Archive for April, 2013

The gross phase

April 29th, 2013

"Mommy, Daddy, I have a surprise for you!" Olivia called sweetly from the yard. I assumed - SO wrongly - that it was the usual flowers she loves to pick.

I asked her to bring it in. She insisted it could only be viewed outside. OK, must be a flower on a tree. We went out.

She led us five feet up the road and pointed to a roadkill toad, guts hanging out one side, and totally flattened on the other. We are both pretty non-reactive and calm people, but I think both our eyebrows arched.

Olivia immediately cackled a high-pitched, five-year-old's best impression of Malificent, while still pointing to the dead toad. "Do you like it?! Ha ha ha ha!"

This was the first time she's ever done something icky like that. It was not the last. I was prepared to give her even less reaction on the next "surprise."

Weeks later, I came home from work to find her bicycling around the street. She wouldn't let me go inside the house. I had to stand and watch her do her made-up tricks with fancy names on this bike.

Finally, she got off and wanted to show me "one last thing." She walked over and picked up a decapitated Barbie, and then pointed to the amputated limbs. This was again followed by semi-evil laughter.

"Why did you do that?" I asked.

"I don't like this doll anymore," she answered, and kept trying to get more reaction out of me.

I wouldn't. I just told her to clean up and I went in the house.

It's a little weird, but then again, she is five. I'm going to just deadpan through this phase until she gets over it. Other suggestions?

New Film on Hawai‘i Explorer- Botanist Joseph Rock

April 26th, 2013

New Film on Hawai‘i Explorer- Botanist Joseph Rock (1884-1962): A Founder in Island Natural History and Yunnan China Culture Studies

‘Ahahui Mälama I Ka Lökahi, Sierra Club's Oahu Group and University of Hawaii - Windward will screen a recent 52-minute film on the life of Joseph Rock, the "Father of Hawaiian botany", who went on to become internationally recognized for his explorations in China. The free film showing of A King in China: The Life of Joseph Francis Rock will be introduced by several heirs of the Pohaku legacy on Friday, April 26, at 6:00 p.m. inWindward Community College Akoakoa 103. These will include Sam 'Ohukani'ōhi'a Gon & Steven Lee Montgomery. Producer Paul Harris of "People and Places" will send a message from Europe.

The 2013 showing coincides with the 100th anniversary of a foundational book on Hawaiian plant life, Rock’s 1913 The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands, republished by National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in 1974. A largely self-taught scholar and explorer, Rock has many Hawaiian species named for him, including endemic lobelias and asters. His other books covered sandalwoods, ornamentals and leguminous trees, plus complete reviews of loulu palms, öhi’a lehua, lobeliads and tree cottons.

In the 1920s, Rock traveled to Southeast Asia for the U.S.Department of Agriculture to collect plants used in treating Hansen’s disease. He is most known for expeditions led for the National Geographic Society and Harvard in Chinese and Tibetan border regions, documenting Natural History, then culture and language of the Naxi people in Yunnan province. He continued work in Asia into the 1950, and then back to Hawai‘i, where he died in 1962.

National Tropical Botanical Garden Director Chipper Wichman says, “The story of Rock’s explorations in China is so fantastic it is hard to comprehend in the context of our modern society. Everyone in Hawaii should know that this internationally celebrated explorer got his start right here in the Islands, where he taught himself not only botany but also photography.” This earned him much space in National Geographic Magazine.

An early enthusiastic backer was former Governor George R. Carter, who shared a desire “to give the public a volume on the native trees of Hawaii, giving popular as well as technical descriptions of the trees peculiar to Hawaiian soil.” It gives details of all the floral regions embracing the whole plant covering. Rock essentially adopted the earth’s most distinctive flora, and shined such a revealing and reverent light upon an archipelago so isolated from all continents that his works became durable foundations and inspirations. He advised the Marks family on building a superb Botanical Library, now in use at Kauai's NTBG.

Partnerships are expanding to tell his story to share his scholarly and ecological ethics to benefit Hawaii's environment. To celebrate "The Indigenous Trees of the Hawaiian Islands" (issued June 26, 1913) the first of Rock's six books, a symposium, expanded film, book and photo exhibition are planned on this classic explorer- plant hunter, who arrived in Honolulu in 1905. He became Territorial Botanist, worked in Burma, lived 27 years in western China collecting plants, birds, photographs and filming for USDA, National Geographic Society, and Harvard University's Arboretum.

Paul Harris will film an extension of his documentary, "A King in China,” with new material on Hawaii's indigenous forests. A Harris book is planned about the Austrian-American botanist and ethnologist, with 250 photographs and writings from National Geographic and diaries from formative years in Vienna and Hawaii, to life in China, closing with pioneering work on the beautiful pictographic script of the Naxi people.

For information on the co-host institutions, visit websites

Salon day

April 24th, 2013

There is too much to do. I'm always in a rush. I remember when I was last bored. I think I was in my mid-20s.

I know I'm getting old because now when I have down time I consider it a gift to be able to zone out, instead of boring to have nothing to do.

When I go to the hair salon for a cut, I want to be in and out, zip zip zip. I don't even let the assistant massage my scalp because I want to save the minute and get on with the show.

My stylist, Ryan, told me in so many words that I'm weird. He didn't say it that way.

He agreed that I am the only female client who thinks like this, and that "All my other clients love it. They consider it Me Time." Then he flipped his long hair back over his shoulder to emphasize the point.

I am totally OK with being weird in this regard. For Me Time, I want to be able to be on my back with my eyes closed, or in my garden pruning my herbs.

When I went home, Claus and Olivia noticed my hair cut. "Aww! Mommy! You went without me!" she cried. She has been to Ryan a few times. She likes him because he is pretty and he shares his makeup with her.

For the last year- I will admit to you- I have discovered a pair of shears and a hearty dose of self-empowerment. It has been inconvenient to arrange Olivia's schedule to see Ryan, and for a while, there was Supercuts.

Then I got lazy and ultra-pragmatic, and realized that if I was saving 90 minutes by not seeing Ryan, I could also save 45 minutes by not driving to the Supercuts down the street. A trim to maintain split-ends at our house takes five minutes. Bonus: free.

"Did you put your head in the tub?" she asked. She remembered that from her experience. Oh, the faraway days when her mother cared enough to have her look her very best.

"Yes, I put my head in the tub," I nodded. "Why?"

"I want to put my head in the tub. I want you to take me there next time," she said, to my complete shock. Honestly, kids say the weirdest things.

She wants Me Time like all the rest of Ryan's clients. I can't believe how young that starts.

So I will take her next time back to a real salon and I will hang my head in shame when Ryan silently purses his lip-glossed lips and fixes my crooked hack-job. And then for the subsequent eleven months I will continue to do what I've been doing, which is home hair cuts!


April 22nd, 2013

We have a fence around the yard, but it's falling apart. There's a section that's gerryrigged together while we wait for time and availability to synchronize: a handyman to become available + the energy for ourselves to manage it.

Inca is a very good dog. She loves us. She knows where home is and doesn't run away. She does, however, like to explore when bored.

With this broken fence problem escalating over the past three months, there's been days where she keeps escaping and we puzzle over where the break is this time.

This weekend, there was another episode. The neighbor and I looked at the fence and couldn't easily see it. When Claus came home, we did a little experiment.

I walked up the street where we knew she'd want to follow. He waited by the side. Minutes passed. Finally, she tried to run after me.

Apparently, there's a little space that she squeezes herself between to get free. Claus said he hear a clink-clank-clink, then saw Inca coming out of the yard.

He said her paws were tick-tacking full speed on the concrete stairs that lead out of our yard, but stopped abruptly when she saw him standing there. Then she proceeded at normal walking speed.

She totally knew she was busted. Dogs! So smart!

Posted in dad, family, mom | 1 Comment »

Mind reader

April 19th, 2013

HOW do dogs know when you're about to do something they like? Or dislike, for that matter?

Inca always knows when we're about to go for a walk/run. She starts whining and getting all worked up. I just don't get it.

Every single time, when I'm headed towards the door in my exercise gear WITH the intention to take her, she seems to read my mind. I've not said a word about it.

On the other hand, when I have decided to bathe her, she also knows and hides. It can be as simple and as early in the process as, mentally deciding I'm going to do this and walking out the door.

Before I've pulled out the hose or the shampoo, she's in her hiding spot. Sure, like I can't see the 70 pound black mass of fur cowering in the shrubbery.

Claus says she's reading my intention. What do you think clues dogs to their owner's plans?

Posted in family | 2 Comments »

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