Archive for October, 2010

The final score: a perfect ten


2010
10.30

A perfect ten.  I’m talking grandkids. With the arrival of Samuel Mark Jefferson Davies on October 28, we went from an excellent nine to a perfect ten.

This is how our grandkids go: junior in high school; sophomore in high school; freshman in high school; two in eighth grade; fifth grader; first grader; kindergartner; three-year-old, and newborn.  Quite a spread.  Thinking back to the first grandchild means thinking back 16 years.  How is that possible?  When Ali was born, her mom was still in college so we babysat Ali LOTS.  Finishing college was a priority; at least it was a priority for us that our daughter finish.

Ali was a wonderment. Mark and I would hold her and watch every little move.  We’d ask each other, “Did our kids do that?” If she fell asleep in my arms, I sat with her, no matter how uncomfortable it got.  Our patience was endless.  Then Sarah was born. She was just a little Jennifer – we saw so much of our oldest daughter in her right away.  Kim was next with her second.  The oldest and youngest daughter traded off.  After Daxton, it was Jen’s turn again and she had twins, Sophie and Joe.  There was a three-year pause until Kim had #3, Xavier.  Daughter’s #1 and #3 were finished.

And then came Karen, daughter #2. So exciting when Annabelle was born.  Then Jackson came along quickly – pretty hard having babies a year apart.  And the Colorado adventure commenced.  They moved and all of a sudden some of our grandkids were out of state!  We had the Bakersfield Six and the Colorado Three.

Three years ago I was out here for Cooper’s birth.  Taking care of a two and three-year-old was tiring.  A few days ago, along came Sam, and taking care of a six, five and three-year-old is not nearly as tiring.

I do have a way of complicating things, however.  I plan activities. Weeks ago I sent out a box full of fabric paint, glitter glue, Halloween candy, and assorted other decorations so we could decorate trick-or-treat bags. I sent out Halloween cupcake papers and paper umbrellas so we could make cupcakes.

Karen and Sam beat me.

My kids and I are pretty good at popping babies out, and they all weigh 8+ pounds.  Except the twins of course- they were smaller.

Sam arrived on the 28th and I got here on the 29th.  Steve picked me up at the airport in Grand Junction and we all went to the hospital to pick up Karen and Sam.  Annabelle, Jackson, and Cooper got their first look.

Jackson is scrambling – he must be headed towards Karen’s lap.

Abbo and Jacks took a closer look, and Abbo made a pronouncement: “He’s a girl.”

We’re pretty sure that by now she’s decided he indeed is a boy.

Abbo was still focused on Sam, and Steve had him ready to go home.  But Jackson got excited, so he ran around the room holding his pants up.

He thought this was the most incredibly funny thing ever.  Listening to his joyous laughter, we couldn’t help but laugh too.  I tell you, as the mom of three girls, boys are a different breed. When Joseph and I had our first tea party he was two. And when we were done, he threw his cup against the wall.  The girls never did that. The girls never did things like Jackson, either.

So we came home to Paonia.  And today being the day before Halloween, we did our Halloween activities.

First, decorating bags for trick or treating. Gads, setting up everything for the bag decorating was like herding cats.  Sit still, no, don’t touch, hang on, wait until we’re ready.  We’re ready.  Finally.

Abbo is a first-grader and she understands glue.  Cooper watched and then started gluing herself.

But none of that boring white glue for Cooper – nope, she used glitter glue, not quite understanding that she was supposed to use glitter glue on top for decoration.  Whatever – I didn’t bother to try to get her to change.  She was having fun.

Jackson concentrates intensely when he paints.

I had some googly eyes, and Jack realized it would be funny if he held them to his eyes.

Abbo loved that idea.

When Abbo concentrates, she sticks her tongue out, so her upper lip is chapped.  Plus she’s lost a tooth, has another growing in, so along with the googly eyes, she is quite a sight.

Sam made an appearance.

The finished products:

They turned out lots better than I expected.

Moving on to cupcakes.  I sent the kids into their room for quiet time while I baked the cupcakes.  The kids were decorating, not baking, and that meant eating frosting.

So that was that.

Yeah, I knew it was silly to buy pointy things to stick in the cupcakes, but I’ve always loved those little umbrellas.  Karen made an appearance and put one in her drink.

All in all, the day was a success.  Tomorrow I’m taking Abbo to Montrose to get her some winter school clothes, and then Monday it’s school.  How different it will be with both Abbo and Jacks at school all day!

Right now, the wind is howling, there’s a smattering of rain, and the air is cool.  Winter is coming to Colorado.  All the more reason to get snuggly inside with the Colorado FOUR!

The Feast at Lele


2010
10.26

We had a choice: Old Lahaina Luau or the Feast at Lele?  Lele is the old Hawaiian name for Lahaina. Both top notch reputations, but the Feast at Lele focuses on the food, so of course it was a no-brainer.  Gosh, it’s worth a flight to Maui plus the $110 cost to do this one again.  The brochure describes it like this, and it’s spot on: Featuring a sit-down dinner of five epicurean courses from the Pacific island nations of Aotearoa, Tahiti, Samoa, as well as Hawaii, the Feast at Lele is a royal tour of the cuisine of Polynesia sharing the spotlight with music and dance from these four Pacific Islands.

The chef, James McDonald, has two highly-rated restaurants in Maui plus his own farm in Central Maui so he can grow his ingredients.  Fresh is as fresh as it gets. So we headed to the beach.

The setting for this is beyond fantastic.  You enter, are given a lei and Mai Tai and shown to your table.  Since there are two of us, we had a table for two.

Parties are seated together so you don’t sit in rows with strangers. We were second row from the front, but the tables are arranged such that everyone can see the entertainment perfectly.  However, had I known, I would have tried to get a front row table for photography reasons.  Every picture I took was governed by the people in front of me as well as the light, which would have been just that much better in front.

All my photos had to fit between these two people.

We faced the ocean with a long wooden stage in front of us.  Immediately we knew this would be a superb experience.  We had two waiters, one for food and another for beverages.  The bar was open – we could have as much as we wanted of anything.  We chose the wine pairings with the courses, but I wish I could have tried each one of the specialty drinks.  They would have brought them if I’d asked, but…maybe I should have.  There were so many pretty ones!

First – Hawaii.  The food: Kalua Pork slow roasted in an underground oven and shredded; Pohole fern shoots and Hearts of Palm salad; seared island fish served with a mango sauce and tropical fruit salsa.

I cannot tell you how exquisite each course was. Mark laughs at me – he doesn’t care much about food, and when he sees me transported he thinks it’s funny.  He’s also bewildered about how I can savor every bite.

The entertainment began as two men walked out from each side – of course in costume and character – met in the center, blew the conch shell, and then walked off toward the ocean.  Geez.  Atmosphere. The woman who narrated was beautifully lyrical.  There were three or four dances, men and women apart and together, hulas, costumes.  I was in nirvana.

The Narrator

First performance - Hawaii

First set - Hawaii

First set - Hawaii

We were not rushed.  The second course took us to Aotearoa – the old name for New Zealand, and focused on the Maori.  Here’s the second course: sea bean duck salad with poha berry dressing; kuka patties: fishcake with salmon, mussels and scallops served with a manuka honey corn relish; harore kumara: roasted mushrooms, orange sweet potato, onions and garlic.  Again, I savored every bite as Mark looked warily at the mushrooms and fish patties.

Second set - Maori

The Maori have facial tattoos called moko that were used to symbolize one’s genealogy and personal identity.  The costumes and makeup for this section were exquisite.  The men did the Haka, a war dance that was used to intimidate enemies.  They stuck out their tongues so far to look fierce that I thought I was watching Kiss.  The women danced, again to perfection.

Next we went to Tahiti. Fafa: steamed chicken and taro leaf in coconut milk; eiota: poisson cru, or marinated fish; scallops on the shell.  I still am savoring the light, subtle coconut taste in the steamed chicken.  And I so trusted this chef that I threw my fish hesitations away and ate ceviche for the first time.  And loved it.  But about that coconut milk taste – I really truly can remember the exact taste.  Perhaps because it was so light and subtle, which I am not, so sometimes forget about its effect. A  reminder that less can be better than more.  I usually operate under “if some is good, more is better.”

Third set - Tahiti

Tahitian dance is inexplicable – it may take physics to understand it.  Of course, I cannot hula hoop, so watching the women wildly swing their hips while their upper bodies stay still leaves me speechless.

The Tahitian dancers at The Feast at Lele were costumed and made up to perfection.  I could not believe the night I was having!

Finally, it came down to Samoa.  Palusami: breadfruit cooked with young taro leaf in coconut cream; supansui: grilled steak served with a soy, ginger and guava glaze; fresh shrimp with avocado and papaya in a passion fruit dressing.  I was still exclaiming at every new taste and Mark was still bewildered.  How could food be so exciting? The Samoan dancing was very rhythmic with lots of hand slapping, and then there were lyrical dances.

Could this be coming to an end?  I couldn’t have eaten much more so I suppose it had to.  But we could have had an eating break and started again!

Dessert – caramel macadamia nut tart; papaya coconut haupia pudding; fresh tropical fruits; and vintage chocolate truffle served with an excellent port.  And, on my plate, happy birthday was written in chocolate syrup.  (I think I must have told everyone it was my birthday when I made advance reservations because I got several more greetings.) There were last Hawaiian dances, and then it was gone.

Last Hawaiian dances plus closing fire dance

It was over.  I could have done it again the next night.  Did I say how exquisite all the food was? And the entertainment? I could not believe the night I had just had.  I have more incredible meals to talk about later, but nothing could match this.

Coming next – Beaches and a slack key guitar concert

Rainbows, fish and sunset sails


2010
10.26

Rainbows and fishes


Every day in Maui – every single day – we saw a rainbow.  We awoke to one of the most beautiful rainbows ever, and it was so accommodating that I even got a good photo on my Blackberry, which has a tiny camera.  ‘Twas an auspicious start to the day that we would go to Maui Ocean Center Aquarium with Susan, Mike and family.  We’d already been to their condo the night before for the first of two parties Susan gave.  They had over 80 people come to Maui for Becky’s wedding, and Susan prepared her usual magnificent food for whoever had already arrived.  We also celebrated Mike’s birthday – and mine.

Back to the aquarium.  It’s a lovely, small aquarium that showcases the local fish.  It’s quite manageable in size and has a restaurant and the best gift shop we saw.  In fact, I did all my shopping there.  The fish are so colorful and every little detail of each fish is so astonishing you wonder how it could be possible.  All these fish are just off-shore, 100 feet out, and people snorkel like crazy.

If I didn’t have a fish phobia, I’d be out there snorkeling every day.

I really got a kick out of these three fish peeking around the corner.  I know it’s just his gills, but couldn’t you swear that the middle fish was smiling?

There was a walk-through tunnel but I had to zoom out of it.  I got so dizzy! Did get some great shots of the rays on the way through.

So we had a splendid time and headed to Lahaina for our sunset cruise.

On the water

The fish phobia is unfortunate, because I like being on the ocean as much as I like anything.  I love to sail, and I booked us on a Mai Tai Sunset Cruise with Paragon  We motored out, got the sails up, and I lay down on the trampoline-part of the catamaran –  the rubber pad – and pretended I was young, thin, all plastic-surgery perfected, beautiful in a perfect bikini with good looking men around me as I sunned casually on the Mediterranean.  Really, I did think that, but I didn’t spend much time on it.

The Mai Tais were weak – was there any liquor at all?  But then, on a relatively small boat, they wouldn’t want tipsy people propelling themselves off the sides, so I understand. I did what I like best.  As we hit the trade winds (I just love saying “trade winds”) I stood in front with the wind whipping my hair, the ocean splashing me – and I did get wet – and it was exhilarating.

It was a glorious sail.  Instead of the sunset, here it is reflected off the mountains.

Maui Tropical Plantation and Iao State Park

The next day was more a miss than a hit.  Susan wanted to go to Maui Tropical Plantation, where she’d been before and had an excellent experience, so the family members who were present, plus us, went to Central Maui and hit the tram.

It was so dull – the coconut husking demonstration was interesting, learning about the plants was good, but all the other things the tour book promised, and that Susan saw in the past, did not happen.

The lei-making demo, the pineapple-cutting demo and so forth.  But they had a good restaurant and we ate.  In the photo are Susan Kern and her first grandchild, Ruthie.

The other gang headed back because four-month old Ruthie was pretty much directing their schedule, but Mark and I went up to Iao State Park.  It’s very green and lush and has a feature called The Needle which is iconic.  What it really is described as is the phallic stone of Kanaloa, the Hawaiian god of the ocean.

Interesting plant stuff we learned

Banana trees are really a flowering plant.  Each stalk, or tree, produces one bunch and dies.  More stalks could grow from the base of the plant.

Coconut Each coconut has a pattern on an end that the demonstrators called a monkey face.  I think they said the best place to insert something sharp to get at the milk is the ‘nose’ but don’t quote me.  Only the young, green coconuts are used for pipas – the coconut with the straw in it for drinking.  I just love pipas.

Sugar cane:  It takes three canes to make a cube of sugar.  The plants are harvested by burning the fields to get rid of the dry leaves; the canes are left and then cut off.  They have to be processed relatively quickly or they lose sugar content.

Macadamia nuts: It takes 300 pounds of pressure per square inch to crack a macadamia nut!

Shave Ice at Tom’s Mini Mart


I was ecstatic.  Turned out we were in the general area of Tom’s Mini Mart, where the guide book had promised me the best shave ice in Maui.  Shave ice is fantastic.  It sounds like it should be called “shaved ice,” but mostly the “ed” is left off.  It’s not a snow cone.  It’s ice as light as snowflakes with such flavorful syrups poured over it, a scoop of ice cream in the bottom (sometimes you have to ask), and it never gets hard and icy.  I was determined to find Tom’s.  The navigation gods were with us because somehow we found the town and the store although we had no map or GPS system.  It was in a little average to run-down neighborhood and the name barely showed, but there were lots of people on the sidewalk eating shave ice.  Now I’ve heard that Tom’s Mini Mart has been on the food channel, so I’m glad we went to the extra trouble to find it.

Coming next – The Feast at Lele

The Forbidden Road and Pineapple Wine


2010
10.25

Ignoring Advice

Being somewhat adventurous, we took the advice of our Ka’anapoli (we actually stayed in Ka’anapoli, up the road from Lahaina) condo owner and took the back road to return to Lahaina.  She said the car companies do not want you to drive that road because of the primitive conditions, but if you are daring enough to risk a break-down with no help, take the road – it’s not that bad.  And it wasn’t.  It was sparse.

That side of Maui, the south end and lower west coast, is basically desert.

The ocean was still there and it was still blue, but not as stunning as the Hana side.

A couple of wild goats ran across the road in front of us, chukars were running about, and we passed ranches, cattle in the road, a natural lava arch,

cinder cones – or something that looked like a cinder cone,

as well as wind-blown cliffs and lava flows.  We did have one particularly interesting stretch of road, at least in its configuration.

It wasn’t possible to drive completely around so we ended up heading up country and running into the Tedeschi Winery.

Pineapple Wine

Yep, Maui has a winery and produces pineapple wine.  They also produce a few varietals that they mix right there with grapes from California.  So that wasn’t very exotic.  But we tasted several varieties of the pineapple wine as well as bubbly, and a couple were quite good.

Up Country

Up Country is one of the regions Maui is divided into.  We were on Kula Highway and there were several places I wanted to see there, but we couldn’t find them, weren’t looking too hard, and we were tired.  The lure of those lawn chairs at the sea wall was getting stronger and we went home.  Home to our little Ka’anapoli Condo.  We’ll have more Up Country coming when we go to the crater.

Pa’ia

We did need lunch, however, before returning because were hungry and Kula Highway brought us out by the airport.  A sign said Pa’ia was only four miles so we headed there for lunch at the Pa’ia Fish Market Restaurant, which was recommended by Cristina, nephew Kent’s wife.  Good meal, walked the streets, went back.

Pa’ia has coast on one side and sugar cane fields on the other.  Central Maui is full of sugar cane fields.

“Home”

Gosh, it felt good to get on my swimsuit, sit by the sea, dip in the pool.  Mark enjoyed it too – my non-aquatic husband.  I’ve turned into the kind of woman who doesn’t mind if strangers see my flabby arms, drooping flesh, pasty legs,  bumps and bruises. And I have all that and more.  Not sure I want my friends and family to see me that way, but they probably have a pretty good idea of what I look like anyhow.   That’s how it is.  At least my feet look OK.

Coming up –  sunset sails, aquariums, and more

Hana Town and Beyond


2010
10.24

My Shorts

Before we set out the next morning to explore Hana and environs, my husband asked, “Are your shorts on frontwise?”

Or something like that.  I looked, assured him that the front of the shorts was in front and realized that I’d become someone willing to wear shorts in front of strangers because darn it, it was more comfortable.  And cooler.  At the end of the hike, I realized I had become someone who could tell front from back, but not inside out from right side out.  Yes, I did the entire hike with my shorts on inside out, seams flapping.

Haleakala National Park, Kipahulu section.

The main area of the park encompasses the volcano, and this area is connected – you just have to reach it from the Hana side.  We started early for a two-mile uphill hike to Waimoku Falls, a 400-foot drop.  It was on this trail, the Pipiwai Trail, that we encountered another highlight of the trip.

The Bamboo Forest

Completely unexpectedly, we crossed a bridge and entered at least a half mile of bamboo forest.

Dense stands of bamboo that blocked the sun.

Gusts of wind made the entire forest sound like wind chimes.  This place was insane. Not possible.  But there it was.  We walked the entire distance in awe, really, and on the return, it went by all too quickly.  We did reach Waimoku Falls, which were nice, but if full of water would have been jaw-dropping.

Along this walk there are many steep cliffs and the park is quite adamant about people sticking to the trail.  Red signs warn Danger, Steep Cliff, Fatal Drop.  No mincing words there.

We were tired.  We – I – wanted to stop at Ohe’o Gulch to swim and splash in the Seven Sacred Pools, but you know how it is sometimes? What you wanted all of a sudden doesn’t seem so important because after all, you could just look at it later or read about it?  The four-mile hike and the sun made us too tired to stop here at the Seven Sacred Pools, which are neither sacred nor seven, but the name sticks.  Above the bridge, there are over 20 little pools alone.  Plenty of people were splashing around in one pool or another, and I wished them well and wished me some lunch and rest.

Hana Town

Can’t stay down for long.  We headed into Hana Town with no particular goal in mind, but ended up just following the coastline as far as we could.  We did try to go to an arboretum but it turned out to be closed.  On the way, we passed a sign for the Blue Pool, which is something that people want to see apparently.  But it’s on private property and the owner can get pretty ruffled if people trespass, so we did not.  We had been warned. So back to the beach.

Waianapanapa State Park

This is a do-not-miss-under-any-circumstances place. There is a black sand beach here that is gorgeous, if small.

We walked down, Mark stood in the water – he does not often venture into water other than the shower – and I just gaped at the blue colors.

I was too conscious of salt water being the kiss of death for cameras to go in water. I fried one camera that way.

Palm trees, the greenest of green vegetation, turquoise water, a natural arch, and a crescent-shaped black sand beach are almost too much to take in.  It is enough to make me emotional right now writing about it.

We walked around and there was a cemetery, very old, Honokalani Cemetery, where Hawaiian ancestors are buried.  People were tent-camping right next to the cemetery, which is outlined in lava rocks as they all are.

Finally, a pipa

I’ve been wanting a pipa since 2005 in Costa Rica.  It’s a young, green coconut that is husked and a straw is inserted so you can drink the liquid which is clear and refreshing.  We saw a stand, I bought a pipa, and we rested in a shady area before continuing our beach exploration.  We found Hana Bay – a little beach park with a calm bay for swimming, scads of locals picnicking and generally spending the afternoon relaxing.  We followed the coast further and found a little red sand beach

next to Koki Beach at Hamoa Village.

A sign there says, Aloha, visitor.  This beach is dangerous.  Countless drownings and near drownings occur. Please be safe.  Ask our local surfers advice. Do not swim alone. I think that’s the key – ask the locals who seem to know where to swim and when it’s safe.

End of the Road

We could go no further so we returned to Hale Manu to barbecue steak for dinner.

We sat on the porch and watched the ocean, lit the tiki torches, had wine, and received countless little mosquito bites that weren’t quite so little the next day.  We even had repellent on but it’s really old.  We kept it because there is no expiration date, but I do believe it has expired.  We watched the geckos – little bitty ones who ran up the walls and across the living room floor.  We went to bed.

The next day we would take the Road FROM Hana to head back to our little condo.  Meanwhile, here are a couple of astounding pictures of the beaches around Hana.  I say astounding not for the quality of the photography, but for the sheer beauty of the colors and the water.

Comments Off on The Road to Heaven – I mean Hana

The Road to Heaven – I mean Hana


2010
10.21

We planned a couple of nights in Hana, which is on the bottom east corner of the island.  The Road to Hana is reputed to be difficult, with 54 bridges, narrow lanes and so on.  In fact, at the slack key guitar concert we went to later in the trip, one of the songs was 54 Bridges to Hana Town.  And I’d been hearing comments like these:

I can’t believe you’re going to drive that road.

I would never do that road again.

There’s really not that much to do.

Be sure you don’t have a big car because the road is so small.

That road is scary, really scary.

 

It went on and on.  How did I know what to believe? The travel guides Fodors and Lonely Planet offered opinions, but I’ve concluded that travel guides err on the side of caution.  Truthfully, I was getting a bit apprehensive because I don’t like heights and steep cliffs and it was sounding scarier and scarier.  But we were committed.

I was still turning the car situation over in my mind, and since we had to go right by the airport to get to Hana Highway, we stopped at Budget.  Long story and long discussion short – we left in a wonderful orange Jeep Wrangler, one of their most upscale cars, but we got it at our original price.

Mark with the jeep

Off to Hana!  Excited about it.  I had combined two guide books so what one didn’t have, the other would.  But oh how we miss Rick Steves.  Wish he covered the United States, not just Europe.

The road is full of curves and the bridges are very short – basically fording water drainage areas.  And the first “sight” is Twin Falls.  We didn’t walk up because the book said it was five minutes, the people coming down said it was 20, but there wasn’t much water mainly. It had been a low water year, and the falls elicited a reaction more like, “Oh, some water coming over a cliff,” not wide-eyed disbelief that such a creation exists.  But this is what the book said.  “Keep your eye out for the fruit stand just after mile marker 2.  Stop here and treat yourself to some fresh sugar cane juice.”

Twin Falls Fruit Stand

Who am I to ignore that? So at the little snack stand I got a cold cup of sugar cane juice.  Delicious. The canes of the plant themselves are smashed through a juicer thing and liquid emerges.  Since it’s not refined sugar, it isn’t so sweet.  Refreshing, actually.

Heading onward, we encountered many stopped cars and a man with six or so parrots.  He charged $20 for pictures and used the money for some bird refuge program.  Whatever it was for, we did it and it was lots of fun.  He slung those birds around by the beak or feet and they didn’t blink.  Or squawk.  And we have fun photos.

Waikamoi Nature Trail was the next stop.  This side of the island is rain forest so the trees host many epiphytes and lianas.  Not so lush as Monte Verde or Tortuguera in Costa Rica, but there were tropical flowers – those amazing, waxy-looking, strangely-shaped blooms.

I had visions of us stopping at waterfalls and little pools and getting wet, which we mostly did not.  Might have been different in a wet year.  But Mark did get knee-deep in one pool the guide book called little-known and hard to find, and it was.  Haipua’ena Falls was a slick walk up rocks, but I am nothing if not persistent, and we found it.

Sensory Overload

The ocean.  It is BLUE on that side of the island, blue like you can’t believe is real.  Eye-popping, with equally green greens growing on the hillsides.  We stopped at various places for photos, but this is not a stopping type of road.  By each bridge there are places for three or four cars to pull over but that’s about it.  Yet I couldn’t stop taking pictures.  This was a definite highlight of the trip, seeing this coastline.

What we call Rest Stops, Hawaii calls Wayside Parks.  We stopped at Kaumahina State Wayside Park for lunch and it was not fun.  Too many flies or something similar.  Payoff for lush green rain forest – insects.  But there was a view of the stunning blue ocean, and the rest of the road really fits that phrase “beyond description.”  How do you describe something beyond description?

Honomanu Bay was accessible from a small road that may not have been passable had it been raining, but we zipped right down.

This bay is used mostly by local fishermen and surfers.  On calm days snorkeling may be possible, but Maui isn’t a place where you can just stop at any beach and jump in.  There are strong currents, turbulence, rips, and submerged rocks and hazards, and although there are surfers just about everywhere, I wouldn’t jump in the water without knowing it’s safe or in an obvious place where tons of people are swimming.  We walked around on the rocky black-sand beach, dipped our feet in the water, and went to what proved to be one of the highlights of the trip, which was…

Ke’anae and the Arboretum

Halfway to Hana. Took a turn down to this village looking for some banana bread.  Yep, all along the road to Hana, banana bread is for sale at little stands.  They grow lots of apple bananas in the region and somehow this banana bread thing got started.  The Fodor’s Guide said the best was in Ke’anae so we went to find the Ke’anae Landing Fruit Stand. Almost missed it because the name was so small – the letters you could really see said Aunty Sandy’s Banana Bread.  It was so excellent, and we tried others along the way that did not begin to compare, some we couldn’t even finish and threw away.  This was worth it.  Sandra Hueu makes 160 loaves of banana bread a day, using 400 pounds of bananas a week.

This little town has about 30 residents who are able to fish, farm, and almost be sustainable in their food. Could you live on a little peninsula with 30 other people?  Yes is the answer because the coast is the reward.  I defy anyone to get tired of looking at the waves splashing against the rocks, the different colors in the water.

There’s a little church down there with of course a cemetery and the residents take care of it.  It’s called Lanakila ‘Ihi ihi o lehove Ona Kaua and was built of lava and coral in 1860, just as we on the mainland were embroiled in civil war.  A tidal wave hit this area in 1946 and the church was the only building left standing.

We crossed the street to Ke’anae Beach Park.  Mesmerizing.  The water is definitely not for swimming as it’s full of sharp lava, but oh my the color.  We could hardly pull ourselves out of Ke’anae.  That would mean stopping looking at the infinite variety of waves and color in the ocean. Oh well.  Time to go.

We stopped at a bridge to look down at Ching’s Pond – formed by the stream that feeds the Ke’anae Peninsula.  I don’t know how people got down there, but there were several swimming holes with folks splashing away, and even young boys diving from the bridge.  Which did not look like a very good idea.  Surely, though, they’d done it before and know the territory.

We found we were not done with Ke’anae after all when we stopped at the most amazing place …

The Ke’anae Arboretum

If we had not stopped here, we would not have known there is an Australian tree called the painted eycalyptus.  My goodness.  The trees are tall and skinny with branches just near the top, but the bark – it’s colored in shades of green, red, gold, rust, yellow, orange – as if an artist had painted it. I could grow old looking at that bark in wonderment for hours at a time.

I seriously would like to look at that bark so I have sent an inquiry to a nursery who sells them, even though we are the completely wrong climate.  I can’t begin to describe how inadequate the photos are.

Journey On

I think we were getting tired, because we seem to have missed Wailua, where there is a blue and white chapel built with coral left on the beach from a freak storm.  We did stop for the Three Bears Falls, which was the best we saw.  We parked in the area that said No Parking at any Time because that’s where people were parked.  We were also advised not to stand or sit on the wall.  We did lean against it, however.  That was not prohibited.

We also missed Pua’a ka’a State Wayside Park (which means “rolling pig”).  Had we stopped and walked a short bit we could have found two pools to splash in.  The idea of combining two tour books was not so great in retrospect because I missed these things flipping back and forth.  I should have typed it out myself – at least the mile markers and list of places I wanted to see,  and I wouldn’t have missed these two pools.

Nahiku

This is a roadside collection of fruit stands, a coffee house, a couple of “restaurants” and a gift shop, but it gets its own name. There are some residences somewhere because the population is 80. We did stop – Mark needed coffee, I needed a restroom, and we were beat.  We may have set a record for taking the most time to drive the Road to Hana.  Some folks we ran into were round-tripping it, but I don’t see how that is possible.  You certainly couldn’t stop at all the little places we did.  And we stopped more than I mentioned – anywhere there might be something to see.

Hale Manu, our guesthouse

We reached Hana Town and zipped right through because the place we rented was a couple of miles beyond.  It’s a two-bedroom guest house and as we walked in, Hawaiian music was playing and there were little flowers everywhere.  Wow! But then not so much wow as we found the lighting too dim to read by and the furniture quite uncomfortable.  We heated up the leftover Costco pepperoni pizza, had a glass of wine, and called it a journey.

Here today, gone to Maui


2010
10.20

Hawaii, October 2010

Hawaii: One of those places you hear about all the time, but never quite zero in on.  At least I never did.  But I will take any chance to travel, and along came a wedding invitation for Becky Kern – in Maui! Bless those folks who conceived of “destination” weddings.  Becky is Susan Kern’s daughter.  Mike Zelinski, her step-dad, was a fellow Peace Corps volunteer in Oujda, Morocco with us from 1971 to 1973, and we’ve stayed in touch since.

So, besides the fact that I’ve always enjoyed Susan Kern, who writes the funniest stories, and that we’ve met the family at Disneyland, have gone to Ashland, OR with Susan and Mike, and had the four of them (Becky has a brother, Josh) visit us in Bakersfield, now we could celebrate Becky’s wedding in Maui.  A year before the event, we were in.

The hard part is planning.  Mark and I operate under the assumption that while we’d like to be relaxed and play the whole thing by ear, we know we probably won’t be back because there is so much world to see.  So we have to plan to a point.  This trip turned out to be well planned, but it was last minute.  The only thing I did early was air tickets and condo rental. Guidebooks – I started the weekend before we left.  I seem to be incredibly busy although a list of my activities wouldn’t sound so very time-consuming, but I really opened my Maui travel guide, one I had purchased a year ago, the weekend before we went.

October 6, 2010

It’s Wednesday, and for the first time we don’t have to get up at 4:00 AM to be at the Bakersfield Airport at 5:00 AM.  We only have to arrive at 10:30, fly to San Francisco, make a connection an hour later, and board the five-hour flight to Hawaii.  All in the daytime.  We arrive before dark.  Amazing.

Car rental companies – oh joy

Baggage arrives, hooray. We take the shuttle to Budget rent-a-car and find out, as usual, that the type of car we rented is not available even though we’ve had the reservation for months.  But rental cars are such a racket.  First thing the rental lady does, before she tells us our request is not available, is ask us if we’d like to upgrade to a bigger car?  No, we wouldn’t.  We reserved the Ford Escape or a like vehicle because that’s the type of car we wanted to drive.  So no, we don’t want to upgrade.  Would we like the insurance? No we would not.  Car lady gets a slightly worried, caring look that she has perfected, and says surely we want to get the lesser insurance at least, so we can have roadside assistance.  No we would not.  I mean, the company provides roadside assistance as part of the whole rental deal!  We are not her favorite customers now, because she isn’t making much of a commission off of us.

So she calls for the car, and wonder of wonders, there are none available of the type we wanted.  She has to upgrade us at the same cost as the lesser vehicle.  As if she didn’t know that at the very beginning!  So we are in a Dodge Journey or something like that and it’s more like a station wagon than a van even – sort of a squashed van.  We aren’t sitting high up like in the Escape and I honestly can barely see over the dashboard.  I’m not happy at all and on the drive to Lahaina, where we are staying, I turn this car thing over in my mind.

There is a Costco right by the airport, so we stopped there to buy water in quantity, Gatorade, and a few other things that would be cheaper there, and proceeded to the condo.

Maui

One of the Hawaiian Islands, Maui is not very big.  From one road you can see the ocean both ways.    Before 450 BC, Maui was settled by three waves of immigration: two from the Marquesas and one, a little later, from Tahiti.  The governing structure broke into a system of chiefdoms, one for each of three sections.  This coalesced into kingdoms until November 28, 1778, when Captain Cook saw the islands.  He actually never set foot on them, but he did see them.  The first European was a Frenchman, La Perouse.  I’ll talk about that later.  Anyhow, things went downhill from there from the point of view of native Hawaiians, and in fact, one of our greatest gifts – disease- almost finished off the Hawaiian population.

The islands went through the typical continuum from conquest to the introduction of Christianity to building up of government and industry, and in Maui’s case, tourism.  During the development of the sugar cane and pineapple industries, workers were imported from Japan and other Asian countries.

Now Maui is divided into six sections, and we got to know all but the northernmost coast of West Maui.  West Maui has a zillion resorts, gorgeous coastline, and the town of Lahaina is there.  We stayed in Ka’anapali and the only reason for our choice was the proximity to the Ritz Carlton where the wedding would be held.

Other sections

There are two sets of mountains, and between them is Central Maui.  It’s very commercial and industrial – I suppose it can’t all be paradise.  The South Shore has upscale resorts plus Big Beach, also to be mentioned later.  The North Shore has small towns and surfing beaches.  East Maui is a rain forest, and that’s where Hana is.  The feel of life is quite different there.  Upcountry is volcano country.  Farms and ranches are here. So it’s pretty simple, and when I say we got to know the entire island, I don’t mean we were in every town but we knew the structure and where we were going.

My Biggest Impression


Maui is small.  For some reason known only to my mind, I kept returning to the thought that the island was a very tiny speck in the great ocean.  That seemed significant in ordering our place in the universe.

Our condo

I found a condo on VRBO – Vacation Rentals by Owner, which I’ve used successfully several times before.  I couldn’t afford the super plush places but I did want to be on the water.  About a week before we left, the owner emailed me and said she thought we should know the balconies were going to be reconstructed while we were there and there would be lots of noise during the day.  I told her that it seemed like we were stuck, even though noise is one of my least favorite things.  She offered us her condo at Papakea Resort for the same price, which was very nice.  We took it.  J-104.

We arrived in the dark, so all the directions about passing the new Westin Ocean Resort, counting three lights from there, going past the pink building that used to be the Embassy Resorts – well, they were rather useless.  We did manage to find it.  You know how it is when you arrive tired and hungry? I stuck the Costco pizza in the oven and we settled in.  I didn’t think I was liking it but kept telling myself to wait until morning and I could see things.  It was hot, too, since the condo had been closed up all day.

Day One – we visit Lahaina

Morning came and it turned out that right outside our patio door there is a koi pond that has an amazing variety of water lilies.  There are some where the lily pads have little sides that turn up, like little rims.  And looking farther, we could see the ocean.

Looking out the door, this is what I see.

Amazing lily "plates"

I think I’ll call the above  lily pads, lily plates.  And how about this next?

I could have been in France.  Where’s Monet when you need him?

So that’s my lily pond, and here is my beach.

Those shadows are Mark and I looking at the clear water.  We also relax at our beach.  In fact, We’re on the first floor, which I usually don’t like because it isn’t very private, but soon decide it’s so much nicer to just walk out the door without messing with elevators or stairs.  It makes it quicker to walk a few yards and relax.  And relax we did, sitting on lounge chairs doing nothing.  Well, Mark napped, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the ocean.

Our beach

And one other thing about this condo – the furniture is comfortable, as are the beds.  We’ve stayed in places where there was nothing comfortable at all to sit on.  Plus, here we could see.  Some property owners have taken low lighting to a new (lower) level.

We want to take it easy the first day, so we drive down the road to Lahaina to do the walking tour.  And the first thing I see is Hilo Hatties!  Hooray – it’s awfully hard to find Hawaiian shirts in my size so this was a propitious start to the trip. Hilo Hatties has the biggest selection of Hawaiian clothing anywhere.  But Hilo Hatties has more than clothes.  Did you know that Hawaii has the largest per capita consumption of Spam?   I draw the line at Spam macadamia nuts.

There are no knock-out drop dead sights in Lahaina, but there are a number of interesting ones.  The Wo Hing Museum was built in 1912 and originally served as a meeting hall for a Chinese benevolent society.  Hawaii is a jumble of nationalities and Chinese immigrants are among them.  There is a tin-roofed cookhouse on the property where they continuously run movies by Thomas Edison – yes, shortly after he invented the movie camera he came to Hawaii and shot film in 1898 and 1906.  It’s grainy but what a good record of early Hawaii.

It was hot and humid but I learned my lesson in Florida and I drank lots of water.  It certainly wasn’t as hot and horrible as Florida, either.  In fact, we stopped noticing the weather at all.  It was 84 almost every day.  It was perfect.  The water was the same as the air – we could walk right into the pool or the ocean without even a twinge.

We walked to Waine’e Church – the first stone church in Hawaii, built in 1832.  Over the years it was rebuilt due to the belfry collapsing, fires, and storms, but the 1953 version  seems to be there for the duration.  The cemetery was interesting.  We didn’t see the most important graves because a wedding was in progress and they were taking photos on the lawn, but what we wanted to see was the grave of Queen Ke’opuolani, the wife of Kamehameha the Great, and the mother of kings Kamehameha II and III.

I like old cemeteries because looking at the headstones is like piecing together history.  You can see patterns of illness, how often babies died in the early days, how life expectancy changed, and so on.  For example, this person lived to 104 which must be unusual for that time period.

And so far in Lahaina and Hana, we have seen cemeteries literally everywhere – behind houses, in parks, at beaches, and many are in rubble because of erosion over the years.  The Puupiha Cemetery, built actually in sand dunes by a local beach, has suffered some rearrangement as you can imagine.  The actual name is Man Fook Tong Chinese Cemetery.

Birthing in the ocean

Down by the waterfront we saw the Hauola Stone.  It’s in the water and looks like a chair (using your imagination), but the ancient Hawaiians attributed healing powers to this stone, so royal women, back in the 14th and 15th centuries, gave birth there.  I wonder, did they time the births to low tide?  See if you can pick out the Hauola Stone.  It’s there – center back.

Also of interest, to me anyway, was the Lahaina Jodo Mission – a Buddhist mission that has the largest bronze Buddha outside of Japan.  Installed in 1968, it celebrated the centennial of Japanese immigration to Hawaii.

The most amazing site and sight is the Banyan Tree – the largest in Hawaii, planted in 1873.  I did not know this, but Banyan trees send out branches that then root and become ancillary trunks.  Here’s some interesting information from the internet.

This Banyan Tree was first planted in April, 1873, and marked the 50th Anniversary of Christian missionary work in Lahaina. The tree was imported from India was only 8 feet tall. It now stands over 60 feet high, has 12 major trunks in addition to a huge core. It stretches over a 200-foot area and shades 2/3 of an acre.


All one tree with 12 major trunks! You should hear the hundreds of myna birds that gather in that tree at dusk.  It’s musical, not annoying.

Mixed Plate Lunch

We ate lunch at the Aloha Mixed Plate on Front Street, right on the beach.  The Mixed Plate tradition began with immigrants working on the sugar plantations.  A Filipino would bring something for lunch, a Chinese something else, and so on.  The workers started sharing and the mixed plate became a tradition.  I got the mixed plate with the kalua pig, lomilomi salmon, and poi.  If someone can tell me why poi is tasty, I’m willing to listen.  Because it’s pretty horrible.  It’s made by mashing the taro root and is a staple of the Polynesian diet.  I suppose one can cultivate a taste for it.

Mixed plate lunches have evolved to always include two scoops of rice, macaroni salad blessedly made without vinegary stuff, and the entrée you choose – pork, teriyaki chicken, etc.

It was delicious, especially since we could eat almost on the beach.

The Pool and dinner

Our leisurely first day actually turned out to be pretty crowded and tiring.  There was the time change to deal with of course.  So we came back and went in the swimming pool which was about the same temperature as the air.  We sat in lounge chairs at ocean’s edge and relaxed.  You get lulled by the ocean and the balmy air and don’t much feel like moving.  But dinner beckoned and I am determined that we will enjoy some mild night life, even if it does occur at 6 PM.  So we took ourselves down to Mala, which is Lahaina’s new hot spot, and had a couple of mai tais and a salad.  I was determined to have a drink with an umbrella.

Someone came through selling leis, Mark bought me one, and our condo was fragrant for days.  Well, the condo, then the car, then our place in Hana.  Have lei, will travel.

Dinner eaten, we went to sleep about 8.

Sleep at 8?

Yes, that’s right.  I had a small battle with myself but I lost and went to bed.  I did have to put earplugs in to shut out the ocean.  I always have that trouble – I like the sound of the waves, but then I want to flip the off switch, but there isn’t one.  So I use earplugs.

There was an additional sound – frogs from the pond.  They go all night in big strings of croaky noises, and each night we looked forward to getting back and hearing the frogs.  We saw one on the lawn, too.  Bigger than ours at home.  Since we moved into out house with the pond on the golf course, frogs seem to have taken on importance in our lives.

Coming up…the Road to Hana

When did you decide? You know, if you were going to be gay or not.


2010
10.05

So many suicides last week.  It was a bad week to be LBGTQ. One of last week’s suicides was here in Kern County.  Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old in Tehachapi.  I’m having a hard time getting my mind around what it would be like for a 13-year-old gay student.  What would drain his hope and spark for life so completely that he turned it off.  Forever.  That no one in his relatively small community saw even a warning flag. Or if they did, they didn’t want to cause a stir or put themselves out there publicly. Or no one listened and they gave up.  Or they got empty reassurances from someone who supposedly knew better.  Or they didn’t want to look stupid.

Here’s a snapshot of September.

  • Billy Lucas on September 9, 2010
  • Tyler Clementi on September 22, 2010
  • Asher Brown on September 23, 2010
  • Seth Walsh on September 28, 2010
  • Raymond Chase on September 29, 2010

Tyler Clementi is the hardest to understand.  We know kids do stupid things, make rash decisions, push it to the max. They drink way too much, use drugs.   But what in the world could cause someone to breach the decency barrier far enough to do something as base as Tyler’s roommate?  Film him having sex with another guy and show it online as it was happening.  And then do it again, letting people know ahead of time that they could watch.  And no one stood up to say this is not right. No one told a person with authority.  No one stood up for Tyler. These are college students and they should be able to get past not wanting to look stupid.  They should have some measure of personal courage.  But the decency barrier shattered.  Tyler put a message on his facebook of what he was going to do and where he was going to do it. In the instant communication world, you just know someone saw that and could have at least called police.  Everyone cares right now, but no one who was in on the video broadcast cared enough then.

You know what they say? If someone threatens suicide take it seriously? I think each of us has heard someone threaten suicide and thought, well, he doesn’t really mean it. I don’t want to look stupid and make a big deal.  I’ve looked stupid many times but I really don’t care.  I even talked to my daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s parents long ago because he was so despondent over the breakup. He mentioned suicide. Everyone thought I was  reacting too strongly, but again – literally, it’s a life and death situation and I don’t want to choose wrong.  I’d rather be seen as someone who overreacts.  I’d rather send the police to the bridge and find out Tyler had no real intention of killing himself, than not send them and he jumps.

Social media figured into Tyler’s death and others, but it’s not an excuse, a true cause, or an “if only.”  Even with the ability to connect instantly, that barrier of decency, of right and wrong, should be in place. But this is the world we live in and the social media are not going away.   So what’s the real problem?  Some people are still more equal than others.

I was at a political luncheon recently and a college-age boy was sitting next to me.  We started to talk, I commented on the lanyard around his neck and said “I’m a little monster too.” (Lady Gaga’s fans are little monsters.)  He was going to see Lady Gaga in concert and  I told him I’d just seen Adam Lambert in concert. He immediately said he didn’t like Adam Lambert.  Why? Because of his performance at the AMAs.  I didn’t like that performance either, but I’m not going to condemn someone forever for bad judgment.  Lambert’s bad judgment didn’t kill anyone.  Plus, he’s one of the kindest people ever to hit the stage, with his message of love and positivity and doing good.  But this young man was gay and he took it more personally.

Somehow the talk turned to gay marriage and the young man said he didn’t believe in gay marriage.  The older man across the table then said he was gay too.  But marriage should be between a man and a woman.  Why, I asked? We went through all the “talking points” which really aren’t valid at all.  I pointed out that if they married men it was not going to cause me to divorce my husband. Marriage would remain intact, and so on and so on.

I asked them both if they valued themselves so little that they were willing to be second-class citizens.  If they had so little self-respect.  I asked them when they had made the decision to be gay.  That stopped the kid in his tracks.

Right. They didn’t make the decision.  There is no moment like, “should I take chemistry or biology,” or “should I go to France or Spain on vacation,” when a young person sits down and says, “so -should I be gay or straight?”  It just is.  Black people didn’t choose to be black, I didn’t choose to have brown hair, and no one decides to be gay.  And what the hell do we care anyway? I am flummoxed by the people who so urgently want to make others straight, who are so threatened by their sexual orientation.

The answer is so incredibly easy.  But it’s not so easy to establish, because people still like to marginalize others.  Remember Orwell’s Animal Farm? The pigs were living high on the hog (excuse me) while the other animals toiled.  They followed seven commandments, the last of which was “All animals are equal.”  But later on the sign was amended and one day the worker animals awoke to the message “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

That’s why the answer is easy.  Unless we want to return to the days of slavery, when white people were more equal than black people; or the women’s suffrage struggle, when men were more equal than women; or the days after Pearl Harbor, when American citizens were more equal than Japanese-American citizens.  I could go on and on.  There is always someone to marginalize.  Once LBGTQ acceptance is solid, who will be marginalized next?

In America some people are not more equal than others.  All share equal rights. Or should.  And that includes gay marriage.

As I was giving my little lecture to the young gay man and the old gay man, the young man’s mother was giving me the thumbs up behind his back.  That led me to believe that she also has tried to put her son on an equal footing and he is too indoctrinated in his lesser worth to believe.  To believe that he needs to value himself and respect himself and quit worrying about being gay or not. But last week was not a good GBLTQ week, so how can he quit worrying?

The answer is easy.  Implementing the answer is not. Throughout history, when one group gains acceptance, another is marginalized.  If being gay were matter-of-fact, Tyler’s roommate would not have done what he did. Tyler would not have jumped off a bridge to his death.  Seth Walsh would not have hanged himself.  But the roommate  might have done something equally as base to the next group to be on the bottom of the totem pole.

So really, it’s not just LGBTQ people who must be given equal status and respect as human beings.  They shouldn’t have to be given anything because they aren’t missing anything.  The issue should not exist.  But it does, and what we have to do is internalize and live our American creed that all people are created equal. We need to live it with courage so we will step up when any kind of bullying is happening, anywhere, to anyone.  Easy to say, isn’t it? How do you make it happen? You start with a conversation.  Seth and Tyler’s and the rest of the suicides have to stay in the conversation even after the immediate shock fades.  We need no more Trevors, no more Matthew Shephards, no more Tylers and Seths. We must keep the conversation alive, on the front burner. Because some people are not more equal than others.  At least they’re not supposed to be.

Earth, sky and water: the theme is earth


2010
10.03

Leah gave us Creative Every Day folks a broad theme for October, because what is not of or connected to the earth?  To start, I’ve added some photos to my web page.  The first three in the Nature Gallery are from Colorado.  It’s funny how I found out about Colorado.  My son-in-law had breathing problems in Bakersfield.  We are only #1 in the country in one of the types of pollution – and he wanted out.  He searched the web for the place with the most clean air days and came up with various cities in Colorado.  So he took Karen and the kids and moved to Paonia, the town without a stop light.

We went to check it out.  I knew generally that Colorado was beautiful but I would bet I’d never have made it there if I didn’t have kids to visit.  There are so many places to see and we always tend to look farther than our own backyards.  Many of us that live in the United States look out of the United States, even though our country has some of the best to offer.  But off we were to Colorado, even ahead of the kids, and now I’ve been three times a year for many years.  Everything is beautiful in that state.  Paonia is on the Western Slope, and the skies are always – ALWAYS – amazing.  The first new photos in the gallery are Colorado skies, and then a quick dusting of snow and frost across the street from Karen’s house.

Last year I did a post – Anatomy of a Small Town Football Game – and if you go back to it and scroll down to the very last photo, you’ll see what I’m talking about.  This is a picture of Hotchkiss High, where the game took place – can you find it?  That’s the view around the high school.  Hard to even conceive of for us Californians.

The other new photos in the Nature Gallery are West Palm Beach in Florida, the sky right here in Kern County, Isabella Lake right here in Kern County, and Pismo Beach.  I’ll put one in here as a teaser.  The ocean in Florida – the colors, the clouds – speechless.

Earth, sky, and water.  The theme is earth.

Take a look at the gallery for yourself.  It’s a good feeling to get stuff going again – even if it is blog posts and new photos on the web.  There should be some amazing photos coming by the end of the month – with any luck – because we will soon be in Maui for a couple of weeks.  So stay tuned.

As long as there’s duct tape, we’re good…


2010
10.02

The Creative Every Day theme for October is earth.  Leah, who runs this blog challenge, has a theme every month and tells us all to feel free to ignore it and do what we want.  So far this year, I’ve been outstanding at ignoring the theme.  For October, I wanted to get back into it because my creative life has been stalled for so long now.  We moved in March? Yes.  And that was the end.  So I want to get working again regularly.

Get ready for November when we are supposed to post every single day!  That’s when I joined in last year, and I did it – somehow – in spite of being in Colorado for almost two weeks.  I’ll be there again this November while my daughter has the new baby.  But I WILL do Creative Every Day in spite of taking care of three kids six and under.  Fair warning.  You will be inundated!

For now, however, I am going to try hard to stick to the October theme of earth.  Except that this post is about duct tape.  I suppose there must be a petroleum product somewhere in duct tape and that comes from the earth.  Let’s go with that.

As everyone in the world must be aware of now, our duct tape is not our parent’s duct tape.  One of the things my granddaughter Sophie wanted last year for Christmas was duct tape in bright colors, and as usual I overdid it.  I gave her rolls of duct tape from neon brights to tie-dyed.  And plaids.  Last week, I gave her a couple of rolls of animal print duct tape.  The duct tape people must be overjoyed as their tape moves into dimensions as yet unknown.  It seems to have no limits.

The bunk beds at the cabin now have bright blue duct tape cell phone holders.  Sophie’s made all types of wallets and such, but now she’s into clothing.  I understand there are patterns on the web, but Sophie says they’re too hard to follow, so she does her own.

The dress and belt.  Notice the hair ornament.

The shoes.  She wore them to school.

And the hat.

I can’t wait to see what she makes next.  I should be able to exploit this somehow, but being the most un-entrepreneurial person on the planet, Sophie is safe.  Except I want to talk to her about Christmas…or Thanksgiving.  I’m seeing placemats.