Friday, March 30, 2007

Games People Play

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We've been playing The Game since early December.

This will be our 12th military move, so we pretty much know how to play The Game by now. Unfortunately, this time has been different. I'm thinking someone, somewhere, is getting extra points based on how long they can keep the ball bopping around.

I do have to admit that part of the delay is on us - we keep hitting it back when we don't like the direction it is taking. The odds are against us. We have to make it through all the obstacles in order to get what we really want - an extension here in Hawaii.

However, it seems like when The Game is over, the Powers That Be appear out of nowhere with a new ball, and everything is back to "Launch" again. The Game has officially been over three times this point, we're not sure if another ball will be played or if we truly have a final answer.

Stay tuned.....

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sentimental Friday

I'm really not the sentimental type.

The Hubster would probably tell you otherwise based on our 'discussions' about what should be kept/tossed when purging the house before a move.


I had a hard time parting with my album collection this week (that would be LP's thankyouverymuch). Back in my single days, I would come home to my own quiet, clean apartment after work and the first thing I would do is put on an album. I'd chill and dance around the apartment while I changed clothes and headed off to the gym.

Once I returned from the gym, I the first thing I did was turn the stereo back on. I rarely watched was all about the music. Every song on every album I owned had at least one memory attached.

Of course, I accused the Hubster of being jealous of the albums, because they reminded me of my single days.

And this week I had to toss them all due to flood damage.


But sadly, I don't have a picture of my albums.

Last Saturday morning I found myself out at the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center for an event. I took
this picture of some very sentimental guys. They spend a lot of their time dressed in their WWII uniforms, standing with their WWII vehicles, and discussing history with anyone who happens by.

So, it's not Bob Seger, but it's sentimental to someone.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SAT Saturday

I've been meaning to post these, but haven't had the time.

The Blonde One took the SAT a couple weekends ago, which meant I had several hours to waste in town all by myself!

I decided to play tourist and do some hiking.

After dropping the Blonde One off at 7:30, I headed off to Diamond Head. It was cool and rainy, which was good and bad. Diamond Head Crater can get hot, so the rain is good, but the pictures didn't turn out as well as if it had been clear.

The hike itself is just under a mile, and the elevation increases from 200 feet to 761 feet at the summit. It's a pretty easy hike and most people take it slow to take in the view and rest along the way. They recommend 1.5-2 hours for the round trip, so I (of course) wanted to see how fast I could get to the top. (Fifteen minutes.) On the way down I paused to snap a few pictures.

The trail starts out as a simple, nearly flat concrete path without much of a view.

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After a while it changes to a dirt trail, with switchbacks as you increase elevation. At the end of the dirt trail is a set of 74 stairs, and the first tunnel. This is the view looking back down from the tunnel. You can see some of the switchbacks on the trail down below.

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Once you make it through the tunnel, you reach the dreaded 99 stairs.

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At the top of the stairs is another tunnel, three levels of a spiral staircase, a climb through a concrete window, a set of 54 stairs, and finally the bunkers at the summit....and a great view of Waikiki, even on a cloudy drizzly morning.

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It's a nice hike, and left me with sore calves due to all the stairs. Go early morning because it is cooler and less crowded. If you walk into Diamond Head State Monument, it will cost $1 per person; if you drive, it will be $5 to park and that includes admission for everyone in the vehicle.

Second on my list was Manoa Falls. It's a trail I have always wanted to do, but not with Destructo attached to my hip.

Manoa Falls trail is the total opposite of Diamond Head. It is lush and green and muddy, and photographs much better! The trail varies from gravel to mud to metal grates to terraced steps. It does get slippery, so wear sensible shoes!

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After about a mile, you reach a clearing and can see the waterfall at the end.

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The trail leads almost straight back, uphill, until you reach the waterfall. There is a small pool at the bottom of the falls, but I don't recommend taking a dip - leptospirosis is common in fresh water pools in Hawaii.

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I spent about two hours on this trail, round trip, because I took lots of pictures (and took a couple of phone calls).

The perfect topper to a perfect morning? A visit to
Leonard's for fresh malasadas!!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

What NOT To Say:

Let's assume you are supervising a group of 12 y/o boys at a bowling party. They all have dreadful scores and assume it must because of the ball and not because they are terrible bowlers (even with bumpers). To compensate, they keep trying the bowling balls that belong to their friends.

Let's also assume you have had a L-O-N-G day and just want the bowling thing to be over....and the ball-switching is really dragging things out.

It's not such a good idea to say, "Guys! Stop playing with each other's balls and start bowling!"

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Dozen Wild Years

The Wildcard turned twelve today, in typical Wildcard style.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that he is only 12, because in a lot of ways he seems older and wiser. For one, he is nearly as big as me, which just doesn't seem right.

Soon after he was born, we moved to Japan. My next-door neighbor was a brilliant woman who (I swear) had some sort of 'special' powers. She absolutely adored the Wildcard and promised me that he would be the one to test us. She said his combination of brains and energy would keep us on our toes, and she was dead-on.

These were taken a couple of months ago. The Wildcard wanted me to photograph him as he "rose from the dead" after being buried in sand on the beach. It is so typical of him.

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Happy Birthday, Wildcard!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

More Weirdness and a Follow-Up

Today Destructo and I made a trip to Hell on Earth, aka Costco.

The shopping itself was remarkably uneventful. We managed to get through the store rather quickly, and even found a check-out line with only one person ahead of us. We left the store, unloaded our cart in the MomVan, then headed over to get Destructo a hotdog and frozen yogurt from Maxim's de Costco.

We ordered the jumbo hotdog and vanilla yogurt for him, and a chocolate yogurt for me, then began our search for a table for two. When choosing a table, I have three requirements:

  1. It can't be in the sun (frozen yogurt melts fast in Hawaii);
  2. There must be no birds circling the area (Destructo is freaked out by beggar birds);
  3. It must be a table for two (not in the mood to sit with random strangers today).
As we were pushing through the lunch crowd, I heard a voice in the distance say, "Hey! Is that ice cream?"

We managed to find a table out of the sun and away from the birds, but it was a table for four. Three seconds after we sat down, a big hairy guy in a green t-shirt approached. The first thing that entered my mind was "Please don't sit here. Please don't sit here. Please don't sit here....."

He didn't sit down. He just leaned over the table and said, "Is that ice cream?"

Me: It's frozen yogurt.

Hairy Guy: Is that like ice cream?

Me: Yeah.

Hairy Guy: Where did you get it?

Me: (Pointing to the line formed at the Maxim's de Costco window twenty feet away...) Over there.

Hairy Guy: How much did it cost?

Me: (Looking at the menu board....) $1.25.

Hairy Guy: Huh??!! Does it taste like ice cream?

Me: Yeah, it does.

Hairy Guy: (Noticing Destructo's vanilla yogurt....) Is that vanilla?

Me: Ummmmm....yeah.

Hairy Guy: (Picking my spoon up off the table and moving toward Destructo's yogurt....) Can I taste it?

Who does something like that??!! I not-so-politely told him to get his own damn yogurt and leave us the Hell alone.

Update on Little Timmy:

I have to clarify - the kids DO have the teacher's phone number. However, at that age it's weird for them to see their teacher in the mall or at the beach or anywhere outside a school setting. Most would NEVER consider calling their teacher and asking for help or clarification of an assignment, but they are okay with calling a friend/classmate. That is the logic behind the "Homework Assistant".

Anyway, I discussed the incident with the Wildcard's teacher. She hadn't heard from Little Timmy's mom, which was not surprising. It is March and she has never met Little Timmy's mom, she was even a no-show at parent/teacher conferences.

Through a series of e-mails/voicemails, the role of the Homework Assistant was explained to Little Timmy's mom, guidelines were explained (in this case, clarification of assignments and due dates only, no homework assistance or scanning lost worksheets), an apology was issued, and the teacher and I had a good laugh over the absurdness of the whole thing.

Honestly, I can usually laugh these things off. This incident pissed me off because I had had a really bad day to begin with, and then this mom had the nerve to put my child in an awkward/uncomfortable situation when all he was trying to do was help her irresponsible son.

Oh, and I made a recommendation that the teacher ask before passing out a home telephone number to the entire class, even if the student says it is okay.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Yes, Ma'am....I'll Get Right On That

Early in the school year, the Wildcard's teacher decided it would be a good idea to choose one smart, responsible, organized student and give him the title of "Homework Assistant".

The Homework Assistant's home phone number was passed out to the entire class (without the knowledge of the Homework Assistant's mother, by the way). The students were instructed to call the Homework Assistant whenever:

-They forgot what their homework was.

-They didn't remember when the homework was due.

-They needed help with their homework.

-They got bored and wanted to annoy the Homework Assistant's mom.

Now, most of the time is really is no big deal. Other than that week when they were doing mixed fractions in math class and the Wildcard (aka "Homework Assistant") took multiple calls each night, it really is no big deal. He enjoys helping his classmates, and most of the time it's just a matter of him saying, "Do page 57, odds by Thursday".

That all changed today with a call from Little Timmy, who is a frequent caller.

I passed the phone off to the Wildcard and went about my business. A few minutes later, the Wildcard came to me with a math worksheet in his hand and asked if I could help him scan it. It seems that Little Timmy had lost his math homework and the Wildcard volunteered to scan his worksheet and e-mail it to him. (Things have certainly changed a LOT since I was in elementary school!!)

I stopped what I was doing and went back to the bedroom where the good scanner was to show the Wildcard how to do it.

Before I could get there, the phone rang again. It was Little Timmy inquiring about the worksheet.

The Wildcard told Little Timmy we were working on it, and we sat down to scan the worksheet.

This was when I realized that during the big computer/scanner/printer reshuffle last month, I hadn't loaded the scanner software onto the new computer in the bedroom. I quickly located the disk and started the download while the Wildcard took another call from Little Timmy.

It took less than five minutes to load the software, restart the computer, and get ready to scan the worksheet.

As we were scanning, the phone rang again.

It was Little Timmy and his mom wanted to speak with me.

I won't repeat the conversation, but apparently Little Timmy had to do his math homework before he could go to basketball practice, and it was our fault that he was going to be late. And since this delay was totally unacceptable to Little Timmy's mom, she was going to report the incident to the Wildcard's teacher in the morning.


Some days I really hate people.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Grocery Shopping

Today's list:

Triaminic Cough and Sore Throat
Children's NyQuil
Tylenol Cold Multi-Symptom
Orange Juice
One Potato (suitable for the Wildcard's school project)

Friday's list:


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Alone Friday

This is one I took along Oahu's east shore one afternoon a couple of months ago. I did some editing, but I really like
the results.