Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kauai-day 4

Wednesday June 18, the we headed down to Poipu to try and locate a letterbox and to see Spouting Horn. Spouting Horn was very cool and we endangered ourselves by ignoring the warning signs and walking down on the rocks.Whilst at Spouting Horn we fed Nicki to a rooster for a good photo op, the rooster pecked at Nicki but discovered he was not food and ignored him.We did not find the letterbox but we really liked Poipu and thought that next time we will spend some more time down there . . . we could not tarry long because we had a sunset cruise scheduled with Captain Andy's.
We loaded up with about 30 other people on a catamaran and set out for the Na'Pali coast. We stopped and snorkeled for quite a while and then saw the beautiful views of the coast.
Mark Twain called these "the cathedrals of the Pacific." When we could see Ke'e beach we turned the boat around unfurled the sails and sailed back. We were served a tasty dinner on the way back and saw a lovely sunset. It was a great cruise and we thought it was certainly worth what we paid (two for one) but maybe not worth full price. We would also like to take the morning cruise sometime and have a better time of the day for snorkeling, but we would not have traded the sunset cruise.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I have always wished for some contraption that would do my hair, magically in an instant like Jane Jetson. She also had that cool make up applicator that was like a Viewmaster but put makeup on with the click of a switch. Along those same lines I have always found showers to be a phenomenal waste of time. I am all for cleanliness, I just dislike all the time it involves especially the drying of the hair. One of thosse Jetsons ultra-sonic showers would be great.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More Hawaii Tales Kauai 3rd day

Tuesday, June 17 we started the day with breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen (see my pet peeves) for macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup. This particular dish was highly recommended by the stewardess with poorly matched lip liner and lipstick on our flight.

I should have taken a picture of the pancakes. I ordered 2 not knowing they were each the size of a pan and 1/2 inch thick. I took the leftovers home and ate them for breakfast for the next 3 days. They were good but I don't think they deserved the raves the flight attendant gave them.

Then I took a lei making class at our resort which led to my subsequent search for a lei needle and smuggling it on the plane in my carry on.

Then we drove up to the north shore of the island and found The Queens Bath which is this really neat basin carved into the rock on the shore. The waves wash in but not out. Below is a picture of Nicki at the bath and the dark dot with white arms is me swimming in the bath.

The people are all concentrated on the right because it was a cloudy day with high tide and big waves would come in at that spot and turn the pool into a bubbly tub for a few seconds. There are some creepy black crabs living there that scared me to death.

After the bath we went to Hanelei Bay for some beach fun but it was cloudy and a little cold so we left and went to Tunnels beach for some snorkeling.
The snorkeling was so neat, apart from being smashed onto the reef by waves and some minor equipment malfunctions we had a great time. We spent a long time just hanging out on a wave with a turtle.
I attempted some boogie boarding but the reef kept getting in the way and I am apparently to uncool to figure it out. Brian brought home a sunburn from snorkeling for too long.

That evening we went to the Lu'au Kalamakū. This was one of the highlights of our trip. I learned to Hula...
The food was so-so but the show was so good. I am hard to please preformance wise (A semester in London studying theatre will do that to you) and I though everything was really well done and very professional. The costumes were very nice, the musice was phenomenal, lights and dancing very nice.
Brian had a crush on the singer in the band (no they don't have a CD) and I had a crush on the fire dancer along with all of the other women in the place.

Brian and Nicki enjoyed the poi, I did not.

Sabbath Leaves

Our beautiful world:
The Pomegranate, red juicy, difficult to get to the good stuff. They also dry handsomely.

I have been blessed with many talents, some I have developed, some I have not. I am so greateful for the talents I have been blessed with and hope I use those talents to bless my family and others.

For humility.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I put in my time yesterday at cub scout camp. It was hot, dirty and exhausting. Our troop is very well behaved and I can certainly say it wasn't so bad. It is fun to see boys in their element playing in dirt, shooting guns, and running.
Boba Fett tagged along as a Junior Camper. He wasn't ready for a whole day of camp. He was crying and tugging on me whilst complaining by the end. But he did have a good time.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Names are Skittish Things

I picked up this duck many months ago not knowing what to do with her. She didn't have a name until today.

Names are interesting things. A name can convey so many things. A poorly chosen name could be disastrous. As a young woman I had all sorts of fancy names for my future children. Some were mercifully discarded before I bore children, such as Cedric Cei, Alixandrier, and Bartholomew. My worst as a child nightmare would have been having a name that everyone else had (like Moose's). Luckily my parents did not fail me and I am often told that my name is pretty too. For our own children we tried to be different (we failed Commander C. on that one) but not weird, not juvenile and most importantly how will it sound when they are a judge or a general authority.

Choosing names for pets (breathing and ceramic) is a little more liberating. Ceramic ducks do not have to worry about being laughed at on the playground because of their names, but still I feel a responsibility to choose a good moniker that is meaningful.

Today I christened my knitting needle holding duck, "Danvers" in homage to one of my favorite books "Rebecca", in which, incidentally, the main character does not have a name. Hopefully my duck will not be coercing me to jump out of a window or burn down my stately home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad Mother

Commander C has scout camp this week. I caved in to convenience and coolness and bought this Junk. I would never feed my kids this on a daily basis, but I thought "How fun to have pudding and crackers in your lunch." I mean, Commander C doesn't get to take his lunch to school or anything else on a regular basis, and I felt like his one week of packed lunches should be special.

Then I read the ingredients, here are a few gems:
Sucralose, Maltilol (what IS that), partially hydrogenated everything, sodium acid pyrophosphate?
Gross. I know I am bad, I will not do it again.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sabbath Leaves

Our beautiful world:
I love Indian Paintbrush. One of my favorite flowers, it always reminds me of home, Montana summers hiking in the Jewel. It is warm, wild and simple.

I am grateful that we live in a time when we don't face death every day. When our missionaries leave home they don't wonder how many of their family members will still be alive when they return, if they return like the missionaries in the early days of the church. I am grateful that for the most part death comes to us after a life well lived or quickly and painlessly after an accident.

Trying to be more productive. Being in vacation mode is lazy. Must break out of the spell.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Never Say Never

Moose ate sushi TWICE while in Hawaii. he tried a tuna roll at Kintaro on Kauai and some seared tuna at P.F. Changs in Waikiki. He didn't like it but he tried it.

Going to the Fair

Today I am entering some of my favorite projects at the County Fair. I am shooting for the Nifty Knitter award by entering in 5 different categories. The trouble is deciding in which category each item belongs. My quilt for example is not the best example of hand quilting but has great hand applique, the design of the quilt is the best aspect.
Wish me luck and hope that no one puts grimy hands on my projects.

Monday, July 14, 2008

We Are Just a Normal Happy Family

We were feeling a bit jaded yesterday as we watched America's Extreme Home Makeover Edition. We are just a normal family, no one has a deformity, disease or disability that makes life a continual challenge. Moose went to a well respected college and his parents footed the bill, he has great job. We haven't transformed a slummy neighborhood into a thriving, vibrant community. We haven't served in Iraq. For all of these things we are truly grateful but we are completely out of the running for Sears to give us a sickeningly fabulous home makeover.

So today when I inexplicably smashed my toe into the corner of the wall. Moose said "I am so sorry you are so uncoordinated. I can't imagine living life that way. I am so sorry." (He was being sincere.) We looked at each other and simultaneously we realized this could be OUR sob story. Maybe America's Extreme Home Makeover will built us a house for the clumsy.

I regularly fall up and down our stairs (once I was sure it was my final moment on earth.) Stub my toes frequently and hit the table with my hip constantly. There was one particularly unfortunate incident in my youth where I walked full speed into an open door and smashed my nose something awful. I do not play sports at all for fear of harm to myself and others. Sometimes, I hurt my children by accidentally falling, tripping over or scratching them.

On the tour of the house we can show all of the everyday household things that endanger me like the floor, countertops and drinking glasses. Ty will probably make my room, a special craft room with padded walls, furniture and safety scissors.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Sabbath Day

Our beautiful world:
Heavenly Father created this leaf. I find the shape lovely and have great desire to see a ginkgo tree, if you know where one is...

I am grateful that I have a comfortable home to live in. With all of its shortcoming and though everyone I know seems to have a better home. I have a home, it is nice and safe and for that I am blessed more than I deserve.

I am trying to not yell at my kids. Shouting is how I let of steam. I am not an abusive yeller, I just get loud when I feel stressed or when I have to tell a child something for the 9 millionth time. When they grow up and think of their mom I don't want them to remember yelling. I found this concept interesting and have made a "No losing my temper with the kids" bracelet.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hawaiian tunes

When we arrived in Hawaii we found that our rental car did not have a cassette player so the adapter we had for Moose's iPod wasn't going to work. This worked out OK for us because we were then able to sample the local Hawaiian music. Even the Hawaiian channel has the same problems as most radio stations on the mainland - they play the same 20 songs over and over again. We became very familian with the "It's the way you move your body" song and the "Spread a little Aloha around the world" song. But after the first week I made Moose buy a new adapter.

Our 2 favorites were "Maui Hawaiian Sup'pa Man" and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" both by IZ.

At the Luau there was a great little band. Someone requested "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" and as they were playing the couple who had requested it danced. It was so sweet, no one else danced the whole night long but this couple danced for the whole song, so in love with 300 pairs of eyes fixed on them. We loved it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Max Power Does Not Abbreviate

I think there should be a rule that abridged books should have "Abridged" in flashing red lights on them. I find it very irritating when you pick up a book only to find out later that it is abridged - I want the whole thing. Please to not pre-digest for me.

I have been listening to John Adams by David McCullough while driving across Montana, Idaho, and Washington. I liked it so much I picked up a copy of the book for my mom. I was flipping through the book and I started noticing passages that I certainly did not hear in my copy. So, I found the audio book case to see it I had the whole enchilada or not. I looked and looked and found nothing then finally in the tiniest font, amongst repeated "Simon & Schuster"s there it was "An Abridgement of John Adams." (see arrow on picture)
Apparently Edward Herman (who reads fabulously) wasn't up to reading the whole book.

Shakespeare Retold

Remember "10 things I hate about You" that cutesy teen movie that was a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew? I just watched the BBC's Shakespeare Retold version of The Taming of the Shrew. Kate was mean, really, really mean and foul mouthed; she made Julia Stiles' Kate look like Shirley Temple. Luckily all the foul terms were British so they sound like nonsense to Americans. It was very funny. Recommended but definitely, certainly preview it before letting your offspring see it.

I have also seen Shakespeare Retold's Macbeth - Scary and Much Ado About Nothing - this is not my favorite play but Damien Lewis is so very watchable.

A Word About Chickens

As promised A Word About Chickens...

As I mentioned yesterday there are 2 defining characteristics about Kauai, the first is the persistent red dirt and the second are the chickens (which if not persistent are certainly bountiful.) The chickens are every where, on the side of the road, at the park, at the Secret Waterfall, in the parking lots, at your resort, on the golf courses, browsing at the Farmer's Market, inside the stalls at the farmer's market, behind the tables at the farmer's market, everywhere. We are talking pigeons in Central Park. At Secret Falls we saw them in the trees.
The roosters have no concept of crowing in the morning, oh no, they crow all day and all night whenever they feel like crowing. As you drive down the road (with the top down) you will hear several roosters crow as you pass by.
There are conflicting stories about the reason for the prolific number of the chickens. The first one we heard was that the Polynesians brought them to the Island for food and there are no natural predators on Kauai. In the 18th century when mongoose (mongeese?) were brought to the Hawaiian islands to control the rat population in the sugar cane fields, inside the cage that was sent to Kauai there was a mongoose that decided to bite the dockworker so said dockworker tossed the cage into the ocean and the mongoose drowned. No mongoose means more chickens than the other islands.

The other story is when Hurricane Iniki hit Kauai it set free the chickens that people were keeping for eggs and the people could never round them all up and the chickens just took over.

I find the hurricane story less romantic and so I tended to think it is probably the real story, but Moose insists that there are too many chickens for them to have been set loose only 16 years ago. Perhaps it is a combination of the two?

All of these chickens brought many questions. To whom do the chickens belong? If I harm one in a national park am I committing a crime? If I am hungry can I just catch a wild chicken and eat it for supper? Do people collect their eggs? If I catch one will it be tame like Pam's chickens or will it peck me to death in a reenactment of a scene from "The Birds?"
That last one disturbs me a little. This could be really dangerous if it did happen. I suspect the chickens if organized could take control of the Island in a matter of days. Those lobbying for Hawaiian independence may use them as a mercenary force. It could be a horror movie "The Chickens of Kauai - the tourists thought they were cute - muahahahaha!"

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2nd Day in Kauai

Monday, june 16th, I woke-up in Kauai lazily and walked to the Lanai and saw that it was pouring down buckets of rain. Bad, very, very bad. I live in Portland I can handle rain but we had left the top down on the Jeep.

So we rushed out and tried to put the top up, but it was wet and slippery and we had no idea what we were doing. Finally, we got the top up then we proceeded to spend 45 minutes mopping up the 3 inches of rain in the bottom of the jeep with our beach towels. We would soak a towel then ring it out and soak up more.
The picture on the left is what I looked like when it was all over, cuddling a nice dry towel.

Then we drove to Wiamea Canyon and explored the western side of Kauai. If I was disappointed with the level of green-ness before I was devastated at the west side of the island. There is a lot of Brown and red and a little bit of green.

This is a picture of Fort Elisabeth, the ruins of a Russian Fort built in 1816. We found this while looking for a letterbox. I found it so foreign looking, almost how I picture Australia.

We found a little local place to buy lunch. It was very shady looking but we got a box lunch. It had 2 tiny but delicious pieces of fried chicken, fried ham, teryaki beef, little Vienna Sausages, a hash cake and the ubiquitously Hawaiian scoop of rice. I was beginning to wonder where all the fruity goodness I had imagined Hawaiian food to be was. It was all very good (except the hash cake.) Here is a picture of Nicki enjoying it.
There are 2 very distinguishing characteristics about Kauai and one of them is the red dirt. the dirt is everywhere and impossible to get out of your clothes. I have stained socks and shoes from hiking. As were were driving up the canyon we saw this neat stream running through the dirt.

Nicki at the overlook for Wiamea Canyon.

And Nicki looking down the Kalalau Valley. There are 2 ways to get into that valley by boat and 2 days of Hiking. we took a short hike along the ridge line but we forgot to take pictures of the very interesting terrain.
After the Canyon we drove to the end of the road on the west side where we were met with signs like these. The military has a lot of land in Hawaii. We found out later that if we had only driven a little further we would have been at one of the most isolated beaches in Hawaii.
On the way back we stopped to look for another letterbox at Glass Beach. The letterbox was in a fascinating cemetery, it was so interesting that we forgot to go look at the actual beach of glass.
I will do a whole post on the cemetery because it was so neat, but first a word about chickens....

First Day in Kauai

After checking in on Saturday night I looked across the street from the resort and there was an LDS church. That made getting to church the next morning very easy. Church in Hawaii is so nice. There were doors on 3 sides of the church with the breeze blowing and everyone says Aloha.

After church we just went driving to see paradise.

In our red jeep, with the top down

Then we had a romantic dinner and a moonlight walk on the beach
You can see evidence of my cute little nose sunburn that I got that first day
Moose and I, in love, in Paradise

The moon between the palm trees. It was much bigger of course but it didn't translate on the camera.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

June reading list

Prague - by Arthur Phillips

1. Was not about Prague, Prague was vaguely mentioned a half a dozen times.
2. Was hard to put down, very compelling writing.
3. I know think I know much more about Budapest than I ever expected.
4. Had very inappropriate parts that completely snuck up on you, which you would forgive hoping it was an exception only to find even more. I felt like my mind needed washing.
5. I loved the Horvath history, a lot.

I, sadly, cannot reccomend Prague. Maybe we can get a CleanFlicks version?

John Adams - Book on tape. Very good. Unfortunately abridged.

Up Next:
Dead Reckoning
Sister of My Heart

First ImPRESSions

My sister-in-law mercifully warned me about how painful it is as your ears deal with the pressure when you are landing in Hawaii. I was prepared with gum, something I never have or chew, but it didn't help. The pain was so extreme I wished my head would just explode and get it over with. Not only that but I spent the first 3 hours in paradise hearing in a disconcerting muffled manner.
Hawaii was not as green as I expected it to be. This was a crushing blow. I come from the Pacific Northwest, the Flathead Valley and England; I had serious green expectations for Paradise and green. They say that Kauai was is in a draught, I guess that would account for the color and I will forgive them.

Taking Care of Business

Well we are home now. I have spent the morning putting out fires literally and figuratively. I was driving through the neighborhood when I saw smoke coming from a neighbor's yard. I slowed down to see where it was coming from. (We are a little jumpy around here after a house was rendered uninhabitable from an unexplained fire.) I stopped the car and walked toward the house. I still couldn't tell. The smoke was white not like a house fire so I felt a little silly. I had to go into the open back yard of the next house to look over the fence. The yard was full of bark and right next to the house it was burning and flaming and melting a little plastic picnic table. I ran to the door and rang the bell 2 times but the house looked empty so I ran to Ann's house to call the fire department.

As she was talking to the dispatcher it occurred to me that I could probably put out the fire with the hose. It was not dangerous yet. So Jerem helped me get the house out and I sprayed through the fence on the flames. There were a few I couldn't reach and Jerem being much taller was able to put those out.

By the time the firemen arrived the flames were out and they soaked the rest with an extinguisher. They seemed remarkably unconcerned about the cause of the fire but did say it could have been smouldering a long time maybe even since the 4th of July.

I am glad I listened to the spirit on this one.