Tuesday, December 13, 2011

lunch!!

## up until this week, i have used my lunch hour to write, edit, read, research, re-write, re-read, re-edit and re-research for my thesis. this week, though, i have my first taste of freedom since i started this job. YAY!! i feel a little guilty for not doing homework or writing about soul-wrenching (for me) topics. so, to alleviate that guilt, i picked up a book i've been wanting to finish for a few years and a caramel brulee latte ... *giggle* ... good lord! i love NOT being a student!



 ## and here's pic of the CO girls that made their way from the chilly country of CO to our warm and balmy country in the middle of the pacific ... unfortunately, they decided to bring the cold, wind and rain with them so they didn't get to partake of the balmy weather ... but we did get to enjoy a few days of hanging out (per shortstack's request), volleyball, eating and imbibing ... all good!
aunty jamie, aunti mollie, panda and mama ... getting cozy and posing for shortstack's photography practice

Monday, December 12, 2011

weekend recap

for some reason, even during the slow times, we're crazy busy. but i am DETERMINED that things WILL slow down VERY SOON!!! see all those caps? that's me willing it to be so!

this past weekend involved friends, regional volleyball games, rainy beaches, drinks and carb-loaded food, wedding dresses, shopping lists and some mild stress of what has yet to be.

* we had some CO girls out here visiting us/working/playing hooky. it was ALL GOOD! thanks to our jobs, our lives and the social butterfly-ness of my ohana, we have friends from all over - some are panda's, some are mine, some are shortstack's .... but when they are introduced to the whole family, we tend to just take them in. unfortunately, our CO girls felt the need to bring the cold and wet weather with them ...
shortstack & aunty mollie ... yes, we know the focus is a bit one-sided 

* UH wahine (women - for our non-hawaii peeps) volleyball team were playing in the NCAA regionals this weekend ... friday night we faced USC ... and they played hard ... but we still lost. so not good! like, lisa-is-crying-at-the-end-of-the-game not good.
 
UH v USC

* some of us took a good, long nap during the volleyball game


* it was the 1st weekend in a SUPER LONG TIME that we could enjoy without the thought of writing, editing, reading, researching, data collection, coding, analyses, etc., etc., etc. ... hanging over our head. so after a saturday of shopping, driving, cold-beach swimming, eating and plain ole' hanging out together, we headed into a sunday of cooler-packing potlucking with some soccer friends ... (yes, soccer friends. yes, you read that on my blog. yes, i wrote that of my own volition!) 
 cooler packed and ready to go, books stacked and ready to entertain ...

* i have a stack of books to get to now that i don't have to worry about anything academic. this one was ordered and received but was kept in the box on a shelf per panda's instructions and under her wacthful eyes until i got my thesis in and classes done. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!
so, the book stayed next to me all weekend, but for some reason, tv-vegging was prioritized

* we did a costco run and started the fridge cleaning ... had some garlic that needed to be used so i roasted up a HUGE batch ... well, i thought it was huge. last night i noticed that it never makes quite as much as i think it does.
 roasted garlic w/ olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sea salt ... goes well in and on ANYTHING!!


now it's a sunday monday and we're back to the grind. only a few short weeks and christmas will be upon us. where the heck did this year go?? here's to hoping that all of you are having a spectacular day ... get through it ... .75 days down and 4.25 left to go!

Friday, December 9, 2011

the holidays are here ... and i get to enjoy 'em!!

it is done! yep!! last night was my final class for my final course for my master's program. i turned in my thesis on monday. it is ALL done!!

and now we get to enjoy the christmas season. WOOHOO!!

i thought this would be a great way to start the celebration times ...

~ christmas buddies ~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

lighting up our home

this is our first christmas as a family in a home of our own. since the day we moved in (well, the day panda moved us in) we have been steamrolling through the year without really taking a breath. we've been busy with work, school, traveling (for work and family), thesis-writing, classes, soccer, surgery, visitors, did i mention work and school??!

we finally have  chance to take a breath in our home, create a space to celebrate the holidays, slow the pace down and just enjoy each other and the stillness.

i am a stickler for my holiday rule: NO CHRISTMAS UNTIL AFTER THANKSGIVING! seriously! we will NOT start to celebrate christmas before halloween!! so, the day after our t's-giving feast, i was ready to start decorating ... but we got sidetracked with the daily life duties. this past saturday, we were finally able to pick our tree, buy some lights and start the festivities. as always, the best laid plans are just that ... plans.

panda wasn't a huge christmas celebrator before shortstack and i invaded her life. i've always been a christmas season fan, but i've over the past five years, my enthusiasm was a bit dampened with craziness of life. also, in the chaos of two moves in the last two years means that my box of christmas fun is MIA. oh well! so, we are (somewhat) starting from scratch, putting emphasis on homemade and special to the family.

the tree is up (thank you, panda, for your ingenuity and patience)! i'm still not sure why someone can't create an easy-to-use tree stand that works for us year after year. garland (thank you, aunty jeannie!) and stockings are hung and decorations are being planned and made. woohoo! the holidays are here!!

now, if only i can get through the next 3 days with my sanity in tact, i will then be able to completely soak up the time with family and friends and read all the fun books that i want!!


Friday, December 2, 2011

cranky pants ... i'm talking mama, not the baby

so, i read this article this morning and it totally reminded me of those days that everyone is grumpy, tired and simply not clicking. those days that mama is so NOT ok and can't quite keep myself from throwing tantrums of my own.

we have a rule in our house ... if you want to throw a tantrum, be upset or unpleasant, you have the right to do so ... just go into your own room so that others don't have to be the target of the tantrum. i am firm believer that we all have the right to move through our emotions. it's unreasonable to tell our kids that they can't have tantrums or be grumps when we adults have tantrums and are supremely grumpy whenever we feel like it. i want shortstack to know that it is okay to feel whatever he is feeling. but he has to own it, control how it manifests and understand that others are not responsible for filtering or absorbing those feelings.

sometimes, mama needs that reminder too. and on days when the 'ohana is simply not clicking, well, we need to all take a breath and just remember that we love each other SO much that we feel SO safe in sharing everything we feel. so, maybe we should just take a timeout and tell each other "i love you" and there's an off-chance that we might all start clicking together again.

it's a friday, peeps! make it a good one ... and have a safe and beautiful weekend.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

hi. my name is lisa. and i'm lazy ...

... it's true. i am LAZY. at this point in time i am not at all interested in pushing the last little bit to make it to the end of my master's degree, make it through my week at work, clean the house, complete any of the billions of projects that i have started, finish wedding planning or even read a book for fun. at this point in time, the only thing that i am interested in is being lazy. in going home at the end of the day, drinking a glass of wine and curling up to go to sleep. call it rebellion, burn-out, boredom --- whatever you want. i call it laziness. and i'm okay with it. well, i'm okay with wanting to be lazy. i can't be lazy. i need to graduate, see my students, decorate for the holidays, tidy-up the house ... but i'm just saying, it's okay to be lazy. i'm giving myself that permission.


... and when i make it to the end of december, i'm going to crash out and sleep like a baby ... *sigh*

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

thanks for thanksgiving ... & now back to work

*sigh*
why are holiday weekends all-too-short?
oh well! it was spectacular while it lasted ...
we had A LOT of napping, tv watching, eating, hanging-out-together, tickle-fights, book-browsing, snack-eating, mimosa-and-baileys-n-coffee-drinking ... ahh, the list could go on and on ...
we hit up one of the last UH football games of the season ... tulane v. UH ... we won. oh yay! hopefully those point-shaving rumors will soon be put-to-rest.

who's ready for some warrior football?? kaleo ALWAYS is!!

and then, so quickly, our splendid long holiday weekend ended! and back to the grind again ... but still (& always), so much to be thankful for ...
... i see the end of my thesis in sight 
... i purchased my grad cap & gown
... i'm going to walk in my graduation (for the 1st time) on december 17th
... i found my wedding dress (too bad the store hasn't placed the order yet)
... in 9 days, i will be pau with classes (well, at least until i decide to get my PhD)
... christmas songs on at work & in the car
... time for serious holiday decorating
... it's cold enough at night that i can wear snuggly pjs AND hog the blankets 
... we have a little boy that is simply too cute for words
... i have a fiancee who loves me better than i could have ever wish for 
... tomorrow's work schedule isn't as insane as yesterday's was!
... i have a PILE of FUN books to read ... in 10 days!!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

counting our blessings ...

... and being lazily burrowed into our home ...
thankfully & gratefully with love to you all 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

thanksgiving - part 1

YAY!! the holidays are here ... i've been SO looking forward to this weekend.
it's been such a crazy busy year, i have been so anxious to have a few days with my family, lounging in our pjs, puttering in our kitchen, just hanging out together and enjoying our little life blessings. 

i love cooking a thanksgiving feast ... even if it is only for 3 people ...
well, this year, i'm cooking a feast for 3 3/4 people. and so the preparations have begun!


so many menu ideas ... only tomorrow will tell what the final menu will be


i am a list maker ... that doesn't mean that i'm a list follower, but i do make lists. 
then i keep my fingers crossed, follow my whims and hope that everything turns out for the best


we also have holiday projects to work on ... cards, ornaments, scrapbook pages,
sewing patterns, picture organization, thesis completion ... oh my! the list is quite extensive

it'll be a busy home day ... but we're going to be busy burrowing in to our home and being
thankful for all that we have and who we love.

happy thanksgiving to you and yours!

Friday, November 18, 2011

thank god it's friday!!

it is, right?? if it isn't ... i'm going on strike ...


i can't help to smile when i see this cutey-patootie! 

wishing all of you an awesome weekend!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

fall in paradise

it's fall ... the weather is turning, sweaters and boots are appearing left and right, cozy blankets are making regular appearances throughout the home, firewood is being stacked and fires are warming the evenings, colors are changing outside, comfort food is heartier, days are shorter and families are nesting in their homes. well, it's not quite the same in hawaii.

hawaii is truly a small sliver of paradise; rarely do temperatures fall outside of the 73 - 86 degree range. greens and blues are the predominant color, reflecting the water and foliage. when i opened the door at 5:30 this morning to go on my walking meditation, it was a chilly 74 degrees, i could smell the green-ness of the early-morning-watered grass. the sun started coming up over the ocean as i completed the last leg of my walk, and 6:15 crept up with grey-blue skies. truly beautiful, but this tropical beauty does lack a bit when it comes to experiencing the seasons.

fall foliage on my way to work

i have season envy ... panda laughs at me at least once an evening as we watch tv and i get sucked into the commercials romanticizing fall - cozy sweaters, jeans, boots (yes, i'm a clothes whore!), walks through multi-colored woods, fireplace settings and holiday gatherings with leaves falling outside. never does an evening go by that i don't look at panda and say "honey, can we live someplace cold" she laughs at me ... LOUDLY! we're not cold-weather peeps. truly, we're not. we take sweaters and jackets with us when we go out to dinner because the air conditioning makes us cold! i wear scarves in my office because it inevitably is too cold by 10 am .... so, living in cold weather is really not realistic.

fall in our house looks like slippers, shorts, tank tops - soccer games on saturday morning in 78 degree weather - tailgating at UH games sitting in our beach chairs in shorts and a t-shirt. how do we decorate for fall when fall doesn't look like the ideal? i'm still figuring that out .... i want to celebrate the beauty of our home and everything that we are thankful for with a local, hawaii twist ... so fall colors are not going to be the dominant theme in our home during these holidays. not sure what we're going to do, but it will be festive and it will be us and our life in this beautiful slice in paradise will be celebrated and appreciated.

these are the scenes of fall

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

magazine-cover, blog-styled life? ... NOT!

i live in and with chaos. it's just the nature of our life and our home. with two working parents, a busy-bee 6 year old (YES! he's 6 now!!! NO! i did NOT give him permission to get THAT old!!!) our home is not a peace-full, tidy, organized space ... it is filled with notes, papers, magazines, books, bags, pillows, empty glasses, 1/2-done (or barely-begun, depending on how you look at it) projects, missing remotes, not-yet-put-away groceries ... well, you get the picture.

we had an early AM wake-up today. panda had to be in the office earlier than normal, shortstack decided he wanted to eat breakfast at school and mama was up early because a 6-year-old came in at an unholy hour with a clogged-up nose and a need to cuddle and then mama just couldn't get back to sleep (thanks, creeping migraine!) so, when i finally emerged from our room to start the day, i had to smile when i looked at our kitchen table. it is just a picture-perfect summary of our wonderful chaos!


i'm a bit of a blog and magazine whore ... okay, panda would say more than a bit ... one of the major reasons that i love browsing through blogs and life magazines is simply that i'm nosy! i LOVE eavesdropping into other people's lives ... i love looking at the smart and innovative ideas of smart women who are moving through their lives with their families in creative and beautiful ways  ... i get a kick out of seeing the prettily-styled and set home-scapes that never fail to inspire me to make changes in our home and life but never seems to result in a perfectly-styled home of our own. but the moments of our real life and our family chaos constantly remind me that i wouldn't want life any other way.

shortstack and i are papaya and apple banana monsters! 
just another treat of living in hawaii!

you see, we live a simple life. partly out of circumstance ... but fully aligned with who we are as individuals and as a family. so, the simple snapshots of our life and chaos are such a pleasure for me to share.

quicky breakfast on an early wednesday AM


how can we complain when this cutey-patootie smiles like this for his little ohana (family for you non-hawaii-folk) on a daily basis!?!!

so, nope, we don't have a magazine-picture life but we do have so many beautiful blessings, there's no way that i would ever wish for it to change. 

here's to wishing all of you beautiful chaos today ...

Monday, September 26, 2011

i'm still here ... and the chowder was yummy!

even though i've been MIA for awhile ... funny how that happens, huh? i guess life is life and we all get caught up in it.

our little ohana has been BUSY! panda's been swamped with work - the start of the fall semester is always a killer for her, but it seems that lately the craziness has been stepped up ... if only we got the memo and the ability to deal with the increased insanity before it all happened. shortstack is settling into a school rhythm. repeating kinder was definitely the RIGHT decision, but there has been some adjustment that has needed to happen. after all, the first part of this semester has been a repeat of skills that were mastered last year. but the maturity that is happening right now is amazing ... and a privilege to watch. as for me, well, my family's craziness is mine ... and then we top it with insanity from work, trying to get my thesis done, prepping for graduation in december and our wedding in january ... well, you can likely imagine how all of that keeps us more than a little busy!

so, in the midst of that craziness, we do our best to maximize our family time ... which  is far too short (i really do think that we should start a movement to advocate for 4-day work weeks!) so weekends are filled with shortstack's soccer (THAT is a whole nother post!), volleyball and football games (yay! for fall collegiate sports - but don't quote me on that! i got an image to maintain!!), dinners with friends, late-night reading, sporadic house cleaning, recipe experimentation, vegging nights with the family curled up together ... life is pretty ideal if just a bit chaotic.

panda's been asking for corn chowder for a while now. let's keep in mind that we live in hawaii, so it's never REALLY soup weather in our little slice of paradise, but soup is a favorite for the adults of the house. so, last night i threw together a quicky chowder and, after a slight char on the soup contents, it came together pretty darn well and definitely worth sharing ... if only i actually took pictures (i'll get better at that some day!)

corn/potato chowder ... (use whatever leftovers or aging veggies you have on-hand)

1 medium-ish onion
2 stalks and all the leaves of the celery bunch
1ish tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/4 cup roasted balsamic garlic paste (recipe here)
4-ish  cups stock (whatever you have in the pantry)
1-ish cup white wine (optional)
1 1/2 cups milk (i used a mixture of coconut and 2% - if you want it to be richer, use heavy cream)
1 can corn kernals (or 2 cobs of corn de-eared - yes, i'm making that word up)
1 large baking potato (russet is fine, or you can used already cooked potatoes. i had leftover breakfast oven-roasted potatoes in the fridge that i chopped and used)
1 good sprig of rosemary chopped
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of sage (just because)
a handful of shredded cheese

sautee onions and celery in olive oil and  a pat of butter until soft and translucent (pat size depends on your interpretation). s&p to taste

add in a tablespoon or so of flour and cook for a few minutes til it smells toasty

if you're using wine, add it now and then pour in 2 cups of broth and stir until all lumps disappear

add in garlic past and last 2ish cups of broth

allow this to simmer for a couple of minutes

at this point, dump in the corn and the potatoes. add a bit more s&p, add the chopped rosemary and an pinch of sage (or whatever spices float your boat)

stir in the milk

at this point, leave it alone and let it do its thing. DON'T walk away and leave it boiling though ... that is simply not a good idea! i'm talking from experience here!

let the soup reduce to your desired consistency. i tend to like thick soups (think a cross between a soup and stew ... i've see it referred to as "stoup") so i let that sucker cook for a bit. right when it makes the whole house smell yummy and my tummy is growling, i add in a handful of shredded cheese (again, whatever you have on hand).

serve in a couple of coffee mugs topped with a bit more cheese (i just want to make sure you're getting your daily dose of calcium). you could be healthy and serve this with salad ... or you could be like us and serve with garlic-butter-drenched bread)

no matter what you do, i highly encourage it to be eaten curled up on the couch, surrounded by your favorite peeps, watching nemo make his way home from sydney as the last, lazy moments of your weekend slip away ...

enjoy!!

oh ... and here's a peek from our weekend - football saturday afternoons at aloha stadium!

UH vs. UC Davis ... umm, we left at 1/2 time because the score was 47 - nothin' ... but i can vouch for chillin and grilling time tailgating simply rocks!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

exhale ... inhale ... don't hit anyone ...

yep. that's where we are today. taking down the simple foundations of life: breathe. stop. do it again. be nice.

this is "fall rush" time at the school i work at. this is a time when students are scrambling to get registered for classes that they failed to get into earlier. this is the time when we hear whining, excuses, demands and just plain bad behavior. the "thank you's" are few and far between. the appreciation of those students who take their role as student seriously shoots through the roof. and, as an educator, i have to restrain myself from jumping over the slab of wood that separates me from my student, shaking them til their teeth rattle and yell into their ear - "this is YOUR degree! have some ownership! have some accountability!! HAVE SOME INDEPENDENT THOUGHT!!!!!!!"

after dealing with another challenging patient student i realized that i NEEDED to take a step back and refocus this frustrated school-hating energy ... i haven't succeeded completely at doing that yet. thus the reason i'm writing this ... but that is the goal for this afternoon ~ find a way, find a path to take this insane energy and channel it into change that i want to see.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

my peace? your peace? want a piece?


i can't control what is beyond my control. therefore i should be at peace with what i can control and let go of what i can't control. right? but, sometimes holding onto that piece of peace is difficult.

unfortunately, there are people in my life who are saturated with hatefulness, prejudice and homophobia. and, unfortunately, those people - who once were very important to me - are not at all hesitant in passing on that hatefulness to our son. because of that, i find myself in a place where i have to manage my son's relationship with someone who is very important to and loved by him but is very toxic to our family. so i walk the line, do what i think is best as a mama, let go of a life-long relationship and try to find my piece of peace with it.

here's to hoping that you find your piece of peace today ...

Monday, August 8, 2011

YES!! ... and soccer begins ...

... as does the rest of the fall craziness. but, for a brief moment, we need to ~ and should ~ celebrate our goals ... achieved and those that we are still working toward. i suppose we should take a note from our shortstack ... celebrate with pure joy!

CHEEHOO!!!!



Monday, August 1, 2011

live it to the full ...

i'm taking a because-i-can, why-the-heck-not, self-reflection, virtually-anonymous course online this month. nope ... it is in no way academic. it is totally and purely self-indulgent. i've been reflecting A LOT over the past several years about self-authentication and personal purpose in this big, bad world. as i was browsing the my blog roll a couple of months ago, i stumbled across this website and i was tempted to sign up for this course. something to help me reconnect with my latent creativity? some sort of guidance to walk my inside-out emotional rollercoaster (or at least attempt to corral it) through the multitude of transitions that have occurred in my life over the past 6 years? sign me up!! i'm IN!!!

and so it began today. lord knows what it will do for/to me ... whether or not i'll stick with it ... how i will feel about it ... but, for now, i'm intrigued ... so i'll keep y'all posted.

right now, my eyes are barely open. shortstack and panda are crashed out for the night. there's a pile of dirty dishes that will likely still be dirty in the AM ... so good nite y'all. sweetest sleep to all of you ...

i wish we all could sleep like little boys ... nite, everyone ... 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

at the starting gate ...

ummm ... in case you didn't get the memo, summer is over. yep! shorstack is heading back to school tomorrow, panda begins her crazy fall rush tomorrow and i ... well, i am still in the midst of my summer-fall-where-was-the-vacation insanity.

the house is quite quiet right now. panda's resting and hoping her body will get rid of the sore-throat bug before her fall-semester-student-meetings, shortstack is chillin' and playing til mama is ready to hit the park, and here i am ... after a quick AM farmer's market jaunt ... ready for a nap.

summer wasn't slow for us this year. i had hopes ... but, well, it just didn't happen. i had dreams of cleaning and scrubbing out the fridge, reorganizing closets, replanting an herb garden, lazy picnics on long afternoons ... it just didn't happen. but it was a GOOD summer. knee surgeries and healing, wedding planning, visits with ohana, and progress on my thesis. i guess we can't complain. but that doesn't mean i'm ready for the fall craziness!

anyhow ... here's to hoping that all of you are enjoying your sunday AM rituals ... have a spectacular day!!

these guys got it right ... find your bliss on this beautiful sunday AM! =)

Friday, July 29, 2011

finding my zen place

sometimes, when you are having one of THOSE days, you need to be able to find a place of peace ...


... and here it is ... 
... peace in my family and to all of yours ...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An APLS Wedding in Paradise

hey all ... i know ... it's been awhile ... story of my life! anyhow ... i finally got our website up for the wedding:
apls-weddinginparadise.blogspot.com

enjoy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

am i just fizzing out??


over the past two years, i've had this bossy, pushy, demanding internal voice nudging (sometimes shoving) me to figure out what my purpose(s) and passion(s) in life are. i mean, beyond the obvious (my cozy ohana and our home, coffee, chocolate, tons of books, browsing blogs, collecting stuff ...) i guess, what is it that i am on this planet of ours for??

i spend time every morning browsing through the blogs of other people who are inspiration to me because they seem to have it all figured out! they somehow have found out what their calling is - so they can shut up the pushy, demanding voices that are shoving them through self-excavation and they can focus on DOING. i want to be there!! but i'm not ... at least not yet. so, every time that bossy internal voice starts getting on my nerves (it happens quite often!) i dig a little more ... or i retreat into my internal mind bed cave ... and look for help, inspiration, revelations, anything that will help me figure it out. but, if i'm too tired, stressed, lazy, bored or intimidated ... well, then i just take a look at my family and realize that although i don't necessarily know what my calling is quite yet, i am a lucky, LUCKY woman to have been charged with loving and caring for my family ... do i really need to know more than that at this very moment ... nope. not really. the adventure of self-excavation will probably always continue, but for now, i'm looking forward to heading home during my lunch to care for my wife and put together another little care package for our shortstack.

my number one purpose: to love and be loved by my family!

here's to wishing you purpose and passion in your lives!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

thursday's bit of life ...


i woke up with a KILLER migraine this morning. to be honest, i knew it was coming while i was sleeping last night. for some reason, i could feel it snaking its way up my spine and into my neck and the back of my skull while i was trying desperately to stay in dreamland. when i finally convinced myself to attempt to open my eyes, and only one eye made it open, i knew it would be a stay-home day for me. in the meantime, my stubborn wife who is sofa-bed-bound for at least the rest of the week got her stubborn a$$ out of bed to hunt down my imitrex (seriously! better living through pharmaceutics!! that's the lesson i learned while working at pharmacy schools =) and nagging me to go back to sleep until the drugs kicked in. after calling in sick, a bit more sleep, a shot of caffeine, a hot shower and some granola with coconut milk (i seriously need to hit up THAT convo with y'all soon!) i was feeling more human and more able to spend some time working on my too-much-untouched thesis. after about an hour of being in my head and my journal articles, i looked up for more coffee and realized that the kitchen table had become overwhelmed with my mess. oh well! so, since this is where i am now, i'd thought i'd share a shot of my life right now ...

you can see panda's foot propped up in the background ... poor woman. we're soon headed out to take her to her 1st PT (physio for you aussies) session. which, to be honest, i don't get what they're going to do with her considering that she has 18 STAPLES in her leg. but, i guess that's why i'm not a PT.

and so our day continues on, i'm sitting with my coffee, books, articles and laptop (yes, i was taking a mind break and browsing through my favorite blogs!) all the while, hoping that the migraine will soon leave me alone. even if it doesn't, our bits of life are completely blissful.

here's to hoping that life is treating you to blissful bits as well!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

healing at home and comfort food

it's been an eventful week. besides an avalanche of "to-do" items at work and a never-ending laundry list of "get-done-now-or-never-get-done" items at home, panda underwent a major surgery last thursday to minimize the knee pain that she has been feeling for years. i have to back this story up a bit so that you can grasp the big-picture ... panda had 9 surgeries on her right knee up until this point. it started in her late teens with a soccer-induced knee injury (yep! healthy sports, huh??) and over the years, she's gone in fairly regularly to have work done on her knee so that she could keep ... well, walking, driving, moving ... you know, those daily functions that our knees help us accomplish. on her latest visit to her doc, there came a crystalline moment in which they agreed that these surgical "clean outs" just weren't cutting it (pun not intended) anymore and a more drastic measure needed to be taken. enter the idea of an osteotomy. to spare you the gross details, basically it is meant to help realign the knee allowing for less pressure in the most damaged knee area; it involves cutting a wedge of bone out of her femur and putting in some plates, screws ... you know, things that you find in a hardware store. so ~ after 3 hours of waiting, 4 hours of surgery, 18 staples in the incision, 2 nights in the hospital and a good number of doses of wonderful IV painkillers, panda finally made it home and is not installed on our comfy pull-out bed in the living room for a 1 -2 weeks of rest and recovery to be followed by 6 - 8 weeks of crutches and healing along with a unspecified amount of time of PT. ahhhh ... deep breath in and out ...

thankfully, my honey is home! safe, sound and sore ... but home. to say that we were both exhausted and emotionally wrung out upon our return to our cozy haven is an understatement. we both NEEDED to just curl up into balls on our respective couches (no more snuggling in for me --- after all, i AM a klutz!), zone out and take a few deep breaths knowing that we were home. it was time to find some comfort and get ready for the recovery and healing stages - neither of which are painless).

knowing that we would be home-bound for a while (no complaints on my part!), i had a fairly well-stocked fridge and pantry. it was time to dig in and make some yummy comfort food to nourish our bodies and our tired souls. now, if you know me, you probably know that recipes are suggestions to me (kind of like speed limits and traffic signs). i take the gist of the recipe and then do with it what i wish. we had a HUGE bag of broccoli sitting in our fridge, so i started on a search for a good & quick broccoli soup recipe ... and here's what i ended up creating:

Quick & YUMMY Soul-Soothing Broccoli Soup
~ one medium onion, chopped
~ one handful garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
~ generous touch of olive oil & one pat of butter
~ broccoli florets (as much as you like - i used approximately 3 heads of florets)
~ chicken or veggie stock
~ spices as you desire (i used tumeric, paprika, oregano, cumin, s&p, chopped ginger)
~ sour cream, yogurt or some other dairy product to make it creamy

1) saute onion and garlic in olive oil & butter til translucent or carmelized (as you like it)
2) add in desired spices and cook to toast spices and develop flavor
3) add in 1 box chicken or veggie stock (approximately 4 - 6 cups. depends on the soup consistency you like)
4) add in broccoli and let simmer for 6 - 8 minutes until cooked through
5) take pot off heat and blend (i used immersion blender, but you can use traditional blender but i suggest you blend in batches to minimize mess)
5) when you reach desired consistency, taste and adjust spices as needed. if too runny, put pot back on heat and simmer to thicken
6) take pot off heat when reached desired consistency and add in sour cream or yogurt. let soup rest a few minutes so that everything melds together

i've got to tell you ... that was some YUMMY soup! a couple of days later, I used it as the base for a pasta casserole that i made with leftover kalua beef, corn, beans and cheese.

as tired as i've been ~ partially because i don't sleep well when my family isn't at home, partially because there's a part of me that stays alert listening out for panda since she's still feeling some crazy pain and discomfort, partially because, well, i'm a bit stressed ~ it is comforting to retreat to my kitchen and make food with love. there's a soothing rhythm that i fall into as i chop, season, stir and ponder in front of my stove. and so as the healing continues so will the food creations.

we're wishing you all comfort and love in your homes ...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

checking in ...

arghhh!!! life goes TOO quickly ... the days are zooming by and keeping up with them is never easy. but i wanted to check in ... just because. i know that few people read my random thoughts here, but there's something about putting my words, thoughts, ideas out into the universe that grounds me and makes me feel connected to the "big whole". i'm still trying to figure out what the "big whole" is ... but, for my purposes right here, right now, it works.

panda is going in for a major surgery on thursday. i'm getting nervous and jittery which makes me pushy and bitchy and a bit distant. shortstack comes home in 3 weeks, which makes me anxious and even more jittery ... not quite a state that i would suggest for anyone ~ especially myself. and so, this afternoon i'm off to a massage ... self-care! well, that's what i tell myself. more likely, a self-indulgence.

i hope that this post finds you all in a smooth-sailing state of mind and maybe you can send some of those smooth-sailing vibes my way ... seems like i can use 'em right about now!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sleep or awake ...

i love my sleep. i really, REALLY do. i think that sleep is a necessity, a luxury, a treat, a god-given right ... you get the picture. well, my love of sleep has been greatly impacted by several factors over the years ... first of all, i got a "real" job which meant that i had to regularly get up at a "normal" time (which is seriously ABNORMAL!!) and so my internal clock does not know how to obey the internal snooze button anymore; i had a kid which meant that the whole concept of sleep should be thrown off the building from the top of the empire state building (in reality, i don't know how tall the empire state building is, but b/c peeps use it as a common point of reference, i will too); i got older which - apparently - means that i don't enjoy sleep the way i used; and i've fallen in love with a woman who just doesn't sleep as much as she needs to.

last night was one of those nights where sleep was going to be elusive for both of us. unfortunately parent stress, work stress, life stress all got wound up on one horrendous monday and we both knew - even before we crawled into bed - that sleep was not going to come easily or for long. and we were both correct. what made me smile though, was the knowledge that there is someone who will be there to keep me company - and i, her - when sleep ain't going to happen, sheep counting is not going to work and late night/early morning prowling through the house is inevitable. i'm starting to think that we should include an acknowledgement of that dedication in our wedding vows ... after all, dedication to each other in a sleep-deprived state is love at a deeper level.

so, baby, just for you ... i promise to take you for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer ( i really think that that is a horrible word), in sickness and in health, and with sleep or sleep-deprived ... you're stuck with me baby! just a head's up ... i may be a bit grumpy after our sleepless nights ... coffee may do the trick ... if not, well ... remember that you're promising for better or for worse too!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

yes! you heard correctly ... no thank-you, i don't want a drink ...


well, i never thought that i'd see the day ... i would rather not have a drink at this point in time than suffer from the digestive rebellion that my body throws my way if i do pick up a glass filled with liquid bliss. but, that day has come! you see, it seems that this wonderful meal modification plan that panda and i are on has tweaked my system a bit. no longer does a refreshing mojito sound appealing when i think about the digestive vengeance that my body reeks (pun not intended but quite appropriate) on me and the extended amount of time that i spend on the think tank awaiting release from my body's temper tantrum.

it has only been a week of our meal modification plan (yes, i truly hate the word "diet"). we are conscientious of what we eat and our exercise during the week and have allowed ourselves food and movement freedom during the weekend (seriously - let's be realistic. i'm not one to change my life in extremes; i enjoy eating, cooking and sleeping far too much to become an overbearing health freak!). i am definitely seeing some improvements, but i simply was not prepared for the unexpected side effect of my body violently disliking the reintroduction of alcoholic beverages into the mix.

on saturday, i indulged in a new-found favorite - raspberry ale (i swear, it tastes like raspberry soda ... lynne, i think we found a winner for you!) and an interesting and complex chocolate stout. you see, we had some time on our hands since shortstack isn't here and indulged ourselves with a browsing trip to one of our favorite stores, Tamura's Fine Wine & Liquors. when we have shortstack with us, it's a bit difficult to take our time exploring the aisles of fun and exciting alcohol indulgence, so we spent a nice part of saturday morning walking through previously zipped-through aisles finding some fun new liquid treats to try. and try i did! and payment from that exciting tasty adventure was demanded not that long after indulgence. best i can tell, my body has been taking advantage of the meal modification plan and really taking care of itself ... i'm not sure how great an idea this is if, every time i enjoy myself a tasty beverage, i have to suffer painful and malodorous consequences. oh well ... for now, we're continuing with our meal modification plan and hoping that the big-picture benefits will outweigh the indulgent consequences.

as for the blissful bits of our life that i love to share ... i have some awesomely cute pix that i am wanting to post, but i have to find all the tech hardware that is necessary to - you know - download said pix from the handy-dandy camera onto the ever-present and running laptop. sooner or later i'll get to it ... in the meantime, there's an unbelievably precious pic of shortstack with our favorite kinder teacher, mrs. riddick ... if i figure out how to link it, i'll get it up here for y'all to enjoy ...

update ... ooooh! i think i got the pic where i want it ... let's find out, shall we?


now ... if that picture don't make you smile, nothing will!

enjoy your day!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

maybe i should become a tornado chaser ...?

you know those days when you think, "maybe - just maybe - i was supposed to have a TOTALLY different career ... like, maybe i should be a tornado chaser??!!"

well, that's the thought that i have right now. ugh! it's a wednesday! YAY!! sometimes short weeks are wonderful, and sometimes they simply throw you off and you never quite get into the right rhythm. this week, the short holiday week thing is working well ... but, the weekend still can't come quick enough.

shortstack left for his dad's house last week - 6 weeks in the hot AZ desert - and we've been busy every day since the hand off. well, we first had to catch up on a bit of sleep; panda and i passed out on the couch from pure exhaustion. we had been crazily busy in the week before kaleo's departure as we tried to get in all his visits with his friends, aunties and uncles before leaving, wrapping up with his school year, getting in some super-quality family time and the normal sleeplessness that panda and i face whenever shortstack heads off to the mainland. after waking up with a bit more lucidity, panda and i hit the ground running ... we volunteered our time and selves to special olympics via aunty reech, we celebrated a friend's milestone birthday, visited with an aussie-land pal, started exercising and modifying our diet (MUCH more on this one later!), jumped full-force into our work commitments and duties that have been a bit below our radar these past few weeks, did a surface-only tidy-up of the house, spent some time reading and being with each other. so, to say the least, things have been crazy ... and i'm feeling crazy inside as well. i'm looking forward to a weekend of being at home, cooking up some crazy concoctions and just being. but, doubtful that it'll be that simple.

oh! the exercise thing. so ... i need to get my big butt into shape ... no, i lie, i need to get my body to a healthier place. of course, a nice side effect of getting healthier is fitting smaller-sized clothing ... but mainly, i want my body to feel stronger and steadier. i want energy and i want to sleep well at night without muscle relaxants or other Rx's ... so, panda and i have started walking in the AMs. here i thought, "wow! with shortstack gone, i can sleep in on weekday AMs and take the start of my day slowly." well, for those of you who know me, you know that AMs are not the easiest. but, NOPE! we are still waking up at the evil time (5:30 AM) and have been walking around our neighborhood. now, walking ... you would think ... not so bad! we all walk - should be do-able. well, you see ... we have an EVIL hill near our house ... i mean, it is horrendous ... and we've done it twice so far. =) yep! twice. yes ... i know that twice is not much ... but since i didn't think i could do it the first time, being able to say that we've done it twice is pretty impressive!! i can't say that i feel the benefits yet (yes! i know it's only been 3 days!!) but i do know that i slept fairly well last night and getting up to walk this AM was not as horrendous as it was yesterday. i think that's progress!! maybe i'll soon be fit enough to chase a tornado ... or a shortstack ... sometimes, they're one and the same. =)

Friday, April 29, 2011

germy, missing-one house this week

it's been one of those weeks when you probably should just stay in bed til it's pau. i've been sick most (ok, all) of the week. shortstack woke up with a fever this AM and panda got on a plane last night and headed east ... so, the house was overwhelmingly lazy, germy and feeling a bit off-kilter because one of our family members isn't in the cocoon with us.

we did have a new addition to our house this week, a HUGE sofa sectional that is probably from the 70's (well, that's what the rust-orange-brown color indicates). this sofa has become ohana central this week ... it's become a bed for me to curl up on to get past the germyness, it's become a jungle gym and playhouse for shortstack, it's been dinner booth, packing bench, temporary office ... i swear, it's the best $200 that we've spent in a LONG time!!! this sectional spans the length of the living room wall and practically eats up 1/2 the room. there will definitely need to be some rearranging of furniture and reconfiguring of room use, but for right now, it has become the comfort zone of our home.

so, we are declaring it a lazy, guilt-free weekend that, fingers crossed, will fly by so that we can have our family back together again. here's to hoping that y'all are enjoying your germ-free, comfort zone, family weekend ...

Monday, April 25, 2011

blissful bits from a weekend of celebration

sometimes you just need a comfy place to take a break and change your perspective ... 
apparently, panda's foot was the choice spot!

it was panda's birthday weekend and we wanted to do it up right! only problem is, i'm not all that great at bday planning ... so, with a little help (ok, major help) from multiple peeps, we were able to celebrate panda's day in a deservedly celebratory manner! but, instead of feeding y'all all the details, i just want to share some blissful bits for a weekend done well ...
  • friday's holiday gave me the time needed to prep some ono food for ELES imu fundraiser ... gotta love me some kalua pork (garlic rosemary, ginger orange and traditional), kalua beef and kalua chicken ... yummy leftovers!
  • mama missed saturday soccer AM, but panda and shortstack had a great time, and shortstack found a comfortable seat on panda's foot during practice breaks 
  • PARTY!PARTY!PARTY!! well, a "low-key" birthday dinner with 24 of our closest peeps at ye old spaghetti factory at ward ... if you're looking for the best waiter in town, hit up daniel ... he was THE calmest, coolest, most collected waiter i've seen in a long time! that man earned every penny he made that night!!
  • ice cream birthday cake and a houseful of hanai family until midnight 
  • easter bunny's arrival was LOUDLY proclaimed by shortstack at 6:30 sunday AM (may i mention that he only slept 6 hours saturday night??!?)
  • panda's official bday was on sunday, so we had another special bday gift to open ... hopefully travel will be a bit more enjoyable with her new noise-elimination headphones 
  • soccer sunday ... fun and sun with soccer peeps
  • new easter traditions ... dinner at kona brewing ... beautiful setting, ono food and awesome company!! simply can't complain ...
we hope your easter weekend was blessed and blissful as well ... have yourselves a sunshiny week!

Monday, April 18, 2011

can i have a weekend for my weekend?

do you ever get the feeling that we simply try to fit too much in our too-short weekends? i do! without a doubt!! but we loved every minute of it. you see, we are surrounded by family and we want to spend as much time with them as we can ... not only because should - but simply because we enjoy it!

i headed out of the office on friday afternoon to catch our niece's orchestra recital in pearl city. a couple of valuable revelations came out of that ... first, i am not a west-side girl. you see ~ although our little island is, well, little ... the traffic is comparable of that to crazy metropolitan areas (think LA on crack). so, my non-existent patience ended up being tested in an irritable manner. second, i miss the theatre - all manifestations of it. i grew up dancing ballet, so classical music was grafted into my bones at a very early age ... but since i've walked away from the fine arts, i haven't indulged often or regularly in field trips to the classics. thirdly, we have so many smart, loving, talented kids in this crazy pieced-together family of ours!! and too often, it escapes our minds that these kiddos can and should teach us grown-ups a thing or two about tapping into our fun-loving, exploratory side. so, kym girl ... you rocked it! loved watching you take those deep breaths before playing your violin. congratulations girl!!

saturday started off unusually quiet ... i think y'all have heard about my saturday AM adventures with soccer, well, this past weekend, soccer was cancelled. that meant that shortstack got to have a long sleepover at gma and papa's house while panda and mama got to take it slow and easy and have a lazy saturday AM. oooohhhh!!! LUXURY!! a bit of weekend coffee, time to finish a book or two, time to procrastinate on necessary writing ... yep! talk about luxury. but the party began again on saturday night. we headed over to heather's place and reveled in a house filled with 8 kids and 7 women! woohoo!! wine was flowing, food was grillin and brownies were baking! seriously, how does it get better than that? our shortstack ran himself til he practically passed out. we crawled into bed, completely satisfied and counting our blessings of being surrounded by people we have chosen to be our family because of their HUGE hearts and crazy silliness.

sunday AM brought tax forms, cartoons and soccer for panda and shortstack. i got to indulge in some gift shopping for our cousins. now, i am a shopper ... but in a weird sense. i hate to do necessary shopping (i.e. out of good underwear and/or bras or need work clothes) because i get impatient. but i LOVE to shop for random gifts!! i especially love to shop for home and treat gifts. BUT that doesn't go for my better half or the shortstack ... getting them to go shopping with me is painful for EVERYONE involved. so, after they shuttled out to hang with the soccer aunties, i packed myself up and enjoyed some mindless hours wondering through shops that would never be entered willingly by certain members of my family. i finally made it to the flower shop where i (sort of) went overboard in flowers for my cousins and the house. when the rest of the family finally made it home, well, lets just say that the debit card needed a rest. oh- but there was one last shop ... Cafe Laufer!!!!! have you ever been there?? if not, please go!! but don't tell anyone about it because we don't want the secret to get too far out ... talk about a confectioner's heaven! we picked up a selection of tasty treats (i totally believe in options and in dessert!!!) to take over to the Q-grls' new place.

ahhhhh!! i love exploring the homes of our friends and family! there is SO much you can learn about your peeps from their homes. the Q grls have recently moved into a very cool and very welcoming loft-style apartment in downtown honolulu. the funny thing is, it sure didn't feel like we were in the middle of downtown! but the views were gorgeous, the pool was warm and inviting (and the perfect place for shortstack to get all his crazy energy out). the food was ONO!!! and the company was fun! lots of gossip was shared, drinks were consumed, food was enjoyed, jenga was played (unsuccessfully by panda - sorry baby, but you lost!) and curiosity was satisfied.

another awesome weekend enjoyed by all ... but monday AM has rolled around and i have realized that my awesome weekend has pooped me out ... time for some rest ... when's my weekend from my weekend coming up??

hope you all enjoyed yours as well! if not, you might have to jump on board our family train and you'll be sure to have a blast!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

looking for my rock ...

... to hide under. i'm starting to feel a bit sleep deprived and underwhelmed. sleep deprived is pretty self explanatory. it's something that i haven't been doing very well lately ... travel, tsunamis, irregular schedules, camping and just restless nights have added up to a sleepy mama. doesn't help that panda is a bit of an insomniac as well. dragging ourselves out of bed after a night of little, restless sleep does not happy campers make.

... as for underwhelmed ... well, i am totally underwhelmed with myself lately. not putting enough time or soul into my writing, dropping little responsibilities, lacking excitement about parts of my career ... so i am in need of a kick in the okole and time to get my a$$ back in gear. well, get my heart back into what i'm doing.

i dropped in on some of my favorite blogs this AM, needing some simple words and images of inspiration, creativity and common sense ... my favorite this AM? SouleMama. hopefully her enthusiasm and excitement of creativity will carry me through the day. and if not, i just may find myself a rock and crawl under it for a while to gather myself together and make things happen ...



Monday, March 28, 2011

get some sleep, mama ...

we did it! we made it home, all of us in one piece, with some little piece of our sanity in tact. woohoo!! we had our first family camping weekend this past weekend. after loading up the car (wow! i didn't realize just how much room a camry has until we filled it to the brim with the "necessities" of camping) and then squeezed in 3 people, made a quick stop at longs for the forgotten items and finally headed out to ho'omaluhia (place of tranquility/peace). we knew that we were in for some rain ~ that was inevitable, ho'omaluhia is at the foot of the ko'olaus on the kaneohe side ~ but we were excited to finally break out our new tents and get away for short staycation. we had no idea if we were going to have friends hanging out with us, or if our new propane grill was going to work (which meant that we had no idea if the the ton of food that mama packed was going to be cooked, much less consumed).

it seems that a lot of my peeps are surprised to discover that i enjoy camping. i guess that surprise should make sense. i get that i'm a bit of a diva. i enjoy my coffee hot and fresh in the AM, i'm a HUGE believer in naps and lots of pillows on the bed (don't you love that, panda?!?) and i like having wardrobe options at my fingertips so that what i'm wearing fits any mood that i may be in. but ... surprise everyone!! this mama LOVES to camp!!! in fact, one of the sad parts about the dissolution of my last relationship was losing my (VERY expensive), well-researched, broken in camping gear to my ex. oh well! i'm over it. especially because that meant that my little family got to indulge in some new camping gear and create camping memories of our own. and let me tell you, that we did!!

we made it out to the campsite mid-morning and were fairly well set up just a bit after lunchtime. after gobbling down some yummy sammies (with the indulgence of white bread!) we started the difficult task of relaxing! seriously ... getting this family to relax can sometimes be difficult ... competing and busy schedules, lots of time spent with our minds on other things, restless sleep, crazy competing priorities ... getting us settled in to relaxation mode can take a bit. but we made it! yep ... within a couple hours, there were trees being explored, ducks being fed, books being read, naps being had. ended up having family time the rest of that day. mama tried to let food choices be whatever anyone wanted, there were marshmallows roasted on a fire that panda started and we both kept going for hours (yes peeps, us women know how to start a fire successfully!). it was bliss. and at the end of the day, after shortstack finally crashed for the night, panda and i got to sit fireside talking about everything and nothing and just enjoy being. for that night alone, the craziness of camping prep and execution was worth it!!

saturday morning came a bit too early for my liking ... especially when we figured out that my coffee plan wasn't going to work. okay, a short sidenote here ~ y'all know that i'm a coffee addict. so we planned specifically for that weakness. we ventured into unknown and scary territory and bought *$ (if you don't know what this means, well, you're not an addict. be proud!) instant coffee packets. i packed a pot to boil water in on our cool new propane grill. yeah ~ well, the best laid plans sometimes just don't work. so, off panda had to go in search of coffee (i love that woman!) of course, when she got back, shortstack and i were taking a nap ... heeheeeheeee ...
so, we finally did really wake up ... and friends started coming. it was a rainy day, but shortstack and his buddies managed to play hide and seek, fish in the lake (seriously - it was catch and release, no fish were harmed, i promise!) get their bodies caked with mud and other unthinkable messy stuff, eat like ravenous hyenas ... by the end of the chaotic, fun day, panda and i were looking at each other in bafflement because we had acquired 4 other kids, another tent, made our way through a dozen hamburgers, 3 lbs of hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, 2 bags of marshmallows ... yep, it was a blast!

after listening in on a hilarious game of truth or dare (with 5 kids in age range of 5 thru 12 ... you'd be cracking up too!) and realizing that we were now the old peeps chaperoning camping trips, everyone was finally tucked into their tents playing flashlight chicken and trying to keep their giggles to a minimum ... unfortunately, when the sun woke up, so did the kids .... i wasn't a fan, but i was apparently overruled ... so, up and starting the day (without coffee, mind you). breakfast for 5 hungry, growing kids is a crazy prospect ... don't know how parents of multiple kids do it! within a couple hours, the campsite was well on the way to being broken down and i was patiently (NOT) waiting for the coffee delivery that was coming with the first kid(s) pickup of the AM. coffee arrived ~ oops! i mean our friends arrived with coffee ~ to pick up their kids. somehow, these kids still had enough energy to run around like crazy. campsite was pretty well cleared by the time the first group left. by the time our other friends showed up to retrieve their daughter, only the pop-up tent still stood with munchies and random chaos. we chilled out a little more, let shortstack run like crazy and finally made the call to pack it up and call it a successful adventure!

getting everything back in the car and headed home was not as pretty or organized as when we headed out, but we made at. the little man was immediately thrown into the bathtub with the intention of scrubbing and soaking away the dirt and grime (seriously, a shower and a bath and there's STILL residual mud on him), we unloaded the car and made temporary homes for a lot of little things, and finally found our way to cleanliness ... each of us luxuriating under long, hot showers and lots of suds (did i mention that this little family of mine went showerless from friday through sunday?? yep! the beanie never left my head!).

all in all, it was an awesome weekend! we all had a blast and all were pleasantly exhausted at the end of the weekend. but now, it's back to daily reality. my alarm went off at 5:10 this AM. it took A LOT of self motivation to get my a$$ out of bed and start our day ... but we did it. we're at school, at work and ready to get moving through the week. and at the end of each day, as long as my shortstack will give me a kiss and say "get some sleep, mama" then i know it was a good day! here's to hoping that all of us have a blessed week ... hopefully we'll be able to all enjoy our daily adventures and remember to say thank you for the little moments of bliss when we crawl into our beds at night ...

Friday, March 25, 2011

getting back to nature!!

woohoo!! we're going camping! semi-roughing it ... well, not really at all roughing it ... but getting away, having some fun at ho'omaluhia. good food, hanging out together, cool weather (hoping not to get rained out), some bbq burgers and dogs, hopefully some friends will come and visit ... it's all good!

it's been awhile since i've made the time to sit and share ... heck! it's been awhile since i've made the time to sit and count my blessings. definitely going to take some time to do that this weekend.

i hope that you will be able to do the same ... we have so many blessings to recognize and count ... and one of the biggest being that our little man is with us, growing, developing into an amazing young man ... another being that we've found someone who loves us, chooses to walk with us through this life and is our best friend ...

so, off we go ... panda's packing up the car, shortstack is - well - messing around, and here i am shooting off a little message to y'all saying i hope that you'll take some time to enjoy our world and count your blessings!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

what to do with ourselves on a kid-less staycation?

shortstack is going on a short staycation with his daddy for the rest of this week. this poses several mini crises for his mama ... first of all, we've been spoiled since the school year started, except for a brief christmas visit to AZ, shortstack has been with us constantly. this means that we have SO gotten used to his craziness and his kisses whenever and wherever. also, panda and i now have ... oh, 4 kid-less nights and THAT has an implicit expectation that we won't be boring, stay-at-home, parenthood-coma-induced adults. nope! we are supposed to "take advantage" of our kid-less state and actually go out and do stuff OR try to stay awake past 8:27 pm (which, if you've read some of my past blogs about date night, you will probably already have figured out that we rarely make it to 8:30. yes! we admit it! we're BORING!!).

and then there is the BIGGIE ... the ex is on the island ... and the island ain't all that big ... and we live very near to where the ex and our shortstack will be staying ... SO ... how do we not let it get to us? panda's been quite amazing about reminding me that since we can't control it, let it be and remember that we want shortstack to have fun with his father. my internal conversation goes something like this: ok, you wanted j.a. to be a part of shortstack's life in the first place so this isn't a bad thing. but j.a. put us through a shitty custody battle is a complete j.a.! yeah, but we don't have control over this now. yeah, but i should do something. stop it! just make sure that shortstack is excited about the visit. FINE! but karma's going to bite j.a. in the ass!! {first person to figure out what "j.a." stands for gets a prize!}

as i type, the little man is being picked up by j.a. and there's nothing i can do but hope that shortstack has a blast and comes home safe and sound. so, our angels out there, wrap yourselves around our little man and let him know that his mama and panda love him to the moon and back!

Monday, March 14, 2011

hey all! HEY ALL!!! we're getting MARRIED!!!!

yep!! we're really going to get married! i know ... i know ... i sound surprised. in a way, i am! not because i'm marrying panda ... there's no question in my mind that i want to spend the rest of my life with this amazing woman by my side. i think the surprise comes from the fact that we CAN, in fact, get married and have it legally recognized (well, at least in the state of HI) AND that we are moving on with our lives ... which means that we get to plan a wedding and a kick-ass party to celebrate that we've found each other and that we are choosing to commit to one another and to the family that we have created together. WOOHOO!!!

p.s. we've added a wedding page for your convenience and interest (well, really, i know it'll be for your entertainment). look to your left! click on "wedding in paradise"! yep! you found it!! details and comments coming soon, i'm sure!


Friday, March 11, 2011

night duty

last night we had a tsunami. i'm sure by now you've heard that a massive earthquake struck about 250 miles off the coast of japan. one of the drawbacks about living smack-dab in the middle of the pacific ocean is being subject to the variabilities of nature. last year, on my birthday in fact, we had another tsunami due to an earthquake off of chile. so, yes, the apls ohana definitely lives in paradise, but paradise does come with a cost. thankfully, we were not subject to overly large waves or water damage. but, when it comes to mama nature, we never can truly and accurately predict what is going to happen and when.

so, as the mama of the house, i spent all night prepping in case something did actually happen. you see, panda's off island for a work trip so it's just me an shortstack holding down the fort. the little man crashed out before the chatter about a possible tsunami started. i first heard about the earthquake in japan when i was doing dishes and closing up the house; then i started seeing insane footage of unbelievable waves forcing their way through coastal areas in japan. truth be told - at first i thought the footage was from past seismic events ... i couldn't wrap my head around the thought that japan was experiencing a tsunami as i was watching. when it started sinking in, i started to get a bit worried about our situation. now, we don't live anywhere near coastal evacuation areas so it wasn't worry about the immediate danger of tsunami waves that i was worried about ... it's the chaos that follows. if the electricity infrastructure goes down, cell service gets interrupted, commercial transactions become impossible without cash on hand ... the basic social means of life go bonkers. as it was, stores were being inundated, gas stations had lines around the corner, ATMs were out of cash (and unfortunately for us, we have limited water reserves in the house, no cash and my gas tank is close to empty - thankfully, it is all a moot point!). as the researchers were talking about the possible impacts of tsunami's on our islands, it isn't the initial impact that causes such major concern - after all, there should be limited loss of life and limb with the advanced warning systems that we have in place - its the after-effect chaos that should cause the worry. all of our local power plants/infrastructure and gas refineries are in coastal areas, as are the airports. all of the mechanical infrastructure for hotels (remember, HI relies on a vibrant tourist economy) are in the basements of hotels. these insights should definitely give us pause to consider what we will do when we are finally struck by a massive tsunami. wow - that was a rant, wasn't it ...

a little closer to home ... as shortstack slept like a rock through 5 of the 6 alert sirens, i bottled water, filled the bathtub with water just in case, got out the flashlights and candles, recharged batteries and searched for the can opener. spent the night messaging with panda trying to keep her up-t0-date (she was scheduled to be on an AM flight back home but the airports were closing because of the tsunami warnings), facebooking (yep, it's become a verb) to keep everyone up-to-date and assured that we were doing fine, texting with friends (some had family in the most affected areas in japan, and prayers were being sent up for safety).

when the ETA of the first waves approached, i curled up next to shortstack in our over-pillowed bed (had them all stacked up around us so that we [i] felt cozy) and watched as the water levels and patterns changed. as i watched mama nature express her moods through water, the realization that we have - again - escaped the wrath of nature. thank our angels! and so, the tv went off and i passed out. only to be woken up by shortstack with his daily request for cartoons. so, all is well with our world. panda's on a plane headed home, HI has sustained limited water damage due to unusual wave activity, our home is stocked with water, the flashlights (and foot pump for soccer balls) have been located and put in visible areas, and the batteries are charging. mama's had little sleep so we're vegging out in bed watching "how to train a dragon" (so much for the no cartoon rule).

thank you to everyone who sent up prayers and thoughts on our behalf. thank you to the scientists and civil servants who made sure to err on the side of public safety and cautioned us to prepare for the worst-case-scenario. thank you to our angels who watched over us and kept mama calm on very little sleep.

and so we begin another day in our little piece of paradise ...

Monday, February 28, 2011

being in the mix and turning 36

sorry ... i simply couldn't help myself. had to find a rhyming word that worked with 36. probably because we've been reading lots of rhyming bedtime stories. also just because its fun. after all, at 36, sitting at my grown-up work desk and making my way through emails and quietly going through the alphabet looking for THE word that rhymes with 36 just so i could type this up. yep! maturity comes with age, doesn't it?

actually, my birthday weekend has been wonderful. it started out with walking into my office on friday morning and bursting into laughter because our student workers put a lot of time and energy into making my office festive after i left on thursday afternoon. american flags, christmas stockings and st. patrick's day garland kept me laughing throughout the day on friday! have i mentioned that students workers are super-fun energy in an office? well, they are!

friday nights have been date nights for panda and i. shortstack typically spends fridays at papa and gma's house so that he can get spoiled which means that panda and i have some time to spend together focused on ourselves and each other. typically date night ends up with both of us asleep by 8:30 ... yep! we're party animals!! this past friday, we attempted to stir things up and bit and aimed to stay awake until at least 9:00. heeheehee ... we made it ... barely! went for a stroll around kapiolani park and waikiki beach. now, i have a confession to make. being a local girl, growing up in kailua, we - as rule of thumb - stayed away from waikiki for the most part. we would enjoy going down to kapiolani park to enjoy a sunset picnic every once in a while, but we stayed away from tourist central. on the other hand, panda is a kaimuki girl. she worked in and enjoys waikiki so, when we got together, i found myself being introduced to daily life and enjoyment of life near, in and around waikiki. i wish that i had the camera with me when we went for our stroll ~ the sunset was AMAZING!! every so often i get a screaming-loud reminder why this state is considered paradise.

now, i'm not a big birthday person. i like them quiet, small and fanfare-less. so my birthday weekend was "practically perfect in every way" (if you know that quote, then you are definitely a friend of mine!). saturdays are "get-things-done" days. costco run, cooking, cleaning, entertaining ... BUT they are also the FIRST day of the weekend which means the FIRST day of weekend coffee!! so, i think explanation may be needed here. as you may have inferred by now, i am a coffee addict (which a freely, shamelessly and loudly admit). weekday coffee (monday, 12 AM through friday, 6 PM) is strong, black and usually set to automatically start brewing at 5:15 AM. weekend coffee is a different story altogether! it's still strong, but weekends (typically saturdays and sundays - except for those sweet and rare 3 or 4 day weekends) mean coffee in all its fun manifestations! coffee with flavored creamers, coffee drinks - hot and cold, coffee with sugar, iced coffee (usually AM leftovers) with whipped cream! and then of course, the delivery and consumption of weekend coffee - HUGE coffee cups, multiple servings of HUGE coffee cups, coffee while lingering over conversation and yummy breakfasts, coffee while beach walking, coffee in my pjs with no rush to get changed ... OH!! the LOVE of weekend coffee! so, where was i going with this? oh yeah! saturday morning started with weekend coffee at kalapawai market in kailua town (gotta review this later! because it is a gem of kailua!!) picked up shortstack, did the requisite costco run, picked up a fish tank (again, more on this later!) and made it home and started cooking. you see, saturday night was a special night for me ... hanai cousins of mine who i haven't seen in 15 years were coming over. yep! FIFTEEN years! tough to believe. so i, of course, wanted to make a killer meal. and, because panda had mexican from our fave mexi place on friday for lunch, i had mexi on the mind. so chx enchiladas and serve-yourself-taco bar was on the menu. for those of you who know me, i LOVE my kitchen! i ADORE spending time puttering, creating, attempting recipes in my little slice of heaven of our home. for the most part, i think that panda and shortstack tend to enjoy the fruits of that labor. but on saturday afternoon, i found myself giving panda a look of horror as she naively asked: why do you make food that takes so long to cook? i swear, my mouth dropped open and i was speechless. yep! SPEECHLESS!! funny thing is, she was sincerely being concerned about me. you see, i'm supposed to be writing my thesis. and, for some reason, my thesis chair has charged panda with kicking my a$$ into sitting down and really writing and panda thought that i would quickly throw food together for saturday night dinner and then spend the rest of the afternoon really writing. oops! saturday night with the cousins was a BLAST! it's fun to catch up after years of absence in each other's lives. partly because we have the hanabata day history and we know what we WERE like ... and now, well, we're supposedly grown up ... there's a new generation in this hanai family (namely shortstack who seems to ADORE all the attention from the aunties), we have jobs, partners, experiences, bills ... all the fun stuff! and we're different ... our relationships, experiences, thoughts, schooling ... all of it ... has changed us. but deep down, we're still the little snot-nosed cousins that gave each other a hard time, banded together at family gatherings and keep each other entertained throughout our childhood. so, in many ways, it was fitting to revisit that piece of my past before watching another year of my life begin.

i cana't wait to share my birthday day events with you all ... and my thoughts on being 36 ... but i have a small-kine travel hiccup for my business trip that needs attention, so i guess i'll get that taken care of and catch up with y'all later ...

have yourself a beautiful day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

with liberty and justice FOR ALL!

every night we have a bedtime ritual with shortstack ... a little bit of story time, bedtime prayers and then the pledge of allegiance. now, the pledge is a bit entertaining on several levels for me ... first of all, if you've ever heard a 5 year old say the pledge, you'd have a little smile on your face too. secondly, panda is not from the US ... the fact that she isn't and the fact that i am unabashedly ethnocentric makes the entertained smile on my face even bigger! but last night, when i curled around my little boy and said the pledge, i did so with a HUGE, PROUD smile on my face. why, you may ask? because yesterday, the governor of hawaii signed into law SB 232. this law legalizes civil unions no matter the sex of the partners. HOLLA!! yep! i live in one of the seven states that have recognized that liberty and justice is TRULY a right for ALL ... EVERYONE!

to make the day even more momentous, our president has declared DOMA unconstitutional. my lord! dare i hope to believe that my government is realizing that they need not be concerned that i plan to marry another woman because she is the person that i want standing with me through this life? so, yes, my friends ... yesterday was a banner day ... my state and my country loudly proclaimed that i am also deserving of liberty and justice ... as is my soon-to-be-wife.

so, i can assure you, i will continue to say the pledge of allegiance with a smile on my face ... not only one of entertainment, but also one of pride.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

if i have to wake you up one more time ...

... i CAN'T believe that those words come out of MY mouth. after all, i am the least likely person in my house to be the first one awake, first one functional, first one moving and completing morning tasks ... but this morning, I AM!!! heeheeheehee ... seriously! let me explain a bit for those who don't intimately know me. i am NOT a morning person ... in fact, i personally believe that mornings are a STUPID idea (cue shortstack saying "mama, 'stuipid' is a BAD word!"). yes, you read me correctly ... mornings are stupid. i don't wake up happy or in a good mood - no matter how much sleep i get. but this morning, something's different ... i'm the first one up. as i sit here typing this, i've inhaled my cheerios, had my first shot of caffeine, browsed through my favorite blogs (refer to left-hand tool bar), woke panda up twice, woke shortstack up four times and now i sit with two sleepy (grumpy) heads across the table from me ... AHHHH!!! morning rituals!!

first-morning(s)-of-the-week (usually mondays - but there are the rare tuesday-first-morning(s)-of-the-week such as this week) are tough around this house. besides the fact that we LOVE our weekends. and that some of us are VERY opinionated about mornings, the first-morning-of-the-week means that we jump back into an exhausting schedule that combines, long commutes (well, as long as you can have on o'ahu), work at two institutions, kindergarten (and kindergarten homework!), mama's school (ugh- stats!), thesis writing, daily chores, miscellaneous meetings and appointments (panda is hitting up an AYSO spring meeting tonight and mama has multiple doc appts tomorrow), bath time, laundry time, cooking meal (oh ... so THAT'S what the stove is for), unpacking (STILL) ... well, you get the picture ... the first-morning-of-the-week means that all of that starts and speeds up and we get run over by our days. but, it also means that we're well on our way to the last-day-of-the-week (YAY!!!) which means i get to spend my lazy weekend days hanging with my favorite peeps, cooking made-up recipes and enjoying time forgetting about all the things we need to do. yep!! so, although it's a rough and tumble frist-day-of-the-week morning ... we're one day closer to the thank-the-lord-its-about-time-last-day-of-the-week afternoon!

here's to hoping that all of you have a good one!