Category Archives: Kids

Stepping out

1st stepsTwenty-one years ago, days shy of her first birthday, I let go of her chubby little hand and away she went.

Then she kept on going. In preschool, she was queen of the monkey bars. In junior kindergarten, the most popular girl in the class. In fourth grade she had a reputation on the soccer field as being the player who made the most spectacular tumbles but popped right back up and raced down the field to get the ball back.

With a sense of her own gifts as a leader, she seemed to relish being in the middle of the action, wherever that was. And whether it was orating in the Damon Speech contest, or portraying Viola in Twelfth Night, or the many times she stood, bedecked in paʻu, lei poʻo and kupeʻe on various kahua hula — to be on stage was like being home to her.

When she was four, she was in her first performance on an elevated stage at the Waikiki Hoʻolauleʻa. After their final number, the little dancers left the stage to great applause. Eager to praise and congratulate her, I raced backstage to find her dissolved into tears. “I want to go back up there!” she wailed. “Why can’t I do it again?”

When it comes to stepping out on her own, my girl is just getting warmed up. At 22, having long since let go of my hand, she has all the confidence she needs to make her own way in the life that lies before her.

So today I blow her a virtual kiss, and with a heart full of pride, watch her step out into the adventure of adulthood.

Happy Birthday, my angel. E kūlia i ka nuʻu: strive for the highest.

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Trouble in paradise

Look, I understand that listening to someone who lives in a tropical paradise whine about her problems is not what you signed on for, but can I just have one more swing at it? Then, I promise, pau.

First whine: I’ve gotten accustomed to people (and when I say people, I’m including the quadruped member of the family) being healthy around here, fully functioning and at the top of their games. So when they’re not, it’s a bit of a challenge for yours truly.

Three weeks ago, it was our boy who suffered surgery on the sole of his foot. Originally there was thought to be an inclusion cyst there; turns out it was a rather large plantar wart. Upshot: doctor’s orders to be 100% non-weight bearing on the foot for a full three weeks. Crutches only, no walking, no driving even. Definitely no surfing, which is probably the biggest difficulty of all.

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I was going to say this looks worse than it is, but the truth is, it’s exactly that bad.

So, it has fallen to me to do for him all that he cannot do for himself. I do however draw the line at  bathing; it’s been a couple decades since I’ve had that responsibility, and that’s exactly as it should be. I did go to the pharmacy and purchase a bath bench and a special plastic bag for covering his leg so that he could perform his own ablutions without compromising the dressing, so you can’t say I’m not doing my part.

But that still leaves making his breakfast (and washing the dishes), packing his lunch for work, then driving him to work and picking him up in the afternoon. Then making his dinner and washing those dishes (which I’d be doing anyway, so that sort of doesn’t count). It feels almost exactly the same as having a school-age child, which, as I recall: I DID THAT ALREADY.

And on top of all that, my four-legged baby also had to have surgery last week to remove a few cysts on his tummy and chest. Which means the poor guy has been relegated to the Cone of Shame. So I’ve been administering pain pills and antibiotics and wrestling him into the COS so that he won’t lick or chew the stitches. Bless his heart, he’s been awfully patient with me and the whole process; I think if I were in his shoes — paws? — there might be some inadvertent biting here and there.

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Such a good boy

And finally there’s the fact that I may or may not be about to have a birthday in a couple weeks, to which I have to say: UGH.

I know, I know; as my dad used to say, any day above ground is better than the alternative. But can I just say, birthdays at this age and stage just serve to remind me that I get to deal with fun stuff like:

  • hot flashes
  • a weird bald spot on my forehead
  • growths
  • those pesky seven pounds I mysteriously put on in the past nine months, that appear to have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon, South Beach be damned
  • being closer to 60 than to 50

The good news is my birthday consistently falls during Spring Break, a week off for The Coach, so for the past twenty-plus years I’ve celebrated on a (mostly) annual ski trip to Colorado. Maybe it seems odd that an island girl would enjoy snow skiing in the Rockies, but I learned to ski — and got hooked — in college, and ever since it’s been the best vacation activity I can imagine.

The bad news is this year we are staying home. That has to do with the construction being approximately a month away from completion, and we have yet to make a decision about the wood for the bathroom cabinets, a ceiling fan, wall-mounted (or table?) lamps for the bedsides, a desk or desk design for the southwest corner, and a bookshelf configuration for the northwest corner. Plus the fact that a new bedroom and bathroom cost roughly ten times your average ski week. So, okay, I can live without a ski trip this time. However, I’m also missing our girl’s birthday. Hers is the day after mine, so we have always had a joint, two-day celebration.

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What my baby girl and I WON’T be doing on our birthdays this year

But for the first time in 22 years, we won’t be together on our birthdays. Which I’m trying my hardest not to dwell on, because it just makes me more blue. Recently when our girl and I have had a chance to talk — which hasn’t been often, given my various commitments [see above] and hers (being a junior in college; nuff said) — she has asked me what I’d like for my birthday.

Oh, Sis, where do I start? I just want to hang out with you, go get pedicures, tell funny stories about the night you were born, eat cake and pretend all the other nonsense [see above] isn’t happening.

That would be a great birthday present, but I suppose I can live with its deferral. Time moves on, after all. Stitches will be removed, crutches and Cones of Shame eighty-sixed, and building projects completed. It’s even possible I’ll come up with a solution to the pesky seven pounds.

So, there’s nothing left to do but wind down the whine. Thanks for letting me get it off my chest.

Now back to our regularly scheduled P in P programming. Look! Sunrise over Koko Head:

IMG_0400I feel better now.

Random thoughts for Friday

1. Tonight The Coach and I are going out for dinner at a nice restaurant for Valentine’s Day. Yeah, we know it was yesterday; the flowers have already begun to wilt and the chocolates melt. But you know what? This way works for us. For one thing, yesterday was a school night. Kind of hard for teachers to go out for Date Night when they know they’ll be waking up, as usual, the next morning at 5:00. Plus, when you’ve been married 27 years, you have quite a few Valentine’s Days under your belt and so it’s okay to let them go by with just a card and a kiss on the actual day. Also, unless you started planning shortly after New Year’s, do you know how hard it is to get a reservation anywhere on February 14th? At our age and stage, let the kids have ’em; we’ll just settle for the next day, after the crowds subside.

2. But I’m going to ask our waiter how many proposals happened last night. Assuming young men are still into that sort of thing. I really have no idea, but from what I hear, it seems like men of what used to be known as marriageable age are either putting off the whole proposal/getting married thing or just forgoing it altogether. Which you can understand, given that they have, at that age, bigger fish to fry. Like getting a good job — or any job. In order to pay off their mountains of student loan debt. Then, when they’ve got all that more or less under control, you think they’re going to want to take it on all over again, with a big Say Yes to the Dress-type wedding? Not hardly.

3. Our boy falls into that “marriageable age” category, and is actually seeing someone who could potentially be a spouse, so I suppose I have a close-range view of that whole phenomenon. At 25, he’s in no hurry whatsoever to take that step; doesn’t feel ready for it all, and says so. By comparison, his grandfather, at age 25, had already been married for two years and had a baby. So there you go. Times change.

4. And anyway, I’m not ready to be a grandmother — although I could handle mother-in-law, I suppose — so this works out fine for all parties. Although it’s Kupuna [Grandparents] Day today for the kindergartners at The Coach’s school, and he’s having to fill in for a couple of the little ones’ absent grandparents. So I guess he’s getting some practice at it.

5. Speaking of our boy, it’s a good thing he does have a job with benefits, because he’s about to go in for minor surgery on his foot, next Tuesday. He seems pretty relaxed about the whole thing, which is quite a relief because his tendency is to be somewhat, shall we say, dramatic about anything involving needles in his personal space. I went with him the other day for his pre-op medical clearance appointment, and when the nurse suggested he get a flu shot as long as he was there, you’d have thought she’d just asked him to donate a kidney. Wimp.

6. One of my New Year’s Resolutions has to do with a better — maybe the word is regular — job with my housekeeping chores. It would be great, I thought, to hire someone to come every other week or so. But that’s not exactly in the budget, so then I had the brilliant idea of “hiring” myself to do it. I mark on my calendar the days the “cleaning lady” is supposed to be here, then I set aside those days to do all the things a real cleaning lady would do. If I had one, that is. So far this has worked exactly … once. I totally skipped it this week, but in my defense (I can’t believe I’m “defending” myself over this. So lame.), what with all the construction going on, what would be the point?

7. I’ve had it in mind to post more regularly about life in my Hawaii, as I did last October. Little ideas for topics pop into my head from time to time, but as you can see, I haven’t gotten around to it yet. (Is it just me or does this whole post seem like it has way too many run-on sentences with commas sprayed everywhere like so much, um, fertilizer? If so, sorry.) Anyway, one of my ideas came from a sort of field trip The Coach and I took to a farm last weekend. I took a bunch of pictures to show what a Hawaiian farm looks like, and how it differs from farms elsewhere. So in lieu — or in advance — of a whole post, here’s a couple shots of the crop, taro (kalo, in Hawaiian):

Taro is grown in muddy-water rice paddy type plots known as lo`i. The one on the left has been recently planted; the one on the right is more mature but not yet ready to harvest. And yes, it’s raining.

Here’s what a taro plant looks like up close. In the Hawaiian diet, the whole plant is used, from the root, which is where poi comes from, to the leaves.

Random thoughts for Friday

It feels like I’ve been drifting about this morning without a coherent thought in my head.

Unfortunately, this is the norm for me.

And I would love to post something that tells an interesting story or makes a certain point — a point! what a concept! — but at the moment I’m afraid the best I can come up with is sort of a random list.

We’ll get back to the whole point thing on another occasion. She said, hopefully.

1. I have to go to the store today to buy milk, which reminds me of a weird postcard that came in the mail yesterday. It was a legal notice, regarding a class action related to organic milk. I know, right? — Huh? Apparently there’s a suit claiming that a certain organic milk dairy, which supplies to Costco, Safeway and other retailers, “violated state consumer fraud and deceptive business practices acts,” and as a purchaser of their milk products I may be entitled to compensation.

Which gives new meaning to the term: “milk money.”

Anyway, I’m trying to figure out what this all means, and more importantly: What did they do to my milk??

2. I also got a call yesterday from my financial advisor that we have, over the years, earned “rewards points” from a certain debit card, and if we don’t use them by December 31st, we lose them. I don’t know about you, but I hate having this kind of pressure hanging over me. Or pressing down on me. Whatever. On the other hand, I think — well, more like I’m crossing my fingers — that we might have enough points for a flight to the mainland, so I’d better get on it.

3. That rewards points thing is a bit frustrating because it falls into the category of Things That I Have Time To Do And The Coach Doesn’t, Because He’s Teaching Children All Day Long And I’m Not, So It’s Easier For Me To Do It, But I Can’t Because The Account Is In His Name.

I need to figure out a shorter name for that category.

4. So Thanksgiving is looming ominously right around the corner, which I may have mentioned once or eighteen times, and I’m making progress on my grocery list but still have quite a ways to go. Like the bird, for one thing. (If I were smart, I’d pick up a few things when I am at the store later getting the hopefully-not-tainted organic milk, but that may or may not happen. Which may or may not be a reflection on my, um, smartness.)

You know what I have the hardest time with, with Thanksgiving? Not the cooking; the cleaning. It just seems endless.

And I hate to admit this kind of first world problem, but I have two refrigerators and at the moment they are both full. So I’m not sure where the Thanksgiving stuff is going to go unless I get busy clearing out the fridges. Sigh; one more thing.

5. Lately I’ve been having more what I’ve come to think of as old lady moments. Like the other morning when I woke up, creaked and groaned, and thought, “I may have overdone it a bit yesterday with the exercise.” And I hadn’t even done all that much. And you know that book of Nora Ephron’s called, “I Feel Bad About My Neck”? Let’s just say I’m getting to that point myself, neck-wise.

6. A number of years ago I “had my colors done,” you know, where they do this analysis on you and tell you what colors you should and shouldn’t wear. Turns out I should never, ever wear black. Which most of the time I’m fine with, because I don’t care much for black anyway. But there’s this one holiday party that The Coach and I attend every year that’s a little dressy, and I found this darling Little Black Dress online that I really want to buy for it, but … I’m not supposed to wear black.

Sorry; another first world dilemma there.

And side note to The Coach: I’m thinking it’s time to change your look up. The black suit? Maybe not this year.

7. I’m super excited that our girl is coming home for Thanksgiving, except for one thing: the four of us will be sharing a bathroom. Ever since the Great Master Bath Shower Disaster of three or four months ago (story for another time), The Coach and I have been using the kids’ bathroom down the hall. Then our boy moved back in, which made three of us sharing, and by next week it will be four. Four full grown adults. And all their products.

Another side note to The Coach: this bathroom remodeling project? Is it ever going to happen?

8. Now for a little weather update: Today is the first day that it kind of feels like fall here. It’s a bit overcast, but not raining, there’s a nice cool breeze — just a tiny indication that we might be in for something other than sweltering, for a change.

9. Have you ever noticed that the people who go on and on about how we all must be more tolerant, and not stand for intolerance wherever it rears its ugly head — are really kind of like, um, bullies about it? Just sayin’.

10. It bothers me a little that I haven’t posted anything with a picture since I finished the 31 Days thing a couple weeks ago. I don’t necessarily have anything I can think of to show you, though, so I’m just going to throw up this random shot from my photo library, of a sunrise in Fiji:

Doesn’t have anything to do with anything, but it’s pretty, no?

Have a great weekend!