So I was making green beans for dinner last night and while tossing the hot beans with butter I suddenly flashed on dinner at my GrandmaJane's house when I was a kid. She and Grandpa O lived in Makawao and I always loved going to the big ranch house for dinner. I especially loved her green beans. Her secret?
(For a certain few of you out there, you are now singing the tv jingle and will have it stuck in your head all day. Sorry!)
Look at that label: "Pure Monosodium Glutamate" MMMMmmmmm good!
Seriously, you just used to shake it on food like salt. Awesome.
I have so much to catch up on, blog-wise, but had to get this out first.
There is a blog I read by my friend and Seabury carpooler, Melissa, called "Julia's Bookbag." (Different Julia!) Every Friday she does a "Cool Stuff I Like" post and this week included a link to a post about amazing envelope inspiration. It is a collection of envelopes created by various artists. It brought me back to the days of intense letter writing I had growing up. Well, I say "intense" only because in this digital age, it seemed intense that I wrote so many letters back then. I still write my fair share now, actually. I love sending notes and thank yous and birthday cards in the mail. I love shopping for paper and cards and stamps and stickers.
My parents got divorced when I was five and not too long after that my dad got remarried and they all (Dad, stepmom, two oldest sisters and Lucy, the best dog in the world) moved to the Big Island. My mom and my next oldest sister and I still lived on Oahu, then later Maui. I only got to see that side of my family two or three times a year (usually summers and New Year's Eve). So Dad and I wrote letters. Lots and lots of letters. I think my mom indulged me with colored pens and all kinds of stationery*. (Just as she indulged me in books!) I loved getting letters and I loved writing and sending letters.
In high school I acquired about twenty West (at the time) German pen pals and seemed to constantly be writing letters, which I loved. (I still write to 3 of them!) Going to the post office in Paia to get mail was also so exciting. To see what might be in the box addressed to me was a thrill. That post office is no longer a post office but Box F will always be a strong memory in my mind. It was my grandmother's address, once upon a time, then it became ours.
In college, during the summers, I wrote to all my dear friends, missing them all so painfully while I tanned and worked, counting the days before I came back to Los Angeles. The funnest part was sending coconuts to them all. You can mail just about anything as is via the Post Office, as long as it has the right amount of postage. (I sent coconuts similar to this one which I found on this instruction site for sending your own coconuts!)
Now there is a friend in Northern Ireland who has a daughter not much older than Harper. We promised we would have the girls be pen pals. We've written a few letters to each other in the last two years, but man it's challenging! So I am going to write a letter and mail it today. I PROMISE!
*Trying to remember where we might have bought the stationery from on Maui. Liberty House? Hopaco? Shirokiya? God I loved shopping at Shirokiya! Hot Manapua and Hello Kitty pencil boxes and paper and stickers!!
We had a great birthday weekend with Harper. Friday saw the arrival of her new old-school Red Flyer Tricycle (thanks Uncle Glenn and Aunt Joanie!). She has not quite gotten the hang of pedals, but Dad pushing is a good thing.
Just for genetic comparison, here is me at 2 with my awesome three-wheeler!
And Captain Obvious dressed her for her big day. (I would be Captain Obvious.)
On Saturday we had a small group over for cupcakes and play time. Luckily it stopped raining though it was COLD! (Hey, for LA 55 degrees at 4pm is COLD!)
One of our new friends is Harper! No really, there is a Harper living two blocks away from us and she's only about a month younger than our Harper. Funny small world...
Harper and Harper enjoy last year's Red Flyer Wagon.
Speaking of the red wagon: Here was Harper last year on her birthday and this year:
What a difference a year makes! (And yes I do plan to do this every year...)
August has been busy and mostly good fun. Swimming continues and I'm amazed at how after five weeks of lessons (one lesson and one practice each week) Harper is more and more comfortable in the water and doesn't grab for me hardly at all. She still wears floaties and fins, and is getting better and better with the kicking and paddling. Plus just seeing her in that cap kills me every time!
Every time I put her sunsuit on I call it her Elvis suit.
I love this picture that Kurt took as the girl next to us was so funny and chatty. I'm making a Jen face for sure.
Harper also helps us fold laundry, yet she was stalled in her folding one day to put my undies on her head.(Yes, they were clean!)
But with that face, it is hard to complain. That FACE!
And just a thought -- these toys should probably not be sold or given to households with those that suffer from combat related PTSD...just sayin.
We got an old chair recovered. I've never done that before and the guy we were referred to was awesome. Cheap, cheerful and FAST! With pick up and delivery.
Here is Before:
And now After:
We were going to get a brighter, bolder pattern, but then Kurt brilliantly remembered that we have an almost 2-Year-Old...so we opted for darker for now.
We've tried some kite flying, though it's been challenging due to lack of wind. Most times this is how we look:
But last weekend we got lucky with a few stronger gusts:
(Harper also loves her sunscreen bottle.)
I was trying to figure out why in the world I remember kite flying being so easy as a kid. Then it dawned on me that, um duh, I grew up where the weather report said "Tradewinds 10-15 mph" EVERY DAY. Much more helpful for kite flying than LA where you barely get 6mph.
Speaking of Hawai'i:
And the sunflowers are starting to bloom and that always makes me happy.
And finally, the fork. A new tool in Harper's eating arsinal. (Note the right hand in ballast position.)
She hasn't fully decided if she's a lefty or a righty, but it is leaning righty...
On December 21, 1975, Mom, Jen and I moved to Maui from Oahu. I was 8, just about to turn 9 and Jen had just turned 13. That was 37 years ago. It was a whole new start for us three, a start to a wonderful life on Maui.
Sunrise on Christmas Day, 2012
That era is over now as Mom is moving on. She sold the house and is moving this week to a smaller place Upcountry. (Still Maui, just a different neighborhood.) It's a good move, filled with new beginnings and possibilities and opporunities. But it's also a big huge sad good-bye to an amazing home and so many memories. It's a hard good-bye too because there is so much Jen in that house and Jack and GrandmaJane too. I cried every day I was home over Christmas. Every day. I missed Jen so much because of course she would have come to have a last Christmas there too.
I have to keep reminding msyelf that mom is not leaving Maui, just Spreckelsville. But it will be different from now on, especially with new owners because who knows how different the house will become.
I wrote down a bunch of memories of the house. One specific sound got me going on making a list. The sound of the squeak of the latch on the cabinet under the sink in mom's bathroom. It's made that same distinctive squeak for 37 years.
The ocean is a big part of mom's house. The house is not on the beach, but right near it (last house before the beach). You can be lulled by the sound of the waves, though it's not too loud. When the surf is big, then you can hear it really well.
Spreckelsville is under the departure path of the Kahului Airport (OGG) and I grew up listening to planes departing. There is the first plane out every morning around 5:45am, then clusters of departures throughout the day. The planes used to be so loud you could not talk on the phone when they went over. You would have to wait, then continue. Modern jets are much quieter, believe me!
We got to Maui when I was halfway through 3rd grade. I started the new school year at Lihikai Elementary in January of 1976. Starting a new school is always intimidating, especially halfway through a year. On top of that, I was the only haole in my class, in my whole grade! I took the bus every morning with about eight other kids from Spreckelsville. We would stop at the old housing near the airport (long gone now) where other kids would get on the bus. They were the "Kahului Kids" to us because they went to Kahului Elementary and would get dropped off before us. I rode the school bus for three and a half years, then switched schools in seventh grade to Seabury Hall and carpooled from then on.
The drive from Spreckelsville to Seabury takes you along Hana Highway to Baldwin Ave. in Paia, straight up to Makawao, then it becomes Olinda Road to Seabury. I was a passenger for three years, then driver for three years on that road, every school day, and then some. I know that road so well I feel like I could drive it with my eyes closed. Not much of the actual road has changed. But I knew things were different when they put a stoplight in at Paia, lo those 20 years or so ago!
Spreckelsville was a big sugar town, once upon a time, and all that is left is our neighborhood along the beach. (And that has actually grown grown since we moved in '75.) It used to be just the small sleepy roads from the Club (the Maui Country Club) to the end of Stable Road. (And there were horses and stables on Stable road when we moved there!)
My Small Kid Time Memories are many, but here are the highlights:
-Roller skating in the garage. It was the smoothest surface in the neighborhood.
-Slip and slide in the front yard down the hill.
-Eating ripe mangoes right off the (neighbor's) tree.
-Going from the beach to the pool at the Club and back, and back again.
-My good childhood friend Patty who lived down the block.
-Flossie and her dog Uku across the street! ('Uku means "flea" in Hawaiian and Uku was black lab.)
-Our cat Peach, who was a feral kitten when we found and adopted her, and Daisy, the beagle mix Jen found at the pound.
-Cane spiders in the house after the sugar cane was burned off before harvest. Maybe it's not a highlight, but more like a hard to forget memory that is so specific to that place!
When we moved there in '75 our address was PO Box F, Paia. Then it became 204 Kealakai Place, which it remains. It will be really hard to now have to look up my mom's new address! But THANK GOD she is keeping her phone number. Man, that would have really knocked me for a loop. To this day whenever I pick up a new phone to test, I always dial that Maui number.
One of my last best memories is that Harper took her very first steps in the house! How wonderful to have a big first for her there to treasure along with all the other memories.
It was so tough to say good-bye. I walked through the house about 3 times, crying every time, before actually leaving for the airport. I touched the walls and said "thank you" to all it has given me, to my family. I am very sentimental so this goes deep for me, almost like a death in the family. (Of which there have been too many already.) But in the end, it's just a house and my mom moves forward to new things and I can't wait to see where she goes!
I live in Los Angeles. In the summer of 2006 I worked in Mexico City. Instead of sending out giant emails full of photos to friends and families, I started this blog. The summer turned out to be a crazy one and this blog and my camera kept me sane. I didn't want to stop observing and writing when I got home to LA, so I kept the blog going.