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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Can Take it With You

          There is so much to do before we go back home.  I'll spare you my list this time.  There are also so many things I want to take back with us to Phoenix, including macadamia brittle, coconut syrup, taro mochi, Maui Mango tea, strawberry-guava jam, Li hing cherries, artwork and, of course, souvenirs.  Although I may have to buy another suitcase to take all of this with us, there are some things more precious, that I wish we could simply pack in our luggage.

          I wish I could take the breeze  back to Phoenix.  It blows all our papers around and knocks the cereal boxes off the top of the fridge each time we open the front door (creating a strong cross wind), but I love the feel of it as I sleep on the sofabed (in the living room).  I often wake up in the middle of the night reminded of our remarkable circumstances by this breeze and the lights of the city right outside our window.    The breeze reminds me of the ocean that surrounds us even when I don't see it.

That's what the view looks like at night when I'm not wearing my contact lenses

          I want to take back the spirit of aloha.  A sense that "it's all good" or at least will be.  The love the people have for their culture and the island.  The optimism of the vacationer who left their worries back home to spend some time in paradise.  I believe Nicki will be our ambassador of aloha when we get back.  Always eager to make friends and share her experiences, she embodies aloha and will take the lead in sharing our love with friends and our appreciation to those who have kept us in their thoughts and those who have contacted us.  These daily reminders that there is aloha at home as well, makes it easier to leave. 

          I want to take the family coziness back with us.  When we return, we'll probably relish all the

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'll Miss You, Honolulu

          Having been in Hawaii for nearly 4 months now, I can hardly believe it is almost over. While my Hawaiian activity list is near and dear to my heart, I think I'll remember and miss the truly local experiences we've had in Honolulu. I'll miss the library, with its shushing librarian and old stacks. A place so familiar that it now feels like an extension of our apartment. I'll remember the trick-or-treating in our neighborhood away from home with families that may look a little different from our neighbors in Phoenix, but have the same desire to share a holiday and "talk story" with the newcomers. I'll remember the trapped lady I helped rescue from her 15th floor apartment who reminded me that living in a city has its charms, least of which is the fact that there are always people around and ready to help. I'll miss the local general store that serves the best shave ice in town. 

With our many trips there, we now recognize the tourists who are confused by the menu and we chuckle when their ordering slows the line. And I'll miss the park, with its rundown rec center that is the heart of this community, the place where my kids learned hula and ceramics and, most importantly, made friends.As our trip comes to an end, I am reminded of all the fun we had on our vacation, but I'll cherish the moments we spent living in our home away from home.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition: 
November's theme - Living like locals


Saturday, November 20, 2010

One in a Million

          Contrary to what you may think, it's not all fun and games 24/7 here in Hawaii.  Well, at least not for Steve -- he has to work.  We are here as part of Steve's sabbatical at University of Hawaii. This is a way for him to collaborate with others in his field in addition to all the research he continues from ASU.   His work can be fun too, though.   This week, he hosted a public outreach event for anyone in Honolulu interested in space.   The usual educational lecture was replaced with a fun-filled game show format based on the popular show  Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.   Steve's  version, Who Wants To Be A One-In-A-Million-aire, explored how likely it is for life to evolve in other solar systems in our galaxy.

         In order to to see how the scientific community is working on answering the question, What are the odds of intelligent life and civilization in our galaxy?,  Steve led us through each variable in the Drake equation,

N = R^{\ast} \times f_p \times n_e \times f_{\ell} \times f_i \times f_c \times L \!

Each contestant had the opportunity to chime in on a specific variable.  For each, a question was

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My List

          I love to make lists.  It's the only way I can organize all the things I need to get done.  The lead up to our trip to Hawaii was list making heaven for me.  I had a list of what to pack of course, what to do to get the house ready, a list to prepare us for homeschooling and a wish list of all the cool things I wanted to do and see while we were here.  Take a look.  There's more on the back.

          It may not look like much, but it has been the driving force for all of our activities here in Hawaii. The culmination of hours of research in guidebooks, on tripadvisor.com and through personal recommendations.   If Steve asks what I want to do over the weekend, I always refer him to the list.  I can't be expected to remember what I want to do.  After all, I made a list for a reason.

          Some people, I've realized, don't document their thoughts the way I do (for instance, the server who takes your order without writing anything down).   I wonder how they can get on with life without having a list of action items.  Their minds must be full of thoughts they need to remember that could be easily cleared away with a pencil and paper.  I think Joseph  might be one of them.  In homeschooling, one of the biggest issues I've had with Joseph is in math.  When I  assign him problems, I always remind him to show his work.  When I watch him work, I can see what's coming.  He often looks off into space and I can tell he's calculating a problem  in his head that would be much easier done on paper.   I know that when I check his work, there will be answers, some right and some wrong, but without showing his work, there will be no guide as to where he might need help.   Joseph will probably not be a list maker, but I still have hope, because I know it will make his life a lot easier.

          While lists make my life easier by streamlining my thoughts and leaving some space in my brain for some other ideas, they also offer me a way to reflect on what I have done.  I sometimes keep old (usually completed) lists for years just because it reminds me of a specific time in my life.  After all, a

Monday, November 8, 2010


       We have been trying to take advantage of our time on Oahu to get to visit and know as much of Hawaii as possible.  But after our whirlwind island hop to Maui, we spent a low-key week at home in Honolulu.  The week started off with a celebration of one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.   We had a great time trick-or-treating in the Kaimuki neighborhood that is adjacent to Waikiki.  It was a lot like our neighborhood in Phoenix.  Families hung out on their front porches handing out treats, including fresh cotton candy and popcorn, to everyone's delight.  The costumes were your general assortment of ghouls, princesses and movie characters, except for Alex.

Here's Nicki as Alice from Alice in Wonderland:

...... and here's Alex:

         "What's that?", you ask.  While Alex insisted on wearing just a paper plate mask, we insisted on a little more (if someone is going to give you candy, you should put a little effort into what you wear,