Saturday, November 29, 2008

k-brow: red flowers and the post-turkey letdown

What are these flowers? There's a whole hedge of them growing at my school. I love their little waxy blossoms.

I have a sneakin' feeling I should be somewhere doing something fun, but instead I'm here in the living room, watching what seems to be a marathon of "Entourage" and going through bills, junk mail and catalogues. Which wouldn't be a chore if I did it more often, but since most of this stuff is from October, I'm pretty much saving my own life, now. This show, which I do not really watch, is amusing in the "this has nothing to do with my life" sort of way.

I planned to go to work today, and spend the entire day there, but instead, got sidetracked by the Farmer's Market, where I found good deals on local mizuna greens, string beans, romaine, papaya, jabon (like a pink pomelo - giant citrus fruit) and sweet potatoes. Essentially the greens and vegies for my week of dinner and lunches. I've been really slammed by the raised prices at the grocery store, these days, and am making a more concentrated effort to eat from the markets at Diamond Head and Chinatown.

Thanksgiving was a non-event, the high point of which was Acornbud's surprise delivery of the most amazing apple-cranberry crisp. We ate it still warm, with ice cream, and it actually kept me restrained at the dessert cart later at dinner at 3660. P finished the rest of it off for breakfast on Friday morning. Yum! Ms. Bud is a wicked good cook. We went out to 3660 on the Rise, a schmancy restaurant in Kaimuki, which has become something of an annual Thanksgiving custom for us, here. They have a great buffet, and we celebrated by dressing up, having a cocktail and having a leisurely dinner. I swear, the same crowd was there this year as were the past 2 years, which does not surprise me. It is one of my favorite Hawaiian customs, this going out for Thanksgiving, which works well, since we don't have family here. Thing is, I LIKE the Thanksgiving meal, but don't like having to cook so much, so many dishes all at once. I'm a little sad now, about having no dressing and pumpkin pie for breakfast these days, but I will cook a turkey at Christmas for my sister's arrival, so we'll have that stuff, then.

We are having a rainy weekend here, throwing a wrench in my plan to clip both dogs into their winter-mud-season-skinned-alive looks. I got as far as bathing them, last night, and today was greeted by the downpour at the Farmer's Market, so I just cancelled my grooming. I love having dogs who don't shed, but clipping them every 6 weeks is a chore, and an expensive thing to farm out to a groomer. $60 - $90 per dog, and the uncertainty of having strangers handle them. I have occasionally sprung to have Ella groomed, but spent the day worrying about her while she was at the groomer's, and I just imagine that Cricket would wreak havoc at a grooming parlor, in a sensational way.

My great-aunt Eva died last week, in West Virginia. She was 97, and my grandmother's baby sister, a sweet, spirited old lady. My mom told me that she'd (Eva, that is, not my mom) had an amazing dream, about a week before she passed, in which she and her husband, long dead, had been running around up and down hills and in the woods. She said they'd been about 17 in the dream, and were laughing and having a great time. A couple of weeks before that, she'd called my aunt and had her come over to help her write her own obituary up for the paper. She was ready to go, to whatever lies ahead, which for her, I think, was a reunion with her true love, and her family.

I'm calling the Samhain season officially over, with this wee new moon, and Eva's graceful departure for the summerlands. I'm thinking though, about leaving up an ancestor's altar, though, this coming year. I read an interesting article, on Witchvox, a week or so ago, that discussed the way we do our daily spiritual practice,and how we activate our energy. It talked about invoking local nature spirits, our ancestral spirits, as well as whatever deities we might have an affinity for.

Maybe you came here for knitting? It's a little cheating on my "All UFO All the Time" game, by knitting a sock out of the adorably neapolitan Trekking 126, and some grinding away on sleeve #1 of Must Have. Which I intended to finish this weekend, but the sock was a distraction. But cute. I did finish sewing up Minimalist, and it's getting a fair amount of wear at work. I will post pics soon, I promise. I also finished a scarf, the chunky blue and blue and blue one of yarn that DisKnit made me buy last year at Crafty Bastards. Yeah, yeah, I know I need to take pics. Bad knitblogger.

Tomorrow, we are going to see the play "The Frost-Nixon Debates" at Manoa. It will be with some friends whom are both fun and trying at the same time. I am stoked and up for the challenge, which will provide fodder and fuel for the days to come.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

k-brow: I need a waffle

Sometimes you need a special breakfast. I'm working hard, these days to not run out to a restaurant everytime I need to eat. Hard work, when one lives in a city that does offer a lot of good food options.

It starts with the batter. I am lazy and use a mix. But it is organic and contains only natural, whole food ingredients. I might as well make it myself.

Not all kitchen appliances are beautiful. This, a gift from P's father, from back in the 1980's, when we lived in a little apartment in Davis,CA. Still going strong.

Acornbud tipped me off about the presence of Maui strawberries in the grocery store last week.

Voila! The perfect Sunday breakfast!

What waffle feast would be complete without a beggar, asking to lick the syrupy plate?

Friday, November 14, 2008

k-brow: in between days

They say that this time between Samhain and Yule is the "time between time", and that the veil that separates the world of the dead and the living hasn't quite thickened fully. It's supposed to be a quiet time, and in other places, I guess, it's the long march into Serious Winter. Here in the islands, it is fitting that it would be voggy now, adding to the feeling of quiet and "not quite rightness" that seems to be hanging over. Reyaasked in a comment about vog. Vog is volcanic emissions, from Kilauea volcano over on the Big Island. When our winds are blowing as trade winds (forgive me, I don't know the direction) the vog blows away from us. When the wind shifts or dies down, the vog comes over to Oahu and gives everything a soft grey haze.

I've been sick, my usual sinusthroatlungthing that has me taking 2 days off from work. I haven't felt well, but I do admit, it's been rather a treat to hide in the house, when the rest of the world is out working, and just drink tea and listen to music. I've slept a lot, so much, that I'm tired of sleeping now. I'm pretty much on the mend, though I shudder to think of how much my classroom has run awry in my absence. I've been doing a little knitting. I abandoned the endless stockinette march of Icarus for awhile, to concentrate on the aran of the Must Have Cardigan. Found a mistake, a miscrossed cable and a hiding dropped stitch which triggered a great ripping of one of the completed side pieces, halfway down. I don't know where my head was at with that cable. Thought about leaving it in, but realized that since it was a front piece, it would always bother me. 'Twas the traveling cable, as well, so I had no idea how to just rip down a part of it. So rip, rip, rip. I have re-knit it completely, though, in my little retreat from the world, and in the process, learned a few more things about readng my knitting. So it's not a sad thing at all.

My commitment to only work on UFO's til most (note, I've changed "all" to "most") are off the needles is making for boring toil, but on the other hand, it feels constructive, too. Like it's an appropriate thing to do in the time between times. It's times like these, though, that I feel like I need to stay off the blogs, because there are those knitters out there that produce a firestorm of finished objects, inspiring me to cast on for new projects, and invariably feeding into the whole product-oriented dissatisfaction with my craft.

I can't blog without saying some things about our now-passed presidential election. Interestingly, I think it's post-election peace that has contributed to the time-between-times feeling, too. Letting go of my political addiction is hard; it's now rolled over into the endless Obama fascination. I am thrilled, needless to say, with the results, and not sure what to make of the feeling of a great weight being lifted from my heart. In the days following the election, however, I found my inbox bombarded with mean-spirited jokes and forwards from the more conservative end of my family. I shared this with my sis, who said she'd gotten some stuff from friends, as well, that were just plain offensive. I emailed a cousin, asked him to stop, though, of course, I did it none too gracefully (that's always my flaw, to take it til I can't stand it anymore and then explode) and was met with an angry political defense about "right" and "wrong" and "you will see in time..." Now, silence. But I don't understand this need of people to backlash against the results of an election that was so clear - not a tie, not one that went to the courts. Are people afraid? And what good does fear do one, in this situation? To amp up that adrenaline, over political position, and unseen results of an administration change is useless. My own hopes are high, and happy, but I've learned, after 2 previous presidential elections, that it's best to keep on keeping on, when you feel your position wasn't represented in the election. I was just surprised at the vitriol. I just marvel at my family, sometimes.

My dad and I were talking a bit, last night, about the current financial crisis in the country, and he said he thought it had folk extra-excited, as well. He shared being really offended when folk referred to it as a "depression". The old man lived through the Great Depression, and has some harsh words for people, on the subject of these times, particularly with regards to the pervasive aura of fear and consumerism that has gripped the culture in the past few years. He is also philosophical about Obama's election; I imagine he voted McCain, but has decided to keep on keeping on, with the current results. Me? I'm just glad about the potential for change, an Obama presidency and being on good terms with my father, with whom I had so many contentious years of conflict.

Two members of my household are curious about something. Nice to see them working together on anything besides the competition for my attention.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

k-brow: the Halloween episode

No crows in Hawaii, but this is a blast from my Stonehenge past. I think it's fitting for the season.

I always think of Samhain as more of a season than a specific day. It starts around the 20th of October and winds up around the first week of November. So I was gratified to hear, this week, that the actual cross-quarter (midpoint between the fall equinox and winter solstice) day of Samhain falls on November 6. Halloween is such a chaotic day in an elementary school that I rarely celebrate my rites on the actual day, preferring to go home after the sugar-soaked revelries at work, and just fall into bed, or on more chipper days, scuttle off to a movie.

Today was amusing, in its exhausting way. I ate lots of candy, which has resulted in a bit of a headache. I came home from work, to find my impulse purchase of some Silk Garden #47 from Little Knits had arrived on the doorstep. No real immediate plans for this bag of 10 skeins of browns and greys, but thinking that it might just become the Clapotis that I make and love and keep for myself.
Acornbud fell prey to the same Little Knits sale, and we kind of decided that Noro maybe shouldn't count as stash, but more like chocolate or tea, a soothing necessity of life. These colors kind of remind me of winter woods; all dead leaves and grey bark, a play of light and shadow. Earthy.

I'd wanted to write about ghosties and ghoulies and things that go bump in the night, but my wrist is hurting, and that story is long in the telling. So I will close this Halloween entry with 2 funny stories of our custodians at work. We have these great custodians, who really put up with a lot, from bossy demanding teachers and wild, over-indulged children. After school, they often cut loose in utter hilarity. Custodian #1 told me this great story of a Halloween party he'd been to the night before, where someone had dressed himself up as a bong, complete with a big tube of dry ice smoking off the top of his head. The mental image of this costume had us roaring in a punchy sugar-enhanced bit of silliness. Custodian #2 was marching around school after hours wearing a wall clock tied to a string around his neck, and my enormous gold sunglasses (birthday gift from DisKnit) and referring to himself as "Waimanalo's own Flava Flav". I took pix, but he's shy and so you'll have to use your imagination on this. Very funny, though, in a ghetto sort of way.

More later, and maybe even an installment on that novel that DisKnit has tricked me into writing.