Sunday, December 30, 2007

Plan of the Day


Crete.

That's where we will be retiring.

Why?

Because Giada ate a yummy salad in Crete this week.

Rational?

We think so.


Saturday, December 29, 2007

Making Lists

It's that time again.

The Hubster has been 'promised' orders off the island this summer. He was told that he would know something as early as January, which is just around the corner. (As if any of you needed a reminder of that....)

Unlike last year, this year we are ready to go. A lot has happened this past year, and as much as we love Hawaii, we feel like it is time to get back to reality. The ages of the kids and the ages of our parents also have a lot to do with our decision to head back to the Mainland.


So, the first list....where to go next?

Our top choice is California. If we have to leave Hawaii, California is an easy transition....although the traffic scares me. And the taxes are high. There's surf, but it's cold. There's hiking, but I don't know if I'll feel as safe there. The opportunity to do some traveling around the western states is a definite advantage. Plus, we have friends in California.

After that, pretty much everything available sucks.

(It's a very short list.)


We refer to the second list as the "Where do we want to live when we grow up?" list.

The Hubster can retire in two years, and we are trying to decide what to do and where to go after that. Normal families don't have this dilemma, but when you are originally from opposite parts of the country and have spent 20 years as nomads, it's a tough decision.

We're all over the place on that one.

Yesterday we had it narrowed down to about 50 square miles in Florida, on the outer islands south of the Beeline and north of Palm Bay.

Today we are considering Montana, Idaho, and Colorado.....in addition to the 'acceptable' section of Florida. Oh, and the Florida Keys. Possibly California too, if we like it there. (The Hubster also mentioned Minnesota and Missouri, but I didn't take that seriously.)

Fortunately we have two years to make a decision on that.


My final list is everything I need/want to do before we leave in five (short) months. This list is a lot longer, and involves a lot of hiking, some island hopping, and a few touristy things.

I'm at 44 items, and counting on that one.

It's going to be a busy five months!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Destructo Christmas

Tradition at our house includes church on Christmas Eve followed by opening one gift, the one from the sibling gift exchange.

Before we left for church, we let Destructo know that he would get to open his gift from the Wildcard if, and only if, he was good in church. He promised he would be good, but his hyperness lately led me to believe otherwise. I filled his backpack with diversions, just in case.

So. We hadn't even made it inside the chapel when we had our first issue.

The outdoor creche had a donkey in it. Destructo quickly decided it wasn't a donkey, but a Mustang, and he started racing his imaginary Mustang around the entryway to the chapel.

The Hubster quickly ran him down and brought him inside.

The next 75 minutes (yes, I counted) were pure Christmas Eve Hell. I'll save you the details, but just know that he was noisy, distracting, and gassy. Fun stuff, all around.

As we left church, I whispered to the Wildcard to quickly wrap a rock or something for Destructo, since he had very obviously NOT been good in church. He suggested a fork for some reason, but eventually grabbed a single leaf from the yard and placed it in the bottom of a huge gift bag.

The plan was for Destructo to see that his siblings (who were good in church) got nice gifts, and all he got was a leaf. There would be a lesson in there about behaving in church, and we would then give him his real gift (a remote control Mustang).

Anyway, the gift opening began and Destructo's excitement level grew. He watched as the Diva opened the gift from him (foot scrub and other girly stuff). The Diva gave the Blonde One the iPod headphones he has wanted, and the Blonde One gave the Wildcard the drawing supplies he had asked for.

Now it was time for Destructo's gift.

The Wildcard handed him the gift bag containing the leaf.

He looked inside.

What happened next made me realize we were on the wrong track with him.

He grabbed the leaf, held it up for all to see, and exclaimed excitedly, "I got a leaf!!! I got a leaf!!''

This is where the What The Hell? look was exchanged.

The Wildcard handed him his real gift, which he attempted to disguise in a shoe box. He struggled with the wrapping paper for a moment, then finally revealed the shoe box.

"I got new shoes!! I got new shoes!!"

(Sigh.)

No lesson learned here.

He opened the box and about wet himself when he was that it was the remote control Mustang that he had wanted. He bounced around the room while the Hubster opened it, inserted the batteries, and attached the antenna.

After a few minutes of racing it around the dining room, he stopped and looked at me for a minute.

Then he asked where his new shoes were.

(Sigh.)

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mele Kalikamaka...

......from our Ohana to yours!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year!

Just a few tropical Christmas pictures. Honolulu Hale (City Hall) has a great display each year, including an indoor Christmas tree display. Here are a few pics, day and night.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus, dipping their feet in the fountain and relaxing with a beverage:

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Penguins chillin' in the fountain:

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The snowman family, including the SnowDog:

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The giant tree draped in lei:

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The lights at night:

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Destructo's favorite tree:

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It wouldn't be Christmas without a Hello Kitty tree:

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And finally, Go Warriors!!

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Wait a Minute.....

Destructo has curls, and I love them.

For this reason, I let his hair grow a bit longer than most kids his age have.

Lately he has been in need of a haircut, but I've been putting it off because he's too cute, and I just haven't had the time.

I think we reached the breaking point yesterday. He had a meltdown about nothing in particular, and his hair was the issue. He was trying real hard to throw a fit, but his hair kept getting in his eyes and tickling his ears. He tried as hard as he could to push it out of the way without losing meltdown momentum, but it kept distracting him from the drama at hand. Finally he just started pulling at his hair and screaming, "It's saying 'Get me out of here now!!'"

So, it was time for a haircut.

This afternoon I called the salon and asked how soon I could bring him in. I told them that immediately would not be soon enough.

They put him down for a 2:00 with Andre.

So, at 1:55 I checked in and heard the receptionist whisper to someone in the back (I assumed it was Andre), "Your first haircut is here!!"

Andre came out and had the look of a nervous newbie as he asked what I wanted done with Destructo's hair.

I explained that he basically needed a trim. He hated it in his eyes, and he preferred it not hanging in his ears but no whitewalls, and then I added "and I'd like to keep the curl in the back".

So, Andre went about his business snipping, combing, and pondering while I perused a February 2007 issue of "In Style" Magazine, the celebrity wedding issue. I occasionally glanced up to make sure Destructo wasn't shaved bald or screaming hysterically, but for the most part I was engrossed in the do/don't celebrity photos.

When Andre finished, I quickly glanced at Destructo....it was a bit shorter than I had wanted, but hair grows so it was no big deal. I paid the bill and left a generous tip for Andre before heading off to finish a few errands.

It wasn't until we had been home for a while that I really took a good look at Destructo.

Next time I need to be more specific. Instead of saying "I'd like to keep the curl in the back" I should have said "I'd like to keep the curls in the back".

Andre had left one long curl, rat-tail style, in the back.

How did I NOT notice that??!!??

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hawaii Time

One of the things I love most about Hawaii is the laid back atmosphere. Plans are never written in stone, deadlines don't exist, and time is irrelevant.

What makes me most crazy about Hawaii? Plans are never written in stone, deadlines don't exist, and time is irrelevant.

It's tough balancing eighteen years in the Marine Corps community with the laid back attitude of the state, even after living here for nearly seven years.

Case in point: The Wildcard's first band concert.

If the Marine Corps was running the show, it would go like this:

6:30 Arrive in uniform, set up the stage.
6:45 Begin warm up.
7:00 Concert begins. Play everything in double-time.
7:45 Concert ends, clear the stage, clean up.
8:00 Do a quick three-mile run (in full uniform) for an after-concert cool-down.

The Wildcard's school is not a military school, the band director has always been a civilian, and the booster club president has never hosted a bitch-and-stitch.

This is the "timeline" for the event:

4:00ish Drop the kids off at school. Have them bring uniforms. Begin setup.
5:00ish Potluck for the kids, of course. Bring a dish to share, whatever you want...there is no menu.
6:00ish Finish setup. Change to uniforms. Begin warm up.
7:00ish "Scheduled" start time. Parents begin to arrive just after 7:00, bringing their own spontaneous potluck.
7:45ish The band begins to play.
9:30ish Concert ends, cleanup begins.
9:45ish Take a break and finish potluck leftovers.
10:30ish Call it a night. Decide to put equipment away during class time on Monday morning.

Either way, it's all good.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Healing Field

This past weekend, the Healing Field organization set up their flag display at Pearl Harbor to coincide with the December 7th memorial events.

The organization began with a single display of flags, one for each victim, on the first anniversary of September 11, and since then has grown and raised millions of dollars for charitable organizations throughout the country.

At the display in Hawaii, 2,408 flags were flown to honor those who lost lives on December 7, 1941. They also flew one Hawaii state flag for each military member with Hawaii ties who died in the current war. The purpose was to raise funds to help build a new Pearl Harbor Museum and Visitor's Center. The current center is much too small to accommodate the number of visitors who pass through there each day. In addition to being too small, the center is sinking and suffering structural damage.

Donations to the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund and the Healing Field organization are tax deductible.

(End of Public Service Announcement)

If the display comes to your area, it's worth checking out!

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Monday, December 10, 2007

A (Destructo) Christmas Story

Destructo's Christmas list, as transcribed by the Wildcard:

-A Mustang
-A Blue Angel jet
-A race track for the Mustang
-A car
-An airplane
-A sparkly thing
-A special thing

In an effort to get a few more ideas, I took him to Toys R Us and walked the aisles. I told him we would write down every thing he wanted so we could send a letter to Santa. This is what we came up with:

-Cars
-A Mustang
-'Cars' cars (from the movie "Cars")
-Airplanes
-A propeller plane
-Fast cars

On Friday I took him to see Santa. This was their conversation:

Destructo: Hi, Santa.

Santa: Well hello there! (Checking his list...) Looks like you've been a very good boy this year! (Apparently Santa doesn't read the blog.)

Destructo nods.

Santa: So, what is on your Christmas list this year?

Destructo: I want a Mustang. That's all.

Santa: A Mustang?!? Ho, ho, ho!! Which color do you like?

Destructo, without hesitation: A white one.

Santa: Would that be a convertible or a hard top?

Destructo shoots him the "Are you an idiot?" look: A convertible, of course.

Santa (to Destructo): Ho, ho, ho!!! Would you like a cookie?

Santa (to me): Good luck with that, Mom!

Sigh.

At least he won't shoot his eye out.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Qualifier

Famous last words: Girls are so much easier than boys.

I need to qualify that.

Girls are so much easier than boys until those teenage hormones kick in.

Need proof?

Tonight, 6:30 p.m.

The Blonde One isn't home from soccer practice yet. I remember that I left my cell phone in the car and go outside in the rain and retrieve it.

There is a message from the Blonde One. He is going to The Best Friend's house and will be home before eleven o'clock.

This is Red Flag #1.

He doesn't know it, but I am aware that there's a girl named Molly in the picture. He knows he needs to be home before 10 p.m. on a school night. The Best Friend has covered for him in the past.

Tonight, 8:15 p.m.

The Diva's phone rings. After a very brief conversation, she says, "I'm running out for a few minutes. I'll be back." And she slips out the back door.

Red Flag #2.

The Diva always tells us where she is going. If she's going to the gym or the gas station, she tells us, and lets us know when she'll be back. If she's going to a friend's house, she promises to call by 1 a.m. and let us know what's going on.

Tonight 9:15 p.m.

The Diva is back and pacing nervously. The phone rings.

The Hubster and I both pick it up at the same time. I let him talk while I listen silently.

The Blonde One, who was going to his best friend's house, has his car stuck in the sand at the beach. His Best Friend lives nowhere near this beach.

When the Hubster and I go to bail him out, we discover that he is very stuck in the sand. His friends tried to help him out, but only buried him deeper. The Diva had been there, took one look and said there was nothing she could do.

Not only is he stuck in the sand at the beach, but he is off the beaten path, down an isolated trail on the darkest part of the beach.

He swears he went there alone, just curious about where that path led. And that he DID go to his Best Friend's house, but left after a few minutes. There was no girl involved.

The path to the isolated beach is muddy and full of huge puddles. He said it was dry when he drove out there. We had a huge storm Tuesday night, and it has been on/off raining all day. His claim that it became flooded after he went there is total B.S.

How stupid does he think we are?

His car is still stuck on the beach, and we will need to call a tow truck in the morning.

And he stands by his story, that he was on his way home from his friend's house after soccer practice and was just curious about what was down that path (even though it wasn't even on his way home). He said he parked there to watch the waves (in the dark).

The Hubster said the 2+ hours he spent out there in the cold rain, trying to find a way out without letting us know is punishment enough.

I think otherwise.

Girls are so much easier than boys.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mad Science, Part Two

Remember the Wildcard's science project?

This is what it is, as explained in his handouts from the teacher:

Winogradsky Column

A translucent container filled with mud, water, and other materials such as shredded newspaper, powdered chalk, and egg yolk mixed together. The column is a self-contained recycling system powered only by light. The purpose of the column is to provide an environment for microbes to grow. The concentration of oxygen, nutrients, and light affect the types and amount of microbes that grow. The column can help students understand the growth of microbial communities and the interdependence of microbes - the activities of one microbe allow another to grow.

This is what we have, four weeks later:

The first one we did....
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The correct one.....
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Pretty, eh?

On Tuesday, as I was making dinner, he explained to me that his current assignment was to take two samples from the water. The first one should be mixed with some sort of anti-bacterial agent, such as anti-bacterial soap. The second sample must be taken to school and examined under a microscope.

I asked him a few random questions about the assignment while he puttered around the kitchen. Before I realized what he was doing, he was heading out the back door with a turkey baster and some of my new Tupperware.

Ummmmmm......I don't think so. Not only does the stuff look nasty, one whiff will take years off your life.

I quickly explained how he could get samples of the gunk with an ordinary, disposable drinking straw, and place them in a ziplock sandwich bag, double bagged.

With that, I thought he had it all under control. (I don't know why, the entire experiment has been one mess after another.)

A few distractions later, I walked into the kitchen and found stinky green stuff in my kitchen sink. One ziplock baggie was next to the sink, and the other was inside the sink and bubbling over. Both were covered with a slimy substance.

The Wildcard had disappeared.

Really makes you all want to come to my house for dinner, doesn't it?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

More Vocab Fun

Tonight the boys and I were in my new Race Car on our way to church. Since we disposed of the MomVan, we need to take two vehicles if we all are going to the same place, so the Hubster and the Diva had left earlier in his car.

Anyway, we were waiting at a red light and discussing random stuff, just the boys and me.

Destructo, who likes to be included in these conversations, suddenly piped up with this:

When I went to the store with Daddy the other day we were at this red light. He called it a "freakin' red light!!"

I guess that explains the freakin' dragons he encountered in his (educational) computer game earlier in the week and the freakin' wheel that fell off his Hotwheels car yesterday.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho, Ho.

The Blonde One has a group project for his Anatomy class. It involves either a live skit (or a taped version of it) in which anatomy vocab words, using the proper terminology, are discussed.

He somehow "got stuck" in a group of six - that would be five girls and one Blonde One.

(Thus the Five Ho title.)

The Five Hoes came up with the idea that the Blonde One would be Santa Claus, and they would be his elves. They would each take a turn sitting on his lap and discussing anatomy.

Huh??!!?

I swear girls are becoming much more aggressive than they were back in my day (the old days!!).

He seriously considered the idea before deciding that he just wasn't comfortable with Five Hoes on his lap.

Good thinking on his part.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zoom, Zoom

More playing with the camera.

These are all closeups of typical things around the house. Some have been cropped, some were taken at odd angles, but none were edited in any way. Can you guess what they are?

1.

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2.

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3.

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4.

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5.

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6.

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7.

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8.

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9.

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10.

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Any guesses?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Junior Man Brain

A few months ago the Hubster and I watched a mini-documentary on the teenage brain. The conclusion they reached was that the teenage brain works differently than the adult brain.

Brilliant discovery.

Now I'm just waiting for them to 'discover' that the male brain works differently than the female brain.

This is where I am totally screwed - I'm living in a house with an adult male brain, a teenage male brain, and a pre-teen male brain.

Take for example the pre-teen brain, aka the Wildcard.

The Wildcard has always been the conscientious one, especially when it comes to school work. If an assignment was due on Friday, he would do it on Tuesday. If he needed an 80% on an exam to guarantee an 'A' in the class, he would get a 100% just because he could.

So it totally caught me off guard when we got the deficiency notice in the mail.

He was getting a 39% in his social studies class.

Thirty-Nine Percent.

He completely forgot to turn in three major assignments. He had done two of the assignments, but never turned them in before the deadline. The third assignment? He swore he knew nothing about it.

The letter went on to say that because he was failing a class, he would be attending mandatory study hall three afternoons a week.

He was devastated. He begged me to write him a note to opt out.

Fat chance of that happening.

So, yesterday he went to study hall after school. I felt kind of bad because he generally works very hard and I believe he already learned his lesson, but still he got a 39%. I waited in the parking lot for him, expecting him to come dragging out the door after such a long day.

Wrong again.

He and his best friend came bouncing out the door, laughing and carrying on like giddy little boys up past their bedtime. When he got in the car he said they weren't allowed to talk, so they spent the entire time typing messages to each other on their calculators, pretending they were doing math homework. He couldn't wait for next study hall.

Where's the lesson in that?

I'm thinking I may write him that note to opt out of the mandatory study hall. Instead, he can come home and have MY version of a mandatory study hall.

Little shit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Weekend Waves

What do you do the day after Thanksgiving if you hate shopping and live on a tropical island?

You go to the beach, of course.

Friday was the day of the biggest football game in University of Hawaii history, and the stadium just happens to be located near the point where all the major highways on the island meet. That point also happens to be near many major shopping centers, so traffic was predicted to be a nightmare.

So, the Hubster and I headed off in my shiny, new, less than 3,000 miles on the odometer car and took the scenic route up the coast to the North Shore. It was a gorgeous day, the kids were home eating the leftovers, and traffic was surprisingly light.

The waves had been huge that morning, so I took the camera. Our goal was to watch the waves and have lunch, then head home.

By the time we got up there, the waves were smaller, but still very wild in spots.

Sunset Beach was big, but nothing spectacular, so we moved on.

Our next stop was Pupukea, where the waves were big, wild, and unpredictable. The spray when they crashed on the rocks was 20-50 feet in the air. Pretty impressive. We spent a while there, and I took lots of pictures. The Hubster was rather quickly bored because there were no surfers in the water, so he eventually sat on the rocks and waited for me to give him the okay to leave.

From there we headed to Waimea. The waves were not extremely large and they were predictable, but the shore break was huge. (And there were surfers to entertain the Hubster.) I got lots of pictures of some bodyboarders attempting to catch a wave, some surfing pictures, and even a beach patrol rescue of a guy swept up in a rip current.

From there, the plan was to head to Haliewa for lunch. Somewhere between Waimea and Haliewa we decided that we didn't want to deal with the traffic (which had picked up a lot), so I waited for an opening and attempted a U-turn to head back home.

Not only was there a break in oncoming traffic, but there was a sandy/grassy area on the opposite side of the road for me to turn around in. Jackpot!

I did a quick turn onto the sandy/grassy area and as soon as I completed my turn, I heard a horrible crunching noise from the front of my shiny, new, less than 3,000 miles on the odometer car.

There was a freakin' rock under the grass, and my low-to-the-ground car got caught on it.

(Times like that I wish I had my MomVan back.)

Anyway, I have bumper damage, mostly just scratches.

On the bright side, I got some great pictures, got to spend the day with the Hubster, didn't eat leftovers for lunch, and the Warriors won the football game. All in all, a good day.

This is Pupukea, and this splash was about 25 feet.

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Some surfers at Waimea.

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Some shore break.

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And I like this one, for perspective. The little thing sticking up in the center? It's one leg and fin of a body boarder attempting to dive under the incoming whitewater.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wet Wednesday

Actually I took these on Monday, but "Wet Monday" just doesn't flow.

I had planned to go to the gym Monday morning, but got sidetracked by the big waves. I ended up spending all of my "me" time taking pictures.

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And since I'm such a nerd, I stayed up late last night playing with some of the pics and came up with a few enhanced ones, including these:

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(I really need to get a life.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sick Irony

It all started about two weeks ago.

Destructo had a low-grade fever and drippy nose. No big deal.

A week later, just in time for the weekend, the Diva, the Blonde One, and I got hit (hard) with the crud.

The Diva was smart and slept all weekend. She was functional by Monday.

The Blonde One and I used the "ignore it and it will go away" treatment.

Unfortunately, by Tuesday we were struggling to get out of bed in the morning, running fevers, and downing NyQuil, DayQuil, TheraFlu, and anything else I could find in the Bucket o' Meds. It was an ugly four days.

Saturday rolled around and the Wildcard woke up sicker than any of us ever were. He spent the weekend in bed and missed school today.

The irony?

The Wildcard, who thought it was hysterical to teach his little brother the word "diarrhea" is the only one who came down with the intestinal version of the crud.

There's some justice there, no?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fun With Vocab

When you are an older sibling, it's fun to teach the little one new things. Some good, some not so good.

Take, for example, the Wildcard introducing Destructo to the word "diarrhea".


Picking Destructo up after "school":

Destructo: I told Miss Heather that I had diarrhea.

Me: You did what? Why did you tell her that?

Destructo (who obviously never considered NOT telling her): I just did.


Destructo, running out to the Hubster's car to tell him one last thing before he headed off to work:

Destruacto: Dad!! Dad!! Wait!

The Hubster stops, puts the window down and waits to find out what the important news is.

Destructo: Don't forget your diarrhea!!


At the restaurant, as the waitress brings us our meals:

Unsuspecting Waitress: Is there anything else I can get for you?

Destructo: How about some diarrhea?


Never a dull moment....




Monday, November 12, 2007

And When the Clock Strikes Twelve.....

The Marine Corps celebrated its 232nd birthday this weekend, which means it was Marine Corps Ball weekend.

The Marines, of course, throw on their dress blues or mess dress and are ready to go. The spouses need to put a bit more thought into it.

Some do, some don't.

I'm certainly no fashion diva, but I do enjoy critiquing what some people choose to wear to the ball.

The Ball is a formal event, although less formal in Hawaii because, well, it IS Hawaii. Cocktail dresses and floor-length gowns were the uniform of the night for the spouses, with a few formal pantsuits thrown in. Most everyone looked fabulous.

Which is why the others stood out like sore thumbs. Here are my top three "better get her home by midnight" outfits:

3. Mom of a Marine officer who chose to wear a pink and blue tie-died, two-piece halter dress with a black bra. Not a halter-style bra, just a black bra. And she definitely didn't have the body to carry off the halter top/bare midriff dress.

2. The "Britney Forgot Her Underwear" dress. The dress was very similar to this: Pretty in Leopard Print. Except a bit shorter, with a slit to the waist on each side.

This, of course, led to a group discussion at our table about the probability of being able to wear underwear with something like that.

3. My favorite outfit, by far. I tried to google it and find a picture of something somewhat similar, but it may be a one-of-a-kind piece. (We all hope that is the case.) My google results kept pointing me to cross-dressing websites and costume shops.

This dress was worn by a tall, curvy, very patriotic blonde.

Think red, white, and blue.

Think floor-length, strapless, form-fitting.

Now add sequins.

And a slit ALL the way up the front.

Now, just for fun, imagine one blue sequined star on each boob, and vertical red/white stripes outlining the slit up to there.

Fabulous. Just fabulous.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Finger Lickin' Good

People are idiots, we've gone that route many times.

Now, let me add this: People are gross and disgusting.

Need proof?

Tonight at the Blonde One's soccer game I watched the lady two rows in front of me eat a sandwich. Not gross by itself, but her method made me gag.

Gag-Me Lady would tear off a bite-sized piece of sandwich and place it in her mouth. And by 'place', I mean her thumb and index finger were shoved into her mouth all the way to the second knuckle. After dropping the morsel in her mouth, she would suck all the sandwich remnants off her fingers as she pulled them out of her mouth. This was followed by licking under her manicured nails once her fingers were free again.

Tear. Slurp. Lick. Repeat.

How gross is that??!!?

Do you know what is even more gross and disgusting?

The Gag-Me Lady was with two other women and they were doing the same exact thing!

And then?

After they all finished tearing, slurping, and licking themselves, they used those same hands to feed french fries to someone's baby, make several phone calls on a shared cell phone, and borrow someone's pen.

Hand sanitizer, anyone?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Homework Hell

The Wildcard's science project:

Five Cups of Mud
One Raw Egg
One Tablespoon of Crushed Chalk Powder
One Sheet of Newspaper, Shredded
A Secret Ingredient (from the teacher)
Water (to make it 'creamy')

Mix all ingredients in a large bucket, in the dark, in the pouring rain.


Leave the bucket just outside the door while you run inside to get the empty 2-liter soda bottle and a funnel.

Rush back out the door and tip the bucket over, spilling the 'creamy' substance all over the lanai. In the dark, in the pouring rain.

Stomp back into the house, full of drama, saying you'll just take the "F" on the project and be done with it. Leave muddy, 'creamy' tracks in the laundry room and kitchen.

Go back outside with Mom and attempt to scoop the 'not-so-creamy-anymore' substance into the funnel. In the dark, in the pouring rain. Fill the 2-liter bottle with scoopings, whatever they may be.

Next day:

Re-read the directions and discover that the project calls for one hard-boiled egg yolk, not one raw egg. Get more Secret Ingredient from teacher. Shred another sheet of newspaper. Crush more chalk. Collect more mud. Enlist Mom to help, in the dark of course. No pouring rain tonight, just sprinkles.

Assemble all materials, mix ingredients until creamy.

Attempt to pour mixture into funnel and spill it all over lanai.

Quickly scoop it with your bare hands and force it into the funnel before the rain dilutes it beyond 'creamy'.

Yell at your father to NOT let your little brother come outside because it's a big, muddy science project mess.

Continue scooping.

Yell at your little brother to stop walking through your science project, and to go back in the house. Use your muddy hands to open the door and shove him back inside the house. Mutter something as Little Brother starts to cry and tracks muddy, creamy science project through the laundry room and kitchen.

Fill the 2-liter bottle with whatever can be scooped off the cement. Place today's 2-liter bottle next to yesterday's 2-liter bottle. Take a shower, eat Cheetos, and say you're not doing it over again.

Get no argument from Mom.

Monday, November 05, 2007

SAT Saturday

Yesterday was SAT day again, and if you are one of the three people who have been reading my ramblings for a while, you know that means.

I drop the kid of to take his SAT while I go hiking. And there will be pictures.

My first choice was a rocky shoreline hike, but I changed plans because rain was in the forecast and that would make for slippery, rocky shoreline.

Instead, I went with the Manoa Cliffs Trail. The trail itself is only about 2.5 miles, but in order to make it a loop (as opposed to doubling back), it connects to the Kalawahine Trail and makes a loop around Tantalus Crater. My handy, dandy guidebook says it is 4.8 miles round trip, and takes approximately 2.5 hours.

I have to say, getting there is more than half the challenge. There is only one road that loops up the mountain to the trailhead. It's about ten miles of hairpin turns, switchbacks, and steep inclines. Oh, and a landslide closed a section of the road, but I wasn't sure exactly which section.

I headed up the mountain in my new race car, and as luck would have it, the landslide was before the trailhead. I turned and headed back down the mountain, and through town to find the road that would take me up the opposite side of the mountain. Trial and error got me there, but it took about 45 minutes more than I had planned.

Anyway, it was totally worth it.

The trail was steep in spots, and muddy. I spent a lot of time watching my footing because there was so much mud, random tree roots, and mud-covered tree roots. On the way up, the trail winds along a cliff overlooking Manoa Valley. After connecting to the Kalawahine Trail, the descent has some great views of Pearl Harbor, Pearl City, and the Ko'olau Mountains.

The trail had pretty much everything.

There were the cliffs:

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The bamboo forests:

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Interesting tree formations:

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And even a snail habitat:

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The Hubster and I studied these two pictures trying to figure out which evolved to become the other. What do you think? It's the same type of plant, but which came first?

This:

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Or this:

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By the way, I'm LOVING the new camera!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Think He Missed The Point

Destructo has been counting down to Halloween for over a week now. Last night when he went to bed, he knew that when he woke up it would be Halloween.

Sure enough, he was wide awake sitting on his bed when I went in there at 6:50 this morning.

"It is Halloween, right?'

I confirmed that it was.

He ran around the house waking his siblings and informing them that today finally is Halloween.

The Wildcard, who is easily annoyed at that time of the day said, "It's not all about trick-or-treating. It's about scary stuff too."

Which is why Destructo has spent the past fifteen minutes chasing us around the house with his electric toothbrush.

Because, to a 3 y/o, there is nothing more scary than a Sonicare.

Monday, October 29, 2007

How To Piss Me Off Today

This morning the Hubster let me in on a conversation he had with his mom over the weekend.

Apparently there is a house for sale in their neighborhood, and the owners are selling it at a bargain price because they have already left town.

The Mother-in-Law reminded the Hubster that we have "the bulk of the grandchildren". And it would be so nice to have them close by.

The Hubster forgot every conversation he has ever had with me over the past twenty years, and told her to get in touch with the realtor to see if she could take a look.

The Mother in Law obviously pays more attention, because she mentioned that I have never wanted to live there.

The Hubster said he'd work on me, and he's brought the subject up about five hundred times today.

It's not working. I adore my in-laws, and will be the first to admit that I won the prize in the in-law lottery. I would love to have them nearby, but it has to be somewhere else..

(There's a reason people in South Florida smoke crack.)

Never, ever, ever, not in a million years would I want to live there. How can THAT not be clear?

((No offense to anyone who lives there, but it is just NOT me.))

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Movin' On.....

So, last week the Hubster had to submit a list of his choices for out next duty station. We were told last summer that we WILL be moving next year, so we've been discussing our options.

His first choice?

Southern California.

The next day the entire area went up in flames.

Coincidence?

Omen?

Hmmmmm...................

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Check Yourself

I'm normally a Do It Yourself type of person, which is why head for the self-checkout line any time it's an option.

I love that the lines are short or non-existent.

I love that I don't have to interact with a cashier who doesn't want to be there any more than I want to be there.

I love that I can pack my stuff into as many/few bags as I choose.

Bottom line, I love getting in, getting my stuff, and getting out as quickly as possible.


So, needless to say, I was thrilled when I learned that our commissary was opening six self-checkout lanes.

Unfortunately, the self-checkouts have disappointed for two reasons:

1. The self-checkout technology came with a pissy attitude.
2. People are idiots.

First, the technology. When it works, it is awesome; unfortunately, I seem to only catch it on days it is PMSing. And I swear that automated voice comes with a secret snicker.

"Place......your.....TOMATOES.....in....the.....bagging....area. I'm.....sorry....(snicker)....the.....weight....is....incorrect.....for......your.....item. Please....remove....your....TOMATOES....from....the....bagging....area. (snicker) Please.....weigh....your....TOMATOES....again. (snicker, snicker, snicker)"

"There....are....too....many....items....in....the....bagging....area. Please....remove.....some....of....your....items....from....the....bagging....area. (Items are removed from the bagging area; alarms and flashing lights go off.) Assistance....is....required....to....complete....this ....transaction. (snicker)"


Then there are the idiots.

We have six self-checkout stands. At any given time three are closed, which makes absolutely no sense to me.

Yesterday I was in the commissary buying about 15 items. The Express lines were long, as was the regular line.

I headed to self-checkout, where there were only three people waiting for the three available lanes.

Lane One was Produce Lady. She had half a cart full of produce, and couldn't seem to find any of it on the lookup list on the screen. She would attempt to locate one item, give up, summon the cashier to help her, then bag the item. Then she would move on to the next item, with the same result.

Lane Two was Distracted Mom. She was trying to scan and bag her items with the help of her two young children. The kids were scanning things and putting them back in the cart, pulling bagged items and trying to rescan them, and just being overall pains in the ass.

Lane Three left us all speechless. There were two women working together, and they had THREE carts FULL of groceries. Not just full, but packed, overflowing, and even had more crap stuffed under the cart. As if that wasn't enough, they had intermingled their groceries in the three carts and were trying to separate them as they scanned them. Their system was to choose an item, discuss which of them it belonged to, either put it back in the cart or scan it, then bag it and move on to the next item.

No wonder the technology came with the pissy attitude.


Monday, October 22, 2007

My New Baby

I love it.

(Of course I got a bigger lens, because size matters.)

I've taken it everywhere since the nice UPS man dropped it off on my front porch about ten days ago. I'm well past 2,000 pictures, which is more miles than I have put on my car since I bought it almost two months ago. Photography has become my new obsession, again.


And what is my point, you ask?


It's time to revamp the Blog again, to make room for pictures. When I started blogging a few years ago, my plan was to do a Photoblog and I want to get back to more of that.

I've started shuffling things around, as you may have noticed, but it'll take a while because (1) I don't have that much time to devote to it, and (2) I suck at tweaking HTML.

I've been playing with different layouts and templates, and updating all the bad links I've had for a while.

The main difference, and my point in the whole revamp, is to have a daily photo page. It's something I've always wanted to attempt, but I've been scared of the challenge. I put a "Daily Pixels" tab at the top of the page and a teaser at the top of the side column. If I stay on track (and I suck at that too!), I'll be posting a new photo and teaser every day. But don't hold me to that!

Hopefully I can get everything finished by the end of the month and start posting daily photos November 1. Well, that's my goal. (And meeting goals is something I suck at lately.)

Yet another excuse to never leave home without my camera....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Doesn't Play Well With Others

(That would be me.)

In a moment of madness, I signed on to hike The Pillboxes with an organization that I belong to.

I should have known better. I enjoy hiking. I enjoy the outdoors, the challenge, and the solitude. Why I thought it would be a fun activity to do as a group is beyond me.

Regardless, Destructo was dropped off at his "school" and I met the group at the designated place.

I knew immediately that it was a bad idea. I had made a 3-hour reservation for child care, which would allow one hour to hike out, one to hike back, and one hour drive/photo/dawdle time. The group had other ideas.

They lingered in the parking lot over coffee and bagels, chatting about purses and whatnot. Finally, fifteen minutes later, we headed off in the direction of the trailhead. We strolled, chatted, waited while someone returned to their vehicle for a cell phone, then strolled some more.

By the time we reached the trail twenty minutes later, I was ready to gouge my eyes out.

So, I ditched them.

I made it to the end of the trail in about an hour, stopping to take a few pictures along the way. It was early, and I didn't want to miss the morning clouds over the Ko'olau Mountains:

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Or the last of the sunrise over the Mokulua Islands (aka The Mokes):

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I saw a few of these, some sort of cactus plant that I had seen before....but I had never seen the flower open:

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And finally, just for perspective, this is the first pillbox (on the right). It's a little less than halfway along the trail, and provides an awesome view of Lanikai, the Mokes, and a good part of the Windward side of Oahu.

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Oh, and that first pillbox? It's where I came across my group as I was heading back down the trail. They were on their way up and had stopped for a break.

Exactly why I don't play well with others.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Living Up To His Name

With the Blonde One's birthday this past weekend, Destructo has suddenly gotten all spun up about HIS birthday. He knows that his is the next birthday in our family, but he also knows that we first have to have Halloween, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and THEN his birthday.

He has started making requests, and has been carrying the Toys R Us flyer around to make his point. His first choice gift is the Power Wheels Mustang, although he wants a red one. (Fat chance, no matter the color!) He keeps reminding us that he is "almost four", and has become obsessed with the number 4.

So, today when a package arrived in the mail he assumed it was for his birthday.

I tried to set it aside unopened, with no luck. It was a CPE (continuing professional education) course I had purchased in order to meet my licensing requirement. Unless he had developed some odd interest in Advanced Tax Planning, he was going to be very disappointed.

Finally I gave in and just let him open it. There was the book, some loose papers, and a test booklet. Boring stuff to an "almost 4 y/o".

I put the materials on the desk and went to make a quick phone call. Before I even finished my conversation, Destructo burst through the kitchen door with a fistful of torn green papers and a huge grin on his face.

Green, of course, being the color of my Advanced Tax Planning book AND the color of money...as in, the CPE course was freakin' expensive.

Look Mom!!! It was for me! I found all these pages with a "4" on them!! It is my book for my birthday! Because I'm going to be 4!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Angels Among Us

Destructo has been looking forward to the air show, especially the Blue Angels, for weeks now. I have to admit, after seeing them do their trial runs, I am hooked too. The precision and choreography while flying at hundreds of miles per hour is absolutely amazing. If you ever have the opportunity to see them, definitely take advantage of it!!!

Now the down side.

The Hubster called me from work on Friday and let me know that he had invited some people over for a get-together for the air show. The kids were already having friends over, so he figured that a few more people wouldn't make a difference.

Now, the kids' friends are easy. They hang out outside, and I can simply stock the garage refrigerator with soda and ice cream sandwiches, toss out a couple bags of chips and be good to go. The Blonde One's room is just inside the back door and he has his own bathroom, so there is no traipsing through the house.

Adult guests mean a bit more house cleaning (especially when they aren't people I know well). The Hubster also mentioned something about appetizers, so I needed to make a trip to the commissary and do some cooking that I hadn't planned on.

As if to make it all okay, the Hubster said he would stop by the store and buy some beer.

Whatever. I was slightly annoyed at the sudden, unexpected change of plans. This lasted less than a day....until I talked to a friend of mine.

Me: He invited people over. At the last minute. Now I have to run to the commissary, do some cooking, and clean the house.

Her: Is he at least getting the beer?

Me. It's the manly thing to do, right?

Her: Do you want to hear what mine (her Hubster) did?

Me: Uh oh...this can't be good.

Her: He issued an open invitation at the morning meeting.

Me: That's a couple dozen people?

Her: No. He told everyone to invite all the Marines in their units. That's pretty much the entire base.

Me: (I got nothing - I'm speechless at this point.)

Her: He said we'd have chips, cookies, soda, beer, and would make Margaritas.

Me: Okay, he totally outdid the Hubster. Is it for the pre-show on Friday?

Her: No. He told them to come whenever they wanted. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. It didn't matter. Just stop by any time from 9-5. No RSVP.

Me: Crap. I think I totally love the Hubster because he didn't do anything like that. Is yours at least helping out?

Her: Yeah. He went out and got a keg.

Ouch.

----------------------------------

And, of course, a few pictures (did I mention that I got my new camera?):

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I like this one:

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But I really love this one - it's my favorite:

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