Monday, June 29, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

My life isn't simple, but Mary over at Owlhaven posted this today and I thought I'd play along. Actually, my life is simplER right now because I only have two children. The girls are all at Bible camp.

For Today…

Outside my window… neat and newly-mown lawn and a vast cornfield waving in the breeze

I am thinking… that Sunshine is finally a boy and not a baby. I took the boys for a bike ride/run on the bike trail and Sunshine ran for over half a mile. And then he ran some more. Afterwards, we went to the park and I was so moved by his maturity. I showed him how to climb into the baby swing by himself and he did it. Then he remembered how and did it again later. He also was pushing Banana Boy on the merry-go-round and with a few verbal instructions from my position over on the bench, he was able to jump on. It was so cute!

I am watching… the boys play together (as they have no one else but each other today)

I am thankful for… my husband’s job, my job and the many other ways God meets our financial needs (totally copied and pasted that one from Mary. I'm not thankful for this enough!)

From the kitchen… frozen pizza rolls (total junk food!), organic yogurt and green grapes and later today, spaghetti and meatballs

I am wearing… favorite tan capris and a salmon-colored t-shirt

I am reading... McGurk mysteries by E.W. Hildick (a favorite from my childhood that the girls just discovered at the library)

I am creating… a letter to send to RoseBud and Daisy at camp

I am looking forward to… picking up Pepper tomorrow and hearing all about her first year (by herself) at camp

A picture for today

---photo by Rose Bud ---

If you would like to play, too, go to Simple Woman’s Daybook and leave a link.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hawaii: It's still Thursday!

Hopefully, this will be the LAST Thursday post. If you're just joining in, go here to begin in the morning. Otherwise, you will be mightily confused.

So, we left the PCC. Now we drive down again through the middle of the island. You can't actually follow the coast all the way back to Honolulu as there is a military spot partway around and You. Can't. Go. There.

Just past Laie in some little town (just get the book!) our book talked about shrimp trucks. Mmm! Shrimp trucks!

We tried Romy's. Mr. GT and Rose Bud, not being shrimp fans, were persuaded to try Pani Popo. Basically, it's a big white dinner roll swimming in coconut custard. Or something. They loved it.
The rest of us opted for shrimp. Nonny and I got some yummy, spicy stuff. The kids wanted plain old boiled shrimp. No problem. Plain shrimp we have.

When our number was called, I went up to the window to pick up our order and the little lady showed me the shrimp before closing up the box.

Oh, my goodness! One look and I knew there would be cries of protest. I carried the boxes back to the table and with a flourish whipped open the plain shrimp. All four kids screamed (Mr. GT, too!)

Here is Banana Boy with his new friend--- I mean his dinner.
Here's the whole family.
They made me take off all the heads. Then they made me take off the legs, too--wimps.

Nonny and I thoroughly enjoyed our spicy shrimp (actually the kids did too, little vultures!)


Can you hear me now?
This was a snazzy sunsetty spot along the North Shore. The kids had fun climbing down the rocks and looking for crabs.

Pineapple Fields Forever. These belong to the Dole Plantation. 11,000 acres of pineapples. I took this cruising 55 miles and hour down the highway with my trusty Canon PowerShot A520. Pretty good, huh?


After we got back to the motel, Nonny took the little kids to the pool, but Rose Bud desperately wanted to swim in the ocean some more, so Mr & Mrs GT took her down to the beach. It was beautiful to swim in the ocean in the dark. There was actually almost a full moon and the hotels on the beach were all lit up, so we could see pretty well. Mr. GT stood on the beach and watched us.

Moon over Waikiki.

Yay! Thursday is done and it's late! Good night!

Hawaii: Thursday--Polynesian Cultural Center

We arrived up at the Polynesian Cultural Center sometime after 11. The island is just not that big. We had stopped at two different parks even.

The PCC doesn't open until noon, so we looked for a place to eat. Our guidebook, Oahu Revealed (which I can't recommend ENOUGH, in spite of the following story) directed us to, um, some Chinese place. I'm too lazy to go look up the name now, but it was their top recommendation for [the city of] Laie. Anyway, it merits mention only because of the Cold Ginger Chicken. Don't do it.

Everything was really very good and reasonable. Most of us got the lunch plate which came with two main dish choices and an appetizer type thing. I got some shrimp thing and Mr. GT got some ... thing, but we both ordered the Cold Ginger Chicken. Sounds harmless enough, no?

I happened to glance into the kitchen while we waited for our food to see the elderly chef deftly chopping something into pieces with an enormous cleaver. E. Nor. Mous. I'm thinking, "Lucky guy. Nice knife."

Then the food arrived. Yeah. Cold Ginger Chicken is just that. Cold boiled chicken leg. Pasty, clammy chicken leg. Pale, soggy skin-on chicken leg. CUT IN PIECES! I don't like to see my marrow, thank you! Have you ever looked at the cross-section of a chicken leg?

Don't.

Now a whole chicken leg would have been manageable. One can get the meat off of a chicken leg. It's not so hard. Unless you cut it cross-wise into 1/2" pieces.

I have to say, the Ginger part was really, really good. It was cold, fresh (maybe steamed) ginger mixed with something green and bright, like a little relish on top of your cold. clammy. pasty. soggy. skin-on chicken leg.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is like a theme park of Polynesian culture. You can read the website to see what it is like.

Here is a very cute video of Nonny learning to hula dance. She's quite good!

video


Banana Boy and Daisy took ukelele lessons, we all tasted poi (pleh. Mr. GT liked it). All the kids fished with bread dough. They were enormously frustrated that the minnows wouldn't take the hook but only nibbled off the dough. Rose Bud got quite good at holding the dough juuuuuuust above the water so that all the minnows would swarm around and at the last second she'd jerk it out so they couldn't take her dough. She's a clever one, that Rose Bud.

Hey, look! Pepper came too! Here she is getting a tattoo on her leg.
Everyone's tattoos. Nonny has an L on her ankle for Grandpa Low.

Here's a funny story. When we arrived at the tattoo station, the equipment was out, but no one was there. Nonny picked up the brayer, used to spread the black tempera paint on the rubber tattoo stamp and said, "Here kids, you just do it like this!"

Uh, no. Always get tattooed by a professional!

Boys do a Tongan dance. Wiggle those knees, Mr. GT!

Hangin' loose with Mr. Figi.

Rose Bud made friends with these VERY funny Samoan guys. (did you remember that the next season of Survivor takes place in Samoa?????) They tried to tell us that you should NEVER eat a coconut out of the ocean; it's poisonous. All the kids and Nonny bought that. We made Rose Bud pose with them so she'd always remember she met guys who had Survivor in their land. They made her hold these props.

THIS is how it's done! One of the highlights of our visit to the PCC was watching the Samoan culture demo. We learned how to make coconut milk (I told you!), how to start a fire, how to say all sorts of funny things in Japanese (you'll have to go yourself--you really just had to be there), and we watched this guy shimmy about 50 feet UP a coconut palm. Yikes! The wind was blowing and that tree was SWAYING! Pepper & Daisy found it very funny that they suggested he was going to jump to the next tree. The MC said, "Are you ready? Are you ready?! ARE YOU READY! Are you CRAZY?????????" He didn't jump. He also has a tricky little climbing secret. You'll have to visit to find it out.


This is a picture of (are you ready?) Banana Boy!
BB and Mr. GT learn to make fire.

Rose Bud, still obsessed with the coconut theme, made her way to the how-to-open-a-coconut hut. Again, it was unstaffed at the moment, but that didn't stop RB.

She found a coconut in a basket under the hut and set to work husking it. When Michael, the coconut guy, finally arrived, he looked at her with a startled look. RB ignored him. She was sweating away at the coconut. He asked where she'd gotten it and she replied that it had been in the basket. Sounding slightly alarmed, he said it might be that was an old one. Old, schmold. RB didn't care.

He finally convinced her to let him show her the proper was to husk on on a machete kind of thing. Here they are.
After getting the husk off, he demonstrated how to crack the shell open: Look for the face, then whap the little bugger smartly over the head, right on his crack. Ta Da! Coconut in half!

Only, Michael was right. This was a bad coconut and if you find one in the ocean, you will definitely know if it is good to eat or not. This one was all mush (think cream of wheat) inside and smelled BAD! Rose Bud was a little disappointed.

Here is where her wayward coconut possibly came from. Banana Boy has his Maori face on.

Do we look melted? By this time (3pm) we were and we found out later that June 4 was a record-setting heat day: 91 degrees shattered the old record of 90 in 1997.

Still more adventure coming.... (we still have to get back to the hotel, you know!)

Hawaii: Thursday--Gone Coconuts!

We stopped at another park further up the coast. This one had a nutty theme.

Isn't this pretty?
We were nosing around in the driftwood and found some coconuts. They were starting to grow. You can see the little shoot coming out the top of Banana Boy's if you look closely. The kids were THRILLED to find real coconuts!

Of course, Rose Bud set right to work smashing hers open on a length of rebar she found poking out of a piece of cement.

It was fascinating to see the way a coconut is put together. A "real" coconut is not what you find in the store. In the wild it has a husk around it. Rose Bud needed the help of Mr. GT to get the husk off.
Pull, Rose Bud! Pull, Mr. GT!
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Once she got the husk off, she cracked the coconut shell against the rebar. It didn't take much and she had made a hole. The juice (this is not the milk, we learned later) was pouring out all over. The funky little chunk inside is from the part that was growing.

Naturally, the kids wanted to eat it and I vetoed that immediately. You can't eat a coconut that washed up on shore! You can't eat a coconut that has been growing!


Um, apparently you can. Nonny got hold of it and, being Nonny, smashed the poor coconut onto the cement, then washed the pieces off and took a bite. The kids watched her anxiously. When she hadn't convulsed and died after 25 seconds, they were convinced to try it too. Daisy was suspicious, but then Mrs. GT tried some and all fears were lost. It was really good!

Next on the docket was to climb a coconut palm. Rose Bud, as a small thing, used to CRY pitifully when I watched Survivor. One taste of it at seven years old and she was hooked. Unfortunately, her mean mother declared it too risque and profane for a seven year old. Maybe when she turned twelve. So she cried. Pitifully. "What if it's not still ON when I am twelve???"

Thankfully, at the crack of twelve, a new Survivor season began and Rose Bud was right there with it. She hasn't missed an episode since.

Anyway, her new hope is that Survivor will still be on when she is 18 or 19 or 21 or however old you need to be to be on it. And I have no doubt she will win.

In preparation, here she is climbing a coconut palm.
She was fairly way-up-there.

Of course, all the monkeys had to follow suit.


More to come.....

Hawaii: Thursday--Around the Island

Thursday morning we set out at the crack of dawn (my friend, Dawn, always says, "Don't say 'Crack of Dawn.'" Anyway...) with two main objectives: to see the island of Oahu and to visit the Polynesian Cultural Center.

We begin with the tour of Oahu. We could've driven all around the perimeter of the island, but had read that it was beautiful to drive through the mountains.

I said, THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS. Here we go. This is the H-3 tunnel.

And out the other side. Breathtaking!

Riding in the car is just as boring in Hawaii. This boring vehicle is our rental minivan.

Ah, a chance to get out and do fun things. First we pose in front of Chinaman's Hat.

Isn't this a pretty park? I guess (according to Uncle Jack who knows these trivial bits) many scenes from "Lost" were filmed near here. If I had to be lost, this is a good place.Posted by Picasa
After the first day, the girls gave up looking for shells (there are none, at least not that we could find), so they refocused on glass. They accumulated quite a nice collection of polished bits of broken glass. They also accumulated quite a collection of not-so-polished (read: sharp) bits of glass. We made them throw them back. A LOT of broken glass washes up on the shores of Hawaii. Wear water shoes.
You can see Rose Bud doesn't keep her shoes on. My rule is, if you choose not to wear shoes in a dangerous area (ie: the glass-ridden shores of Hawaii, the yard after a re-roofing, an e-coli infested manure pit) then you rescind your right to whine about any cuts on your feet or infection therein. Hence, all small children get to keep their shoes ON.

Looky! Mrs. GT came on this vacation, too!


to be continued...

Super Secret Wednesday Adventure

Mr. GT had to work late tonight, so after supper I announced it was time for our Super, Secret Wednesday Adventure. I shushed everyone into the car amidst cries of "What are we doing? Where are we going? Will I have to walk? (this from RoseBud who has a sprained ankle) and Where are we going?!"

If I told you, it wouldn't be a secret! Kids!

Oh, boy! Climbing the tower! This is a great surprise!

Cheese!

Hi, Mom!

Hi, Mom!

Hi, Mom. Rose Bud chose to wait in the car and read Foxtrot books since it's hard to do steps on crutches.

Fun with a crazy bubbler.

It shoots way out onto the sidewalk.

It's hard to drink this way.

This is the most fun drink I ever had!

And then we had ICE CREAM!!!!