goodness

Sunset in the West

In Silver Lake, when looking west, the sun often sets the sky on fire, the horizon set ablaze under an ocean of warm blue.

ablaze

Tonight, looking east, I was struck dumb by the cold beauty of the evening’s colors: Eucalyptus trees with warm, smoldering bark, become watchful and patient at sunset, gently moving, eyeing dusty indigo mountains under a cool, expanding autumn sky.

sunset 2

My iPhone camera could never do them justice.  Such beauty.

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goodness, life, manfolk

It’s symbolic of our LOVE

serrano boyfwend is ready to pick

serrano boyfwend is ready to pick

Boyfriend was bummed out about something a few months back (I think he didn’t land a job he really wanted), so I decided to cheer him up by buying a bunch of herbs to plant in the backyard.  We planted them together, and it’s actually been pretty delightful to watch him get excited about tending to them and watching them grow.  A common question I pose to him after we’ve eaten or had tea is, “Wanna go smile at the plants?”

I got him two basil, two rosemary, one cherry tomato, and one serrano chile plant, which he has used in the chilli he makes so adeptly.  Since this batch of gardening has gone so swimmingly, we added five kale plants to the collection, all of which are thriving (we can’t wait to eat them).  So far we’ve eaten something from every plant: Boyfriend eats the basil straight off the vine whenever a tomato ripens, he used the rosemary in a French chicken recipe that I could’ve eaten until I exploded it was AMAZEBALLS, and I use the rosemary and basil for herb butter.  The serrano chile made it into his trademark chilli, and Diminutive Friend’s salsa, which she made from tomatoes from her garden in back yard of the house she bought in the Valley (still so proud of her for that).

Boyfriend turned 30 in August, and Diminutive Friend took the opportunity to buy him any hot pepper plant he wanted (he’s a fan of heat).  We now have a jalapeno plant that’s just sprouted its first flower (or maybe it’s turning into a little pepper now… I’ll have to check today).

Also, he’s out of town on a job (or two) in London for about 10 days and I miss him.  *sigh*  Nothing is as fun without him.

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family, goodness, life, manfolk, school

Hawai’i: Day eight

Finally, I’ve gotten around to writing about our last day in Hawai’i.  We were bummed to leave, but also kinda ready (the humidity makes you feel sticky all the time.  The copious amounts of sunscreen didn’t help either).

Our last day there was the day of my presentation at the conference!  I was a bit nervous, but mostly excited about meeting people, presenting my ideas, fielding questions, and hearing the other presentations in my session.  My presentation went really well; there were several questions afterward, and one of the women (who was also presenting) had also played World of Warcraft, so we had loads to talk about afterward.  Her presentation was on gender roles in TV and movies, particularly the way they are portrayed in ancient dramas (Rome, 300, Game of Thrones, etc.).  It was really interesting.  She lives in Sweden, and invited me to come speak at her university so we’re staying in touch.

SO GOOD

SO GOOD

Afterward I felt free as a bird and really excited to get some pork laulau, which I’d been craving all week.  We went to Ono Hawai’ian Foods on Kapahulu near Waikiki on uncle Bobby’s recommendation, and it turned out to be the same place I went with my cousin Leah the last time I was in town for the same conference.  Boyfriend tried poi for the first time and actually liked it (shock).  I was still riding high on being finished with my presentation (even though it was the last day of our trip), so we drove to Dave’s Ice Cream for another helping of azuki bean ice cream.  They had a dark/bright purple ice cream that was imo flavored (Japanese [Okinawan] purple sweet potato) which was bonkers.

how does this sign help?  all it does is freak people out.

found this sign at the Pali Lookout. how does this help? all it does is freak people out.

We headed back to Lanikai side to have one last ocean experience before we left the next day.  On our way, I realized that we’d been driving past the Pali Lookout but hadn’t yet gone up.  So we took a quick detour to enjoy the view and almost got blown right off the mountain.  There were loads of tourists from all over, but my favorite was a German woman feeding wild chickens that had come out of the forest right next to the parking lot while her husband smiled and told her to get in the car.

We brought Boyfriend’s nice camera to the beach, and I brought my ukulele.  He took a few photos, and we swam around a bit enjoying the water and watching people kayak around.  When we went back in, a guy had a bucket with a couple fish, and encouraged us to take a photo of them in rapid pidgin.  He said one of them was a barracuda, cool!

it stared at us with its dead, beady eye

it stared at us with its dead, beady eye

We were sad to leave Bob and Nancy (and Bella, *sniffle*), but it was so nice to spend so much time with them that it was hard to be too broken up.  Boyfriend and I woke up at 330am to drive across the island and arrive at the airport by 5 so I could be on a plane by 620am.  On the drive back, boyfriend apparently stopped and took a bunch of photos of the sunrise over the ocean near Lanikai.  I’m jealous I couldn’t see it with him, the photos are incredible.  I ended up taking a later flight anyway, and got a $400 voucher in exchange, woot!  Continental owes me that for that time they botched my trip to the east coast to visit Boyfriend a few years back (I’m still a little broken up about that, lol).

I’m so glad Boyfriend and I had this trip together.  After more than five years we’re still excited to see each other and spend time together.  I’m looking forward to spending that voucher on another fun trip with him 🙂

playing some Jamaica Farewell to the mokes on my ukulele

playing some Jamaica Farewell to the mokes on my ukulele

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family, goodness, life, manfolk

Hawai’i: Day six

I was too wiped out to write about our day last night. We got an early start at 730am. Bobby was nice enough to get up with us to show us which house we were borrowing a kayak from. We found a two-person kayak, grabbed a couple of oars, and threw everything in the back of the Kia while Bobby went back home to sleep. We drove about a block with half the kayak sticking out of the back of the car, unloaded it and carried/dragged it down a sandy path to the beach.

this kayak, but without the seats (wtf would you do with those?)

this kayak, but without the seats (wtf would you do with those?)

Boyfriend and I were super excited. I had him sit in the front even though he weighs more so he could have a beautiful view while we paddled around. I had him pull the kayak down the beach to the water to feel how bouyant it is so he would feel safe in it (and it’s fun to feel something so heavy become so light so quickly). He got in and I launched us and jumped in behind him, and we took off toward the Mokuluas.

my shot of the Mokuluas from a pillbox

my shot of the Mokuluas from a Lanikai pillbox

Our goal was to make it out to the left Moke (Moku Nui), and we made it no problem. We took a couple of breaks on our way there and back to enjoy the view, feel the water and generally relax. The morning was perfect for being out on the water. There was plenty of cloud cover, there was a little wind, the water was calm, and there was no rain. As we approached the Mokuluas, the sun broke through the clouds, Boyfriend paddled, slow and strong, and the cool emerald water dripped from his paddle onto my legs. The beauty of the moment is hard to describe. It felt like a dream.

some jerk photographer's shot of the mokes

some jerk photographer’s shot of the mokes

Once we arrived, we walked around the beach and enjoyed the view. We found a sea slug covered in sand and latched onto a rock (it was alive and healthy, so naturally we both poked it gently and laughed), and a sea urchin a couple feet from that (it was also alive, and we watched it move it’s spikes slowly whenever the waves receded and the sand settled. We were tempted to take a shell back with us, but decided to be responsible tourists and left it behind. We were both bummed that we didn’t have any way to take a photo of the gorgeous view of Oahu, and the Mokuluas up close, especially where the waves crashed against the dark black rocks on the south side of the island.

exterior tiles at the Doris Duke estate

exterior tiles at the Doris Duke estate

We paddled back in no time flat, returned the kayak, and headed back home to shower and change. We headed straight out for Waikiki to eat (more udon, yum!) before heading to the Honolulu Museum of Art (cool Japanese art collection; beautiful kimonos, wallets, netsuke and komainu) to meet up with a tour of Doris Duke’s house, Shangri-la. I’ve been there once before, and my memory of it was apparently very sharp. The house is an odd mixture of responsible art preservation and evidence of obviously wreckless looting. It’s been ten years (at least) since I first saw the house, and I didn’t have a degree in art history then, so I felt somewhat more disturbed about the acquisition of many of the pieces in the house. Regardless it’s an incredible resource, and a semi-legitimate museum in its own right.

We headed back across the island to the cottage so I could take class only to realize once we arrived and couldn’t join the classroom that I had forgotten about the 3-hour time difference. Derp. So I missed the last class of the semester. I’ll still get an A in the class (assuming my case study doesn’t suck), and I really disliked the professor, so I don’t really care.

that means you, asshole

that means you, asshole

We ordered Thai food for dinner, which Jon and I picked up and paid for.  At the restaurant, there was a fish tank with a huge, hideous looking fish, apparently named Bruno, whom only a guy named Joe is allowed to feed.  Huh.  We ate dinner in front of the TV with Bobby and Nancy (we watched another episode of The Protectors, one of the Danish cop dramas that Nancy likes, and which I have to watch from the beginning now because I’m totally hooked). We crashed hard after that, and had to get up super early this morning to make it to the conference for an 8am talk about social media in the classroom. Boyfriend said he would come with me, even though I said I’d be back home by noonish. He’s so sweet.

Bobby’s having a root canal done today, and seemed a bit on edge about it last night (naturally). He doesn’t do well with pain, so I’ll have to check on him later.

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Fun with words

I cannot recommend the H. P. Lovecraft reading experience highly enough.  In addition to being totally immersed in his fantastic writing style and dark, misty universe full of monsters and ancient, unspeakable evil, Lovecraft is making me a smarter person.  New vocabulary for the win!

smooth with bubbles inside

smooth with bubbles inside

Word of the Week: Fulgurite
Fulgurites are awesome.  They’re the result of a lightning strike (or some other intense discharge of energy, like a downed power line) to the ground.  The soil/sand fuses and liquefies, then instantly hardens, creating a tube in the shape of the path the discharging energy took.

Here’s the really cool part: Fulgurites can be found all over the Sahara desert.  Why would that be?  There’s no lightning in the Sahara desert today, but the presence of fulgurites demonstrates that what is now a desert used to have completely different eco and weather systems.  So tubes of glassy sand buried deep in the desert tell us that the driest desert on the planet used to have intense rain and thunder storms.  Super cool!

fulgurite 1

the path of lightning

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For the sake of beauty

It’s easy to see why the art of painting on gold leaf fascinates people.  The arresting juxtaposition of matte color on a warm, reflective surface, the opulence, the sheer size of the Japanese folding screens painted in this fashion… it’s worth while to pause and enjoy, to let your eyes rest on something beautiful for a while.

Suzuki Kiitsu “Morning Glories”

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