Saturday, June 07, 2003

A vigorous pumpkin blossom.

Weed pulling, rose pruning, snail tossing, lily trimming. I hit a few spots in the yard and dead headed the dianthus and roses, bagged more snails and pulled a few weeds. This place is thriving. Everything is blooming and sprouting. Had I mentioned the pumpkin vine? It's a volunteer out by the compost pile and it is huge and full of little green calabasas. I should go out tonight and rid it of the snails that are feasting on the fruit and flowers.

The first thing I did, when we moved here, was plant a pumpkin patch right in the thick of the horse kaka! Decomposed granite that has been compacted by the trampling hooves of four horses is unbelievably hard. Even now that we have a tractor we find it un-worthwhile to try digging most places where there were horses. But with a shovel and hand spade I managed to dig sufficiently to persuade a dozen pumpkin seeds to sprout. Hand watering and weed pulling were also necessary. Long before Halloween we had almost 30 pumpkins and when the mornings were foggy it was an eerie sight to see hundreds of sleek black crows sitting on the fence rails and walking among the inclining sunflowers and bright orange orbs.

Every other year we host a Halloween party. That year, 2001, we emphasized the blessing of the harvest and friends to share it with. After dinner and playing we gathered for a roaring fire in the pasture and each family was invited to visit the pumpkin patch to take home a pumpkin of their own.

Of all the pleasures of a garden I most enjoy sharing what we gain. Flowers and fruit, eggs and zucchini; there is so much pleasure and satisfaction in helping things grow and then passing them along. It helps to remember the joys of harvesting and celebrating when I am pulling weeds and hunting pests.

We had a good Family Night. Our tradition, since 1995, of dedicating Friday night to family togetherness and bonding, is good. After a busy week we get reconnected and no matter "what-the-stress" is going on we make our tribe the focus. Since Aunt Becky and Uncle Dan have motored over to El Rancho we had an expanded gathering.

I, for one, needed to release so we agreed to swim. The air temp was coolish but the pool is still holding the heat from last week's heat wave, so it felt good. Dan found his way to the spa, where he was joined by William, Max and Geoff. Becky and I did laps, and Alex swam too.

Last week the boys and I swam at night. It is wonderful to be warm and floating and looking above at a sea of stars. And the best sleep comes after an evening of swimming around, making waves. Max nearly nods off the moment I carry him to bed; he did last night.

After our aquatic adventure we popped some corn, heated cider and gathered around the big table to play dominoes. Thursday night Becky and Dan taught Grandma and Alex "Mexican Train." I'm not sure what to make of the name. It's almost an elaborate game, but Alex caught on well enough to win some rounds and to teach Geoff how to play. So they played again last night and by the time Dan needed to hit the hay, they persuaded me to play too. William refilled our pop corn as we made and repaired "trains" with our dominoes. It's fun.

Hans and Gretchen are in Mammoth. Is there still snow? They may be skiing. They are certainly doing something active and challenging. Bill and Alison are at a family cabin too. I think they may be doing some water sports and hanging out with friends. And they have a slide show to watch too! Mom and Dad are back from Canada and busy already. Hopefully they are waking up to a day beautiful enough to be worthy of my Mommy and her birth. Family, all the family, is always on my mind, and I hope we all had a good family night.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Geek Rating and Other News

I think I must have scored 22% due to my proximity to the genuine article! So, what's your Geek rating? Also, I earned extra points for "wears glasses" and "repairs own glasses."

We are in a busy month. Besides father's day, flag day and any graduations, there are many birthdays to celebrate. Happy Birthday to: Jared, Delia, Hans, Bill, Alex, Julie and Phil. Phew!

There's a snake in our garage. William saw it the other night when he went to bring in Nena the cat. She was standing, back arched, in front of the slitherty fellow. He gave us the slip. Maybe he'll catch the mice we saw.

The pool has reached 89 degrees. Sweet.

I feel a road trip coming on. I have been formulating some possibilities including: Tacupeto (before it's too hot, but only with a caravan) or Oregon (really, really want to, but the distance is formidable) or back up to Santa Cruz (less daunting.)

Procrastination: putting off for tomorrow what I should have done last week.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Afternoon in Honoka'a

It's a Honoka'a kind of afternoon here at El Rancho. The sun is out and it's warm, but there is a faint haze; like rain waiting in the distance and filling the air with a mild charge. Out in the garden the flowers are fragrant, the leaves are lush and vigorous. Even the breeze riding up from the eastern valley reminds me of the steady off shore breeze out at the acres in Hawaii.

When Anne was in Hawaii for her event she stayed at Waikoloa. She shared her pictures with me; the laid back post triathlon group poses and even her glorious finish line moment. All her training and effort, emotional and physical, were for raising money for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. She met her fund raising goals, and as significant, she swam and bicycled and ran under the hot Hawaiian sun. That kind of dedication comes from a lot of aloha.

Anne brought me a goody bag with girl indulgences from the Waikoloa Spa. I love the lip balm and use it daily. The understanding is: Since it is good and necessary to wear skin protection with spf, when I run out of my favorite lip balm we will have to return to the Islands and Waikoloa for more. Care to come with? We won't have to run or cycle, unless you want to. I will swim. I will swim at Kahalu'u and Hapuna Beach. We can eat banana bread and fresh fruit while we watch the dolphins. We can drive from Hawi down to Waimea, at sunset, and stop to moo with the cows along the way. In Kona I suggest we walk along the boardwalk under the banyans, maybe get some shave ice and post cards. No hurry. A little rain is alright. Bring the children. They will love to snorkel with sea turtles and gather pukas in a pail. Lava tubes and volcanoes, keiki hula lessons and gathering guavas and sugarcane; there's plenty to do, or we could do very little.

Aloha Friday and Keiki Hula

I am wearing my lip balm every day, and even sometimes before I go to bed. Today is a bit hazy and maybe it could rain, but mostly it is dry here. I will run out soon. Get ready. Start shopping around for good airfares and I'll call ahead and see if we can pitch a few tents with the Kona ohana. In the meantime, practice wearing slippers and a sarong, put a flower in your hair, play a little Makaha Sons, and above all: Do everything with a lot of aloha.

Kailua Kona
Complete! I finished the editing, the music arrangement, the panning and cropping and zooming. And we burned 14 copies of "Wedding Weekend." It includes scene selections and a nifty title page. That's the good news. The tragic news is that after successfully burning 14 copies we sort of completely lost the file. So, unless we can copy from a disk, these 14 are limited edition and therefore priceless and rare.

Grandma wasn't able to attend the wedding, which was sad. She didn't think she could handle the monumental task of packing, preparing and caring for Grandpa in an out of town scenario, and then he was sick, which only confirmed her belief that it just wouldn't have worked out.

Having missed the whole wedding weekend, Grandma was the perfect "test audience." After 40 hours of watching hundreds of photos over and over again, I couldn't be entirely sure that I had produced something good. I was particularly concerned (read: obsessed) with including a fair balance of "his guests" and "her guests." In effect I think I probably did have more photos of the guests I knew; I should have more been more assertive about taking pictures of people I did not know...I'm rambling here...

Back to Grandma as test audience: She liked it! She laughed some and she cried some and she felt sure Bill and Alison are going to like it. The best part of her remarks came when she said that it looked as though everyone was having a genuinely fun time. "Everyone looks so relaxed and happy!" She noticed the warmth, even through photographs, and the informal and easy manner assumed by all. "Everyone is smiling so much and looking so pleased."

Grandma's impression is a perfect and affirming review of the slide show. I had not quite put in to words the mood and atmosphere of the entire weekend and in making the slide show I wanted to capture some of the emotion and even tangible aspects of the celebrations. What she saw in the slide show is a true reflection of the good times had by all. There was no bad mood, or pretense, there was no tension or anything to cause doubt or regret. I am glad I was able to convey the generosity of the hosts, the grace of the guests, the joy of the families and the fun we had all weekend long.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

Almost done. I actually left the desk this afternoon, but staying up past midnight is my way of compensating for not spending 100% of the day working at iMovie editing. I finished more of the wedding slide show, even though I am up past my bedtime, but I did notice my errors were becoming more frequent. It's way time for quitting!

It's almost pointless to try and write about my day or what's blooming around here. Many beautiful phrases have been uttered and amusing moments have unfolded. Once I finish this little obsession of mine, I will return to arranging words in to thoughts and thoughts in to sentences. Meanwhile, sweet dreams and creative blessings to you.