Tuesday, November 26, 2013


I've been doing research for my big unit in 3rd quarter.  It's a big huge identity unit and it culminates in a "Statement".  Students need to make a statement about their life - where they stand in relationship to the world, their communities, and their peers and families. 

I've been thinking about having them take one of the free Meyers-Briggs like quizzes out there.  Every single one I took had me as an INFJ - the most rare personality types (explains why I feel like a fish out of water most of the time).  Yeah, I read the descriptions and they sound spot on - as spot on as any kind if alphabet soup diagnostic test can be, I guess.  Just to make sure it wasn't some kind of "any horoscope fits anybody" kind of thing, I read some of the others - definitely not me.  So, it might be interesting for the kids. 

I just see our worldviews becoming so black and white - you are either this or you are that (insert whatever this or that you want).  In the name of tolerance, there is less tolerance than ever.  A huge chunk of my kids are reading To Kill a Mockingbird which describes such a spectrum of diverse family situations, personal oddities, and economic conditions which is eye-opening for my students.  I'd like to introduce them to some subtlety, so room for tolerance of different manners and habits. 

Even our school situation promotes an either-or kind of feeling.  There are two English teachers per grade level, basically two math teachers for each math subject, per each level of ʻolelo Hawaii, etc.  You either have me, or you have the other teacher.  We're very different in our approaches - I think my son is very happy he has the other teacher and not me, not just because I am mom, but because he thinks my work is too hard.  On the other hand, one of my students said to me, "We're SO happy we have you - even if you ask the juniors - they say, 'Mrs De is the 'mom' one." 

I would have taken it as a compliment if she hadn't added, "Yeah, you understand a holiday weekend is for families - the other teacher gave homework."  I cleared my throat and pointed to the homework board which clearly says, "Read chapters 4-12 by Tuesday."  Sigh.  Just when you want to get all puffed up. 

Waiting for Allie to lamb.  Last night when I went out with the flashlight, I saw her looking anxiously at her belly.  I thought we were on for a late night show, but no lambs appeared.  I told her in no uncertain terms that she was to have "No more than two lambs, young lady."  She's awfully portly - I really hope it isn't triplets.  They're hard to manage and such a worry even though she was a great mama the first time around.  I'll keep you posted.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lazy Sunday

My older son told me his friend says, "Sometimes you have to get your procrastinating out the way before you can work."  I guess that's what I am doing today. 

I had a nice visit with my son.  He comes up to church with us and then drives me home while his younger siblings and dad are in Confirmation class (my husband is teaching it, not taking it!).  I cook him something (biscuits and bacon and cheese today - the hens are really down in production so no eggs for pancakes), and we have a good talk.  Then he works on programming with his little brother (who is taller than him).  It's nice. 

I wanted to go to Ha'ena with the kids, but my younger son hurt his knee playing soccer yesterday.  The 10th graders have a biathlon on Wednesday - 3 mile run and a 10 mile bike - hope he can participate!  You can add me to the injured list, too, although I can't claim anything cool happening.  I just woke up in pain in my shoulder/neck/upper arm.  No fun. 

I am a tiny bit stressed that my free turkeys are all 15 lbs.  We're nine for Thanksgiving, so I might have to think of something else to throw in the oven.  I don't want to cook two turkeys - that would be too much, but 15 seems too little. 

I want to post the pictures of the pohaku kuʻi ai (poi pounder) workshop.  We didn't finish, but it was SO FUN!  You take a rather large rock and use a diamond bladed circular saw and a chisel and work away at it.  The old was is to use rock on rock, but that takes quite a lot of time.  I told my husband we so need to make a few of these.  It was just fun to take a rock and see the shape starting to form - plus, we need a poi pounder.  I use my food grinder to make poi, but it would be good to have a pounder, too.  Of course, then I need to make a poi board, too. 

Well, when it is a less lazy day, I will post the pictures.

Getting closer to our first winter lambing.  Allie looks like she's due quite soon - hopefully multiples, because she's huge and a singleton of that size would be monstrous! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

ʻAha Makahiki (Hawaiian New Years)

Today is our ʻAha Makahiki.  Traditionally it was months long, but one day is hard enough in a school year!  It's a pretty cool day.  The seniors are the alakaʻi (leaders) and they are running traditional Hawaiian games and teaching classes on traditional knowledge.  I signed up for an all day workshop to make poi pounders. Part of the attraction was the "all day" part - the rest of it is because my father-in-law used to make poi pounders and I have been missing him. 

I was freaking out a little, hoping there would be another teacher in that session, because the mom in me would be pulling the plug on power tools a lot faster than the teacher in me - but I think we're using traditional methods (rock on rock).  They can go ahead and bash their fingers to their hearts content.  I feel fine about that.  The game I am supervising is also low-injury - sliding spears along the ground.  Also, there is no one signed up for it, so theoretically, at least, I can go watch Haka Moa or Hukihuki, which is a lot more fun. 

I still haven't completely recovered from the two day stint in Maui.  I am so tired!  I have been getting up at 4:30 to exercise a little, as well, and I probably haven't adjusted to that yet, either. 

This weekend,  I was going to dig up one of our sweet potato patches to see if any tubers grew, but then the Dish guy gave us a bunch.  Cool.  I can make my purple sweet potato and haupia casserole for Thanksgiving.  Maybe I will dig up some of my white sweet potatoes, just to have baked sweet potatoes on the table, too.  I'll make the greens for a side, bake some rolls, and pop that (sadly not homegrown) turkey in the oven, bake a few pies, and I will be ready. 

Okay, one of my advisory girls just gave me a donut, I had an extra cup of coffee - I am ready for this day!  Bring on the ike Hawaiʻi and the kalua pig and poi for lunch! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Best Thing About Hotels

The best thing about hotels is the fitness room on the first floor - right downstairs, no excuses. 

Oh wait, I have an elliptical and a weight machine in my basement...okay, no excuses.  Except that to use it I have to get up on the wrong side of 5:00, where as business meetings often start later than work (not today, though) and I don't have to take care of kids' breakfasts.  And, the elliptical with the tv and the smooth stride thingy is better than my cheap-y one from Sears. 

Can't complain, though, and I WILL get up tomorrow at 4:30 to use it.  I am usually up anyway - just lying there thinking about my day.  I might as well just get up and move.  It's been harder to go make myself work out after work - there is a lot to do with National Board and my classes.  That's why I need to break my work out in two - one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  They can both be shorter.

Last night, I had the most fabulous evening.  Right after work I went to Ross with a coworker.  My bag totally disintegrated over the course of the day (it was an old one I pulled out of the closet after my nice bag's straps broke - I was holding them together with tape.  Not a nice look for travel.)  I bought a new one and then went back to the hotel.  I was a little bummed everyone went to dinner without me (my coworker had plans with a friend).  Then I realized, "I am ALONE! It's QUIET!)

I decided not to work out, but instead piddled around on my computer and chatting with my kids - I was checking on homework for the school aged ones, and having a delightful chat with my oldest, so I decided to add my son on, too.  It was a lot of fun, and the hotel restaurant had a really nice turkey reuben with cut veggies and coleslaw.  I feel so relaxed.

Off to work now, though, and then the marathon trip home.  Well, as marathon as interisland can be.  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Dogs and Planes and Darn-its

I am on Maui for work.  It'd be nice to say I am on Maui for the beach, but nope, heading up mauka tomorrow for an all day meeting, and again the next day.  Then the stupid flight away from home to Oahu and then back OVER Maui to go to Hilo.  Apparently, people like to fly direct to Maui from the Big Island, but no one wants to go the other way?  Or, at least, not to Hilo. 

That means, technically, I will be "working" from 3 o'clock today until late Tuesday evening.  And then I go back to work on Wednesday - that's why I like it when these things are at the end of the week a lot more.  This week is Makahiki, too, which means a fun but exhausting day on Friday.  Hey, I signed up for an all day nohona session on how to make a poi pounder.  Completely not my strength, but I am interested.  I even practiced the hula to do en masse with the school.  I am ready. 

My big darn it is that I forgot my splint for my teeth - I wear it at night because I am a stress puppy.  I am going to have headaches for days because I forgot that little thing.  I am so upset with myself. 

Also, the dogs are starting to chase the sheep now that they are in the small pasture close to the house.  I caught them yesterday evening.  I went out with my flashlight and scolded them roundly (and we tied them up!) and made sure the ewes were okay.  Thankfully, they were. 

My husband told me that he heard them running on the deck and caught them heading out to the pasture.  Yup, he tied them up again.  Darn dogs. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cold and Rainy Day

As usual, I have all kinds of chores and work I could be doing, but it is a holiday and our anniversary, so I am searching the internet for some new recipe to make.  We went out to dinner last night because our daughter had a party to attend and we had to figure out what to do with four hours in town.  We went to the cheap theater and watched a mediocre movie, had a spectacular dinner, got caught in a torrential downpour, and picked her up just on time. 

We were meant to be going to the beach with our nieces and nephew-in-law, but the weather deteriorated, so no go.  Too bad - I don't get to the beach often enough, at all. 

I am kind of thinking some kind of stew since we have rice in the rice pot, maybe some kind of bread, and some kind of spice cookie or cake. 

I got three free turkeys from the grocery store with the points I had racked up.  One will be Thanksgiving, and probably one for Christmas (or for my son's birthday which is soon after that - he used to like having the whole turkey dinner for his birthday, which meant we had beef for Christmas).  One will be just cooked and canned up as broth and meat for quick soups during the year. 

We moved a few sheep into the new fenced area.  They aren't terribly happy to be separated from the main flock, and they aren't really the ones we wanted to put in there (well, not entirely), but it's a start.  We're simply not that good at moving sheep around.  We picked up the smaller ewes, lured one ewe and Elvis with food, and my husband nearly killed himself carrying Ellie (who must weigh 100+ lbs).  Now we have to move Elvis out of there and move some more ewes in.  We'd thought to put the rams and wethers in the new spot, but it isn't a tall fence, so we'd thought to put the ewes in.  The stall is built like a bunker (even painted gray for now) and we can hear and see them so easily from the house.  Perfect for expecting/new moms. 

Next big project is the chicken coop for an expanded flock, and then, hopefully, a bigger greenhouse.  Everything takes so much longer than you hope, especially when you have active teenagers and a job that takes you off the property 12-13 hours a day.  One step at a time, I suppose. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Attitudes About Rural Living

It's a curious phenomenon how people react to the idea of rural living.  There are people who idealize it, and people who think you are crazy preppers.  Anyone think maybe we just like living out here, that we like animals, that we find satisfaction in producing at least a little food for ourselves?  I don't like going to the grocery store - the prices are rising fiercely and what you get isn't even close to what it tastes like when you pick it yourself right before you eat it.

Yes, it is kind of a pain when you can't go on vacation because you can't find someone to babysit sheep.  It can even be a pain when your work off the property is so time consuming that you don't actually get around to planting that lettuce, and it's definitely a sad day when some weird fungus kills a whole bunch of plants you were looking forward to eating - or when the stupid ewe hurts her claw AGAIN. And everything takes more time than you think it will, and it costs more, too.... but it's a choice. We're not some nuts who want to escape from the world.  I have ALWAYS, all my life, wanted to live on a farm - even though I grew up in suburban neighborhoods.  I have always loved animals, particularly horses.  It's darned expensive to have a horse when you live in the suburbs, and it's not the same as having one in your yard - not at all. 

I am tired of how everything, even the rural vs urban life choice, has become so polarized in our society.  If you don't want to live in a rural area, if you are not a fan of livestock, and if you find food not washed and wrapped in plastic a little scary, well, that's fine.  That's your choice, and I don't ever knock it - sometimes I wish I could move back home, even - not to be back in the city, but to be near my parents - but our choice isn't food for your anonymous social media amusement.  We're not crazy, wild-eyed society drop-outs.  (Maybe the building your house while you live in a shack phase was a bit crazy, but those days are way over, thank you very much).  We like not being able to see (hear, and smell) our neighbors.  We like green grass and trees and animals and even hard work outside in the dirt.  I love having my horse where I can see and hear him instead of having him in a barn across town.  You can't ever beat a tomato you just picked from your own vine - never - not even from a farmer's market are they that good.  And eggs from your own chickens? Those beat the ones from a carton without a doubt.

Anyway, I guess that's my rant for the day.  Here's a happy picture for those of you have been wondering when that ram pen was going to ever get done:

Just needs a water trough and a feed trough, and it's ready for sheep.  Yay!  They can uncover the taro, which has been taken over by grass (shame on me). 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

What Fun!

I have to admit that I broke the rules today - my own rules for my own self.  I saw the blinking light green light on my phone during Sustained Silent Reading today and I couldn't resist clicking it open to see what it was.  My son is visiting a friend on the mainland, so I just checked just in case. 

It wasn't an emergency, though.  It was (I think - hard to tell in a text) delight!  "It's snowing!"  he texted.  My first reply was, "Do you have warm clothes?" and my second was, "How cool!"  Mom, first, I guess.  My younger son is actually in my SSR class, so I wanted to just tell him, "Wow!  Your brother says it's snowing!"  I forbore, however, because I just settled a bunch of adolescents who at least pretend they hate reading (a few do hate it, but most of them are saying it because it's popular, but I see how deep they get into their books).  

My other fun part of today was explaining the word "impeccable."  I told them this is one word I remember clearly and specifically when I learned it.  I had "cleaned" the basement because my uncle was visiting by putting all the toys in a big pile and covering the pile with a blanket.  The pile must have been as big as I was at the time.  My uncle said that the basement looked "impeccable" when I proudly showed him what I had done.  It took me another few years to realize that he was laughing (with) at me. 

On Saturday, we had the Cross Country gathering at our house.  A few parents, several coaches and volunteer coaches and roughly 40 kids packed into my house.  It was potluck and the table was groaning with goodies.  It was a lot of fun:  Foosball, air hockey, bonfire, football, singing....  I was so tired and headachy the next day that I did pretty much nothing, but it was worth it.