Archive for June, 2013

Miracle fruit!

June 28th, 2013

It's a miracle! My miracle fruit tree actually fruited. Then I got to try the berry, and it worked!


What is this, you ask? Well, the miracle fruit Synsepalum dulcificum, native to West Africa, is a red berry produced by a tree. It has a certain protein in it that changes the taste buds for a short while after you eat it. Everything acid becomes sweet.

My tree was a Christmas gift from Paul last year. He bought his son one, and me another.

The trees came from a Waimanalo nursery and were about three years old when he bought them. It was hard to find.

We have, time to time, checked in on each other's fruit tree progress. "Is yours fruiting yet?" one would ask the other. For half a year, the answer has been no.

We wondered if the trees needed to pollinate each other, the way papayas do. We talked about getting the trees together in case they needed to be near each other to fruit.

I just re-read that sentence and I can't believe I was talking about essentially scheduling a play date (or a date) for trees. So this is my life?

Anyway, we obviously didn't care enough, because we'd both get caught up in the grind of life and forget about the barren trees for another month or so.


I just emerged from a particularly hectic cycle and haven't gardened for a few months! When I went into the garden last weekend, I happened to see two red berries on the tree, and more flowers indicating more fruits are near!

I called Paul gleefully and found that he, too, recently got fruit. He gave me some tips on when and how to harvest.

In the kitchen, I cut the fruit in half with great anticipation, popped it in my mouth, and tasted some drops of bottled lemon juice. It worked!


The juice tasted sweet, like a candy lemon drop. I could still taste the lemon, but gone was the acid bitterness. I sucked down a spoonful then I got a little tummy ache.

Claus tried it, but his half was a little dried up and weird looking, so he didn't really get the full effect of the fruit. We'll have to try again with the next berry.


This is a highlight of my weekend, definitely.

Sweet potato harvest

June 26th, 2013

I'm a farmer! OK, I exaggerate. On that, and on the "harvest" in the headline.


But I am excited to tell you that I bought a sweet potato plant at Lyon Arboretum in December, stuck it in a big pot in the yard, and let the lush Hawaiian weather grow that baby for the last half year.


I could see the tuber sticking up out of the dirt for a while and finally, a little nervously, decided to dig it up this weekend. I had researched it online about how and when to harvest but was still nervous about messing it up. Lo and behold, it worked.


It was so easy. I pulled the dirt back with my fingers, encircled the potato with my hand, and firmly twisted it off the stem. Da buggah, she ready fo' go.

While poking around, I saw a second tuber developing. It was tiny, so I'll give that another few months and see if it's ready. I covered it back up.

I now have a respectable sized sweet potato on the counter waiting to be eaten. I am SO excited.

Triple God Dibs

June 24th, 2013

My kid and her BFF Kira have been saying something for some months now that absolutely cracks me up. When they want to call ownership over something, instead of calling "dibs" per usual American lexicon, they call "triple God dibs."

To say it correctly, you have to say it quickly, and it almost comes out singsong. Example: "I call triple God dibs to play with My Little Pony first!" When they are together, I hear this phrase perhaps ten times in a quarter hour.

Finally, I asked about the etymology of the phrase. We all know what "dibs" is. What came first, the God or the multiplicity?

Apparently, it evolved into "double dibs" and then "triple dibs", each time adding intensity to the force of their staked claim. Kira added "God" because she as a Christian believes God created everything, so that invokes the most sacred power to this convention.

Triple God dibs. That has a ring to it.

I'm going to have to see if it has preemptive blanket usage that would magically protect all my stuff from being used by this little kid I live with. Kids think what's yours is theirs unless you specifically tell them not to touch it, and even then, it's iffy you'll be respected.

So many times I've found my items in Olivia's room/toy trunk/backpack/area. My high heels, photo album, makeup, pens, clothing - you name it.

I had to absolutely, upon pain of triple God grounding, call ixnay on my car keys after an experience in which she took those and stashed it in her dollhouse one time. Of course, I was in a rush to get somewhere on time when we launched the full-scale search for the keys.

I call triple God dibs to stop touching my stuff!

Independent girl

June 21st, 2013

We took Olivia and her friend Meya to the movies one weekend. Meya brought her fancy Hello Kitty wallet and 20 whole dollars.

When she first got into the car, she declared her intention to buy her own ticket and popcorn at the theater. I thought her mother had told her to be polite and pay her own way, but I assured her she was our guest and we would happily pay for it.

"Well, I can pay for my own popcorn," she offered.

"Don't worry, Honey. I'll buy the ticket and the popcorn," I said.

Here, I thought I was being a great hostess, but really, I was crushing her dreams of independence.

"No, I want to buy my own popcorn," she insisted. "I can do it."

Oh. I get it. "Sure," I said, "you brought your own wallet because that's what big girls do." Then she was happy.

Of course, before we got out of the car, she asked me to hold her wallet so she wouldn't lose it, and when we got to the snack line, she didn't know how to read the prices. (Totally normal. Neither can Olivia.)

Meya placed the order herself, because that's what a big girl does. I helped her select the right amount of money to hand over, and then taught her how to put it back into the wallet (not one bill at a time, but all bills at once). Then held on to the wallet again. The whole thing was very cute.

She was so pleased with herself for buying her own food. I wanted to tell her to enjoy it while it lasts, that she can still get other people to pay for all her stuff.

Free summer fun for families at UH Manoa

June 17th, 2013

It's been 7 years since the inaugural KIDS FIRST! Film Festival at UH Manoa -- and some of the audience regulars have grown up from toddlers to tweens! I know our family has enjoyed this every summer for the past few years!

The award-winning UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival presented by Outreach College returns in 2013 with another summer of quality family fun. KIDS FIRST! gives young people the excitement and thrill of attending a film festival just for them, at an affordable price for all the family -- free!


The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival 2013 screens on Sundays, June 23 & 30 and July 14 & 21 at 3:00 pm in the UH Manoa Art Auditorium (follow the balloons on campus; parking is free on Sundays). For complete information, visit or call 956-9883. The UH Manoa KIDS FIRST! Film Festival is supported in part by the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust.

The KIDS FIRST! Film Festival, a project of the Coalition for Quality Children's Media, partners each year with over 150 venues nationwide, reaching an audience of more than one million people, making it the largest kids' film festival in the world. Curated locally by UH Manoa's Outreach College to appeal to Hawai‘i audiences, KIDS FIRST! films are free of gratuitous violence; race, gender, or religious bias; inappropriate content; and condescension toward children. Age-appropriate groupings of films entertain through a balance of animation and live action, plus varied themes from different cultures. To add to the festivities, door prizes are awarded at all screenings. Parents, grandparents, friends and neighborhood kids -- everyone can enjoy the films because they're juried by kids, parents, teachers, and child advocates nationwide to qualify for the Festival.

This year, in addition to regular screenings in the UHM Art Auditorium, KIDS FIRST! partners with the Waikiki Aquarium in celebration of World Oceans month. On Wednesdays, June 12, 19, and 26, KIDS FIRST! films will screen throughout the day in the Aquarium's SeaVisions Theatre. On these days, children with a KIDS FIRST! coupon (downloadable at will be admitted to the Aquarium free with a paying adult. For information, visit or

This summer's KIDS FIRST! Film Festival line-up is a varied mix of animation and live-action, comedy and drama, green shorts and shorts on sports -- from the US, Canada, Brazil, India and Singapore -- plus a world premiere from world's oceans! Here are the highlights:

UH Manoa Art Auditorium • 4 Sundays at 3pm • Free

June 23: (Ages 4+) World premiere of Sharks and Rays, from underwater filmmaker Annie Crawley -- an adventure with sharks and rays around the globe, including the world's first shark sanctuary in Palau. Screened with Gus Outdoors: Lizard Town -- another adventure in search of lizards, iguanas, and snakes with Gus, a six-year-old naturalist as host. Plus a short animated music video.

June 30: (Ages 8+) Nine award-winning short films whose characters never give up...from a robot left behind in space, to a cupcake searching for love, to everyday kids facing life with imagination and belief.

July 14: (Ages 5+) A short animated film about rainforests, I Wish I Went to Equador was made by pupils at the Bricknell Primary School in Britain. The film captured awards at festivals and the attention of Al Gore who called it "...a terrific commentary on climate change and its devastating impacts upon our planet." Plus a heartwarming feature film from Singapore about a girl who learns about the importance of trees...and how to save them from greedy developers with a bit of community organizing.

July 21: (Ages 10+) Young love, sports, competition, family, goals and dreams -- it's all there in this program of seven short films for the over-10 set.

Waikiki Aquarium • SeaVisions Theatre • 3 Wednesdays throughout the day • Children with coupon admitted to the Aquarium free with paying adult

Three films shot in oceans around the world from underwater cinematographer and educator, Annie Crawley:

June 12: What Makes a Fish a Fish?

June 19: Dive into Diversity

June 26: Who Lives in the Sea

Plus Once Upon a Tide and Plastic Perils of the Pacific which screen all three days.

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