Wednesday, December 27, 2006

just a peek in

My sister flies in at 8:30 tonight, and up until that moment, I've served up a huge order of domestic chores, errands and last-minute business for myself. Seems my blissful holiday of peace and mellow has been temporarily derailed. Ahh, well, her visit will force me into my continued quest for fun, instead of stewing in the busyness of my own mind.

Little gone on this week. Christmas was a pleasurable day of gifting and a visit with Patrice, who made the most delicious brunchy foods for us; latkes, frittata, heavenly mimosas and fresh berries. Christmas eve, a party at one of my more tolerable co-workers' house. P was sick, so I went alone, and thoroughly enjoyed the company of her geeky friends, all of whom seem to be involved in one LAN game or another; World of Warcrack, Dark Age of Camelot, etc. Backing up farther, on the 23rd, the NRN had its December gathering, with delicious food, much laughter, little knitting and some tarot reading. Funny how tarot finds me, no matter how I neglect it. So nice to read for such intuitive people as the clever ladies of the NRN, like reading for the other people I loved doing divination for; Magus and Clary. But I digress...I've got dogs to bathe, a vacuum to run and groceries to get.

More on knitting and on some knitting resolutions later this week. Pictures will be back, too, as I found my digital camera, hidden under a flurry of papers at my desk.

Friday, December 22, 2006


So the moon and the sun have turned. Huge relief, though my dislike of the season remains. I even went shopping, at the mall, no less. I had a fairly good time, eating sushi, buying things I liked for people I liked and for myself. I ran into Diane from work, and overall, my final blow towards the holiday gift giving was successful. Now I'm looking forward to the new year, with its austerity and cleanliness, with some optimism.

I didn't do much for Yule. Lit some candles. Hoped to pull out of this not-so-happy space I'm in, pretty soon. Burdock and Nan called me, from Dave's Yule party, back East, which cheered me immensely.

Today, I am calm, and rather pleased with myself, having muddled through a bit of de-cluttering the house,(there's much, much more to do)and have been spinning some, too. Spinning. Last night, at Mocha Java, Opal, the Akamai Knitter gave me some beautiful blue and some cafe au lait roving, and I've been playing around with that, and the white corriedale roving, too. Making funky thick and thin yarns, because let's face it, that's all I know how to spin. It is enjoyable, and meditative and a bit calming and the perfect thing for a cool damp evening. I think I'm ready to read a handspinning tutorial, now, as I'm able to sort of isolate what's really hard for me. I'm not even sure I'm doing it right, that self-taught thing rearing its head again.

I haven't blogged in awhile, mostly because so much has gone by, fast and furious. I chose sleep over writing time. I let pass the U2 concert, which was fabulous, the elementary school winter program, equally (okay, I exaggerate) fabulous, and my discovery of an open field with a view of the ocean in which to run my dogs after 5pm. Imagine, an open field in Honolulu, uncluttered by soccer players and other dogs?!

Work has been somewhat enjoyable. My mentor released me, a huge perk, since now I no longer have to fret about her observation dates. I liked her, though, and felt she was sympathetic to my plight. The OCD Maternity Leave co-teacher returns in January. Not a good thing, not a bad thing; again, it's just something to get through.

I am not sleepy in the least. Not that I should be, at 7pm, but usually I'm fatigued. Ahhhhh, vacation! Ahhhh, the turning of the sun!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

just a soldier

Ugh. The holiday season has just grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and given me a good shake, and I am laying limp and useless here under the covers, wishing for a fast forward of just a few days. I know we shouldn't wish our lives away in such a manner, but this season always finds me not in the mood for it.

Am I a soldier in the war on Christmas?

More likely, the war on consumerism, trumped-up expectations and short, short time, combined with my own seasonal affective disorder, which seems to be a factor, even here in sunny Hawaii, or maybe it's just the lack of quality beach time in my life. Relief is coming, but not nearly soon enough.

I heard one of the most hostile conversations today, between a teacher and a custodian, that I've ever heard. Our principal was sitting in the room when it took place, and I'm not sure what surprised me more; that the teacher was talking to the custodian this way, or that the administrator didn't intervene. Maybe, and I hope this is the case, she had a private word with the two concerned, at a later time.

Meanwhile, I am plagued by little knitting, vivid dreams at night, and the sense that I can only be cured by hot baths, long drives and longer naps in the sun.

I go sleep now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the battle continues

I came home this afternoon and found a wee mouse sitting in the middle of the living room. He seemed lifeless, and thinking maybe Cricket had gotten hold of him, I gave him a poke with my toe. He ran behind the hutch. So I set the mousetrap and put it by the hutch. Later I saw him creeping out by the baseboard and I tried to catch him, but he scampered back in. He's not very fast, it's like he's not 100% or something. Hmmmmm. If I can get him in the clear, I might try and scoop him up in the dustpan and toss him in a bag and release him up the hill. Again, not my favorite thing to do, but if I can get to him before he traps himself, I'll just send him packing. I hadn't seen rat bastard (mouse bastard?) in a while and was considering myself lucky, but now, maybe not. But I am maybe winning the cockroach war, as I killed one this morning in the pantry and found a dead one on the deck this afternoon. Okay, maybe not winning; as for every roach you see, there are like 200 you don't see.

Telling Patrice I had roaches, she roared with laughter and reminded me that everyone in Hawaii has roaches. Funny, it used to be such a mark of shame in my family, growing up, having any kind of vermin in the house...

Patrice is so sassy. She called me at 8am this morning to inform me that she'd heard this story and was suggesting that maybe my problem of dissatisfaction with my job could be improved chemically. Oh my...before school, too.

Cricket has an ear infection. Rather, change that to say that Cricket keeps an ear infection. He's getting Zymox and shaking his head, but the Zymox is supposed to be a miracle drug for such a problem. After that runs out, we're switching to a cleaning solution that's some unholy mix of gentian violet, boric acid and rubbing alcohol that is supposed to be the magic bullet. I'm sure, had he been feeling up to par, he'd have finished Slow Mousie off.

Here's a peek at my particular drug of choice, for late afternoon revival.

Monday, December 04, 2006

gathering my strength

Today is a day, according to my pagan-flavored dayplanner, for strengthening one's intuition. Only my intuition is working fine. I've been getting HUGE vibes from my friend Tan, all weekend long. I got in touch with her, finally, to hear that her mother has had a crisis, she'd had a hell week, and her lover's high maintenance-ness was about to push her over the edge. We had a nice long talk, she vented, I listened and lamented that we weren't able to do this in person, but we were both impressed, anew, at how when one of us needs to talk to the other, we just throw it out there, and ZIP! the other calls. It works that way with my friend Yolanda, too; I'll be thinking of her and she'll call me up. It happens too often to call it coincidence. Both Tan and Yolanda are women I'd say are operating along the same witchly lines as me; not good at a daily disciplined practice, nevertheless, we are users (and abusers?) of practical magic.

No, I'm thinking more of anchoring energy tonight, into something more solid and able to sustain me through this darkening season, and through the insane holiday madness that is ripping through my school, as we get ready for the Winter Program, which I'm told, is the biggest fete of the year. Le sigh. Yolanda used to tell me it was madness to do night performances with Kindergarteners, yet here I am, making little red noses and reindeer antlers and taping lines on the stage for them to stand on. Performance anxiety, much?

Brief interlude, while I tended my chicken soup, and had a nice chat with Patrice. Our respective spouses (spice?) are flung about the Pacific right now, so we had the usual laundry list conversation about dogs, our man Cesar Millan, irritating co-workers, the impending U2 concert, and cocktail recipes.

In an unrelated digression, I must say that I am enjoying my new habit of drinking an espresso right after work each day. Driving home over the Pali, feeling utterly spent and defeated by work, I find myself envisioning 2 options. One involves my bed, "All Things Considered" on NPR and reading "Entertainment Weekly" til I doze off, and the other involves firing up the Barista and dripping myself 2oz of the Elixir of Life, which can bring me up to speed for a few more hours to walk the dogs, figure dinner and have an evening. As much as I long for the first option, the second is probably the wiser. It works well, too.

Off to run a bath, and work on this sustaining energy project.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

gadgets and toys

We have a new computer, a modern iMac. An overloaded, expiring old one, combined with a 1-day sale served to tip my gimmick-happy spouse over the edge to bring new tech joy to my life. Since it's new, I'll have to share it with him for a few weeks, til he grows tired of the desktop enslavement, and returns to his laptop. I do not share well, but since I have the only respectably sized desk in the house, I get to house it, and since I'm trading my poor ailing machine in, this one is functionally mine. A marvellously big monitor screen makes me wish I did something more creative with my computer time than play Snood and surf the web, but it's pearls before swine here, all the way.

Speaking of pearls, my Pony Pearl dpn's are housing Rosedale's first sleeve now. I love these needles, they are sharp, smooth, shiny and feel like they knit faster than my bamboo ones. They are a little bit heavy, which lends a feeling of stability to the work. I'm pleased with how the sleeves are coming. My plan is to try and make both sleeves match, as best I can, because the sweater is circus-y enough without having two different sleeves. I'm loving this blue-into-green part of the colorway.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Should I brazenly just write in here as though I didn't completely crash and burn during NaBloPoMo? It feels as though I owe an explanation, especially as so many of those whom I read did really well in this endeavor. I just ran out of steam, of things to say, of time to write. I'm back, and who can say where this is all going? I just got kind of sick of writing and reading myself, reading about how work sucks and how I knit 2 more rows and drank a glass of wine and ate some chocolate, and on and on and on.

This pix doesn't show it, but my poor feet are taking a beating, recently. Two weeks ago, I was walking Cricket on Kailua beach, and I became aware that every few steps, he was placing his big forepaw on the outer edge of my left foot. I'd been encouraging him to walk close in heel position, and he was exacting his revenge at such strictures by giving me a little stomp. It didn't bother me, until it started to bother me. A toe, the second from the pinky toe, to be exact, developed a horrendous bruise, and I had to wear closed shoes for a few days.

A few days later, I was barefoot in the classroom and caught my pinkie toe on a loose carpet thread and wrenched it back. Sickeningly painful when it happened, it still hurts, though only a dull ache, now.

The stubbed toe, the glass cut in the ball of the foot, the stone bruise on the heel from jumping off the wall onto my patio...all hazardous by-products of a life dedicated to wearing the slippah, if shoes at all.

These Surfahs I bought my 2nd day on Oahu, last September. They are my favorites, and I fear their demise. I've gone through others, but I've nursed these along, as they are the perfect silky smooth, flexible rubber, soft, worn thin comfort shoe. I think they cost $3.00 or something at Long's.

But the nails, they need augmentation.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

just peeking in

You may have noticed I've been missing for a couple o' days. Yeah, life again. Those Big Island visitors are such a distraction. Concerts, dinner out, running around, long evenings of amusing conversation, dog walking, knitting, and The Lord of the Rings have served to render me incapable of blogging. Meh. I'll catch up someday.

So much to be thankful for. It's all good, or mostly good, in spite of my own incessant ups and downs.

I'm off to find food and fold laundry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

ice cream, opiate of the people

LA closed her diary. Here's hoping she finds the strength she needs to go through the next phase in her life. I do hope she stays in touch. (hint! LA, drop a comment now and then! )

Today was somewhat improved, by changing the seating arrangement of some of the rugrats, and by just plain telling the sub that "hey, you need to wake up and do something besides grade papers around here!" I realize that I am doing ALL the teaching these days. It's normally okay, I prefer the teaching aspect to the grading aspect of the job, but if there are 2 adults in the room, shouldn't there be some give and take of "on" time? Methinks so.

The big boost was the afternoon's fly-by of Coldstone Creamery. Incredible how ice cream can trigger childish delight and wash the pain away. Downtown Kailua was pretty and walkable and just peaceful today at 3pm, as I bolted from work in a way that surely set a new record. Cheesecake icecream, mixed with fresh raspberries and graham crackers was heavenly for the drive home, and the ensuing trip to get my haircut and catch up my hairdresser's life. This stylist breeds and shows Persian cats and is always, always entertaining. Today she was wearing a stunning outfit of sage green henley shirt and glittery gold sequined vest, which sounds hideous, but somehow, a 60 year old platinum blonde with a deep tan and Jersey accent can pull this off without a hitch. I think she's stylin'. She tipped me off about a new employee in their salon who does reasonably priced brow waxes, and I am down with that!

Looking down at my feet, I realize that I am desperately in need of a pedicure, a real, professional, salon pedicure, in which I pay someone to de-scale my nasty callousy feet. I don't go to the beach often enough, or the sand and salt are contributing to the transformation of my feet to hooves.

I'm no less tired, no less seasonally affected, no less unenthused about my job, but somehow, I've been distracted by the bright promise of a 4 day weekend.

Question of the Day, asked by a co-worker, when I stated that I was not a Christian: "How do you know to do what's right, then?"

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I wish I could afford to quit this job. Because I feel no enthusiasm for teaching at this school at all. Little camaraderie, a program I don't really support, a sub teacher coworker whom I have to think for, a green, hypochondriac ocd teacher coming back in a few weeks with a brand new baby, 27 wild kindergarteners, and a messy bureaucracy above it all. It just feels like way too much trouble for me. I don't enjoy it, and it feels too much like I'm just putting in hours here. I try to figure out what it was that helped me to love and relish my job, all those years ago. I'm thinking it was the freedom to be creative, and the opportunity to work with supportive, friendly people.

Right now, I don't really have those things in any generous amount, and I feel my work situation sucking the life right out of me.

That, and the shortening days are causing me to want to go right to bed.

I hate it when I go depressive...I feel like this weekend, with its tryptophan overdose and out-of-town guests isn't going to provide the rejuvenation I crave, either.

So it's back to sleep for me.

Monday, November 20, 2006

the most fun you can have with your clothes on

Once again we find our intrepid heroine in bed, laptop on knees, barely able to keep her eyes open. Exhausted dogs at her side, slight breeze peeking through, licking at our toes.

I have been working an agility trial all day, building courses, putting up and taking down jump heights, and all of it out in the sun. Ooof. I am barely conscious.

I ran Ella in 2 classes: Novice Jumpers with Weaves (JWW) and Novice Standard (the one with all the obstacles in it)We ran clean and fast and had a great time.

Once again, I am reminded that dog agility is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This enchants me. Aside from the name of the site; Ellwand, which, Tolkien geek that I am, I can't ignore as a twist on my favorite elf. Half-elf, that is. But I want some of these little clothes of leaves and flower petals for my own.

It is just about time for my annual watching of the Lord of the Rings movies, the extended edition filmfest, which usually takes place on Thanksgiving weekend, but which I'm halfway tempted to save for my sister's visit, sometime after Christmas. She was always an enthused participant in these marathons of high adventure and romance. But P is lobbying for it early, and I think my sis will have better things to do in Hawaii than lay around watching the elves and orcs and swords and arrows.

I'm just back from a 4 mile walk on the beach with Cricket. He was so-so, after some ball fetching, he obsessed a bit over harrassing a rather timid golden retriever, chasing her into the water and just being a jackass, so I leashed him up and walked him smartly down the beach, just at the waterline. We had a good pace going on, and my left leg/achilles tendon is in pain now, as a result. He is acting as though he's had no exercise whatsoever, returning home to dash madly through the house (no doubt bragging to Ella that HE got to go to the beach, and all she'll get this weekend is this dumb agility trial) and is now barking heartily at the mailman on our street. I need to find food, and a shower.

I'm heading over to Kailua again, to watch today's agility trial, and then on to a craft fair with Patrice, who rescued a baby shearwater that was floating in the ocean today, and didn't have the strength to fly off. They are fledging right now, and going off to sea, but need a good wind to get going, and this guy was floating in the shallows on a rather dog-filled beach. She's going to take it to a local bird rescuer, who'll oversee its release in a couple of days, when it's been fed up and checked for injuries.

Time for some substantial food and a shower.

Friday, November 17, 2006


As I march through November, this series of posts, found through a link on someone else's blog, have given me much food for thought.

I think it's always something to weigh and consider. Writing about your life (and reading incessantly about others' lives) or living your life? Can you do them both? It's something I've been wondering, and she puts it more articulately than I ever could, getting at thoughts that have danced around on the edge of my own consciousness for months.It's not about NaBloPoMo, which I've begun see as mere homework, but about the whole gestalt of the thing, which for me has been a big focus shift; concern for comments, reading others' pages, following links, making comments, etc. Brings me joy, but causes concern as well, as to where all my time goes.

Still no rat/mouse. Grrrrrr.

soysilk seduction

Another day, another dollar. Another 4 rows on Rosedale. I went to Aloha Knitters tonight, and scored a ball of soy silk, whose soft buttery color and lucious hand managed to enchant me. Loooooove! I'm wondering if such a sweet yarn wouldn't make a nice knitted washcloth? Is it a decadent thing to wash the body with something that drapes so nicely?

I also found that the rat bastard had been out, and had licked the peanut butter off the bait tray of the rat trap. I think he's too small to trigger the heavy rat trap, so I've set a mousetrap tonight. I am gonna catch this guy...

In the "gee, am I an adult now?" department, I finally got around to making reservations for our Thanksgiving dinner out. See our friends from the Big Island are coming in for the weekend, and they want to eat out. I thought they were making reservations, they thought P was making them, and today, P called me up and asked me to make them. He's on a work-related junket. People, you have no idea how hard it is to get dinner reservations one week before Thanksgiving. Well, duhhh, you say. Hey, in my world (oh no, here she goes with that again) people stay home and cook turkeys. I did well, though, getting the reservations at 3660 on the Rise, a rather fancyish restaurant with what seems like a pretty reasonably priced buffet, given that it is a big eating holiday. So yum! And hooray! Just in the nick of time, for a rather early dinner, but hey, if I were cooking, I'd be sitting down at 4 to eat that turkey.

Camera batteries are dead. Otherwise, I'd show you a pic of the heartbreakingly beautiful color combination of Kai's soysilk swatch; a pink and delicate beige. As it is, I'm headed for the horizontal land of Nod myself.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

hot night

It's been so hot, I've had the house closed up and the ac on. So my own little world has become littler. But at least it's cooler. I feel very spoiled in HI with AC, as it doesn't exist in everyone's house. Weird, as coming from the South, from the 1980's on, EVERYONE had AC. Still, when the trades are blowing here, we don't need it. But when it's still and hot and muggy, we use it.

I'm struggling with this 'post every day' thing. Last minute, about trite things, because I'm just showing up at the page. Still, Julia Cameron in her book "The Artist's Way" suggests that showing up is a good start. So I'm showing up.

Still no rat. I'm thinking he's moved on to greener pastures. I'm hoping those pastures aren't under my house, where mayhaps I should be setting all the traps.

I went for a dog walk on the Judd trail this afternoon, after a typically irritating day at work. It was nice to just blow off steam in the deep woods. But man, oh man, the humidity is fierce now! I was bathed in sweat, and the dogs were rather damp just from walking in this miasma of green airborne soup up there. I came home, did not shower (ugh) and drove down Punchbowl to Hiroshi, to meet my friend Patrice for a drink and dinner. I hardly ever see Patrice since I started working full time, and mourn our Wednesday ritual of martini and dinner at our favorite bar. Our bartender of choice is gone, now, too. But his replacement was doing well, and the crispy-skin moi, with local tofu, tatsoi greens and yummy broth with rice was fine, fine, fine. Hiroshi is like an Asian fusion restaurant, and has superb fresh fish and great cheap drinks.

Patrice and I always work each other up into a lather of whining and dissatisfaction about our lives, when we get together. I feel delightfully purged. I'm going in to feed my dogs, eat some chocolate ice cream and off to bed.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

my world

There are days when there are no words. When work is provocative of such a scary ambivalence that I truly wonder if I wouldn't rather be painting faces and walking dogs again for a living. When I come home to find a gorgeous coffee table book shredded by the beast. When there's no rat in the trap.

At times like these, I like to make the Pomegranate Mudpot, my husband's invented drink. He's shivering away in the Midwest right now, but this drink will cool me right down and give me the strength to sweep up the mess, re-set the trap with better bait and go to my latest drug of choice, the Noro Kureyon crack.

2oz vodka
juice of 2 limes
1 oz ginger syrup (you could grate ginger and infuse into a simple sugar syrup if you're lacking)
2oz Pomegranate juice.

Shake over ice. Strain into a chilled glass. Makes 2 generous martinis.

Viva evenings at home!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


A quiet evening at home. I walked the dogs, and am making a salad and then curling up and knitting on Rosedale the rest of the evening. I decided to go with snap traps for the rats. Initially, I didn't want to deal with dead or maimed rats, but when I was talking with Lia, she stressed to me that the rats dehydrate easily and it was important to relocate them quickly once caught, and I realized that I didn't want to set them free in the forest, because of their link to leptosporosis, which I'm neurotic about my dogs picking up anyway, and I didn't want to release them in an urban area. Hawaii is overpopulated with rats, not the rats' fault, but mine are being battled with the same cold resolve I use for fleas and cockroaches.

City Mill, the local-style hardware store I went to had all the answers. An airtight pet food bin, orchid bark, diatomaceous earth for my roach n' flea war, little baskets for the classroom and a juice bar for my wait in line. I love it when it all works out.

Today, I didn't teach. I had a kindergarten teacher meeting in Waikiki. The best lunch I have ever had at a training was served there. It wasn't anything unusual, local style food, but everything was so very fresh. The best poke, (that's raw fish marinated in shoyu and sesame w/ seaweed for you mainlanders) macaroni salad, rice, tofu, incredible steamed green beans, lomi salmon, and amazingly sweet, thin-sliced pineapple. It was just really good, clean-tasting food, and the dessert afterwards just paled in comparison. Sometimes, a meal can be so satisfying that dessert is just overkill.

Home this evening, I walked both dogs, about 2 miles, on leash. Lots of barking, which I'm trying to approach differently, with Cricket. See, Cricket riles himself up when we meet other dogs on the trail. And I'm thinking about Cesar Millan, and his emphasis that dogs feed on our anxiety and on what we put out. And I think when I see another dog coming, I start to think "oh, here he comes, now Cricket's gonna go off" and I communicate this through the leash to him. And Cricket has his little tantrum, and we go on til we see the next dog. So today, I just tried to breathe through the walk, and yes, Cricket threw a little fit, but I just gave him a leash pop and kept walking, not trying to get him settled down before we moved on. I don't know if it made a difference. It made the walk go a hell of a lot faster. Which was good.

I wrote a long email to my friend, the one with whom I've been having the rather messed up relationship, the past few years. We will see how he responds. Or if he responds. Mostly, I said that if we are to continue to say we are friends, then we need to maintain the friendship, and that takes effort and honesty. Otherwise, maybe we shouldn't keep insisting that we feel so much guilt and conflict at not being friends. So. We'll see.

I direct you now over to Lady Kim's blog, to read the most wonderful gift of a poem today. So even if I'm waging war against vermin, and trying to hash out old friendships, and trying to run the barking dog gauntlet, it's a call to put out a more peaceful vibe, wherever we go.

Monday, November 13, 2006

rat in the kitchen, and I'm not talking about the UB40 song...

Okay, last night, during Boozevember, I thought I saw a mouse in the house. I told myself it was just a lizard. But this afternoon, I saw it again, in the kitchen, undisputably a mouse. Unless it was a rat. Oh this is sad. I am pleased about lizards and geckos in the house. I am waging war on Hawaii's ubiquitous insect, the roach, in all its many forms. I have defeated, for the moment, fleas. I have established a relative harmony with wild pigs, mourning doves, bulbuls and mynah birds. But mice? Rats? Nooooooooooo!

I'm waiting for email from my friend Lia, to tip me off as to where to get a "Have a Heart" trap. Because, y'know, as much as I dislike the beasts, I don't have the heart to kill them. Lia is my Buddhist friend, who used to trap the rats in her Diamond Head apartment, and release them up in the deep woods of Palolo Valley.

Not sure I'll hike that far. But I've gotta send these rats a message!

Another Makapuu pic, to cheer myself up.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

the first annual Nuuanu Boozevember report

I kind of consciously blew my straight string of posts last night, when I had friends over and hung out, til 1am, drinking pisco sours and eating insanely delicious food, instead of taking pictures and blogging about it. Meh. Sometimes you gotta live, without the interference of the blogosphere.

I'm back on the horse again.

Still, it WAS fun. There was heavenly tofu salad. There was gao ji and wonton. There was chocolate, and kahlua pig and amazing cake. There were potent and refreshing pisco sours, and chocolate and fig bars. Much jolliness ensued, and there was even a wee bit of knitting going on.

In lieu of photos, which again, we were too busy partying to take, I leave you with another shot of Makapuu, this time looking away from the ocean, back towards the west.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

makapuu redux

I went to Makapuu Flat today, to walk in the sunset. I was struck by how much like fall it even feels like there, with a soft golden light, and chilly winds whipping in off the ocean.

The dogs keep me noticing the small details, things I wouldn't see were I not checking out what they were investigating...

Of course, the big picture is always nice, too!

Friday, November 10, 2006

tired Thursday

Tired. Is Thursday always like that? It's those crazy knitters, and my insistence of watching Tivo'd "Survivor" after I leave them each week. Makes for a late night.

Today was a festival of irritation at work, with a co-worker who just plain nags the kids, a couple of inflammatory discussions about my old favorite topic, the Pledge of Allegiance (and how I could care less that my kindergarteners put their hands on their hearts when they pledge allegiance) punctuated by joy at George Allen's concession of the election in VA, and topped off with a headache. Upon my arrival home from work, I was greeted with a living room full of shredded newspaper and a destroyed candleholder, courtesy of that busy, busy Cricket. We had a disastrous trip to the dog park, where there was so much dog chaos and potential for fights that I left hastily and took a very long, strangely sweaty and satisfying leash walk, releasing my pent-up frustration at irresponsible dog owners and zealous, unthinking pseudo-patriots. Dinner of cold ramen and the pleasure of the Aloha Knitters afterwards. Excedrin and cappucino. Yarn and friends. "Survivor" afterwards.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

a transit

First things, first. Thank you for your health wishes and thoughts for Ella. Her bloodwork came back today, and the vet says it looks great, which is a really good sign for overall health. We'll schedule the lumpectomy, and if it looks to be anything other than a cyst or the suspected fatty tumor, it'll be sent off for biopsy. Poodles, as a breed, tend to get lumps and bumps as they age, but it's good we're looking closely at this. The urine sample came back showing a few struvite crystals, which has always been Ella's case, and not an unusual one. Crystals in urine can lead to incontinence, though not always. They'll do a bladder ultrasound during the surgery for the lump. Meanwhile, she's lively, playful, very alpha over Cricket and the entire household, and seems to be feeling good. We're on the Chinese herbs now, and I'm hopeful about them working. I didn't realize this vet practiced Chinese medicine; she's only begun to do it, on the side, rather recently, had been taking classes, she said, in herbs and acupuncture. I am very grateful she supports my feelings and wishes about not over-vaccinating my dogs, and is willing to send me to another vet who orders the leptosporosis vaccine in single doses. Lepto is a BIG risk for dogs here, it's a parasite that's found in much of our fresh water in the mountains, and since we hike a lot, and since Ella is impossible to keep out of the water, it's a must-do vaccine. Really, these days, I'm only vaccinating for Lepto and kennel cough. If I move back to the mainland with my dogs (and that's not happening anytime soon, don't worry) I'd have to vaccinate for rabies again, but Hawaii is rabies-free.

So again, thank you, heartfelt, for your thoughts about my beloved sweet friend.

So many things have happened today. I have been on quite the rollercoaster. I heard from a very old friend this morning, one whom I had nearly written off, due to the years w/o any communication, which had been preceded by years of mixed messages and mis-communications. He wrote a lengthy e-mail, one to which I want to respond, but I want to choose my words carefully, because he said some things that would have inflamed me, 2 years ago, but now, with time and distance, I merely want to respond to fairly. I think I've been, on some level, working on observing/changing ongoing patterns in my life, and the negative patterns I have ingrained in this friendship (one that's been going on since I was 18) are some I'd love to address. So I sit and think, and engage in that inner dialogue that I find myself having with friends who are too far away in time and space.

At school this morning, I found out, before I walked into the classroom, that one of my students' fathers had committed suicide yesterday, by hanging himself, and that the children had discovered his body. The child is 5 years old, and told me very matter-of-factly that her daddy was gone and wouldn't be living with them anymore. There are all kinds of wheels being put in motion, for grief counseling, social workers, translators (the family doesn't speak much English) and support, but nothing removes the reeling shock of it all, huge for me, and unimaginably more so for that family. I've always believed that school is a kind of safe harbor for some children, and so it is the case for this bright girl, who threw herself into her schoolwork today, checking her classmates' folders in, and practicing handwriting with a vengeance, in spite of our urgent reminders that "if you need to talk, or play or cry or call home, you can, just tell me". Time later for the realization, the release of grief, the understanding of it all. I cannot even imagine the pain and stress this family is going through right now.

Mercury made its transit across the face of the sun today. A couple of astronomers brought telescopes to school today, and we got to see the incredible view for ourselves. It was beautiful and amazing, the great orange ball of the sun, with the tiny round black dot that is Mercury moving across its face. I felt very small, and unimportant, and the unimportance was a huge relief, in the face of the days earlier events and revelations. They say that transits of Mercury occur at the midpoint of the Mercury retrograde period and because eclipses tend to mark crisis points that instigate change, we may notice a shift in events and focus during that time. Like a shift in the balance of power in Washington? Like the voice of a person from my past that I cannot just write off because we've had misunderstandings? Like a new life, for better or for worse, for a family in crisis?

So I look up at the sky and consider things carefully.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

the day off

My precious day off, fading away. I did the laundry of pretty much every linen in the house, cleaned the kitchen, took Ella to the vet for her big senior dog consultation, and tried to recycle, with mixed results; the dumpsters were too full to recycle all my newspapers. I ran into Chris at the polling place, and since she was en route to the LYS, I decided to tag along with her. I was reasonably good, buying some sportweight superwash wool, in a camoflage colorway that was most appealing, and a second set of addis #2, so I can begin my socks on 2 circs experiment. No crazy, over-the-top purchases, nothing too extravagant.

I was struck, at the LYS, how I don't really want for yarn right now. I liked what I got, but I'm feeling the yarn diet feeling.

Little else to report here today. I did a wee bit of spinning, and am getting geared up to vacuum the house, since it is hideously dusty, from all the dog trackage in and out.

Ella's fine, more or less. We're treating her increasing incontinence with some chinese herbs recommended by the vet, who is pretty holistic. She has a lump on her side, which may or may not be a fatty tumor; I have to schedule a lumpectomy and biopsy for that, and she needs a single dose leptosporosis immunization, requiring a trip to another vet, one who orders these vaccines in single doses. I don't want to vaccinate her in cocktail doses of various vaccines combined. Adult dogs don't really suffer from things like parvo, distemper and corona virus, and I don't want to give her vaccinations she doesn't need. All in all, she came out with a pretty clean bill of health, for an 8 year old dog.

Food today...lets just say a woman who eats french bread toasted with Nutella spread on it for a midmorning snack isn't really on a diet. Sooooooo delicous.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

clip n' snip

Presenting the results of my Sunday's toil with clippers, shampoo, brushes and combs:

Two clean dogs with short hair! I always kept Ella in more coat, when I lived in VA. But it's hot here, and since we are fighting fleas at every turn, I figure the shorter, the better. Cricket is approaching that adolescent age when poodles' coats turn into solid felted mats, so his coat had to go, too. As it was, the clippers overheated during his cut, due in part, to the sheer density of his curls! Acornbud, in answer to your comment, I gave Cricket several breaks during our grooming session. He takes his own breaks during baths, leaping, suds-covered off the grooming table. I clip the body, then let him play awhile, then do his face, feet and tail, then more play, then finally, the legs, which are the hardest part to do. Both dogs looked rather fat, til I took the coats down, and now they seem fairly well-proportioned.

Did I mention I'm from a family of hairdressers?

More sock knitting, but nothing beyond the leg. Trekking yardage is tremendous, I don't have to worry about running out of yarn in a pair of socks. I'll probably do these about 7" high before I start the heel.

Dinner tonight was borscht; the beet soup from Moosewood's original cookbook. Yum! But honestly, it's too hot to eat soup, and I was too greedy to let it cool for the cold soup option. Now I'm horribly sweaty.

No school tomorrow, due to the election. Needless to say, I'm thrilled, though I've crammed the day with "gotta do" errands - the kind of things I can't accomplish during the school day. Visits to the bank, vet, Costco, library, car wash, Home Depot, etc. Some laundry, too. I'm off Friday, too, so I'm hoping that a flurry of activity tomorrow will result in some very laid-back time on Friday.

Monday, November 06, 2006

steamy skies

Friday night's sunset was a spectacular one here.
During the huge rains of last week, Nuuanu got quite cool, and we put a blanket on the bed. This weekend, however, the trade winds left us, and it became hideously hot and still and humid. We spend the weekend in a stupor, and finally decided to run the ac this evening, after the denial finally wore off. I've never quite gotten any real activity off the ground this weekend, beyond a couple of dog walks. I made half-hearted stabs at cleaning, cooking (mac and cheese and broccoli) and did successfully bathe and clip both dogs, which was an enormous triumph, considering that I swept up all the hair, too. Two big bagfuls of silver and black curly poodle hair, which I offered to Acornbud to spin up, but she wisely declined, so it's off to the trash with the dog fur.

There has been knitting going on, not on Rosedale (too hot to touch Kureyon) but on the Trekking sock, done in plain stockinette, better to show off the stripes and pretty colors. I originally thought these to be watery colors, but now they remind me more of wintery colors, the bits of white looking like flurries of snow, the blues the color of shadows on snow. I've dubbed them the Winter Sky socks. This is my lunch hour knitting project, small enough to take to school, and mindless to boot.

When the going gets hot, the hot start reminiscing about snow, I guess.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Thank goddess for the weekend. That's all I can say. Work was a mixed pain and pleasure this week, as my co-teacher went out (finally!)on her maternity leave, and the long term sub came in. I like the sub, but she is very dependant on me for lesson ideas and plans and sometimes, it's just easier for me to do all the teaching and for her to do the 1:1 remedial stuff, the paperwork and such. I remember now why I took a break from having student teachers; it was all that having to share your thinking about why you were doing everything, and all the time it took to discuss/review/plan people's lessons. So much nicer to be in the classroom alone...except on those days when you really need to go to the bathroom...

A chance look in my full-length bathroom mirror revealed that I have become quite the chunk in the past few months. My shorts are tight, and a visit to Mr. Digital Scale confirmed the unhappy suspicion. I have gained about 8 lbs in um...what, maybe 6 months? Yeesh! I say 6 months, because the alternative, to say I've gained it all since I went back to teaching, is unbearable, even though I know the work scene is a a key player in the game. Being in school means I'm short on time to hike, thus dog exercise is relegated to driving them to the park to frolic. Rainy weather, general busyness on the weekends and the feeling that I'm always playing catch up keeps me off the beaches, and the teacher's lounge at this school is consistently offering up junk food, delectable baked goods and treats in every form, possibly to counter the negativity that flows through the place to begin with. I'm a big one to self medicate with food, and that, added to my new favorite food of katsu curry rice on a regular basis, has plumped me up. I'm not a vain woman, but I can't be buying new clothes here.

So it's time for a reality check. And maybe a check on what I put in my mouth around here. And how I spend my scanty spare time. Which reminds me. My gym membership even expired, in the flurry that fall has become. But something's got to change, here. Because my clothes aren't fitting so well, anymore.

I lost quite a bit of weight, 3 years ago, on the South Beach Diet, which didn't starve me, though after awhile, it bored me. The biggest change it made for me was somehow, in the blood sugar chemistry way, diminish the taste I had for sweets, particularly over-sweetened desserty things and candy. Doing without refined sugars and white flour for awhile can really change what tastes good to you. Of course that's all gone now, as I scarf up cookies, pumpkin pie, halloween candy and katsu curry noodles with a vengeance.

But I don't wanna go on SBD again, not right now. So I think I'm gonna play around with portion control (because, y'know, I do eat like a horse - only not grass) and trying to get more exercise, and see what that gets me. Of coure Thanksgiving is coming, and I'm being realistic about that, and the freakin' Christmas season 'round the corner. But something's got to give. Because my clothes aren't fitting so well anymore.


Will I ever make time for the writing in my life?

Hmmm....I'm in bed, after a rather enjoyable day at work, 2 parent-teacher conferences, too much bad tv, and a dog walk. Obviously, this cursory post is just to satisfy the goal of posting; can't blow it 3 days into the month, now, can I?

Friday, November 03, 2006

because i'm tired

you get little blips from my day, instead of any real formed entry.

The drive to work, at the crack of dawn, listening to music from the Spiral Dance.("A year of passion, a year of plenty, a year of rebirth; this year may we renew the earth") Having virtually no traffic, which got me to work earlier than I've ever shown up for work before, which I actually found to be a pleasing thing. Don't expect it to happen too often.

The discovery of a new shortcut/backroad in Honolulu that will make my new (hopefully not for long) commute on the Likelike a faster one.

A rollicking frolic at the dog park, which was an absolute sea of mud, and the ensuing hosing down of both dogs afterwards.

The usual Thursday evening at Mocha Java, with the Aloha Knitters, where there was much aloha and delight. I made a trade with
Opal for the beginnings of a Jayne hat. I love it when yarn I've lost the love for finds a new home! I've been wanting to pay my own homage to Jayne's fashion sense and mother love for a long time, now!

Now, I'm far too tired to continue this rambling.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

a stunning drive

I drove through torrential rains over the Pali to get to work this morning. I've never seen so many waterfalls on the Ko'olaus before. Usually we just have the one pretty steady one, in rainy weather. But today, they were everywhere, and the effect was really stunning. It made it a little scary to drive, as I kept fighting the urge to gape at the surrounding beauty. It rained most of the morning in Kailua, and at 1pm, my principal called me and told me the Pali Highway had been closed, due to water and mudslides, and that I needed to go home right then, in case other roads were closed. So I headed out, via the Likelike freeway, which was an uneventful drive, once I got through Kaneohe's bad traffic.

Tomorrow looks to be worse, as the Pali will still be closed, which means all my other routes to work will be via the H-1 freeway, thus adding an hour to my usually painless commute. Arrrrgh. P said that he'd heard that today was supposed to be the calm day between yesterday's and tomorrow's storms. Yikes.

After encountering a moment of someone else's bad driving and road rage, today, and weathering an earlier skirmish of negativity from the teacher who called my professionalism into question earlier this year, I've decided that my life could use a little charm and shielding...I'm charging sea salt, sage and lavendar to sprinkle in the classroom tomorrow to bless my workplace. I'll also do something to bless my car (and hopefully remove the smell of wet dog!) as well. Might be time to add AAA's benevolent blessing, on top of it all!

Off to do the practical work of the kitchen witch.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I'm utterly exhausted. A day of Halloween has taken it out of me. Curry ramen and a beer and some knitting on the mindless Trekking sock are my Samhain observance today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

make hay while the sun shines

Here's the newest flower in our yard. I've no idea what it is called, but I'm in love with its huge waxy blooms.

Today, I immersed myself in Pumpkin Math, at Kindergarten, and was pleased to find myself less stressed than usual considering the impending Huge Freakin' Orgy of Sugar that tomorrow promises to deliver. Maybe it's kind of a 'make hay while the sun shines' philosophy, ie, teach math while the little buggers have some attention span? Ahhhh, October, going out with a bang! We weighed, measured the circumference, estimated and counted the number of seeds, counted the lines, and in general, analyzed the dickens out of 3 pumpkins in the classroom. I am reminded, fondly, of a child (child of a Salvadorean Pentecostal Evangelical family) who came into my classroom a few years back, who announced to me that "Teacher, my mother told me to tell you that in our house, we worship God, not pumpkins!"

Alas, no pumpkin pix for you today. Wouldn't want to steal their souls by photographing them.

No knitting today, save for a few cursory stitches on my Trekking socks, living at school, for lunch hour amusement only. No illusions about Socktoberfest here on this blog, no siree!! I'm feeling a little compulsion to play with yarn, though not to knit, so I might go roll some skeins into balls in anticipation of the future blinding progress on Rosedale.

Monday, October 30, 2006

ribbed, for your pleasure

The corrugated ribbing, she's done! I have to admit, this colorway is a bit of a circus. I am a woman who normally dresses in blacks, greys, greens or browns. I like being invisible in a crowd, and I'm afraid this sweater will blow my cover. But the Kureyon is fun to knit, and it is impossible to be in a funk with such sunny colors on the needles. The ribbing, worked using 2 different balls of yarn, was not hard, once I learned to keep everything untangled. It made my wrists hurt, though, and I could only do a couple of rows at a sitting.

Today, I hiked the ledge trail at St Louis Heights' Wailae Ridge Recreation area. Very nice, high above Manoa valley, with clouds blowing in and all around. The trail is mostly shaded by casurina trees, with many twists and turns, and lovely places to sit and dream along the way. Alas, it was such a nice day that all of Honolulu was out hiking it today, so it wasn't the most peaceful hike. A kid gave Cricket a spam musubi, which he liked very much. Hey, who can blame him?

Later, I went in to school and worked off my to-do list, and was actually successful, completing everything on it except for the odious task of weeding out the kids' folders, which, really, is better done with them there to help me.

I am cheered by the encouragement from readers that I may be able to actually do this post-a-day thing. Right now, I've no idea what I'll talk about for 30 days straight, but hopefully it'll break beyond the exhaustive to-do list that some of my entries in the days of yore have sounded like.

I am off to bed. It's coming up on hell week at Kindergarten, what with Halloween and all. You know, for a pagan, I really don't like Halloween that much. I love Samhain, with its darkness, the idea of the thinned veil between the material and spiritual world, the focus on communion with the ancestral spirits, the earth's slide into winter, the understanding that Death and Life are inextricably intertwined. I think, as a teacher, who always spends Halloween throwing a party, managing children's costumes, eating way too much sugar and being a disciplinarian, all the while, wearing a costume and carving a jack-o-lantern, I'm too fried to actually celebrate Samhain properly. Fortunately, I tend to regard it as a season, rather than one day, and generally try to do it justice sometime within the 10 day span in which it occurs.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

can i do it?

Can I post once a day for the entire month of November? I have actually participated, though not finished NaNoWriMo, and written nothing I was very proud of, though in the process, I wrote more fiction than I've ever done on my own speed before. That fic shall remain closeted and cherished, in my warchest for the time being. But blogging, well, I don't think I've ever posted daily in my journal, for 30 days straight. Still, I regard and celebrate Samhain as the Witchly New Year, and as such, I see November as the time for all good resolutions to play themselves out. So this may fly.

I had set this post up to show you my progress on the corrugated ribbing of Rosedale. But Blogger's determined to keep me from posting my photos this afternoon, so I leave the gaudy Kureyon circus for a later day. After all, there's 30 of them, coming up. And Rosedale is a big project that I hope to have wrapped up by New Year's. The mundane New Year, not the witches' New Year. Heh. That would be Tuesday, right?

Dog obedience is kicking my ass. That's all I'll say. I make some progress (better recalls in life-or-death situations) and backslide (crooked sits in the ring, earning my instructor's ranty ire), thus contributing to my pattern of bipolar dog training. ugh. Cricket remains bipolar, though an enthusiastic participant in the training effort. I keep hearing "you've got a nice working poodle, now all you have to do is keep him that way". Nothing like pressure, eh? What's a working poodle? I think it's one that's being trained to compete in performance rather than conformation venues, but I'm not sure. I don't have a conformation type dog, and since I have no interest in grooming, and since both my dogs are now de-sexed (hooray for neutering!) it's the working ring for me. Today was good-ish, in that he didn't have a tantrum in class, worked willingly for me, and simply doesn't hold a heel position w/o food or enticements. So it's not engrained. Our test is coming up in 2 weeks. In my mind, we're already repeating the class, especially as there are some STUNNING dogs in the class and we are merely mediocre at this point. He is a wreck at 8 months, full of yips and lunges at any opportunity to play with classmates. I only have to look at the now-steady off-leash-obedient Ella and trust that the process will work for the crazy Cricket, as well. I don't know...

So stay tuned. I'll try to write.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Rosedale's beginnings and saving my sanity

Enjoying a gorgeous Saturday, and dealing with my horrible, chaotic mess of school supplies and teaching materials, purging, organizing and trying to figure out what should go to school, w/o loading down the already messy classroom. I finished my Parent-Teacher conferences, and was very pleased to entertain many parental complaints about how Kindergarten is working out for their children. These conferences would have slain me, had I been a new teacher, but in my current position, that of very experienced teacher, stepping into a program I have my own doubts and questions about, I was okay. I listened to their concerns, brought up a few of my own and will make some changes in the classroom and schedule to meet the needs of these kids. But damn, last week was intense, made worse by the occasional foray into insomnia-land. I haven't been trying very hard to sleep, and so suddenly, being sleep-deprived sneaked up on me. I think I'll sleep better, next week. I feel okay about work, these days, surprisingly. There are some people I need to avoid, and I'm seriously considering divorcing the teacher's lounge for a few weeks, just to clear my head and listen to something besides the incessant nattering of one or two particular teachers, whose negativity threatens my sanity. I've also made a few friends at work, one of whom reminded me that I needed to remember that I had this whole other life going on, and of the importance of not obsessing over work. So I'll take her advice, and enjoy the other side of my days on the other side of the Pali.

There's been some knitting going on. Pink Clapotette is waiting to be finished, with just a few more rounds to go. I finished another washcloth, and am trying to decide whether to keep it or give it to Marie, who is in need of a cheering up. Perhaps I should go with the karmic goodness of continuing to give away some of my FO's, yeah?

And I cast on for Rosedale in this candy colorway. It's Kureyon #131, stashed away for awhile. This color reminds me of the sunset, but also Hawaii in general, it's so pinky-orangy-happy-happy-happy. Rosedale's corrugated ribbing is a challenge. I started doing it with my knitsters on Thursday night, and their good nature and amusing commentary helped buoy my spirits immensely. I worked some more on it today, and am actually making progress. I have to plow through 3 inches of this knitting k2p1 ribbing with 2 different balls of yarn (you knit with one ball and purl with the other) by my drop-dead date of November 3, which is when the Aloha Knitters are planning their night of cocktailing and frolic. I can't be knitting complicated stuff while consuming alcohol, so I've gotta be on the stockinette part of the sweater by then. Intarsia looks easy enough, so I think I can manage through the martinis on that, anyway. No pix of my progress, as I've done so little. I'll get a shot of it after I make some more headway on the ribbing. I'm kinda pleased with myself, knitting from stash, and actually stopped myself from ordering yarn the other day.

Flying back from DC, the other week, the airline offered me, in lieu of a bad movie, 3 back-to-back episodes of the medical drama "House". I watched it, and have become addicted. I came home, looked for it on tv, and it's not on, til the new season starts on October 31. I'm itchy and fretting to take this quirky show on, and marvel that I didn't really watch it last year. Is Hugh Laurie my new media boyfriend? I watch relatively little tv, so I don't begrudge myself the occasional obsession with a show.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

shake, rattle and roll

Sunday morning, I woke up at 5am with a reprise of my brutal headache of last week. I was due on the tracking field at 7, but a hard rain was pouring, and so I got up, drank a half-liter of water and took some Excedrin and went back to bed. At 6am, I turned off my cell phone alarm, and announced my intent to ditch tracking and sleep in. "mmmffff" came from P's side of the bed, and the tracking dog in question, Ella, lodged between us in the bed, flipped over on her back and sighed. Around 7am, the radio came on, and P and I were just waking up, mumbling about how much nothing we planned to do that day. Suddenly, the house started to shake, and continued for what seemed like an excessively long time for it to be a big truck on the street below. My first thought was "BOULDER!" Nuuanu, our neighborhood, is known to be kind of geologically unstable; I live on a street which is best known as the street that the boulder rolled onto, several years ago, killing a resident in her bed. We love our quiet forested abode, but "BOULDER!" is never far from our minds, especially in hard rainstorms.

All this thinking must've taken about 5 seconds, because then P and I established that oh yeah, it's an earthquake, and uh, duh, we should go stand in a doorway. So we got up, stood in the office and bedroom doorways, while the house shook, and the windows rattled, and everything felt like it was going to break apart. Ella tucked her tail and ran cowering into the living room, and Cricket had a barking fit, running wildly around. We tried to calm him down, while sweating the possibility of a boulder, or the old part of the house (the one we just moved heaven and earth to make level, last year) cracking off and falling down the hill. Shaking stopped. "Wow. Man. An earthquake. Dude." Hey, our 15 years in California gave us cool heads in such times...

Breathing easy, I left the doorway, noted that the power was out, and then the shaking started again. This time it seemed like it was harder, and I waited for it to get worse. I found my doorway again, wondered aloud if I shouldn't be in the newer part of the house, and P muttered something unintelligible about the damn rock walls around us. It felt as if the shaking was coming from under our feet. It stopped, and we sighed. Cricket calmed down, and we tried to find a radio station for information. No dice. After some milling around, I called my dad on my cell phone, back in Virginia. He reported that we'd had a 6.5 magnitude quake and some mudslides had happened.

We spent about an hour, waiting for boulders and mud to come down on us, in the pouring rain, then got bored and decided to conserve some water. So we filled up all our water bottles, and pots and pans. Then we decided that we'd better use the hot water before it cooled down. Our water heater is electric. So we took a hot bath, and made tea, and later, oatmeal with skillet toast and butter. Hooray for the gas stove!

The rest of the day, a rainy, dark, gray day, was marked by frequent trips up to the car to listen to breaking news on the radio, some house cleaning and reading and the eating of all our possibly perishable food, like sliced turkey, brie, salad greens, etc. We felt it was a shame to waste our ice supply, so we made some mango margaritas on the rocks, with some mango puree, and limes we had hanging around. Our liquor cabinet is healthy enough to sustain such a disaster, it would seem. I dusted some shelves and took the dogs for a walk. P walked downtown to see if he could buy some batteries for our flashlights. No dice, there. Fortunately, a pagan household is rarely without a healthy supply of candles, so we didn't curse the darkness, too much. I knitted on Pink Clapotette til eyestrain got to be too much. More brie, red grapes, steamed green beans and the rest of the salad.

I went to bed with Diana Gabaldon's "Voyager", and read til around 10pm. Slept well in the amazing quiet darkness, and was awakened at some unknown time by all our power coming on, including the damn streetlight that always shines in my eyes in the bedroom.

It turns out, Hawaii got through this with minimal damage. The epicenter of the quake was somewheres north of the Big Island, and overall, we did really well. We weren't as prepared, with batteries and such, as we probably should have been, but we were okay for food and the like. It was the biggest earthquake I've ever felt, though the Loma Prieta quake, in the Bay Area, in 1988, was bigger and did more damage, but I was living in Davis at the time, and we were minimally affected.

Some recent pix...
Our gardenia is blooming furiously. This bloom is a bit past its prime, but smells heavenly.

And because Cricket is featured disproportionately in this blog, I leave you with a pix of Ella, the tracking dog, the wonder dog, the perfect dog, coming down the steps to the house. Not pictured are the lava rock walls and scary steep hill. But there are 31 steps that lead down to our house, so you can get a feel for how steep the pitch of the property is.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

consumption and resolution and indecision, oh my!

I had just about finished my recap of my trip back East, when, due to my careless bouncing around on the internets scaring up fun links, I lost the whole damn post. Now all you get is a bunch of images. Enjoy!

My friend Lucy's car broke down on the GW Parkway. Fortunately, we had a great view to enjoy for the 2 hours we waited for the AAA tow truck!

I've recently finished some things (Airy Scarf, a felted purse) abandoned some things (freakin' Purple Koigu socks, which neither fit, nor please me) and made major progress on Pink Clapotette.

I bought some things:

Trekking XXL inspired by the October skies.
1/2 lb of Corriedale Roving and a top whorl spindle.
Some autumnal Spirit Trail Fiberworks sock yarn, because, well, in spite of the fact that I suck at socks, this was all I could afford of their gorgeous yarns.

Now I really am stuck in stash, because stash is too big for me to store from the ever-marauding Cricket,
who does like to steal and re-purpose yarn, and because there is simply no more money for yarny stuff.

I have a plan to have a go at socks again, complete with experimentation with 2 circular needles and some fresh new patterns. I'm also dithering about whether to knit Rosedale, bpt or
Lady Eleanor next. I've got yarns in stash for all three, in the form of Kureyon, Silk Garden and Paton's Classic Merino, so all are possible. Now's your chance to weigh in and influence me!

Now I must go and listen to some Richard Buckner and see about some dinner.

Monday, October 09, 2006

be it ever so humble...

Something about flying nonstop Newark-Honolulu today has taken the starch right out of me, and left me unable to breathe through my nose. I'm dosing on Airborne and enjoying the clean sheets of my own at-home bed. More later.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

a cursory update... all I'm good for, right now. I'm in the Olde Country, that is, Southwestern Virginia, enjoying spectacular fall weather, the last gasp of Indian Summer, really. My time here is too short; punctuated by intense visits with my nears and dears, and interspersed with extreme downtime at my parents' rural place, knitting and watching reruns on tv with my dad, while eating my mom's home cooking and the last gasp of garden produce. Blue skies, the smell of fresh-cut grass and a hazy lull cover everything. mmmmmmmmm....aaaahhhhhh....

Today, I'm dashing out of my sis' place in Roanoke, going to Target (because I've gone over a year w/o shopping at Target!!) and an astonishing bakery and tea house. Tonight, my mom's homemade lasagne and coconut cake. Tomorrow, more knitting and hanging out with the 'rents. Saturday, a long crawl up the Shenandoah Valley, to the Virginia Fall Fiber Festival, to admire all the wooly goodness, pet the sheepies, and possibly, just possibly, to find the perfect drop spindle and fleecy raw material for such a fleecy raw beginner as myself. Now I wasn't gonna touch the handspinning realm, but all this rurality, plus the reports from acornbud on her spinning adventures has made me brave. So wee shall see.

Meanwhile, it's all good. I am actually even looking forward, a wee bit, to returning to my life in Hawaii, which will happen with a big leap on Sunday morning. More on the other side...

Friday, September 15, 2006

myths and mopes

I skipped knit night last night, ostensibly to write sub plans (I have a writing workshop training today) which were easily finished, so then tuned into my longtime addiction, "Survivor". It's the controversial "divide 'em by ethnicity" season, and I gotta say, the white folk So-called hot women cozying up to the buff boy. Everybody big, conformatively attractive, hardly noticing their invisible backpack of white privelege they're carrying around. The assumption of success. Too alpha, for want of a better word.

My personal jury's out on whether it was a good idea to divide a cast along these lines, but I do think it gets people talking, and maybe more talking about ethnicity as it relates to justice, prejudice and privelege is what needs to get done. Certainly Justice and Privelege are timely topics in our society today. So if it keeps the topic open and the lines of communication flowing, let's go with it. I think, in our current national Terror Over Terrorism, we have neglected to keep chipping away at the lines that divide us. So we leave it to a tv show to bring it up again, though admittedly, they are doing it in the most heinous fashion, and only for ratings.

Can ya tell I'm lonely for Ann and Coko, and missing our 2 years of grad school camaraderie, in which no stone of white guilt and social analysis was left unturned?

In other news, I had a long chat with Myke, my handyman who inadvertently triggered my current permit ordeal, with his fence-building and flag moving. He has moved off to the mainland, now, but has been supportive of us, in the ensuing firestorm of bureaucratic hassle. I like Myke, and wish him well, though I am well and truly finished with home improvement, after this trial by fire, that I fear may never be resolved. I am definitely finished with attempts to be aimiable with my neighbor, who filed the complaint, though I imagine she didn't consider the possible results of her complaint, either. It's interesting; when I spoke with her about being in a hassle with the city, weeks ago, she responded "I'm just a widow, no one cares for me, I have to look out for myself." She fights with the neighbors out of some bizarre fear that we could possibly be taking advantage of her. Reya referred to the urban permitting process as a weird form of power struggling, and I have to agree. I am rapidly leaving the place inside where I personalize this experience, however, and am starting to view the process as a long slog that may or may not resolve itself, but one in which I have no power. In seeing it as such, however, its power to wreck me with insomnia and weeping and gnashing of teeth diminishes, as well.

When the going gets weird, the weird break out the red wine and nail polish, I say.

I tried on the Purple Koigu sock last night and must say, am not that happy with my effort. More than 2/3 way done with sock #1, running low on ball #1, the love has fled the building. Will I be cursed to rip and re-knit? Like Prometheus, rolling that rock up the hill each day, or was he the guy who had his liver eaten daily by buzzards? Or both? Again, I am not one of the nation's great sock knitters. Maybe it's time to toss in the towel, and claim no knitting progress whatsoever for the past month? meh.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

the pedicure is mightier than the sword

After a long and very trying day at the permits office, I am home, moving through the bureaucratic bad mood by scrubbing my shower, and cleaning out the fridge. I'll then proceed to revive my practice of facing my demons with a bitchin' pedicure. I do think this rip-roaring red is just the thing, don't you?

Funny...I don't have a permit. Seems the permits take up to a month to get issued. Good thing the work's already been done, eh? Sheeeee-it. There was some issue with whether one of my fences crosses lines of easement on my own property, and the city doesn't seem to have any real straight answer for me on that, it "requires further research". After the research, they'll draw up a maintenance agreement, giving the city permission to come onto my land to work on water lines, etc. Duh...of course they have my permission. But it's frustrating that they don't know themselves where the lines of easement are; that it's not readily available on public record.

I did get a fair amount of knitting done in the office, though. I am cheered by that, though I'm coming to the conclusion that people who find sock knitting to be a rewarding pursuit are obviously gifted in ways that I am not. Progress on a first sock is not necessarily a cheering thing, as one has the second sock looming ahead.


I took the dogs to Makapuu Flats today for a sunset stroll and swim. In the picture, it's the beach and the whole flat area from the bottom of the picture back toward Koko Head Crater. In reality, it's the whole area between Sandy's surfing beach (too rough and scary for me) and the Makapuu lighthouse area. The beach is very sheltered, a little cove, really, and usually rather deserted. A big culvert lies half-buried in the sand at the tideline. I amused myself by sending both dogs racing through and out into the lagoon. The picture makes the area look much lusher and greener than it really is, this time of year, but I like the aerial view. In reality, now the grass is tall and bleached to a very silvery color. Mesquite and agave plants dot the landscape and it's a bit hilly, with dusty gravel paths running hither and thither. Today we were completely alone out in all that space, an unusual phenomenon, to be so isolated on this busy, buzzing island.

The school district meeting in Waikiki ended up being rather enjoyable, in spite of all my whining yesterday. Amusing company, smart presenters, and sessions on data analysis, which always pleases me. For a woman who doesn't like numbers, I rather enjoy looking at testing data, particularly when it's broken down and dissected, six ways to Sunday. My last session of the day ended early for us non-test-coordinators, and I got to go home at 2:30, ensuring a traffic-free commute! Hence the inspiration to go to the other side of the city for some beach time. There were BIG waves coming over the rocks today. I was walking around on some tidepools, but the dogs were going out on the rocks and I was afraid they'd get washed off and into the current, so I took them inland and then over to the beach, instead.

I spent the evening working on the paperwork to correct our fencing violations with the city, for tomorrow's planned ordeal at the city offices. I'm told the application for a retroactive permit and subsequent paying of fines will take me all damn day, but a tiny corner of my mind keeps hoping that I'll get in and get out with a minimum of bureaucracy. There's always the knitting to keep me company, if it doesn't go well.

Monday, September 11, 2006

my cross to bear

A week zipped by, as we were held hostage by the fabulous cook guest, and the holy terror toddler. I had fun, but let me tell you, this past Friday was a Happy Day, being able to come in from work and have my house back. To once again enter my kitchen, to lay in blissful silence on the sofa, watching mindless television, to keep all bedroom doors open in the house, without fear of dogs destroying children's stuffy dogs and King David (the fiendish 3 year old) did not mix so well, though the exposure was good on both sides. Ella was predatory, slipping around, thieving toys, eating pasta right out of the child's mouth, and expressing her distress at the invader by employing her age-old trick of peeing on her bed. Cricket's roughhousing and rampaging through the house whipped the boy up into a fever pitch, causing Cricket himself to spend a few evenings enjoying the solitude of our bedroom, with a beef rib, while the child was doted on.

It's weird when your party animal friends have children. I'm sure they think it's weird when their party animal friends acquire more animals and pick up strange habits like knitting.

In King David's wake, I realize that my friend Dan and I have parted ways in the cooking department. He has become a better, more enthusiastic, inspired cook, and P and I have remained the same sort of ordinary, survival cooks we always were. We have a few staples, we can make a fair number of things from scratch, but we are not above a bit of Taco Bell and Top Ramen to get us through the week. Ah, well, I do have my standbys, and tonight I made Tandoori chicken on the grill, salad and some yummy pesto potato salad.

The Crown of Thorns plant is blooming: I've always liked its waxy looking leaves and the flowers look rather like lipstick to me. Of course since moving to Hawaii, I hardly know lipstick anymore, relying on a bit of sunburn to make me look colorful, rather than my old stash of Clinique, Cargo and Aveda cosmetics. Still, if I were a glamourous woman, working in the business world, this matte-finish pinky red flower is the color of lipstick I would wear.

Working...I've developed a complete case of dread that starts up around 5pm each Sunday evening, and every morning around 6am, regarding my job. I like the students. I am just sick of feeling like a fish out of water at this school.

Last week, we had a field trip, and kids were strongly urged to wear the school shirts (and buy them if they didn't own them already) and close-toed shoes to go to a play. I am not a kid, and in light of the 85 degree heat, chose to wear a skirt, tank top and some open toed sandals. I caught it from a co-teacher, both about the shoes and later in the day, about my lack of ownership of the school shirt. Baaaahhhhh! Not a real hassle, just a cool "no closed toe shoes?" immediately upon my arrival in the classroom, and later in the day, a t-shirt order form was given to me. As a teacher I would always urge my students to wear sneakers on field trips, too. But as a teacher, I generally wore what I pleased. I realize this may come off as hypocritical to some, but hey, I'm an adult, and generally choose to dress in a way that's practical and comfortable. I DID notice that another teacher opted to wear platform shoes, displaying a stunning pedicure, and so I felt vindicated.

At the theater, it was pointed out that if the place caught on fire, those who were wearing sneakers could make a hasty escape. I guess I'd stay to burn, along with the fashionable other teacher and the odd parent chaperones and nonconformist 3rd graders...

Now this high-schoolishness and chuffing about my job is due to quit any minute now, and I do need to qualify it with the unequivocal statement that there are people I've found at work whom I truly enjoy and respect. They are just not the people I spend most of my days with. I am not necessarily a thin-skinned person, and I assure you I defended my choice of footwear as well as that black tank top with my typical sharp wit, but the damage is done. It remains no lovefest for me in my employment life. I seek my joy in the students, now, and in plying my craft, but I fear the lack of joy here.

Luckily, there's Life After Contract Hour, and it remains enjoyable. I have been self-medicating with the beach, Lanikai, to be specific, and snorkeling, and with grilling and my patio, and the almost frantic anticipation of my visit to Virginia in 3 weeks. P is out of town again, gone off to the Pacific Northwest, and the dogs and I are holding down the fort for a few days.

Tomorrow, in lieu of my teaching day, I have a meeting in Waikiki, which is not as shiny as one might expect, given that it's all about testing and scores and protocols. I'm going to be there with people who have the power to evaluate me, so I can't even knit, even though it's a 7-hour meeting. Still, Purple Koigu is going in my bag, because I can't resist the chance to enjoy the temptation.

The day after tomorrow, I go to City Hall to pay our fencing fees and hopefully, with the Universe's blessing, put this Bad Neighbor issue to rest once and for all. I'm taking a personal day to take care of this, and so won't see actual school until Wednesday, which is a short day. So I really have little to complain about, in the greater scheme of things.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

eating and drinking through September

September already. I am still wondering what happened to June, which flew by in a whirlwind. It feels like fall here, but maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part. Still, the hard rain in the night, the yellow grass on Diamond Head and Punchbowl craters and the blue blue skies all shout "autumn!!" to me.

We are buried under houseguests this week, as our old housemate and friend from waaaay back, Dan, is here, with wife and 3 year old son. I'm glad to see them, but find myself wishing for peace, as well. The constant interaction, the vigilance over the toddler, the need to play host and entertain are wearing me down. To compensate for the grueling part, I must mention that Dan is an outstanding cook, and we've eaten like fat hobbits since he's arrived, feasting on grilled aku, steamed crab, and a whole host of other gourmet delights. I've supplemented with cocopuffs from Liliha bakery and my newly-perfected smoothie recipe. So no one's getting thin in our household. Not this week, anyway.

Little knitting has been done. The heel of Purple Koigu Take Two is being formed. A few more rows of the Sophie bag have been knitted. I think I'm moving slowly on that one because I am trying to decide how to embellish it. But I do need it for my trip to the Olde Country, coming up at the end of the month, so I better get a move on!

My job may change at work, it turns out. They are thinking of buying out my contract (that of staff developer and resource teacher) and converting me to a Kindergarten teacher. No problem, says I, putting my new flexible-whatever attitude into practice. I mutter the mantra "my job does not define who I am" and remember that no matter what I end up doing this year, the reality is, I'll be on the chopping block come the end of the school year anyway. So my job, my real job, is to enjoy myself and work hard, in a non-attached (in the best Buddhist sense) way.

Monday, August 28, 2006

weekend retrospective

Here's what the knitted, ripped, re-knitted, re-ripped and final version of Purple Koigu sock did this past Friday eve.

Yup. I had my customary Friday night gin martini, while knitting and watching old episodes of "The Wire" on tv. Something about knitting, drinking alcohol and watching drug-dealing tv doesn't seem right, does it? Hmmmm...anyway, k3-p3 ribbing isn't too complicated, so I'm managing to make up for all that ripping. I rarely rip things that leave me ambivalent. Oftimes, I just suck it up and knit on. But Koigu cries out to be loved, adored, savored. So frogging it over and over was part of the equation. I'm using my own pattern, more or less now. Yikes. I like ribbed socks. I like purples and blues. I like the #2 needles WAY better than #1's. My wrists and hands thank me.

After the martini came the lentil soup, from Deborah Madison's "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone". Longtime readers know how I love this cookbook beyond all others. I think Deborah Madison rocks the veggie world. Clean simple flavors, everything from scratch, and generally interesting reading.

Beyond that, I am in a work-induced funk today, not due to work itself, but by the fact that I have too much to do, and houseguests coming from LA on Friday. I am not ready to entertain 2 people with toddler in my messy abode right now!!

Off to do some trail running to work off my frustrations. Cricket will appreciate it anyway!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

stash monkey

I cannot get up out of bed this morning. I made the mistake of turning on NPR just as the Ellen Kushner program "Sound and Spirit" was coming on. Now normally, I enjoy this particular program as a background to my other activities. But her theme this week is music inspired by Lord of the Rings - the books, not the movies. So I, Tolkien geek that I am, must hear every second of this show. Can't take a shower. Can't get more coffee. Can't move...must visit Middle Earth one more time. Middle Earth does not invade my thoughts often, these days, though on occasions, hiking the Judd trail, I'm struck by how it could could be Lothlorien, especially in certain lights...

I visited Michelle, of my knit ladies, yesterday, out on the North Shore. The woman lives in Paradise, I tell you. I thought Nuuanu was Paradise, but I'd not calculated the great forest of banana and avocadoes and the seeming 20 steps to the pretty, tranquil beach that figure into her environs. We drank the promised pisco sour, complete with frothy eggwhite on top, and I am sad? proud? to say that I got quite buzzed on just the one, though I guess it was a rather large one. Speaking of rather large, she gave me a wee peek of her yarn stash, and I was duly impressed, and now realize that just because my own stash is creeping into another dresser, it is not a large one, after all.

I think, among other things, today calls for a stash inventory, and a cold, hard look at some of my WIPS, and whether or not they'll be finished. I'm going to frog the Cathay tank, and a couple of other things that have sat on the needles for a well over 2 years now. Then, to line up the things I do, honestly want to complete: Kiri, the Airy Scarf, the handspun pink Clapotis...the purple socks and the felted bag to be aren't worrying me as UFO's yet, they're still too new. But some of these other things have been hanging around for no good reason.

So I'm off to the frog pond, well, as soon as I can leave Middle Earth, anyway.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

how soon they grow up

Baby Cricket

has now become quite a bit bigger. He's housebroken, he's been to Agility, Tracking and will be starting Obedience in a few weeks, he walks somewhat nicely on the leash. He knows the all-important command "Off!" and obeys it most of the time.

He is growing up, as you can see!

Happy Birthday to Giday Going Walkabout, our crazy Cricket.

crawling up onto dry land.

I am better. I decided to just laugh my way through my day, enjoy the students and not take these oh-so-stern-and serious teachers seriously, when it comes to correcting/nagging me. I can serve the students, do my job, enjoy my days and appreciate the instruction I like and admire and just wade on through the rest. It isn't worth it to get up in arms about someone correcting my penmanship. I'm 46 years old, for gods' sake. I've taught dozens of children to read and write, even if I do make my 5's and my M's funny. Move on, anal retentive types!

At the risk of sounding manic-depressive, I am better. I am much, much better. Mercury is headed toward directness, slowly but surely, and I have an Endangered Species Dark Chocolate (chimpanzee) bar. Yum. I have a plane ticket to Washington, DC for a week in October. I have the first season of "Weeds" on dvd. I finished hemming my new blue linen skirt, which has taken me all summer to sew. I have paid my rather large library fine to the Liliha Public Library, and I did some marginally successful training with Cricket this evening. The wool purse is growing, and the purple sock is being knitted, a row at a time on my lunch hours.

That Bits of Knits Chris pushed me over the edge and into a big yarn sale at WEBS online store, where I succumbed to a whole bunch of Noro Kureyon in a rather wild color. This woman is an enabler, and a dangerous one at that! Yikes. I have a little idea that's calling out to me in a soft voice, and I figured I might as well indulge it. Nothing like a depressive funk to provoke self-medication with candy-colored Kureyon, eh? Stay tuned.

The city inspector visited us, and inspected our fence and informed us of our fine, which should be around $60, for work without a permit. This is less than we feared it'd be, so we're slightly mollified.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

weirded out

This is a pix taken by a friend of mine on Maui, up in the hill country near where he lives, in Kula. It is very beautiful up there, reminding me of CA's Napa Valley, or my own Virginia foothills to the Blueridge.

I wasn't going to whine overmuch about work anymore. But today, 2 incidents happened within an hour of each other that so boggled my mind that I had to vent a little wee bit. I've been assessing students for a teacher the past couple o' days, doing a 1:1 interview, testing them in math. I love this sort of thing, and have done a lot of it, in past jobs. I was taking detailed notes on what the kids knew and could do, on an assessment sheet, and the teacher I was working for came up, and out of the blue started correcting the capitalization of my notes. I had assumed the notes were sort of "for teacher eyes only" and so I had taken some of them in incomplete sentences, and hadn't capitalized perfectly. So she's standing over my shoulder fixing my lowercase "d" into a "D" and suggesting that I be more consise and brief in my notetaking, that the assessments were taking too long. Apparently 28 kids in 2 days is too slow. It is not the ONLY thing I do in this class these days. I am also teaching. It just floored me. I honestly couldn't think of anything sassy to say.

This is the same teacher who commented that my curled up posture at my desk (behind the bookshelf) didn't look very professional; what if a parent came by and saw me with my legs propped up against the desk? Mind you, this is at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon; our campus isn't exactly crawling with parents out looking for evidence of professionalism. the past week, I've been called on my handwriting, my posture at the desk, my notetaking, the speed at which I assess children and my punctuation. These are all the sorts of things these teachers hound their students about; work speed, posture, handwriting, proper use of capitals... I wonder how many more little offenses I can commit here? The bizarreness of it all is that it's all coming from peers, not anyone in a position to assess me. As far as I know, with admin, I'm in okay shape.

My reaction to this nonsense has been to laugh it off and to just say "I was taught to do it this way" or "you might want this information eventually" or the very blunt "28 kids in two days is a lot of kids for one person to assess." But it does grind me down, because I've never been hounded like this; not in my teaching life, anyway. It's all sort of adding up to that stinking cloud of negativity that's festering away, right now. I could analyze it, but don't really want to do so in this public forum.

Now, campers, this sloppy writer is going to bed.