Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Question of the Day

Katie: "If our food was still alive while it was in our stomachs, would it be able to read our thoughts?"

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where Do Deviled Eggs Come From?

I made a giant platter of deviled eggs this year for Thanksgiving. We love them, and all the folks at our Thanksgiving get together were delighted to have them.

This morning Kerry mentioned that he only got two of them.

"I know, I wish we had more," I remarked. Then it dawned on me. "You know, we could make more. I don't know why we don't have them more often. I made that whole platter, it's not like we don't know where they come from."

"Yeah," Kerry said, "It's like we think the deviled egg bird has to fly in the house and lay deviled eggs on the counter!"

The stork has a new career apparently.


Once again, we went to the mess hall for Thanksgiving. Although, nowadays it's called the DFAC. I like to go because I can get all the food I don't have room to make at home. I only have enough oven space to make ham or turkey and three casseroles (green bean, sweet potato, and corn bread). At the DFAC I can get all that plus fish, prime rib, kalua pig, and crab legs.

The kids always really enjoy this part of Thanksgiving, particularly for the crab legs. This year, we were some of the first people in the door and the crab legs were huge! By the time we left, the people coming through the line had crab legs about the size of a finger.

The carnage was terrible. But as a military family, we are used it.

Then we (I) strolled around and checked out all the decorations like the ice sculptures.....

....the sparkling cider table....

....the general overindulgence table.... cakes....

....and chocolate sculptures. The decorations are always very impressive.....

....well, mostly.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Buying A Bass

Emily has completed her acoustic guitar lessons. Her teacher informed her that there are really only a few things left that he can teach her and asked if she would like to start bass guitar lessons. She was very excited over the idea of a guitar which could be plugged into an amp with a volume control set to the "shatter windows" setting.

Her teacher had told us that the local music store sometimes has a package deal where they bundle the guitar and amp together for a discounted price. So, Emily and I headed over there on Saturday to see what sort of deal we could get. The store is closing and moving to a new location, so they are selling off a lot of their stock at discounted prices which we were hoping would benefit us.

As soon as we walked in, one of the store employees came over and asked us if we needed help.

"Yes," I told him. I explained that Emily was about to start bass guitar lessons and that we needed a bass and amp and that we had heard they sometimes had package deals for a beginners set.

"I'm sorry," he told us. "We no longer have any. We're moving the store and a lot of things have sold out already."

"Oh darn. Do you think you will get any more in when you get to your new location?"

"I don't think so," he told us.

Dad-gum-it. Where the heck am I going to get a bass guitar without spending a fortune, I wondered.

We then told the employee that we would take some new guitar strings and he trotted off to fetch them. While we were standing there waiting, another emplyee came up and said, "Did you find everything you needed today?"

"Well, no," I told him. "We were trying to find a beginners bass guitar and amp, but you don't have any."

He looked at me oddly, "Yes we do. They're right over here, and they are 30% off right now."

I pointed at the other employee and tattled, "He just told me you don't have any!"

The other employee looked at us and said, "She said she wanted a package."

Uh....hello. If I walk in saying I'm looking for a beginners bass guitar and amp and you are selling them for 30% off, don't get hung up on the word "package". I don't mind if they aren't all shrink wrapped together.

We did end up leaving the store with a bass guitar, an amp, a cable to hook the two together and a guitar case, all at 30% off despite the guy who couldn't see the forest because of all the trees.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hiking to Lanikai Pillboxes

Yesterday we went hiking to the Lanikai Pillboxes over on the windward side. I was assured that this one was much easier than the easy hike we had been on before. No handholds needed, no cliffs to climb while hanging on to a rope. That's my kind of hike.

We all gathered together to start our hike at five o'clock in the afternoon. Our main purpose in starting so late was to climb to the top and then watch the full moon rise. We've been waiting quite a while for a night when the weather was good, and when the moon was not already up, or only had a crescent showing.

Of course, once we were all ready to go, one of the teens who has been on this hike before mentioned, "Yeah, there's just a couple of parts where the trail is so narrow it's like, if you step too far to the right, you die. If you step too far to the left, you die."


As it turns out, we weren't going to be hiking along a regular trail, but along a ridge. I wasn't pleased to be hearing this info. "Why are we taking our kids up to a place where they could take a wrong step and die?" I wanted to know.

I was assured that it really wasn't dangerous and that the teens were just dramatizing.

So off we went.

If you ever go, you should know there is no public parking lot for this hike. You have to park in a neighborhood, so be respectful of people's driveways and property.

Also, the first third of this hike is fairly strenuous. Bring a water bottle that you don't have to hold in your hand. There are a lot of places where you really have to scramble up some steep inclines covered in loose gravel and grab on to branches to help hoist yourself along. But I really didn't find any of it to be so difficult that I wished I hadn't come.

About the time you start breathing hard, you reach a really good spot to stop and take in the view of the Mokulua Islands. It is a phenomenal view of the windward coast and I am not kidding. It was like looking at a postcard.

When you see this view, you want to stop and get your breath back.

Because the trail is about to get steep again.

As you climb higher and higher the view just gets better and better. The sunset was reflecting off the ocean making the water look rosy.

This is one of the areas where if you go left you die, if you go right you die. It's not very wide, but at least it isn't a sheer drop off a cliff on either side. It is incredibly windy when you get to these areas though. If you ever go, wear a jacket. I actually got an ear ache from the wind.

We could also see the town of Kailua below us.

We could see the sun setting as we were hiking, and it was a great view.

The "pillboxes" are actually two bunkers left over from World War II. You can climb down inside of them or just sit on the roof of one.

This is the view from the first pillbox. We didn't climb up on this one, but headed up higher to the second one and climbed up on top of it.

The view from the rooftop was fabulous.

The view inside the bunker was fabulous in a different way.

We all sat on the rooftop and watched the lights come on in the town below us as we waited for the moon to rise.

We watched it come up over the Mokulua Islands. It was full and bright and rose a lot faster than you would think.

We stayed up there for quite a while just talking and trying to keep warm. Then we all pulled out our flashlights and headed back down.

Now, what I call a strenuous but not horrible hike on the way up in the daylight, is a whole different story on the way down in the dark. Katie promptly dropped her flashlight and broke it so we had less light from the start. We lost sight of the trail several times in the dark. Those steep places with loose gravel are extremely difficult to navigate in the dark while holding a flashlight. There was one steep section where I would cling to one little tree on the side of the path, then aim for the next little tree on the path to stop my forward motion by grabbing on to it. Then I would pick out another little tree further down and start over again. This required changing my flashlight from hand to hand depending on what side of the trail the next tree was on. I think I did fairly well as I only fell three times - doing a very impressive split on one incline. I took some skin off my palms and my forearm, bruised my behind on some gravel, and jammed most of my fingers on my right hand.

If you ever go, bring Bactine.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Emily, Who Is Good At Everything

I was buying groceries today when my phone beeped indicating a new voicemail. I don't get a good signal in the store so my phone never rings but will occasionally take a message for me.

The voicemail from Emily went something like this, "Hi mom...I love you and you are the best mother in the world! I just want to remind you that I've never made less than an 'A' in my life and I'm a very dedicated student. I'm also good at sports and really good at the guitar. I'm thrifty and I save most of my babysitting money, just like you've taught me."

At that point, my phone had decided it didn't want to be my secretary any longer and it cut her off. I assumed that she was probably trying to butter me up into buying candy or something while I was at the store, and I laughed to myself. But since I had no signal, I couldn't call to confirm what it was she wanted, and I promptly forgot about it in the excitement of discovering some unexpected coupons on a shelf.

Then I got home and found this taped to the front door:

That's not a good sign.

Once inside I was bombarded with a houseful of smoke and the tale of how Emily was cooking bacon and she turned away just long enough to butter her toast. And the bacon burned up completely in just those few seconds.

Well, let me tell you, that is the last time I buy the extra fast cooking bacon!

Monday, November 7, 2011


When you go to Starbucks, they ask your name and write it on your cup when you order. Apparently, I don't pronounce "Amy" clearly enough.

When I got my drink, I thought, "Who on earth would think that my parents would name me 'Namie'"?

Then someone pointed out to me that the barrista was probably writing my name on my cup and thinking, "Who on earth would name their kid 'Namie'"?