Thursday, October 21, 2010

Will Play for Food

Today I went to a luncheon of the BYU-Hawaii Women's Organization. They told me if I played the harp for them they'd give me free food.

I had a wonderful time. As much as I love hearing the harp when I practice in my own living room, it's even more fun when other people are listening. Even if they come up and talk to me while I'm playing prelude. My harp teacher warned me that people would do that. I've learned to smile and say, "Thank you!" without really listening, because if my brain pays attention to what they're saying I'll start missing notes. Someday, someone will come up to me and say, "Someone just ran into your car in the parking lot," and I'll smile and say, "Thank you!" and keep playing.

The whole program was looking forward to the open house for the Laie, Hawaii Temple. For two years they've been rebuilding the entire inside. We saw photos of the whole process, and also heard from a former Temple President and one of the workers on the site.

The open house starts tomorrow! Everyone is invited to tour the building before the dedication. I'll be taking my children to see it in a couple of weeks. I'm so excited! I wish all of you could come and see.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tiny Blessings

My third-grader has one of the favorite teachers at the elementary school. My son just loves him. So of course when my son's teacher gave him a young lilikoi (yellow passionfruit) vine as a prize for being a good student, that little plant was precious.

We picked a nice spot in the yard, by a wall for the vine to climb on. Then we dug the hole together and put the plant in place. It was close enough to the wall that I thought the people who come to mow the lawn would leave it alone. I knew I ought to tie a bright pink ribbon around it to make sure they'd see the leggy vine with its three big green leaves and know that it was meant to be there.

I never did.

One day I went out front, smiled to see the grass cut, and then spied a sad little stick poking up by the wall where our lilikoi used to be.

It had been mowed.

Heartbroken, I told my son the sad news. He took it better than I did, assuring me that the stick would grow new leaves. But I knew better. The next time the mowers came, the stick disappeared entirely.

Hoping to grow a replacement, I saved the seeds from a lilikoi and put them in a pot. Weeks went by. The children knocked the pot over while playing and I had to sweep the dirt up and dump it back in. Oh well. Nothing would be coming up in there.

Last Friday as I walked home from teaching I thought of that lilikoi again. I grieved, wishing I'd taken better care of it, sorry we'd lost the opportunity to say, "That beautiful lilikoi growing all over the wall was a prize from my son's favorite teacher." I prayed that I could forgive myself for being careless with something that was precious to my child.

When I got home I happened to glance in the pot, the pot where I thought nothing would come up.

Three lilikoi sprouts!

I called my son, telling him I had a surprise for him. When I showed him the baby lilikoi he asked, "Are those for me?"  Yes, I told him, to make up for the one we lost. The hug he gave me melted all my guilt and regret away.

Thank the Lord for tiny blessings.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Haunted Lagoon

Every night for the past couple of weeks, we've heard the screams. Two blocks away from my house, at the Polynesian Cultural Center, they're putting on the Haunted Lagoon.

Tonight we went to see what all the noise was about.

Imagine "Pirates of the Caribbean" crossed with "The Haunted Mansion," with ALL LIVE ACTORS. Real people. People that stare back at you. People that pop out of the water next to your canoe and make you jump into your neighbor's lap.

People who are having at least as much fun scaring you as you are having being scared.

I expected it to be good, but I wasn't expecting it to be THAT good. If you're ever on Oahu in October, don't miss it!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Here in Hawaii we get a fall break. Like spring break, only in the fall. And at La'ie Elementary, we're using that break to put on a school play.

 In one week.

I am so there.

Each morning at 8 A.M. I lug my sewing machine out of the car and haul it into the school cafeteria. Along one wall, children glue colorful construction paper fish to an ocean backdrop. At the tables, they paint plastic bottles gold and glue on sparkly rhinestones. Up on the stage, one group after another learns dance steps, practices songs, and reads lines. In the middle of it all, I hurry around with costumes draped over my arm, checking to see that everything fits before running back to my sewing machine to do more stitching.
The Costumers

The best part? I'm not in charge of anything. I just showed up and asked the costume ladies if I could help.
Going over the script with the sea monster

We're doing our own adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I can't think of a better story for children's theater. Every kid wants to go to Narnia. I know I did when I was a kid. The children know the territory, they know the characters, but Dawn Treader isn't overdone like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It's something fresh and fun. And there's a mouse with a sword. Can't beat that.
The Magic Picture of the Dawn Treader
The sad thing is, I missed the performance. I had to teach algebra at the very same time as the show. But they're selling DVDs for $10 each to help cover production costs. Of course I'm going to buy one. Not only is my son an excellent comic bit part as a member of Pug's pirate crew, I made Prince Caspian's shirt!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kite Festival!

I have come to my own personal paradise. How do I know? They hold an annual kite festival here.
My passion for kites is entwined in my earliest childhood memories. We had a huge red dragon kite with a long, crackling cellophane tail, and I loved to go out with my family and fly it. Later, as a teenager, I had a spectacular triple stunt kite that I took along on occasion when my little brothers had soccer or little league practice. The kites came with me to college, and when the wind was right I would put off studying and head for the soccer field near my dorm. When I had children of my own I learned to build my own kites, and loved to watch as my children ran up and down under our flying creations.
This is the kite I flew at the festival this year, a hand-painted silk and bamboo kite from Bejing. It won "Most Beautiful" in the kite contest.
My daughter flew this boat kite, a favorite in my collection, which won for "Most Complex." She let it out all the way to the end of its string. That, even more than winning a prize, is the way to make a kite feel truly fulfilled.