Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Memories

Writing my last post, I realized that many of our beach adventures were not labeled "beach." Every now and then I try to organize the archives, which is a huge undertaking. I look at old posts and make sure the code is holding up, the images are still publishing and consider what labels are best to categorize the posts in. It's time consuming.

So, anyway... I was keeping an eye out for stray beach posts and I figured there must be tons from our Hawaii days, and that is when I made a surprising discovery: I could not find a post for our summer 2005 vacation. That was a big deal. The trip was made with our best friends, James and Deanne. It was our last time vacationing in Hawaii. How could there be no post? I was rummaging through the archives and trying to piece this mystery together. I could see from other posts that I had had some computer failures and of course life itself was keeping me very busy. Then I remembered that I did devote a huge chunk of time to making a DVD of the memorable trip... but no post? Hard to believe. Finally I found two image heavy, semi-posts. This old one is slightly wordier, but still a bit brief.

It's ironic that I sometimes think of quitting blogging and then I find a gap in the journal keeping and find it totally unacceptable and disappointing. Yes, Chickenblog is a journal, our family scrapbook. I forget this sometimes, and it was many years before I even recognized that the blog is a record keeper, a memory book. Then instead of quitting, I want to work harder to organize archives and do more for the blog overall.

And gee whiz, aren't you glad that I print my entire thought process before launching in to the actual point of my post?
Ramble, ramble, ramble.

Basically, my memories of this time in Hawaii, indeed all time in Hawaii, are so precious that I knew I would have to post more pictures and talk story about that visit. I also know that this is going to be an emotionally wrenching journey.

I miss Hawaii. I miss the dreams we nurtured, the plans we made. I miss what we had there...

Sweet Memories
I will remember you long after this endless summer is gone. These lyrics from Gary Haleamau, and Darlene and JJ Ahuna's album were some of the very first I ever heard from Hawaii... they still stir my soul. I just never expected them to be so bittersweet, not this soon.

James and Deanne had already vacationed on Oahu and loved it, so we knew we would have to go to Hawaii together some day. We got our chance the summer of 2005. Maria was eight months old. The boys... oh my goodness... I wish I could go back in time and hold them one more time. I am blessed to be able to hug them today. My mom came to Hawaii with us in 2000, and we had a couple of visits there with Holly and Rich. I always imagined there would be more times like these. Anyway, our week long stay, playing tourist and just plain playing with Deanne and James, was a lot of fun.

James and Deanne were all for seeing the sights and exploring the Big Island. We had such thorough tour guide training with Ruth and Corm, that we were thrilled to be sharing our second home with friends. Waikoloa Resort is a must see for Island luxury and amusements. If you don't know this already, you can explore the resorts and all of the amenities without actually staying at the hotels. Often there is art, entertainment and cultural events to enjoy. Some things may require a small fee, but the boat ride through the resort was free and the views were free too.

We had fun finding the Chinese zodiac statues, and rubbing Buddha's belly.

When we weren't mooching off of the freebies at other resorts, we were submerged in our hotel pool... sweet luxuries.

Ten year old Alex. His smile still melts my heart.

Max had just turned six years old. That steady, studied gaze. He is taller, but the gaze, the intentness is still there. Check out the sandy bottomed pool. Love.

Now Maria is sitting on my lap and asking about these pictures. "When did that happen? Where were we?"
I wonder where the DVD is.

This was a fancy dinner. Deanne may remember which hotel we splurged at for this meal. I remember the cool drinks, with the buzzy hit, the setting sun and the pleasure of being in a beautiful place with family and friends. Of course in Hawaii we have always found cool drinks, a dreamy sunset and the beauty of being with family and friends... the fancy dinner is optional, not necessary.

So, I know some of these pictures have been published before, but I feel remiss in our story telling not recalling the trip (some more), and the special moments we enjoyed. It's not as though we cannot go back to Hawaii, but we know it cannot be the same. I don't believe there is a more dear way to be welcomed off a plane, home, than with a lei greeting. This was the last one, and I am glad I can recall the fragrance, and the kindness, the aloha.

From the airport we went directly to Tutu's office in Waimea. Had Maria started chewing on her dendrobiums by this time? I don't think so.

Shaved ice. Not a snow cone. Not a smoothie. Shave ice is the best, and if it is not memorable and a delight to eat, then you might not be eating a good one. Best on a hot day, but even on this cold day I could go for some li hing mui.

It makes me so sad to realize I am already forgetting places and names. Tutu, where is this place? On the way to Hilo... is it Honomu? Yes, the small town before Akaka Falls.

We went to Hilo and Volcanoes National Park. We hiked through the Thurston Lava Tube.

I still feel bad that we didn't make a second pass through the ancient lava tube, like Max wanted. What was our hurry? Seems silly now.

No hurries on this day. Sitting next to Max is the B&B kitty. There was a sign in the parking lot asking guests to please check their car for the curious cat... curious hitchhiking cat, I guess.

On the Kona side I took the children to their favorite park, Higashihara Park. I think the boys would still call it their favorite and Maria would absolutely love it there. It was community designed and built, and all of its fun and unique details make it favorite for many.

Another Kona favorite is Turtle Beach :: Kahaluu. This is the same beach where William learned how to swim, where Geoff and I first swam in Hawaii, where we celebrated Alex's fourth birthday. Where James lost his wedding band... okay, so not all memories are "sweet." But hey, technically they do know where it is. It's at Turtle Beach. I wish we were at Turtle Beach.

William, remember snorkeling here? Staying out until sunset? You probably remember best of all.

Hoppin' all over the Island. Back to Hilo side, to Honoka'a, to Tutu's house.

Maria, Geoff, Corm and James. It smells like sweet grass and coffee flowers here. All over the five acre ag lot are the trees that Ruth and Corm planted and tended. The boys know where the guavas grow. I know how to cross the gulch. I cannot say more... some day the children may want to know more, but for now the emotions these memories evoke leave me in a puddle of tears.


My favorite drive. And I have been on some good ones.
Unbelieveable... I went to Google this and two Chickenblog posts came up under "highway between havi and waimea." Seems, I have written about this drive before. Well, the best drive in my whole world is the 250 from Havi to Waimea. And now I cannot think of anything else. I want to drive it right now and stop to take hundreds of pictures, then do it again.

Maybe starting at the top of Waipio Valley.

Definitely including a stop at Spencer Beach County Park...

with a hike to Ala Kahakai.

Yes. This is the beach I was thinking of when I began this memory journey.

I will remember you,
after this
endless summer
is gone.
I will remember
every bright star
we made wishes

There. We have one more beach post.
Now, was there anything else I needed to do today?

Feeling Low

How low? How about -1.9? That is a very low tide. This afternoon the tide will slip away almost as much as it did yesterday. And if you can slip away, you should... down to the beach and the rocky places where the ocean is leaving a world to discover.

Uplifted by comments left on Chickenblog (thank you: Jennifer, Zan, Star, TCavanaugh, Andylynne, and Judy) and sporting a new pair of earrings from my mother's airlift emergency package, I mustered the gumption to get my feet wet.

Some days it is all about resolve and inertia, pushing through, just to get things done. But other times, or most times, luck is involved. We got lucky yesterday. Lucky the tide was low. Lucky the weather was fine. Lucky we are healthy. Lucky that for the first time all year, everyone was released from schools early.


We shared a picnic lunch and watched the tide, an entire ocean of water, move gradually to the south and west. It made room for exploring and finding shells and for dancing. It made room for renewed energy and a sense of wonder.

Last year we were not so lucky. Every low tide came after dark or when we were immersed in other obligations... something always managed to keep us from exploring. As we taught Maria how to navigate the slippery rocks, to be aware of the anemones and scratchy barnacles, I realized it had been a very long time since Maria was in a tide pool.

Max loves the beach.

Alex loves the beach.

Maria loves the beach.

William loves the beach. We missed William.

Yes, it is January, our winter. Yes, we are really lucky. I love this picture for all it recalls, for the happiness, and I appreciate that mostly it will make people ask: What was the water temperature?! I believe it was about 59 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air temperature was roughly the same. We were cold-ish.

I love the beach. I love low tide and the things we are privileged to see when the sea is away. The wavy rocks.

Sea stars, orange and bumpy, hiding beneath a ledge, waiting.

Sand and water, discovery, freedom, even the cold... it's so invigorating and good.

We walked to the edge of the world, looking in to pools, finding crabs and fish, stones, shells, and life. Then we came back to our spot on the beach.

Alex and Maria brought out their pencils and paper.

And Max followed the tide.

I think he could use a wetsuit. His rash guard and shorts are fine in Hawaii, but 59 degrees is cold.

Beneath the clouds and sun, in the breakers, Max is floating and splashing and begging to stay out a few more minutes.

Freedom and Joy

Friday, January 29, 2010

It's Either This or Quit
Here I go again. Every now and then I feel this powerful urge to quit blogging.
Enough already. I am getting so little done around here as it is, and even what is accomplished is uniquely mediocre. I don't even know what it means to be "uniquely mediocre," but sometimes talking fancy satisfies an itch.

So here I am in the midst of an "I should quit" crisis. Then I thought that I could not possibly finish blogging when my last post was a romp across the fields of Narcissia. So, naturally I have been trying to think of brilliant and insightful, humorous, sentimental, intelligent, thought provoking, creative and artful stuff. Something really good to blog about. I got nothing.

Okay then. Nothing it is. Here goes.

Some of my children have been academically remiss lazy negligent challenged absent indifferent uninspired. It's an issue. I am not proud. I am confounded, and also embarrassed and disappointed. Honestly, for me, it is not about the grades, which is perhaps a source of the trouble. My foremost interest is in maintaining their interest in learning, but schools have expectations and make demands (that are not always aligned with my ideals,) and so deadlines, percentages and goals must be met.

Well, that was not so much "nothing." It was actually a whole lot of something. Something I am sure will make a couple of people around here uncomfortable, but life is uncomfortable sometimes, right?

Besides feeling the angst and late nights of navigating academic frontiers, I have my own shortcomings to contend with. I think my biggest personal challenge is making thirty six hours fit in to twenty four hours, and making at least twelve of those hours actually productive. In other words: I am behind. I am neglectful. I am looking for a time machine.

I would like to go back to about December tenth or eleventh.

Maybe that wouldn't make any difference, but I do need to find a way to make a difference. I cannot seem to get over myself and the feeling that I am effectively, systematically failing. I want to be settled in our home, in such a way that I am not starting from the beginning, learning where the cheese grater is and where we put the three ring hole punch. I want all boxes unpacked, pictures, hung, trees planted, garden beds made and ready for seeds... why? Why, because I have achieved those things before. I have unpacked and settled in and made planters and set up house, but all of it was torn down... many times it has been torn down, and I feel like if I cannot get to that place where we are within a space close to balanced or semi-normal, that I will never succeed. Just making lunches and keeping a good supply of clean socks manages to fill my days and the rest is left undone or done very mediocrely.

Wishful, silly me keeps thinking that if it were still December, if we hadn't got so darned sick, then I could send Christmas cards and hang those lights. I want that. That idealized picture of peace in home, and home all clean, children joyful and thank you cards sent. Then, then maybe colds and homework and getting to the post office would not be so daunting... if the foundation were there, dependable and trusted, then I could build up. At least that is what I imagine.

Move forward. I know. I have to just keep moving forward. I may be afraid. I think I am scared that any progress, any success in making things beautiful and moved-in will result in another tear down, start over move. I think I do not know or trust how to be at home. I am confused. Gee, it's hard enough without being scared.

Yesterday I planted four bare roots trees. And I may have done it wrong, or at least not as perfectly as in the garden book illustrations. Mediocre Me. Two more trees and a lot of grapes need to get planted, but I need more wire baskets and holes. I also need to volunteer in Maria's school, reconfigure the barn, pay the bills, organize my office, thank Jennifer for a dear gift, get the cats to the vet, clean the moving van a lot, and send Euro-Valken swag to Wisconsin.

And that is why I should quit blogging. Because obviously I have too much to do and blogging is one of those things that gets in the way of getting real stuff done. And that is why I will not quit blogging... because under duress, I cannot resist the compulsion to hang my dirty laundry high on the line, where I can gaze on it and reflect and try to make sense of it all.

Oh dear. Look at it all hanging there and flapping in the breeze.