Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hawaii Day 5 - Return of Paul

My youngest brother, Paul, has been in Orchestra camp for the past week, which means that even though we've been on the same island, we haven't seen him. Now, orchestra for most people means BORING but they have a truly incredible program; demanding but balanced with so much fun and recreation that it is well worth it.

Plus his girlfriend is in band, which was holding camp at the same time and had a few conjoined activities.

We had planned all along to go to the end-of-camp concert, but after I got about 2 hours of sleep last night (seriously, between diarrhea Tony, a mewling cat, and OK I'm awake at 3:45 Naomi...2 hours might be a generous estimate) we decided that this would be our ONLY activity today.

Ok, so we went to the little neighborhood park for an hour. No biggie.

The concert was great, and after all the Baroque music they'd been focussing on, out came a prominent local band they'd recorded with to do some "fun" music. And it was a lot of fun! We sat right next to the school principal (a man on equal footing with the Governor in general social status)...well, Tony did. He fell asleep midway through the concert but hey, he wasn't a pest. Naomi was surprisingly good too; she found a package of hair accessories in my bag and spent over an hour taking them out, putting them on fingers, putting them back in, taking them out, handing them to family members, etc.

We were back on my own alma mater, Kamehameha Schools, and while I didn't run into any former classmates or teachers (school is not in session) I did find someone I'd run track with. The views were just what I remembered. Spectacular.

I didn't get to meet Paul's girlfriend, the drum major for the Kamehameha Marching Band, an elite band that performs in such events as the Presidential Inauguration Parade and a great many other invitational venues. They, apparently, are a tad more disciplined than the orchestra; when Paul's band played (err, for dancing) at the band dance, they would not let him so much as SPEAK to his girlfriend after he exited the stage, much less kidnap her to come meet us. But hey, exclusive invitations to perform in China must come at a price, right? And that price is, well, being incredibly anal about what the band members are doing during camp.

Anyway, we saw Paul perform, met up with him after, and he and Naomi...well, she won't even LOOK at him. Buried her head in my shoulder. If she didn't have that available she'd actually do a wrinkly-faced "if I close my eyes for long enough, maybe he'll go away" kind of thing. After we'd all been back at my parents' for a couple hours, she LOOKED at him a few times when he wasn't looking at her, but that's as far as it went. When he went to watch his girlfriend perform (from the audience...without talking to her...errrrrr), Naomi declared victory and is happily sleeping in what she believes to be a Paul-free house.

The other kids, on the other hand, had a riotous time letting Paul toss them around the pool and couldn't quite understand the allure of watching the girlfriend play when he could very well keep swimming with THEM.

Ooooh, oooh, and this was funny enough to share; girlfriend rounds up the band members even from the dining hall by blowing a whistle. On the other end of the hall, Paul's orchestra friends have decided that the only suitable thing to do is to get Paul a whistle so that he can return the mating call. They do, after all, seem to have to communicate at a distance. Well, at least for this week. Which to a kid entering his senior year in high school, might as well be FOREVER. That they didn't get around to it over camp matters little. They'll probably get him to do it some other time now that they've gotten the idea into their heads.

The camera took a break today too. Didn't take a single photo. Although I would have if I'd remembered to bring it to the concert, but, oh well.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hawaii Day 4 - Hanauma

After our second-day Hanauma-less adventure, we decided to try the VERY early approach this time. Luckily, the kids are floating somewhere between Hawaii and Washington time, and got up all on their own and only slightly surly at 6am. By 6:15 we were in our swimsuits. Well, most of us were in our swimsuits. Boyness didn't want to swim RIGHT THAT VERY INSTANT and, in typical four year old fashion, absolutely could not conceive of wanting to swim ever, ever again. So him we let carry his swimsuit to the van. We grabbed a random assortment of fruit, boiled eggs, bagels, and travel-mugs of coffee and juice, and were outta there by 6:30. Arrived at the parking lot at 7:20...OPEN!! YEEESSSS!!!

We DID have to pay admission, because Hanauma Bay is quite the setup now and apparently, they don't take EXPIRED drivers licences, however local they may be. Ah well, it was worth the five bucks.

Hiking down to the bay:

Getting ready:

Off they go!:

My mom took the two big kids for a little putz-around and then took Becca for a slightly longer trip. Once they'd gotten that out of their systems, my dad and I left the kids with her and went for a more extended trip, exiting the inner reef area through the semi-harrowing center channel, travelling along the outer edge of the reef towards the left-hand side of the bay until we were close enough for our own comfort to the rock wall there, and then looping back for the slightly spooky trip back through the center channel. The outer reef is much more alive with fish and corals. We saw a great many varieties and some very large fish, as well as a few dangerous urchins (one I'd never seen before and had to dive down for a closer - but not too close - look). Coming across a deep hole in the reef to a white wash of sand below is shocking; the beauty of these 'holes' is difficult to describe and perhaps not everyone sees them the way I do. They are a pure break in the riot of life that is this reef zone. Seeing the depth, the cleanliness, the fish microcommunities, the rays of sun like columns holding up surface; literally hearing the crackle and static of a thousand parrotfish and wrass crunching a million small rocks into a billion new grains of sand; watching schools of convict tang dart between rocks and over and around the hills and valleys of the reef-freeway; it is heartache-beautiful.

The return trip past the reef was tough but we made it back fighting a strong current, tugged around in murky water, jagged rocks popping up out of 'nowhere' - because you can't see anything - and we were fine but there was a dad who had taken a preteen kid out that wasn't doing so great. I nearly lost my dad because halfway through the passage I got ticked off and opened up to full swimming effort assuming he'd follow, and he didn't. By the time we got to shore we were laughing and remembering times we'd dragged OTHER people through that passage.

We capped it off with a little goofing off on the rocks before we left:

And after we'd broken camp, we trudged back up the trail - this is when my mom spouted her ingenious idea, which warranted another entry all its own - and ferried sleeping children back to my parents' for a late lunch and some swimming and the bike adventure.

The kids were BEYOND exhausted by 7 and asleep by 8. Tony even said "I don't wanna watch a movie tonight, I wanna go to bed now." Ahhh, lovely tired kids. Off I go to join them.

Like Riding a Bike

As we were huffing and puffing up the incline away from Hanauma Bay, my mom got an idea. A wonderful, awful IDEA.

She wanted to take me biking.

Now, me, I'm a tad overweight and haven't so much as jogged to my mailbox in, errrr, 5 years. I've not been on a bike in even longer.

She is a competitive triathlete.

A tad mismatched, no?

I firmly veto a ride up Tantalus (mom, your idea of a SHORT ride is TEN MILES!? My CAR can barely make it up Tantalus!) and mom convinces me that "Mrs. Trek" (oh how cute, she names her bikes...) can get me up Old Pali Drive easily. Errr, this would be the original route OVER THE MOUTAIN. Really, I don't think so. It's only 8 miles? Er, now I KNOW I can't. WHAT? Mrs. Trek doesn't have pedals?! clip your shoes in...while you're MOVING? WHAT do you mean you only have to fall about 3 times before you figure it out?!

My mom eventually semiprevailed. She argued strongly in favor of the "never pass up an opportunity to try something new" and "you don't know you can't until you try it" philosophies. But the rain saved me at the last minute and we instead spent an hour in the semihilly surrounding neighborhood. I didn't fall but I did find out that "Mrs. Trek" is a splendid bike and the fancy expensive italian click-in shoes are horrid to walk on but absolutely lovely to bike in. You can't turn "Mrs. Trek" 180 degrees without a large area or unclipping your feet, a somewhat complicated balancing, pressure, and fine-motor-skill procedure. This made things...interesting. Mom even got me head-to-toe in the gear. After about 2 miles on semihill I don't feel bad at all, so I might try out the Old Pali Road after all, especially since she's been relegated to a lesser bike and tells me she's somewhat handicapped (mwahahahahaha) so she won't kick my ass, well, THAT bad.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hawaii Day 3 - North Shore

We did get out after all. At around noon, the kids were home and fed, nobody had barfed in HOURS, and we decided to head to the North Shore for some fresh prawns and shrimp. Loitering at the beaches we found in the meantime would be optional. Well, that was the idea anyway. The kids were certain to grab their suits and towels. And snorkels and fins. And sand toys. The beach was looking, well, less and less optional.

We loaded into the car. Boyness decides that now would be a nice time to inform us that HE felt really sick. My dad has been denying all day that he's coming down with it but looks...uncomfy...behind the wheel. We grab a just-in-case bowl for Boyness and head off.

First stop: Dole Plantation. Here we found dairy-free pineapple ice cream cones for the kids, train rides (we didn't go), the pineapple maze (er, just look at the website) and, as we were leaving, Boyness had his first barf of the day.

Second stop: Sunset Beach. My mom went swimming for a bit but the surf was too high for the kids, so everyone else just puttered around in the sand for a while.

Third stop: Laie Point. Just for scenery.

Boyness stayed in the car with Papa. By this time Papa is fighting his stomach, and Boyness is working on his fourth or fifth throwing-up session.

Fourth stop: Hukilau Beach. Papa and Boyness sit in the shade and look miserable together, Toddlerness and I sit in the sand and bury each others' feet, and BigGirlB heads off into the surf with her Tutu. It is perfect learning size, the waves average armpit-height for her, so she can pick her approach pretty safely (anything from hopping over the swell, diving under the break, standing is a training of sorts for situations that could roll her more easily). After about half an hour Tutu pulls the plug on the fun, though, since the menfolk are so miserable, and we head off, only to decide not to get those prawns and shrimp anyway. After all, of the 6 of us in the car, 3 had barfed within the last 12 hours and a fourth was looking to add himself to the tally. And it would just be uncool to buy Boyness' favorite food in its freshest form and cook it all cool-like, only to have him unable to eat it.

So we took in the scenery as we wound our way along the coast. We made one more stop, at the farm store for the macadamia nut farm at Kualoa ranch. No pics there, but I've got physical proof I visited. Er, for a while at least.

By the time we'd gotten back to my parents' place, Boyness had counted his barf sessions up to 6, but after sitting still for about 5 minutes gave up on this whole being-sick shit and went off to have a boisterously fun swimming session with his sisters, a small dinner, a movie, a few bites of tofu cheesecake (THANKS for passing on that recipe Danelle!) and to bed. No more barfing. Hopefully this is it for this stupid, untimely little stomach bug.

Now I just hope they sleep in tomorrow. This morning Boyness woke me up at 4. Yes, 4. "See that window Tony?" "yah!" "See it is DARK?" "uh...yah..." "that is because it is still NIGHT TIME. GO TO SLEEP." "BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" "DAMNIT, now you woke ME up, if you come in my bed will you sleep?" "*sniffle* Kay mama" (commence rolling, kicking, shifting assault on whatever sleep I could have gotten). DAMNIT!!!! So yes, I've been up way too long. This post has gotten way too long. Coincidence? I think NOT!!! I'm over-wordy when I'm tired.

Toodaloo and all that.

Baby Makapuu Pics #3

Ah, well, we're stuck here today. Becca tells us she feels better but she lacks a certain spring in her step, and I'm worried that if we overdo it, there will be prolonged sickness. Naomi is generally unhappy. My mom has taken all the kids to the park just down the street to distract them for a bit, and I've taken to the computer. I thought I'd go ahead and upload some more photos for everyone.


OK this last one needs a bit of explanation: we were at the beach on the far side of this hill, the one on the near side is where a friend of ours got married about 4 years back at sunrise. So pretty :).

It is only noon and if the park trip turns out well and I can get a nice nap out of the big kids, we might head out somewhere low-impact this afternoon after all. We'll see :)

Baby Makapuu Pics #2

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Hawaii Day 2 - Baby Makapuu

But first, a little apology, I am writing this (and future ones, I'm sure) dead-tired at the end of the day. It serves as my own personal journal as well, so there you have it, tired, not-well-thought-through, but POSTED.

The day began innocently enough with an attempt to get out of the house early and head off to Hanauma Bay, an insanely popular snorkelling spot that is, incidentally, accessable only by parking in a small lot off a narrow, windy highway and taking a paved walk carved into a cliff face down to the beach. Which means that once the parking is full, you're screwed.

As we were, even though we got there at 8am.

So we continued on. I'd forgotten how much I love the east coast of this island. So beautiful. The pictures didn't come out so I'll not post them, we'll skip right to the kids-on-the-beach photos. We stopped at the tidepools at Baby Makapuu, which has always been a favorite spot for our family.

The kids had a blast and I'll just let the photos do the talking:

There are a bunch more pictures. The kids found a fish in the pools and were happily chasing him around when they realized...hey...there are LOTS of fish in here! They jumped, they snorkelled, they had a pretty all-around good time. But I can't post any of that because Blogger only lets me put up 5 and I am not breaking this one up.

Anyway, we headed off at 11 or so to see if the first wave of visitors to Hanauma had cleared up and we could find parking. No such luck. We decide to head to Ala Moana, which won't exactly be secluded either, but where we'll surely find parking. On the way back down off the mountain, Becca declares "I feel sick". By the time we are picking up some Korean-style bentos from Sam's, "I feel sick" has become "I'm gonna barf" and soon, there was half-digested peanut butter sandwich all down her front and (luckily) all over the towels we'd brought. Further plans for the evening were scratched. We went home and let the now-well ones splash around in the pool while now-sick-Becca lay miserably on the couch and barfed intermittently. Later in the afternoon my mom and I took Toddlerness out for some grocery shopping, during which I had to bite my toungue often and hard to prevent myself telling her how much less stuff costs in Washington. But we got our meals as well as a lot of fruit and snacky things, and we stopped at the local health food joint for some Tony-safe foodstuffs, so even though Becca grounded us for the rest of the day, we got that out of the way.

Damn, I wish I could post the rest of the pictures. It really is more-kids-at-the-beach though. You get the idea. It was lovely.

Travel! Toddler! Noooooooo!

This saga begins not today, but on Saturday. When Toddlerific woke us from a dead sleep to begin barfing. And proceeded to barf her way through all of Sunday (keeping down exactly NOTHING). And Monday.

Which would all have been fine and dandy (ok, well, not QUITE fine and dandy, but not nearly the pain in the ass it was) if we weren't expecting my dad to come in on Monday, spend the night, and then accompany us to his house in Hawaii.

Toddlerific has even in the best of circumstances been quite the clingy little child. I mean, you hear about these children, the ones that won't let parents go to the bathroom. She was totally one of them. So yes, barfing, clingling, miserable toddler. Trying to pack. Trying to clean (oh the laundry and floor-scrubbing that a barfing, clinging, miserable toddler can produce!). Not the happiest combination in the world.

We enter into Monday with the unhappiness-and-unsunshine that was sick-Toddlerific, and we add to this the fact that my dad doesn't get on his first flight (standby), nor his second, nor his third, and we are now discussing our "options", and THEN he finally gets on a flight only to have it significantly delayed...oh, was it ever a FUN day.

At last, Toddlerific slept, Papa (my dad) arrived, I packed, Fran washed dishes, we turned in at midnight. Woke up at 5, ate a hearty breakfast, left the house right on time, got to Portland right on time, got on the airplane.

Toddlerific is clingy and saddish but survives to this point just fine.

We were stuck (Toddlerific and I) on a window seat, penned in by an elderly handicapped woman (she couldn't get up!) and her daughter. For the entire flight. I could barely shift my weight, forget fucking walking the aisles.

~L~, I love ya, if it weren't for Little Bear on the DVD player, you might, if they let people blog from prison nowadays, be reading about the misadventures of someone taken down by in-flight security. Because I would have gone nuts. Cry a little, nurse a little, cry a little, wiggle a lot, cry a little, wail about not being allowed down, try to climb the seat in front of us, stare greedily at neighbor-lady's muffin, throw toy at neighbor-lady...oh, it was FUN. Not.

We made it, but it was a close thing. We are at my parents' house in Hawaii.

There is nothing quite so interesting as coming home after being away for so long. The house SMELLS so familiar. In a good way. Because my parents' house is largely scented by the lovely plumeria trees that divide their property from the neighbors'. The breeze flowed through like some large fresh-air bearing river (20mph isn't the 'light lovely tropical breeze here in the upper valley). And it was HOME. As if she understood this concept, Toddlerific began exploring immediately (something she, well, never does), the big kids quickly found places for their things and rediscovered the pool, and we had ARRIVED.