clean. when i finally emerged with him after bending over and holding him for “swim” time…he charged right out in front of a couple walking by (it’s crammed down there on the beach this week with spring breakers) and i looked up only in enough time to apologize for his impertinence. i still couldn’t stand up straight because i was stiff from holding him – and i told the couple that! they were laughing. I was like “sorry- i couldn’t see you – i can’t stand up straight yet!” hopefully my happy hiker shirt informed all the onlookers why i was delirious, messy, sweaty and totally oblivious to proper beach decorum. (Mo-I wear that shirt on almost every hike! I may have to get duplicates in case that one ever wears out!) we got home in one piece and he got a bath, then I hopped in the shower and we both cleaned all the grass, bugs and sand off us. he got to nap, and i went to work on editing an encyclopedia of epidemiology entry (after mom brought me a latte!). it’s now just after 11pm and i’m off to bed…finally!

Traffic jam

Traffic jam (courtesy - mom!)    Kite surfer on a huge jump. Another photo courtesy of mom!   

Photos courtesy of mom 🙂

We walk by the beach and still can’t believe we live here, even after 8 months. Dave and I had a “date” tonight while Mom and Pete played with Sam. As far as your eye could see, there were sails of every kind out catching the wind. People were grilling up their dinners. Kids played in the sand. Adults floated around in the water, soaking up the last rays of sun. We walked about 3.5 miles around the Lanikai loop and back to Buzz’s for appetizers and drinks. It was really nice to just walk around, wonder how one can afford to live in Lanikai, smell all the great scents of island life, and dream about where we’ll finally settle. This place has a strange conflicting energy about it. On the one hand you want to just chill on the beach. That seems to be the totally natural thing to do. But the weather and the water beckon you to explore sports you’d never heard of before, not to mention ever dreamed you could actually learn to do. (For example, a significant portion of me actually believes I could learn to kitesurf.) I think I’ll start with windsurfing -it seems less likely that I’d launch myself irretrievably into the air with such a big board attached 🙂 When those kitesurfers sail through the air, you really wonder how they get back down…with my luck I’d end up on a distant island. I guess I’ll carry ID in my pocket… 🙂

turtle training and ladies’ night

Orientation to be a Honu Guardian (Hawaiian green sea turtle protection program). Mom got to see Brutus and Sammy helped put out signs. An evening out with the ladies!

Our day started out with a training session at the North Shore – Sammy and I will be volunteering as Honu Guardians at a beach where the turtles enjoy basking. We’ll be helping educate the public about the Hawaiian green sea turtle (honu) while ensuring the turtles have room to bask. I learned so much from Joanne (the coordinator shown above in the cap). The program is affiliated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the turtles are monitored for research about nesting, feeding, and migration habits. The turtles are in protected status under the Endangered Species Act. Sammy was a good little helper, putting out signs and picking them up. We put a red rope on the sand around the turtle to give him space. Pictured above is L1, Brutus. He is about 40 yrs old and around 170 lbs. Mom kept an eye on Sam so I could focus on learning the “ropes” of the volunteer program. I really look forward to this work as an amateur naturalist 🙂

This evening was the first of what I hope will be monthly outings with a group of amazing new friends whom I met through the Swamp Romp adventure. We went to a Moroccan restaurant in Kailua, Casablanca. You enjoy having your hands washed with a scented water, then eat a multi-course feast with your fingers. It was very relaxed and fun. Pictured here, from L to R, are Angel, April, Diane, me, Leo, Laurie and Heidi. I handed out little magnets of our group picture after we crossed the Swamp Romp finish line. We talked about many crazy notions – long-term plans for our little gang of women, such as traveling for the greater good by doing some humanitarian work. We’d have fundraiser events to fund our travel. Among the many ideas for our next “event” – a pillowfight on the beach. (Laurie swears she saw a story about a group of women who formed a Pillow Fight League on CNN. Sounded fun to me!) This is only the start of something great, I am sure. These are women of great depth, intelligence and determination. It will be fun to see where our hopes and energy take us over the coming years.

font freak

My new favorite font is Maiandra GD. Other favorites include Trebuchet MS, Georgia, Marydale, and Tempus Sans ITC. Like the much-used fonts Arial, Times New Roman, Helvetica and Verdana, both Trebuchet MS and Georgia are available on all platforms so they are very commonly used on the web (no need for font substitution). I like that 🙂 But when I’m designing a graphic and embedding a font, it’s fun to branch out and use a different one 🙂 (Maiandra is what I used for my header above.)

our little aborigine

I couldn’t grab my camera in time, but the visual I’m about to describe would have been so fun to capture! Sammy was on his way to bafftime when he grabbed our digeridoo and started playing it, naked. The digeridoo is about as tall as Sam and he plays better than we doo! (ha ha! that was a typo but it seemed apt!) Dave got it in Australia when he was on deployment in 2004. Dave has been working late (6 hour marathon meetings) but came home tonight just in time to romp with Sam for a bit before bed. Sam and I had been having some nice quiet time after dinner, reading NG Adventure, watching Beethoven’s Symph. 3 and playing a very silly game we came up with last night. I dare not describe it, but Sam’s reaction was a scream-laugh. He was nearly crying with laughter! We replicated it tonight for Dave. When I asked Sam to show Dave a page from the NG magazine, he pointed to the “big ock” (big rock) in “kigstan” (Kyrgyzstan). Dave thought perhaps I should start with countries in Europe. I prefer the path less traveled. He’ll learn all about the EU soon enough. For now, learning Hawaiian and esoteric Central Asian republics is more fun.

My first swim out to Flat Island

Flat Island (Moku Popoia)    Emerging from the swells after the swim.   

Here is a shot of Flat Island from the Pillbox hike. It’s not much to look at, which is why I don’t seem to have many pictures of it, but sure was a lot of fun to swim out to today. I had been planning this “epic” swim for weeks – I hadn’t ever swum in the ocean before and was a little bit nervous about it. I got the scoop from Laurie’s husband, Nate, who swims out many mornings while it’s still dark out. He was very reassuring, reporting that he’s only been bonked on the head by a disoriented bird, but had no run-ins with sea creatures. Mom played with Sam at the tide pools while I went out. I kept looking up and it kept seeming far away, but I gradually made it there. It was a bit of a battle against the wind and the waves (sometimes I looked down at the bottom and didn’t even move after three or four strokes!). Most of the way was very shallow, and I saw some neat fish – a puffer (no stingers on this one) and several weird wormy things that were 6″ in diameter and about 18″ long (Holuthuria atra I think). I certainly didn’t want to step on one so I just tread water while I looked around to see if a wind surfer or kite boarder was passing through. When I finally got there, I had to pull myself in to the beach on the rough coral bottom because I didn’t want to step down. I walked around the island (it’s a bit rough barefoot, but as some of my friends know, my feet have not been exfoliated by a pedicure in quite some time, so they were suitably rough!). I swam back and eventually found mom and Sam at the tide pools. It was fun to snorkel out and come in from the other side. There were tons of fish darting around the rocks. I am so happy to finally have this opportunity to swim in the beautiful ocean. It was such a nice departure from the tedium of swimming 30 laps in a pool, as nice as an outdoor heated pool in Hawaii can be 🙂

woo hoo! custom header at last!

I’m a geek – I know! But I was only giving myself one more chance to figure out how to swap in a picture of our own into the header. I figured it out! Hopefully it looks ok. The picture above is from one of our favorite spots – a tide pool at Alala Pt near Lanikai. Sam loves to play in the water there and we often find little creatures in the warm tide pools – fish, tadpoles, crabs, etc. I carry a little jar to collect beach glass in and then mail them out periodically to special people who deserve a bit of aloha 🙂 Please comment on the header if you have a second…I’m curious to know if it’s a tolerable solution. I don’t know how to scale the size of the picture to fit your resolution. It may look horrible on an 800×600 screen.

If anyone is trying to do this and is using the WordPress default theme by Kubrick, here’s how I did it:

1. header image should be 740×192 pixels and name it kubrickheader.jpg then upload to wp-content/themes/default/images/. Be sure to rename the original file first in case it doesn’t work out so well 🙂

2. Turn off the text in the header area so just your custom text will show up. Do this in the WP presentation editor.

3. Make your entire header clickable to return to your home page by editing your header.php file (wp-content/themes/default). Toward the bottom of the code, delete: <div id=”header”> and replace it with the following <div id=”header” onclick=”location.href=’http://siteaddress/’;” style=”cursor: pointer;”>

(Reference)

upgraded the blog engine, but …

all my formatting was dumped. Oh well. Guess it was time for a redesign anyway. All the pictures can still be found to the right in “album.”  Note to self, don’t do any major web overhauls after a nip of single malt. Chief among my errors – I neglected to back up my site first. I had done this before and didn’t expect any surprises. Ahhh… silly me. At least now I have the cool login-screen and posting dashboard. All you WordPress geeks know what I’m talking about…Alden!!! 🙂 Just kidding!

surf spray

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After a visit to Cinnamon’s for pancakes (SORRY BILL! We thought of you there!), we headed off to the beach with Mom and Pete for a swim out to Flat Island. I really wanted to try my first open ocean swim out to this little island 1/4 mi offshore. Unfortunately, when we arrived the beach was swarming with kite and wind surfers so it seemed prudent to not swim across all that heavy traffic. I was so bummed, though, having geared up mentally for the challenge. It was choppy out, and very windy, too, but I knew that I could manage it, especially because I planned to use a snorkel to make breathing easier. My plan was to have Dave be a kayak escort. Since he strongly advised against the swim today, I decided to run down the beach and check out my intended launch point anyway and maybe snorkel around a bit. I really wanted to swim in the ocean since that’s what I’d set out to do today. I’d been waiting several weeks to line up all the right support people (Mom to watch Sam, Dave to kayak). When I got down the beach there was only one kite surfer out, and I could tell he was experienced by the jumps he was pulling off (so I knew he could steer around me). I also planned to keep popping my head up to look around. I decided to swim out a bit and “test the waters.” After a couple out-and-back trips within the swimming area marked off by buoys, I decided to swim back down to where the family was hanging out. At least that way I’d get my ocean swim in and also stay away from the heavy traffic. Jenni will be laughing when she reads this. I had an AWFUL time steering with the heavy chop, the tide coming in, and the swells. I zig-zagged all the way back. All told, I did just under a mile but who knows how much I added with my inefficient steering. I came back to find Sam and Dave running in and out of the water, romping around and having a great time. It was wonderful to see Sam gaining confidence and playing more independently.

Later, Dave jumped on his Lemond and did a brief 13 mi ride. He’s checking out www.rooworld.com if you’re interested in what the Dave man is jazzed about right now. Speaking of jazzed – he is playing a CD of Lester Young with the Oscar Peterson Trio. We just got back from a nice night out in Waikiki playing tourist at the Hilton Hawaiian village. That place is totally insane. The rooms start at $300/night and they have like a dozen restaurants in there. I remember staying at similar places (maybe not that pricey) while traveling for Merck. One hotel room looks the same as all the others. But we enjoyed roaming around and having some delicious sushi after a sunset drink at the beach. Thanks to Mom and Pete for giving us such a carefree night out on the town! It is so great to have such trusted and loving care at home – having a great time with Sam Pants, too!

Oh – the reason I entitled this entry “surf spray” is this…I decided NOT to wash my hair tonight (although I was actually in the shower contemplating it) for the simple reason that hair stuff is bottled to emulate the surf. Since I had nice ocean water texture in my hair already, I decided to keep it there. It feels crunchy and good, and it was free!

Mark Twain, travel writer

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We had a little after-dinner decaf latte and dessert last night and happened upon a local singer playing his guitar and harmonica outside the coffee shop. In one song he mentioned Mark Twain’s visit to Hawaii in 1866. I decided to find some of these letters from Hawaii and came across a NYT article with the excerpt below. I am curious to read more about the Hawaii that Twain visited.

“Many a different finger goes into the same bowl and many a different kind of dirt and shade and quality of flavor is added to the virtues of its contents. One tall gentleman, with nothing in the world on but a soiled and greasy shirt, thrust in his finger and tested the poi, shook his head, scratched it with the useful finger, made another test, prospected among his hair, caught something and ate it; tested the poi again, wiped the grimy perspiration from his brow with the universal hand, tested again, blew his nose — ‘Let’s move on, Brown,’ said I, and we moved.”

Sometimes I wonder about how others would perceive our parenting roles. For instance, while Dave enjoyed a massage on base, I took Sam mountain biking around base on a trail we enjoy running on as well, and also through some tank tracks out to the beach. Sam wanted me to go through puddles really badly, so I relented and went through a little one to, quite literally, test the waters. It wasn’t so bad, but because I went slowly, I allowed plenty of time for dirt and mud to accumulate on my legs and all over the bike. Sam thought it was pretty funny and kept saying “Mommy got dirty!” Dave met up with us at a playground right by the beach. It is so peaceful there. I also tried 4-wheeling the Xterra through the sand so that I wouldn’t lose my touch when we move back to snow country. I find that I am far more nervous driving in sand than snow. Of course, in snow you know there’s a road under you somewhere. With sand, I guess I have this notion that I’ll dig myself into an abyss and never get out. When Dave explained that you use the same techniques, and to give the truck more gas, I finally got us out of the deep stuff. So I drove confidently to the Exchange (where we were going to have a food court dinner!) and pulled into a parking spot. All of a sudden I felt a strange pull on the roof of the truck. I slowed down right away (instead of giving it gas – thankfully proper instinct kicked in!) and realized I’d parked under a nice shady TREE with my BIKE affixed to the ROOF!!! YIKES! All is well. We backed up and disentangled everything.

I find that I am very absent-minded now that my hair is shorter. I worry that some brain matter was cut off somehow. I am quite literally lightheaded. I noticed this yesterday, too. I have had trouble with simple math. I’ve been hopping into garbage bins and jumping up and down. Oh wait, that was a deliberate move to help clean up after major landscaping was done for our association of homes yesterday. That one was legitimate. But you can imagine how funny it must have looked to see a crazy guy with only two teeth (but a great smile!) wielding a huge (HUGE) machete to hack up the big palm branches while I was jumping around in a rubbish bin. I bet I’m a shoo-in for president of the assoc with these antics to keep everyone amused. I woke up early early this morning to chase down the garbage guys who have been inexplicably skipping our blue bins full of green waste. I followed all the rules. Nothing poking out. Not one frond. Three feet apart from the other bins. Out far enough in the street for him to grab with his automated grabber. Everything. In fact, i’d lined up 7 such bins for all the other homes to remove all that green waste the landscapers had gathered. It was imperative that the garbage guys pick it up today. I was on the phone with the manager of the refuse transfer station, she turned the guys around and had them come back. I heard them drive by AGAIN, so I called yet again. When I heard them come back, I literally flew out of the house and down the street. Thankfully this time he knew we were serious about those darn bins and I had a chance to thank him for picking them up. I waved (gave him the shaka sign) and smiled, hoping that would endear me to him despite all those calls busting him. I looked down the street and saw lots of retirees (they’re the only ones up and waiting to drag their bins in at that early hour) happily bringing in their blue bins. All of Kihapai St has me to thank today. 🙂

baby gah-go lives DAY-oh!

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While romping in the park during a run today, Sam and I found a gecko egg under some bark. All the rest had been broken and/or eaten by something (a rat?). Mom and Sam were on a walk some time ago and a gecko popped out from under some bark and really surprised Sam. So today when he was saying “gago lives day-o” we finally put 2 and 2 together when he pointed into a big knot hole in the bark – gecko lives there! So we looked more closely into the bark and found some eggs! How exciting to find baby gecko! I have a little glass jar with a cork that I keep in the stroller for just these sorts of things. Usually I collect beach glass, but today it was perfect for transporting the precious cargo. We are keeping it moist and the temp will stay around 80 in our home. Because gender is driven by incubation temperature, we expect a baby girl gecko to hatch in about 6 weeks – if the egg was still viable. Temps higher than 85 are more likely to yield males, less than 85, females. Females hatched at higher temperatures (closer to 85) tend to be more aggressive and don’t make for good mating partners. Very interesting preschool lesson today 🙂 Why send Sam to preschool when he and I can enjoy learning about nature’s wonders together? He’s also learning some Hawaiian. It’s a well-rounded mommy preschool 🙂

first haircut in 8 months

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I got my hair cut today. In our backyard. By my mom. Not the bowl cut, just a straight chop above a ponytail holder. I have been waiting to grow enough so I can donate at least 10″ to charity (Locks of Love). I last did this in 2003, but that was at a salon. Today, I decided, was the day to cut my hair. Unfortunately the salon I wanted to check out was closed on Monday. So we decided we’d do it the native way and just chop it off. They can always touch it up, right? It doesn’t look too bad. I might go “off the grid” and just keep doing it this way. It’s a lot cheaper! And cooler. It is already nice to wear my hair down without needing to keep it in a pony tail. I loved my long hair (it had gotten REALLY long) but that’s the nice thing about hair. It will grow back! It already is :0 I will post pictures later. Dave didn’t freak out…I had a backstory all planned but he saw right through it. Or maybe it was the ziplock sandwich bag on the counter with my hair in it 🙂