Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Eleven Discoveries of 2011

For my last post of the year I'd like to share some amazing and wonderful things I discovered in past twelve months. Some of them have been around a long time, but I hadn't picked up on how awesome they are.

These aren't in any kind of order, except maybe in the order I thought of them while writing this post.

1. Musubes

I'd seen these nifty seaweed-wrapped rice things, but I didn't learn how to make them until a few months ago. Now I make a batch every week and send them in the school lunches. Did you know that seaweed rocks when it comes to vitamin A?

2. Avatar: The Last Airbender

This is the best television cartoon series. Ever. We didn't notice it before because we don't watch television, but some time last year we started watching episodes on the internet. What I like most about this series is the excellent writing. I also like the concept of non-contact martial arts. Bending is like kung-fu at a distance, so kids can play-fight by doing cool moves but never get anywhere near each other.

3. South Wind

Who would have guessed that when I moved to Laie, Hawaii, I would find myself starting an Irish folk band? We've been playing together since January, and having a grand old time. Our next performance will be Sunday, February 5th at the Laie Temple Visitors Center.

4. Incarceron

My daughter brought this book home from the library and insisted that I read it. It has an astounding, multi-layered setting, lots of action and adventure, and an intriguing plot. I enjoyed the sequel too.

5. Afro-Blue

We're big Vocal Point fans at our house. I proudly claim attendance at the VERY FIRST Vocal Point concert ever in the fall of 1991, and I didn't miss a single concert until I graduated from BYU four years later. So we watched them in the Sing Off, and discovered Afro-Blue, another collegiate acapella group, this one from Howard University in Washington DC. Vocal Point is fun to watch, but if you want to hear some sweet jazz, I recommend Afro-Blue.

6. Megamind

I ignored this one when it came out in the theater, probably because I'd recently been tortured by Madagascar in the lobby at the dentist's office and didn't want any more punishment. But Dreamworks has at least one hit for every miss, and Megamind was a hit. Metafiction at its best.

7. Faculty Townhouses

In April we moved into an apartment complex entirely inhabited by employees of Brigham Young University Hawaii. This is the first place we've lived in which I feel like I actually fit in with the neighbors. Our family of five children is only average-sized. Walk from one end of the complex to the other at any hour of the day and you'll hear someone practicing music. There's a constant troupe of small children going from house to house to play with their friends. Sometimes we have a house full of little friends, sometimes the place is empty because they're all out at the playground. I love living here!

8. BYU Hawaii Farm Sale

The school owns a lot of farmland, and they let people farm on it. And they sell the produce at really good prices, every Thursday from 12 to 3. So each week I go and buy local grown papayas, apple bananas, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Yum.

9. Kahuku Grill

For our anniversary, Russel and I went with some friends to the Kahuku Grill. I ordered the famous coconut macadamia shrimp. It was good. We'll be going back.

10. Wailele Falls

Earlier this year, my family went on a hike up into the mountains behind the PCC. There's a trail that winds along a narrow valley, crossing a stream about fifteen times, until it finally reaches a waterfall with a pool below it. It was the best hike ever. We'll be going back for more of that too.

11. May Day

Here in Laie, the elementary school puts on a big show to celebrate May Day. It was huge! Grandparents flew in from the mainland and other islands. High school kids stayed home from school to go and watch their younger siblings. They held it in a big outdoor theater at the PCC and each grade did a dance performance. I could not believe how good the choreography was! I was especially proud because my son Colin got to be in the May Day Court as a conch shell blower.


Kimbooly said...

love, love, love. Will be reading that YA book, btw.... : )

And also, btw, I am *still* sharing your distilled-water-with-dish-soap magic trick with people. They get so excited, and I love that I can do it even after a greasy shirt has gone through the wash and *then* I discover the damage.

Rebecca J. Carlson said...

Thanks, Kimberly! And thanks for reminding me about the grease spot trick. I should do that on my holiday tablecloths before I put them back away for the year.