Friday, December 31, 2010

Of Egrets and New Years

The other day I was driving to work and an egret nearly flew into the right side of my car, veered, passed me, and began a straight path of flight right above my hood and ahead of it by only a few feet. It was like it was leading me somewhere. Or it happened to just be traveling straight down the street I take to work. It did not fly up above the cars, but was literally in front of my car flapping along in traffic.


Then, two days later, nearly the same thing. Only this time the bird flew alongside my car for an entire block.

Odd times two.

A week later I was walking BC around the block and as we rounded a corner, an egret was perched on top of a chain link fence we were passing. It had a lizard in its mouth. As I passed him by, I swear he looked at me. Then swallowed the lizard.

Two days later at the park an egret flew down and landed right smack dab in my path. With a lizard in its mouth. Which it proceeded to swallow while I watched, amazed.

I have no idea what it all means.

But my friend Movie started a new blog, of synchronicity and distraction.

And I know she’d like this odd little story.

Happy new blog Movie (do we still call you Movie or is it Sync now?).

Happy New Year Everyone.

2010 was not my favorite. Same with 2009. Still, they had their moments and even the tough stuff has led me here.

But I am ready for a break on the tough stuff.

I’m hoping 2011 will be the start of that better place for all of us.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Living Vicariously....

The Daughter who is spending the holidays as a nanny will be taking us once again to Whistler, Canada.

The tip about dog sledding in the last post was a bit fun, yes?

Today's travel adventures straight from her email home:

The fire alarm went off. Miss Drama Queen 9 year old started crying and saying we were going to die. Fire trucks came. Sleeping people evacuated into the snow. Pajamas and fur coats. My goodness. Turns out there wasn't a fire. There was a flood? I don't know what happened. But definitely exciting.

The parents took the kids to school so I hung out in the room with the toddler and admired the absolutely beautiful day we had. I kind of wanted to go to the top of the mountain but she isn't allowed to since it turns out she has an ear infection, so she can't go up until Friday. We hung out in the lobby by the fire borrowing their books and walked around looking for dogs. We both napped for 3 hours and woke up about 5 minutes before everyone got home.

My girl will be home in five days. I am very excited. Being left with the boys is exhausting.

Got travel? Holiday stories? Link on up!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Christmas Tidbits

That's BC checking out his Christmas present from his BFF Banjo. Banjo's a cool Jack Russel Terrier.

And here's the latest from our girl nannying her way through Whistler, Canada.


So, I've learned Boxing Day is essentially Canada's version of Black Friday. However, I stayed here with the kids so the parents could go shopping. They came home around noon and we went... DOG SLEDDING!! It was really cool but it wasn't as awesome as you'd expect. The trail smells really strongly of dog poop. And the dogs throw the snow into your face when they're running... through dog poop.

But it was still a really awesome experience.

I miss her a lot, but when she gets home I will miss these daily updates enormously.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

And to all a good night...

Friday, December 24, 2010


The magic and memories of Christmas can be like a tidal wave. Rolling in slowly and sweeping you up in its path.

Some holidays, though - they are meant to be low key.

A Winter Wonderland.

Or a day of rest.

To know that both are equal in each of their own particular ways.

I could look at this Christmas from one perspective and see the first year without my daughter here. The magical child who makes sure the stockings are hung, that Santa's presents are delivered despite there being no little ones in the house.

The first year after the debacle caused by the events with my mom this year. That left the little family I have left in the Mainland scattered about dusting themselves off from the fallout.

Or. I could look at it from a different perspective.

The year my Daughter brought the magic of a white Christmas to our home with her emails and photos and videos. My heart swells with joy for her adventure.

A first year in a new house in a new location. A place where everyone is finding balance and a light at the end of a long tunnel.

I know that somewhere down the line I will get to spend a Christmas with a gaggle of loved ones.

But this year I am content with the quiet.

With the smiles.

With the happy.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

May peace, joy, and grace be with you.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Random Travel Notes from a Nanny

I miss blogging more....

I work a lot these days. I've taken on a couple side jobs and Hubs picks up all the overtime he can. Trying to get through the two years of our children both being in college at the same time.

Anyways, I am featuring (with her permission) darling Daughter's emails from her nanny stint in Whistler, Canada.

So Random Tuesday meets Traveling Thursday on this here Holiday Hump Day.

Day One:

The day started CRAZY! I fell asleep around 7:30 last night (so 5:30 Hawaii time-CRAZY) and I woke up around 7:30am and everyone was awake and running around. Apparently the kids have to be at ski school at 7:45ish so it was a craze.

Then the hard part, parents going up and me staying with the two year old. She. Threw. A. Fit.

I swear people thought I was kidnapping her. We had to go to the grocery store to pick up some stuff and the people there were all really nice and super helpful because I had a toddler throwing a temper tantrum screaming, "MOMMY! I WANT DADDY! I WANT DADDY!" interspersed with "you better not cry Santa Claus is coming to town" getting yelled out at me. This caused the guy stocking an aisle to sing the song for her. It didn't help. She just stared at him like he was nuts. Looking back, funny. At the time, not one bit.

Then outside the store, in the middle of the square, walking IN THE SNOW she throws her boots and socks off from the stroller.

And refused to put them back on.

Which resulted in me running through the town back to the hotel to get her inside with groceries, carrying her in my hands, and pushing a stroller. Not to brag, but I'm pretty impressed that I pulled that one off. She napped for all of 10 minutes before she wanted to go play in snow.

Day Two:

After breakfast the parents left, which led to what I assume will be a daily 45 minute screaming session. I used the time to organize the room, check my email, and do dishes. After the screaming stopped, we walked around the hotel and town with some trail mix and dried papaya slices to find Santa. We didn't find him but did get to explore the stores and go to a new coffee shop next to the grocery store. We had lunch there (veggie roll and sausage roll with hot tea) and then came back to the room. We could hear the people with their ski stuff on the floor above us and the baby kept saying it was Santa's reindeer.

Day Three:

The parents did first tracks today so they were gone by 7:15. I took the three older kids to ski school. It was snowing really hard and I was in awe but the nine year old was not amused and the five year old said she felt sick. The seven year old and two year old were having a blast though. We played in the snow until it was time for school (I got them there 45 minutes early).

We wandered the grounds which are GORGEOUS! Pretty much all my pictures today are from that block of time. Then someone had an accident and we came back to the room and had a snack and changed her clothes.

Which is when everyone else came back. We went down to the lobby and had cookies and hot chocolate by the fire for fireside storytelling.

Then, we went to the pool. One jacuzzi is inside and to get to the pool there's a little wading pool and you go through this flap and you're outside and there's another jacuzzi out there. It was warm water but my face froze. It was really pretty to look up and see the trees covered in snow and the snow falling softly down from the sky. Of course we all ran out onto the deck to go to the other jacuzzi which was full and I just about died. Wet bikini. 18 degree weather. Yeah. Not okay.

Then we went to dinner which was uneventful except our waiter failed at life kind of.

OK. It's me, Pseudo again.

While I miss my daughter, shes not missing much here. I picked up a job working Winter Break (a program for disadvantage kids).

Daughter was supposed to get ski lessons as perk to this job. The parents were going to sign her up to go to the two year old's ski school. Like a nanny/baby class. Turns out that the kid has to be three, so instead Daughter is left to entertain the young one each day. But Daughter loves those kids and has been working for the family since that child was a baby.

For more random, head on over to Keely's at the Unmom's

For travel posts, like on up:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Travels

I'm not going anywhere this Christmas. But Daughter is....

Daughter (who says I need to give her a better pseudonym on the blog) is a full time college student at the University of Hawaii and works two part time jobs. For one, she waitresses four nights a week at a cute little restaurant that I will feature someday in a Thursday post. Her second job is working as a nanny/personal assistant for a lovely young couple with four adorable children between the ages of 2 and 9.

This family is traveling to Whistler for Christmas and taking Daughter to help with the children. Her whole trip is paid for and she will be paid daily as well. It is an incredible opportunity for her. The family only decided to take this trip a week ago and Daughter had to get her passport and arrange with coworkers to cover her waitress shifts. All in the midst of finals week.

She is 21 and has never seen snow.

I will miss her terribly - this is the first Christmas I will be without her. But I couldn't be happier for her.

Got travel? Some snow photos? Link on up...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Random Middle Schoolishness

We allow one student at a time to use the bathroom in middle school. There are reasons for this, but they are boring so let's move on.

The other day a student came up, asked to use the bathroom, was told to use the sign out sheet, and off he went.

Two seconds later, another student came up, grabbed the sign out sheet, and started signing himself out to the restroom.

Hey. Joe's using the bathroom. You have to wait until he gets back.

Uh. OK.

Bob goes back to his seat. Quiet, independent reading time continues.

A noxious odor swivels slowly across the floor and under my seat, winding its way around me from the floor up until it hits my nostrils and sends them flaring. I look up to see my entire classroom looking like the Jesse James' gang, shirts pulled up and over their noses like bandits.

Bob has magically appeared by the side of my desk, head bobbing at the sign-in sheet, feet shuffling back and forth, a silly, sheepish grin on his face.

Oh Good Lord Bob. Yes. Go NOW.

Bob starts to sign the sheet, the odor around my desk becoming darker and denser with each passing second.


Bob runs a weird little dance down the hall while I direct a couple of students to open ALL closed windows.

MISS... Bob's doing the dodo run..

Bandit shirt masks shiver in giggledom across the entire room.

* * *

Two days ago I walked out of one door of my classroom to get a breath of fresh air, walked down to the other door and took a long breath while I enjoyed the view, then reentered my class.

Unknowingly stepping through a water puddle in the process.

Feeling centered and revived, I took that first step into my class and did an Ice-Skating with the Stars level faux paus (and no, I have not actually watched that show).

I slip. I slide. I grasp at the ledge of the dry erase board. I go down.

I pick myself up as quickly and with as much dignity as I can muster.

Miss!!! Are you OK.

I'm fine.

Are you sure you didn't break your leg?

Yes. I'm sure.

Cause that's how Steven broke his foot. He fell down running through his own house.

I look back at Steven who just made it onto crutches after a month in a wheel chair. I never asked how he broke his foot, but the severity of of convalescence had me thinking major surgery or a stunt of Wild Boys level antics.

You broke your foot falling down in your house?

Miss. Really? Like I haven't been teased enough already.

For more Random Fun, head on over to Keely's at the Unmom's.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mariner's Ridge Hike..

Mariner's Ridge hike. Here we go.
So on Thanksgiving it was just the four of us as we had opted out of the North Shore camping. I found myself cooking a turkey dinner. The boy was on the North Shore surfing, the hubs was watching football, and Daughter was cruising in the house. Probably college stuff.

After the food was all in the oven, BC and I went for a little hike.
On the south shore of Oahu, in a suburb called Hawaii Kai, there is a ridge with fancy houses called Mariner's Ridge. If you drive to the top and park, a trail spins off and you can hike up to a gorgeous view of the south and east shores.

Click on any photo if you would like a bigger, closer look.

The beginning of the hike, just above Mariner's Ridge. In the background is Koko Crater.

View of Koko Head and Moanalua Bay.

BC posing on the trail for you all.

The terrain change several times as you ascend.

At the top of the ridge you can see Kailua and the Mokuluas (The Mokes).

This view looks up the east side of the island. You are looking towards Kaneohe.
That peak is Olomana.

Thanks for coming along!

Got Travel? I'm putting up Mr Linky because my to do list that I never get to? Top of the list is promoting and bringing back Traveling Thursdays in much more glory.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


The challenges of getting back to a regular blogging schedule are a bit overwhelming.

And that's only if I count things I have to do. Have to as in things for work and daily living. Grading, prepping, going to meetings, showing up... Eating, sleeping, having clean clothes to wear.

Then there are things I like to do. Walking BC. Hanging out with my kids and friends.

Well. I have a new one. Helping daughter with her new thing.

I have bags and bags of shells I have found during the summers when I go snorkeling on the North Shore. We have shells surrounding our candles, bottles of shells in the bathrooms...

Daughter and I went to the craft store and bought stuff to make shell barrettes and refrigerator magnets. So far, I have been so busy with grading and what not, the girl has made all of our inventory.

Most of the barrettes and magnets are wrapped in beautiful little boxes and ready to give to her friends as Christmas gifts.

These are the ones she made today.

The shells are all from our own stash. But we went to the bead store and bought some beach glass and seed pearls.

We are thinking about selling them down the road. What do you think?

This one I'm keeping. I was actually saving that big shell to make a necklace with someday (someday as in the shell has been sitting in my bag for two or three years). But I remember vividly when I found it. I threw a small fit when I saw it glued to a barrette so Daughter kind of had to tell me I could keep it.

Each of these pretties gave me a thrill when I claimed it out of the ocean. The beach we go to has a strong current and to dive down and grab the shell while it is tumbling with the undertow requires both timing and tenacity.

The clam shell came from a bag of shells I moved with me from California. All those other shells are from Hawaii. The two on the outside are made into magnets.

This is a magnet. I might keep it too. Daughter says I cannot keep them all, but I think this one looks like it has a face. The profile is facing you in this shot.

Daughter has also been hand making these gift cards to go with her hand made Christmas gifts.

Can you imagine how behind I will get on the blog when I actually sit down and join her?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Travels

BC is hoping. He's a hoping and a drooling.

But heck, that's what dogs do.

We did not do any travels today. We stayed home and had Thanksgiving dinner just the four of us. It was nice. We have a lot to be thankful for and we know it.

For the last few years we celebrated Thanksgiving with several other families on the North Shore camping. Amazing times that you can read about here or here (mostly photos but a little bit of reading in the posts).

This year it was not in the cards for us to go and although I miss the camaraderie and fun (not to mention having a surf spot all to ourselves and long beach walks twice a day); we felt it was more important to stay together as a family than to have the one or two of us off work go and leave the others alone.

I've been thinking a lot this year on what I am grateful for; remembering to notice the little bits of grace scattered about, even among what can seem like a world collapsing on itself.

Because when I notice those little bits, they build on each other, and slowly but surely, lives get rebuilt.

I'm thankful for being blessed with the courage and strength that I prayed for often this last year.

I'm thankful that my mom is safe and happy and that my sisters, our families, and me all survived the mom crisis intact.

I'm thankful that we pulled off a move to the opposite side of the island and that it seems to have been the right choice. That I found a job closer to where we moved and that I like it even better than my last job, which I liked just fine.

I'm thankful for all my friends, especially those who supported me during the difficult times. That means you....

The blogging community is amazingly supportive and I am grateful for this support and friendship...

I'd like to give a shout out to Jen over at Sprite's Keeper. She has run the Spin Cycle the last couple of years and is going to take a break. I can't lie - I'm sure going to miss it. Even if I haven't been the most dependable Spinner the last few months.

While the turkey was doing its thing in the oven, BC and I (plus my new camera) went for a hike not to far from our house. This is the view from the top of the trail.

I'm saving the rest of the hike for next week's Travel Tip.

Feel free to link on up with your travel tips, travel posts, Thanksgiving posts....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Love is...

A busy life is marked by moments suspended in time with pure joy.

I love going to Daughter's Musical Theatre's class recital night.

* * * * *

There's a lot more to this girl than stage performances.

She's a funny girl in a dead pan kind of way.

Two days ago she tells me, "Mom, can we get your name off my bank account."

"I didn't know my name was on it."

"I started the account when I was 16 and you had to sign in as a joint account holder."

"Oh. Sure, but what difference does it make? It's not like I'm going to take your money."

"Yeah. But I finally went through my first box of checks. The ones with only my name on them. Apparently when I ordered a new box of checks five years later your name came up."

She waves the box in my face and increases the volume of her voice.

"Look, just what I need. Now I have a whole box of lesbian couple checks."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Flowers and Travel

Traveling Thursday today is a trip to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.


Got Travel? Link on up...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Creativity and Public Education

I've been at a workshop the last couple of days. It was a good one. Not all of them are, but the last two days really held my interest. Lots of stuff on brain studies and how to use this information to help teach. I am a dork when it comes to learning how the brain works; I am totally fascinated.

We watched this video clip today and I'm posting it. If you have children, are involved in education, or have any interest or stake in public education - grab of cup of joe and watch the whole thing. One of the best anecdotal stories is at the end so I encourage you to watch the whole thing.

See you on Thursday for traveling posts.....

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Travel Tip Thursday: Happy Veterans Day

First of all I'd like to say thank-you to all the veterans out there; those who have served and those who are serving.

My dad, my uncles, the men I grew up with all served in WWII.

May we never forget their service to our country.

* * * * *

Today I was planning on staying home. Grading quizzes, reading drafts of student papers.

Catching up on laundry and chores....

Then my 18 year old son woke up at 6am - not a usual thing.

Next he asked me If I wanted to go to the North Shore with him and practice with my new camera by taking surf shots of him.

WTF, yes? Everything else can wait (we know it will be there when we get back).

Here's some photos with my new camera taken today on the North Shore.

That's my boy.
Remember, you can click on any of the photos to see them enlarged.

This was my view between surf shots. Nice, yes?

Today's tip is twofold.

One. If you visit Oahu and stay in Waikiki, get a car and head to the North Shore. Bring your camera. Sit back and watch the surfers.

Two. Once in awhile, set the tasks aside and spend the day with a loved one. Especially if the loved one is a teenager.

Link on up with your own post and take us to your favorite place! Even if it is your own backyard.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday Random Winners and Schtuff

Random photos from my new camera that hubs got me for my birthday. Fun times ahead...


Well, let's get the ball rolling with the Random Number Generator and the winners from the birthday giveaway...

Winner Number One is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 22 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Winner Number Two is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 32 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Winner Number Three is
True Random Number Generator Min: 1 Max: 44 Result: 14 Powered by RANDOM.ORG
Captain Dumbass!

Congratulations to the winners. Please send me a mailing address to my email,

I wish I could send each and every one of you a goodie box. Thank-you all for playing along and helping to make my birthday special and fun.

* * * * *

I did not know Andy Irons personally. He was winning world titles when my boy (top photo) was learning to surf. My son has been spending a lot of time watching videos in memory of Andy. May Andy rest in peace and may his loved ones be held in our prayers.

For more Randomness, head on over to Keely at the Unmom's.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Travel Contest

Travels will begin again....

The hubs and kids were all off yesterday and even though my birthday isn't until next week, they let me open my presents last night. In a busy working family, nights with all of us off are few and far between.

Woooooooot!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!

They got me a new camera. My photo travel blogs will begin again.

Last year for my birthday, I did a contest and the recipients of my Hawaii goodie boxes seemed to enjoy; so I thought I'd continue the tradition.

Want a Hawaii Goodie box this holiday season? A bottle of coconut syrup for your pancakes? Exotic snacks for your munchies? Other miscellaneous treats?

Here's how it works. I use the random number generator. It's easy and objective.

Leave a comment for an entry.

If you are a follower leave another comment for another entry.

If you link the contest in a blog post, leave another comment.

If you post a travel post for my birthday week, leave 3 comments. Yep that 's right. I am trying to pump up Travel Tip Thursdays, plus I get the added perk of virtual traveling for my birthday weekend. You can just comment "I linked a travel post" 3 times.

I am giving away 3 goodie boxes, but you can only win one. If one of your numbers comes up twice I'll random generate another number.

The contest ends Monday, November 8th, 6PM Hawaii time.

Good Luck to all!!!