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Month: July 2006

Closing one book, opening another.

Closing one book, opening another.

I was under the impression that you had to beg the bishop to release you–or go inactive–in order to get out of the Nursery. I guess not. Today was my last day with this particular size of little people. I’m moving up in the world next week as the new CTR 5 teacher. Just when it seemed like the kids were getting used to our system. Just when Soren stopped hitting, pushing, screaming, etc. Just when an hour and 45 minutes started to feel manageable.

I have bittersweet feelings about the whole thing. It definitely came as a shock, and while I look forward to dealing with slightly longer attention spans, I don’t know if five-year olds will take to me (or if I’ll take to them) like the two-year olds did. I’m going to miss the way Loren jumps on me when I come into the room, and that Mela stops crying for her sister when I hold her. I’m sad that I didn’t get to know Masao and Daniel a little better (Masao has the cutest little puppy dog eyes). But I don’t think I’ll miss Keania’s know-it-all comments (I think she is really too old to be there), or the rickety chair of death in the corner that the kids get a kick out of playing on and having me drag them off of.

And I kind of wish that Micah had been called with me, but I guess the Deacons quorum needs all the reinforcements it can get.

We’re going to get warts.

We’re going to get warts.

We have been making a concerted effort to attend ward activities as of late (something we have not done as frequently as we should, probably, because we inevitably left feeling as though nobody knew what to say to us) and today we were given the opportunity to make up for our absence at ward camp in June (which was held at a beach park less than a mile from our house) by going to the Elders Quorum Activity. I was sure we had other plans, but I couldn’t think of what they were quickly enough. So, at a little after 6:00 we pulled into the parking lot at Hauula Elementary and reluctantly got out of the car. Of course, one of the main draws was the free meal, so before we made our way over to the baseball diamond where all of the action was, we stopped by the dinner table. Much to our relief, there was no kalua pork or macaroni salad in sight. (No plate lunches for us! No sir!) Just some big pots of chili and some rice, of course, and a few pans of corn bread as well. Having determined that the food was edible, we decided to work up an appetite and exhibit our mad softball skills in the process.

Micah was fortunate enough to be the batter with two outs and the bases loaded. I don’t think I was the only one who was not at all surprised by the grand slam that he was responsible for. After he kindly cleared the stage, I surprised everyone by getting a hit on the first pitch and making it all the way to first. Unfortunately, the next girl to hit got out and Micah and I were sent to the outfield to watch the 3 1/2 foot tall deacon work his magic on first base and get three outs before anybody even hit a ball into the outfield. Our next time up at bat was not quite as glorious. It took me two strikes and a ball before I got a hit, which got me to first, and Micah hit another single right after. Micah’s hit was followed by another single, and then we got to run home on the second beautifully executed grand slam of the evening. We felt we had made our contribution to the game and decided it was time for the grub.

But, as always, the real fun began after everyone was done eating and the softball games had gotten stale. All of the Primary aged children had been playing on the basketball courts so they wouldn’t get in the way of the softball game and they could be easily supervised. Micah and I had been at the softball field and were about to leave when we saw little things jumping in the grass. Upon closer inspection, we found little tiny toads. “The kids’ll love these!” we thought, so we caught a few and took them over to the basketball court, only to find all of the three, four, and five-year olds running around with a grown toad in each hand. Didn’t we feel silly. We showed them to the younger kids and they seemed pretty impressed, especially when they jumped out of our hands. The kids were stomping all over the place trying to find them. (Note to parents: Check your children’s slippers (flip-flops) for small toads before letting them get into the car.) Even the little princess girls who are scared of their own shadows were squeezing their little friends as tight as they could so they wouldn’t get away. One of them was kind enough to let us hold one of her precious toads for a minute (which we let go, and which she promptly re-caught). It was really quite fun. Of course, we didn’t really think we would have such a great time, so we didn’t bring our camera (I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where we carry around our camera as if it was our keys). Sorry! No pictures.

But my favorite part of the night was when we were walking to our car and one of the kids chased us down and told us we had to go wash our hands if we’d been touching the toads. Why? you ask (not that it is a bad idea . . .)? We’ll get warts, duh. Everyone knows that.

We're going to get warts.

We're going to get warts.

We have been making a concerted effort to attend ward activities as of late (something we have not done as frequently as we should, probably, because we inevitably left feeling as though nobody knew what to say to us) and today we were given the opportunity to make up for our absence at ward camp in June (which was held at a beach park less than a mile from our house) by going to the Elders Quorum Activity. I was sure we had other plans, but I couldn’t think of what they were quickly enough. So, at a little after 6:00 we pulled into the parking lot at Hauula Elementary and reluctantly got out of the car. Of course, one of the main draws was the free meal, so before we made our way over to the baseball diamond where all of the action was, we stopped by the dinner table. Much to our relief, there was no kalua pork or macaroni salad in sight. (No plate lunches for us! No sir!) Just some big pots of chili and some rice, of course, and a few pans of corn bread as well. Having determined that the food was edible, we decided to work up an appetite and exhibit our mad softball skills in the process.

Micah was fortunate enough to be the batter with two outs and the bases loaded. I don’t think I was the only one who was not at all surprised by the grand slam that he was responsible for. After he kindly cleared the stage, I surprised everyone by getting a hit on the first pitch and making it all the way to first. Unfortunately, the next girl to hit got out and Micah and I were sent to the outfield to watch the 3 1/2 foot tall deacon work his magic on first base and get three outs before anybody even hit a ball into the outfield. Our next time up at bat was not quite as glorious. It took me two strikes and a ball before I got a hit, which got me to first, and Micah hit another single right after. Micah’s hit was followed by another single, and then we got to run home on the second beautifully executed grand slam of the evening. We felt we had made our contribution to the game and decided it was time for the grub.

But, as always, the real fun began after everyone was done eating and the softball games had gotten stale. All of the Primary aged children had been playing on the basketball courts so they wouldn’t get in the way of the softball game and they could be easily supervised. Micah and I had been at the softball field and were about to leave when we saw little things jumping in the grass. Upon closer inspection, we found little tiny toads. “The kids’ll love these!” we thought, so we caught a few and took them over to the basketball court, only to find all of the three, four, and five-year olds running around with a grown toad in each hand. Didn’t we feel silly. We showed them to the younger kids and they seemed pretty impressed, especially when they jumped out of our hands. The kids were stomping all over the place trying to find them. (Note to parents: Check your children’s slippers (flip-flops) for small toads before letting them get into the car.) Even the little princess girls who are scared of their own shadows were squeezing their little friends as tight as they could so they wouldn’t get away. One of them was kind enough to let us hold one of her precious toads for a minute (which we let go, and which she promptly re-caught). It was really quite fun. Of course, we didn’t really think we would have such a great time, so we didn’t bring our camera (I don’t know if we’ll ever get to the point where we carry around our camera as if it was our keys). Sorry! No pictures.

But my favorite part of the night was when we were walking to our car and one of the kids chased us down and told us we had to go wash our hands if we’d been touching the toads. Why? you ask (not that it is a bad idea . . .)? We’ll get warts, duh. Everyone knows that.

New Job!

New Job!

We have a new job. Yes, it’s true. At least nine months after submitting our applications, we have been approved to work at the Laie, Hawaii Temple. Hooray! Actually, there was some confusion or something about what happened to our original application, so we submitted another one but couldn’t start working until after the marathon, but then after the marathon the temple was closed for Spring Cleaning, and it just re-opened last week. And before you could say, “Quick like a bunny!” we were in the temple president’s office, smiling our cheeks off. We agreed to take the Tuesday evening shift.

So on Tuesday we found ourselves at the temple in our Sunday best, bright eyed and (in Micah’s case) slightly less bushy headed. We were both a little bit nervous about it. But we had great trainers, and, let’s face it: Can you really be stressed when you are in the temple? I don’t think so. We got the grand tour, we got to eat in the cafeteria, and we even got to work! It was a rather exciting day for us. And despite the fact that we are rookies, everything went pretty well. Yes, Micah’s hands were shaking he was so nervous, and yes, I did get a little flustered and may have disrupted the contemplation of one sister who was doing work for an obviously beloved ancestor, but I think we are going to be okay. It was so peaceful and nice and everybody smiles and is happy to see you. It’s nice to have some new friends who are a little bit older and wiser (as well as a few young ladies . . . although as far as I could tell, we were the only young married couple on the shift).

We are happy that we were finally able to get started. We have been waiting for this for a long time. I’m sure we will enjoy every minute of it.

We just have to ask . . . .

We just have to ask . . . .

Does anybody actually pay full price for these things?


Do the good people at Foodland feel bad for ripping off all of their friends and neighbors?

Doesn’t it seem like they should be practically giving these things away?

We’re just curious.

The King and Us: An unAdventure

The King and Us: An unAdventure

And when I say “us” I mean, Liz, Kareena, and Rinda. The three of us girls work together in the Financial Aid Office and Friday while we were at work we got the word that Rinda’s roommate found three tickets to see the Hawaii Opera Theatre’s presentation of “The King and I” for pretty cheap. She couldn’t use them, so she was offering them to Rinda and anyone else who wanted to go. It was only a matter of time before we put three and three together and decided to make an outing of it–Micah had plans to hang out with the Deacons Quorum (poor guy). When you go to the theatre you have to dress up, of course, so by 5:30 we were decked out in all of our finery and ready for the adventure. Although, as much as I hate to say it, there wasn’t much adventure about it. We did have to drive to Ewa (where I’d never been before) to get the tickets from the lady selling them on Craigslist, and while I was nervous about running out of gas, and while we were running a little bit late, we found the place just fine and managed to get to a gas station. And then we found the theatre just fine. And then we found a parking spot just fine. And then we got into our seats a full five minutes before the show started. It totally shattered my expectations of what a trip down to town should be like (i.e. lots of frustration about finding the right roads, not being able to turn where I want to turn, having to park a mile away, etc. etc. etc.). And we still looked fresh as daisys in our formalest of formal wear.

I hate to say it, but the show wasn’t much of an adventure, either. Maybe it was because the King was a white guy. Or maybe it was the article in MidWeek that made him sound kind of conceited (apparently he is fairly famous . . . we didn’t have a clue . . . Richard Chamberlain, anyone?), but we all agreed that we never really felt anything for the king. Sympathy? Hatred? Confusion? Nothing. In fact, if I was expecting to be blown away by anything, if I was hoping to go there and see or hear or feel something that left me saying, “That was a great show,” I would have been disappointed. The only voice that stood out was Louis’s (Anna’s son). The only scene that stood out was “The Small House of Uncle Thomas” Ballet. The only part that moved me at all was a flute solo that made me want to go home and play my flute until the sun came up. And when the curtain went down, I felt very much as though they had played the movie for us with the real emotion drained out of it. Technically, flawless. Emotionally, lacking. I’m willing to say that this could have been because I spent a lot of the movie wondering how Micah was doing and hoping our car would be okay. But maybe this is also an indication of how emotionally unengaging I thought it was.

The unadventure continued after the show as we had no parking tickets, found our way to Likelike Highway without any trouble, and didn’t even get stuck behind any slow cars on the Kam Highway. That didn’t get me to loosen my white knuckle grip on the wheel, however, and by the time I got home to Micah I was just about ready to cry I was so happy to see him.

Gotta love free stuff.

Gotta love free stuff.

We came home from work the other day to find this Runner’s World magazine under the door (which is where our mail magically appears every day. Or every other day. Or sometimes twice a day). It said we get three free issues just for being with Team in Training. Already we’ve internalized all of the suggestions in “Beat the Heat” and sympathized with the writer of “The Marathon Experiment: How We Turned a Slacker into a Finisher.” We already feel that John “The Penguin” Bingham is our friend for life.

They tell us we can get a two year subscription for the price of one. Does the fact that we are actually considering their offer mean that we’re real live runners now? Just curious.

Charade

Charade

You aren’t going to believe this, but we actually have three friends on the island. This is roughly 50% more than the last time you checked. Her name is Kareena and she has been here for almost three months. She is one of the very few who, like us, does not have any family on the island, and since she reminds me of my sister Becca, we have adopted her and she has adopted us. It is a nice arrangement.Besides being loads of fun, super nice, and probably the cutest girl on campus, Kareena is a master theme date planner. The two of us have been planning to do monthly theme dates, and last night was the first of a series. We had a great time pulling off our Charade Night. Our inspiration was the 1963 Audrey Hepburn/Cary Grant film “Charade” (which happens to be a Blackhurst family favorite). The film takes place in France, so for dinner we made delicious crepes. Neither of us had ever made dinner crepes before, and it was quite an adventure. Everyone helped chop, mix, and cook our carefully selected ingredients, chosen for their complementary tastes and colors. Actually, we pretty much just threw a bunch of things that sounded good together and sauted them in a pot. But can you really go wrong with chicken, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, and olives? We didn’t think so either. They were quite delicious with the white sauce we whipped up. Our tastebuds couldn’t seem to get enough, but our stomachs were calling out for mercy. And the best part was still to come. We decided to make room for dessert by playing a rousing game of charades. As you can see, it was quite exciting. I don’t know which was most entertaining: Micah trying to act out “oral surgery,” Kareena’s schtick as a “flying monkey,” Cooper puzzling over how to get us to guess “Cary Grant,” or me trying to be “Paris.” After quite a few rounds of fun and frustration (“Two words, one syllable? Or second word?” “Sounds like hair? Mare, ware, fair, stare, lair, chair, tear, dare, nair, care . . .”) dessert sounded fantastic. I don’t know if it can get much better–or more beautiful–than crepes with strawberries, bananas, two kinds of pudding, freshly whipped cream, and a little unintentional sprinkling of sugar. Makes you wish you were here, eh? We ate dessert and watched “Charade” and had everyone home by curfew.

Kids Say the Darndest Things

Kids Say the Darndest Things

All things considered, I felt the day was successful. Yes, the Nursery door was locked when we got there and we were left out in the cold for five or so minutes. Yes, the other two Nursery leaders were gone and I was in charge. Yes, the last people to use the Nursery left blocks and toys and crayons and paper everywhere. And yes, we had 12 kids (which is actually fairly normal for our ward). There was plenty of help (2 mothers, a Primary Presidency member, and Micah), and because Sacrament meeting went 15 minutes over, we only had 5 minutes left at the end of church rather than 15 like we normally do. The kids actually listened as we read stories. They tried to sing to the songs, and when I hid the pictures behind my back and asked them to sit down, they did. Even the chronic criers didn’t cry. Lucky me! We made it through an hour and a half of flirting with chaos . . . and then we got to the lesson. We were talking about families, and we were to the part about how babies need a lot of help and how we (the 2 year olds) can “help” them (reminds me of an event of my childhood I have been told about–something about, “Mommy, Mommy, look! I’m a big girl now!” as I am holding infant Abby by only her head.) My favorite little hyperactive, pushing, biting, kicking boy was telling us about his little brother. “Sometimes he ruins my train tracks,” he says, and I, thinking this is a perfect opportunity to teach about being patient and sharing say, “And what do you do when he ruins your train tracks?” And he says, “I spank him a lot and I hit him.” Hmmmmm. I should have seen that coming. At least I know he was listening during the honesty lesson.

Poetry is Motion

Poetry is Motion

Some of you know how much I love living in Hawaii. It’s a dream. A warm dream, with palm trees, sand, waves, and drinks with little umbrellas in them. A dream in which time doesn’t matter. And neither does movement. I often think about the statement I heard on ESPN, or possibly NBC. Or CBS. I don’t know. It was a football game and UH was playing at home. Side note: You’ve got to love the commentary on football games. I mean, you’ve got one guy saying, “The last time it was 84 degrees with 97 percent humidity at Aloha Stadium was in 1985 and the Warriors beat San Andreas Fault State by 27 points.” And you’ve got the other guy saying, “Kahuhipoalohakane really loves to just take people down, and he’ll do it if he gets the chance. Watch him closely this game and if he doesn’t just tear into that defense, he’s just not going to be happy.” Both of these commentators may be correct, but do we really care? But I digress.

What they said at this particular game was, and I quote (or more likely, misquote), “You know Stan, it’s so easy to just get down here in this climate and just get relaxed out of your mind. These guys have to work hard just to stay motivated in this kind of heat and humidity.” It was something like that. And I think that statement is correct. Who wants to move in this kind of climate? You’re already hot and sticky, why exacerbate the problem? I figure this is the reason so many perfectly capable people push the handicap button to open the doors for them. Too much effort to open it themselves. However, there is relief. There is a body of water within walking distance of most residential areas on the island, and boy does that body move. More waves than Cougar Stadium in October! I’m not even joking. (Ha ha ha . . . ha . . . ha . . . well, I thought it was clever and only a little bit stupid.) But the point is that sometimes it’s really cool to watch people play in the waves because they move really cool-like and it looks like fun and you know that if you could do that, everybody would think you were really cool, too.

Like today we left work to drive the 2.5 miles back to our apartment and hit a traffic jam 3/4 of a mile in. There was no place else to go because there is only one road that goes around the island and if its closed, you are out of luck (see, just like a dream, er, uh, nightmare) and who knows how long we were going to be there. People were already starting to turn around to drive around the island the other way (I kid you not, we have had to do that before) so we decided to park and walk to Pounders Beach and watch the body boarders get pounded by the biggest waves we have ever seen there instead. Only these boarders were really good and timed their jumps on the waves so they could do flips and spins and it was way more exciting than staring at the people in the convertible in front of us take pictures of themselves and the mountains and the ocean and the flowers and the trees and the traffic jam (which we actually would have taken a picture of if we had our camera on us, which we didn’t) and anything else to help them remember their trip to Hawaii.

Just when you think Hawaii couldn’t get any worse with the heat and humidity and horribly inconvenient road system, just when you feel like you are standing still in the middle of a nightmare, they throw a couple of acrobats with boogie boards into the wave pool with the waves turned on high, and the sun shining bright, and the sky blazing blue and the ocean so clear you can practically see the drain at the bottom and then you think that maybe you’re not standing still in the middle of a nightmare. Maybe you’re being whisked through this dream way too fast.