Thursday, December 29, 2011

I've been taking pictures of life in our yard again. It's just so beautiful I can't help it. I'll put them up a bit later.

Last night I could not sleep, so slowly crept outside into the blackest of nights as the smiling crescent of our moon had already set over the ocean. Above my head twinkled what seemed as millions of diamonds. Psalm 147:4 states that "He is
counting the number of the stars; all of them he calls by NAME." (caps mine) Even our most brilliant scientists have to revert to a combination of letters and numbers and computers to help them keep track of the twinkling lights in the sky. Amazing.

I recognized Cassiopeia, Orion and his belt, Pleiades, The Little Dipper, and so much more. I reached up towards the sky, said a prayer of thanks, took in deep breaths and blew out my troubles. One kitty wound herself around and around my ankles, the other one went on a scouting mission, and our dog went back into the house. And I knew for right now, all is well in our part of the endless world and universe.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I miss the fall colors of autumn but not impending winters. This card was very easy to make -

  • Stamped in Memento Rich Cocoa
  • Colored with Memento Canteloupe and Cottage Ivy markers
  • Sprinkled a bit of Hero Arts prisma glitter on the water
  • added 2 leaves in the two corners by Midori Paper Craft

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Moving to the Big Island of Hawai'i

At first our friends could not absorb the words when I told them we were moving to Hawai'i. That was in 2004. In reality, I had been asking my husband if we could move here since the first time he brought me to these islands in 1993. As soon as we stepped off the plane on our first trip, saw the windowless openings in the airport, the birds flying in and out of the lobbies and halls, all the people of different nationalities but looking much like I did, I knew - I was finally 'home.'

The decision was made one icy morning during the winter of 2003. I was working the night shift as a nurse in a rural hospital and as many times before, was driving the two lane highway over an hour home. So many times I had passed cars that had run off the roads, rolled over in the ditches, even crashed into one another or a tree, and often stopped to help or drive the shaken or injured back to the hospital. This morning was not like those times.

As I drove slowly along, the black ice beneath the car, I saw a large semi truck driving towards me. The back end of his trailer swung out in front of me and at that moment, my eyes locked onto the truck driver's eyes, and I thought it was my turn to die. At the last second, he managed to turn his steering wheel, and the trailer swung back to his side of the highway. I found myself pulled over onto the shoulder, shaking and crying, as I saw his truck move farther away in the rear view mirror. This was my last winter on the mainland. I picked up the cell phone and called my husband. I don't know what exactly I said, but it was something like "I love, you, but I am moving to Hawai'i, and I'm taking the dog. I really hope you come with us."

We flew to Hawai'i that spring and I went to a job interview at the hospital. We looked at houses and made offers. At that time, houses were selling in hours, not days or months. We bought a rambler style home in Kailua Kona town at the highest price imaginable, and now well, won't discuss the current value. We flew home to Oregon.

Still, my husband just could not accept how serious I was about moving to Hawai'i until I started packing boxes up, having yard sales, and taking the pets to the veterinarian for the long process of clearing them for the trip. He actually had occasions when he became upset over this. I didn't budge. I love the man, but I was moving...and taking the dog, our daughter, and the cats.

One day we were at a restaurant with many of our friends at a long table. I was sitting at one end with all the ladies, and my husband was sitting at the other with the guys. One of the women casually asked, 'So, Rosy, what's this I hear about you moving to Hawai'i?' Then in unison and in silence, all heads turned towards my husband - just like people watching a tennis ball in a tennis match go from one side of the court to the other side. It was comical. He sat quietly, and I looked at him, then he stuttered, 'I-I-I guess so,' and the heads turned back towards me. The question and answer discussions began. For the most part, not one of them truly believed we were going. But that was okay. After all, my own husband could not believe we were moving. Most people just vacation in Hawai'i and none of us knew anyone who actually moved or lived there.

The worst part of moving to Hawai'i was not saying goodbye to all of our friends, although it was tough to leave them as well as the log home we designed and built with our own hands. The absolutely worst part of the move was researching, learning, and going through the entire process of clearing our four pets (three cats and a bichon frise dog) through the Dept. of Agriculture. If we (I) didn't get every single step correct, our pet(s) could be incarcerated - held in a tiny igloo in the hot sun, on a chain, for 6 months. Hawai'i is serious about this. I also could not fathom putting them into the plane's cargo hold in a crate. None of them had ever been in a crate. After all, we lived in the country, and I mean country. We had about 4 families living within a square mile of us, and we had ten acres for our pets to roam around on. I went into a real fear, nightmares and worry about doing this to our pets.

But after meticulously dotting every 'i' and crossing every 't,' making sure every blood test and inoculation had been administered to all four pets, the final de-flea-ing process done (even though we didn't have a flea problem where we lived and Hawai'i is filled with them and other critters). Months before I had  booked three adult seats (we took along our young adult daughter), and four pets onto a large commercial jet. The airline made special arrangements to take all four pets - they usually accept only three on a flight. I had prepared luxury crates, complete with little relieving areas, battery operated fans for comfort, blankies, toys, food and water dishes, even one piece of my clothes in each crate so they might be comforted, and humorous signs printed on all sides of the crates which caused bursts of laughter from people throughout the check in and flight arrival areas. The circus had begun.

I had worried myself physically sick over our pets. I never want to go through that again. There aren't enough tranquilizers for me to do that to pets another time. Nowadays, I believe you can go straight to the Big Island, Hilo airport for flights from the mainland with pets. In 2004, all pets had to go through Honolulu, they got no bathroom break, had to be re-planed and flown to Kona. While they survived just fine, I nearly had a break down. I heard too many stories, pro and con, about pets in cargo areas of planes.

In Kona: It is dark, warm, and the circus arrives. People laughed as they saw our poor faces, hanging down from the entire day of flying, transferring, and worrying over our animals. The pet crates took up so much room at the little airport, we couldn't help but be a spectacle. Our daughter plugged into her MP3 player and acted like she didn't know us. I laid on the grass almost in tears. My husband went to rent a mini van and we went to the hotel. :( no pets. I felt so guilty about what I had put them through, that I & our daughter slept in the van to comfort and care for the pets. My husband showed up. He didn't have the heart to abandon the family at this dire time.

The next day we went to pick up the keys to our new home. No. The Sellers for whatever reason would not give them up. Our escrow had closed and our  realtor could not get a reason for any delay in transferring the house keys. We waited hour by hour in the van. Days and nights went by. Living in a mini van in the hot Kona weather was no fun, especially with a young adult female daughter stuck with pets crawling around her. We were homeless for three days and two nights. By day three I told my husband to break into 'our' house. I was sick and went directly to the bathroom. No toilet paper. No tissue. No paper towels. The Sellers took nearly everything, even the nailed up sun shades on the lanai. However, they managed to leave a lot of loose rice on the kitchen shelves - enough to make me think that maggots had infested the house. I screamed (after a shower from using the bathroom and not having toilet paper) then realized it was scattered rice, then had to clean the entire kitchen. But nothing was moving us from 'our house.' Not even a SWAT team.

I hope this provides some idea of what it was like for us to move to Hawai'i with pets. As for us, we are still in love, happily married (our daughter fell in love and got married here, too), and our pets are alive and well. We even got more cats when two died from old age. No, I'm not moving back to the mainland. At least...was that an earthquake and the smell of lava?

Serendipity ~ the eclipse

It was very chilly when I awoke at 1:45 this morning. By 3 a.m., I decided to get up and try to walk out onto the lanai and smell the flowers in the night air. I looked up into the clear, onyx black sky, the brilliant stars like silver diamonds twinkling up there, and noticed the moon was partly red. Then I remembered, there was an eclipse tonight, and for the first time I could watch most of one. I woke my husband, picked up the camera, and we quietly watched the changing reds and browns move across the moon.

I took endless photographs, but not being a professional, many of the pictures blurred, even on the tripod. So I don't think I will upload any of them unless one or two are impressive.

(January 9, 2012)

The first pic was just an 'auto' click. The second I couldn't steady my hands enough for the digital zoom.

Life is precious. As we look back over the years we've lived, we are grateful for the unexpected moments of sheer joy and awe we experience, like this night became for us. If we slow down and become aware of all that surrounds us, we experience life more fully. My husband and I stop, hold one another, and thank the creator for these blessings. Each moment and breath, each sight, smell, taste, sound and touch is truly a gift to be treasured.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fish for a dear little friend

A log home with fish in the creek

A cabin in the snow

I love seeing the snow, 'hearing' it muffle sounds, the diamond sparkles all over the surface before anything touches it. But I no longer wish to live where it snows. However, seeing its beauty in photographs, remembering the stillness it creates, and making cards that depict the snow bring me much joy.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colors of the garden

Autumnl is definitely here in Hawai'i. As the temperatures fall to the 60s at night, the morning coolness and crispness is welcoming to the continued mid 80 degree temperatures of the afternoons.

Our coffee berries have been quietly attacked by an invisible invader. Opening the coffee beans reveals a black area, sometimes the entire bean being blackened. The Kona coffee beetle is in our very own yard. We had heard it was on the island last year. It is affecting so many coffee trees on our island, that we all worry about how to control it. So we will purchase our coffee again this year.

The papayas are ripening more quickly, so we gave some to the mail delivery people yesterday, and still have some for ourselves.

The macademia nut is one of the hardest shells I have ever experienced trying to open. We need a hammer and a cement or asphalt base, then must use the right amount of force to open the shell without crushing the delicate nut inside.

Well, yesterday I picked a few macademia nuts while waiting for a postal delivery and found, despite the extreme hardness of the shell, what vigorous growers these trees are. One nut had fallen onto the street, landed on top of a bit of dirt. In just that tiny bit of dirt, the nut opened up and sent down the main root with tiny sprouts on the side of the main root. Amazing. I picked it up, placed the root in a bit of water and hope to grow it into a tree.

That is how our giant avocado tree started out a few years ago. We ate an avocado, and from the pit, a massive tree grew, which now, blesses us with extremely large, buttery sweet, avocados.

I love to feed the different color finches and even doves that come to our feeder on the lanai. But walking beneath the lanai, I find small plants growing from these tiny seeds. I don't water the seeds or give them any special attention. They just ... grow!

If we slow down and take the time to really observe life around us, we see miraculous activities all around us. Breathe, exhale, listen, observe, and get read to be amazed.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A rainy 'fall' day in Hawai'i

It might be new to some people that we have a fall and spring, summer and winter here in Hawai'i. Our island, in particular, has a well, regular winter season.

Our island has two immense volcanoes - Mauna Kea which when measured from the ocean floor to its top, is even higher in elevation than Mt. Everest. Mauna Loa, with its incredibly large land mass, is the world's largest volcano. Both mountains can and do receive snowfall during the winter months (even in July last year) much to the delight of the keiki (children) who want to build snowmen and go sledding! It may be near or sub freezing up on top of the mountains, but it is usually in the 80s down here where the population lives. It is of utmost beauty to see the snow covered mountains on a clear day, especially when lying on a warm, sandy beach under the shade of swaying palm trees. Our home is unique beyond words.

Today was breezy and rainy at times, with Maui Island getting the force of the storm. The cracks of lightening and rumbling thunder woke us last night, and started the dogs barking through the neighborhood.

I picked the coffee beans that I could, but it appears that the Kona Coffee Borer Beetle has struck our yard, too. It has become a fast problem here. The beans were not salvageable. We will need to buy our 100% Kona coffee from Costco again. If you ever get to try Kona coffee, make sure it is 100% Kona. Any 'blends' are not worth it even though they are cheaper. The coffee that is accepted are not decimated by the beetle. We will cut back our trees, and try to stay better on top of this for next year.

I continue to work while in bed, learning and creating greeting cards for friends as I can. It brings such pleasure to my life, to create such little pieces of homemade art, then to give it away to our dearest friends, family, young ones and older ones, and see the smile that comes across their faces. There is surely 'more happiness in giving than in receiving.' Acts 20:35.

There are so many dear ones I want to send homemade things to, as well as to donate to our family in Ishinomaki, Japan, survivors of the devastating earthquake, tsunami, then fires of this year. Our town here in Hawai'i was hit from the tsunami, too, with a house floating away, many businesses and homes damaged. Thankfully, nothing near as bad as the northeastern coast of Honshu. I have to keep busy with my hands and mind so that we can have more to give to others.

And so our fall weather continues on. Here's to hoping the afternoons are not too hot :)

Aloha for now,

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome to my Periwinkle Corner

As I look outside our lanai, the sky is a beautiful periwinkle color. Thus the name for the corner of my world, Periwinkle Corner. The little wind chimes tinkle in glass and various metals, soothing the inside of my soul.

Birds of different colors visit our bird feeder, arousing the curious but intense attention of our two cats. Knowing the screen and glass keep them from the birds, the cats drift back to sleep upon our bed. I hear the rustle below the bed of our little white fluffy dog, as he tries another position to lie in.

This time of year, I can see that the coffee trees need picking, their berries hanging in clumps of deep ruby colors. The giant pointsettias below our window are turning deep red. To the right of the window and lanai, the papayas are shades of green. We picked four yesterday as they were turning a cantaloupe yellow; the rest are not ready for picking. Our bedroom is upstairs, about the same height as the papaya, banana, tangerine and palm trees. But the fruits lie just out of our reach. The extended fruit picker was a clever invention and appreciated by us.

The heavily laden tangerine tree will be ripe in a few months. The 'dwarf' banana trees just two years old now tower over our 2nd story roof. Someone had a twisted sense of humor to name them 'dwarf banana' when we bought the one gallon container. What was a clear view of the sunset over the ocean, is now a peek and boo game through the giant banana trees every evening as we glimpse the bright pinks and golds of the sun between huge green leaves, moving on in its journey to someone else's daylight.

Below all these trees and colors lie the mature plants of white pineapple. We have already picked the ripe ones for this year and once again, they are in their annual rest period. All that is left are the spikes of greens shooting upwards, adding to the endless shapes of plants in our yard.

Periwinkle is my favorite color. It is no surprise that my favorite flowers are hydrangeas, hyacinths, agapanthus - anything that has the periwinkle color, including its namesake, the periwinkle. Welcome to my periwinkle corner.