Thursday, September 27, 2007

SEE-ment PAT-yo

I talked about a certain "Project Backyard" way back toward the start of summer. No, it didn't die. I just pulled another Dawn and made it way more complicated than it needed to be. Now, some 10 drawings later (with a landscape plan in the works), I'm finally sending this bad boy out to bid. This is the part about architecture and planning that I love and hate at the same time. Right now, I love it. The handing off - the part where it's no longer in my control. Because, frankly, I just can't even think about this anymore, but I still want it done. When I was working full time (and didn't have baby boys tugging at my pant legs) I hated letting go. I wished, desperately, that I could be the one to see the project through. Now, I'm elated to get this project to the next phase. Tired of planning and thinking and drawing. Ready for someone to take my plans and run run run.

So now we just have to deal with the financial end of things - which could be painful, especially since the plan is a little more than what I'd originally envisioned. For all I know, this thing could never even happen. We may just end up backing a cement truck up to the back fence and pour. A SEE-ment PAT-yo! But, hopefully we'll be able to do what I've schemed. If so, a trip to the local tropical nursery will be in order to pick out some nice palms and bamboo. Oh boy do I hope that bid comes back low!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

woman possessed with her hand-vac

Final round of pictures from the birthday party last week. Here is the sign little boy and I collaborated on. He felt so special having his own very important project to do. Beats anything we could have picked up at the party store for sure!

This is a really cute little serving platter my mom found at a thrift store on Maui. I meant to check out some thrift stores myself while on the islands - but didn't think of it until she gave me this and explained where she found it. Ho hum. We always love it when we can find things made in Japan, like this piece. Seems like people on the Hawaiian Islands come from all over the place, so the thrift stores are great places for finding far-away treasures.

Table all set, complete with cookies wrapped in these cute pineapple bags. Picked up the bamboo place mats (which I used for a partial table runner) last week. I love these. There were a few sprays of orchids in the center and, of course, my favorite Wedgwood china.

There have been a few e-mails wondering when I'm going to start printing fabric again and when I might start to re-stock the Etsy shop. It's next on my list! Hopefully some of you who sent inquiries are reading this. I'll have to start catching up on my e-mail responses soon too. Now that it definitely feels like summer is over, I'm ready to start working on things again. You know Fall is almost here when you make muffins in the morning as an excuse to turn on the stove and knock the chill out of the kitchen. It's hard for me to believe it though. Late September/early October in the past has been known to shove one last heat wave in our direction. But believe me, I sure do hope Fall is here to stay! I love bundling up the little guys. They've been barefoot for so long that little socks and long pants make them look so grown up. Oh they're growing up so fast! Can you believe the 8-month old is already crawling? He's skittering about and I'm running around like a woman possessed with her hand-vac. I'd forgotten how they like to pick the teeny tiniest little bits of whatever off the floor and how they always go straight into their mouths. So mornings around here now start with a good vacuum. God bless the hand vacuum. There's always a pile of play dough crumbs or shredded pieces of paper in big brother's wake. I think I'd go insane if I had to pull out the big vacuum more than once a day. Good lord, once a day is almost more than I can handle! So, that's the excuse for little creative work getting done. Long gone are the days of baby sitting by my side, amused, while I sew. Sad!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

made for list-makers

I've always loved used the search templates field in Microsoft Excel for finding great organizational spreadsheets. Before our trip, I found "Trip Planner" and it really did make the whole process of packing, making house arrangements and last minute trip details a cinch. By the morning of our departure, I was actually in control - a new thing for me. Usually I'll have been up all night frantically trying to remember what I've forgotten.

For the big birthday party last week, I downloaded "Party Planer" (which was really geared more towards a holiday party but was easily converted to fit my needs). At this point I'm practically coming up with excuses to look for a template. This thing was made for list-makers like myself. My only problem is that I often spend more time making my lists than actually tackling them. Ah, well, the intentions are always there, at least.

Friday, September 21, 2007

the day after

Glad it's Friday, but at the same time I can't believe the day is almost over and I haven't even made it half way through my list of things to do. So I think pictures from the party will have to trickle in. First up is what I think everyone enjoyed most, my mud pie. "Did you put crack in this?" You know it must be good when you get a question like that. It was a nice little party. When I woke up this morning, it felt like the day after Thanksgiving. All these days of prep and then it's suddenly over. It wasn't so much that it was time-consuming, more mind-consuming. Seems I never have much time for projects these days, so prep for the party had to be done in short 10-15-20-minute bites here and there and wherever I could squeeze them in. When I wasn't doing something party-related, I was thinking about what party-related task I'd be doing next. The great think about a mud pie is that you can make it ahead of time and pop it in the freezer. Problem with making cakes ahead of time and leaving them in the fridge is that you get all sorts of 3-year old size finger swipes in the frosting. Our little house was busting at the seams with both sets of parents, a sister, two rug rats and a baby. We often talk about how happy we are in our house. We're convinced that we wouldn't want anything bigger. We like that when the kids get older, they'll be forced to share their lives with us because there's no upstairs or far away bedroom to go running off to. But, I suppose I'll have to accept the limitations of a small house. No more formal dinners if we're planning on more than, say, six. But, it sure was cozy!

Dawn's Mud Pie

For the crust, mix together and press into a springform pan:
melted butter
crushed chocolate graham crackers

Add, in this order:
toasted cocconut
coffee ice cream
chocolate fudge
chopped macadamia nuts
whipped topping (I piped mine on)

Cover with seran wrap and freeze.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

hula pie

Another week gone by.


Where did the summer go?

This week's project? Hubby's 34th birthday party which is tomorrow. I guess I'm still thinking of Hawaii, cause this party's got a lot of island flavor. (I'm toasting coconut as we speak) I've been thinking a lot about the old Coco Palms Resort. Every year that we've gone to Kauai, since our honeymoon in 2000, I gaze longingly at that old Coco Palms resort. Since it's destructive fate during the hurrincane in the '90s, it's always just sat there tattered and windows blown out with original drapes and light fixtures just hanging there exposed to the Pacific ocean air. I should have known something was in the works (I mean, of course - Elvis was there, afterall), but every year we drive by I think that we should buy the place and return it to it's full retro glory. I should know, afterall, how hard it is to get projects going - developers have been chomping at the bit to get work started on this place. But, finally, this year, I see a sign announcing the renovated Coco Palms Resort ~ luxurious condominiums. Of course condos start at $1 million. Of course. Ah, well, I can look forward to the day that I can at least wander along the grounds where Elvis once sang the Hawaiian wedding song. (Grandma used to call me every single time Blue Hawaii was playing on TV - "Hello Dawn??? Blue Hawaii is on channel 8!" Didn't matter if I lived in Vista or L.A. or San Diego, she'd call with the good news every time) All these years I've been tempted to take the "Movie Tour" just to gain access to the Palms grounds. I'll still dream I'm the inn keeper's wife, a la Hotel Honolulu.

So, in that spirit, we've got a menu worthy of the Coco Palms restaurant planned. To start, coconut shrimp. Next up, filet mignon and teriyaki chicken with grilled pineapple. For dessert? Nothing less than hula pie - a layered concoction with chocolate crust, toasted coconut, coffee ice cream, macadamia nuts and whipped cream. Yum. Yeah, so I've been watching a little too much Top Chef (+ re-runs). I'm all into the prep now. Totally excited to plan a menu, do my shopping and have a day of prep before cooking for the big meal. I'm giddy this is so much fun.

Pics tomorrow.

Since most will see this tomorrow (=today) -- including birthday boy himself -- the best birthday wishes and all the aloha in the world to my Tommy Lee. Straight from the old lady herself (yes, folks, I'm older by almost 3 months), best birthday wishes. Tonight, we celebrate Coco Palms style!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

sandy feet

sandy_feet, originally uploaded by buettington.

Now back at home, this is what I miss - sandy feet. But, like I've said before, It's always good to come home. Like I've complained before, I do hate the unpacking part. Almost done though, so it's nice to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now if only I could get the kids adjusted to time here at home. 9:00am and they're both still asleep! I know I should wake them, but I'll admit it's nice to have some quiet time to myself in the kitchen. Oh selfish selfish! But, it'd also be nice to have some quiet time with the husband tonight - which we did NOT get last night because little Mr. Man was up until 10:30pm (an early 7:30pm in Hawaii).

This trip was filled with several highs and lows. On the upside was the time the boys and I got to spend with my parents while they were on the island of Kauai. On the downside was the couple days we were on our own until Tom joined us after his business trip. It showed me something though - doesn't matter where you are, there you are! Sure I was in paradise, but there were still diapers to change, temper tantrums to deflate and all the normal mommy duties to tend to. And, even being in my very favorite place in the whole wide world just doesn't feel all together right without that person I call my other half. When he finally got there, it suddenly felt right. Oh the joy when I saw him round the corner at the airport - tears shed as little boy ran up to great him with a plumeria lei. Nothing greater than that.

It really was a wonderful time, so I hesitate to even mention some of the negative experiences of the trip. Yeah, you know what? I'm not gonna go there. I'll just remark on one that probably wouldn't even have been nearly as traumatic for me if I hadn't just had 2 mai tais (rum makes me emotional). A mere few minutes after taking a final picture of the sunset (a mere half hour after my previous post) the battery from our camera disappeared as it sat tucked in my shoe during one last dip in the pool. I tried, I really tried, to convince myself that it probably just fell out. But I'm too methodical for that - the battery door would have had to open all by itself, the little notch that holds the battery would have had to get pushed aside by itself, etc., etc. Then, I could have listened when Tom tried to convince me that even if someone had stolen the battery, it meant they needed the money more than we do and only wanted to take our money and not our memories (leaving behind the camera and memory card). Yes, yes, true. But still, I got all tears and dramatic and was convinced that I had done something to deserve this and the mosquito bites and the other unmentioned incident. I'm well over it now, but was reminded of it as I went to download the remaining photos from our memory card. Oh how I wished that one final photo had been snapped before my presumed battery-snatcher drained our camera of its power source. As I downloaded, I imagined some bruddah with a big grin giving me a "hang ten" shakka. No such luck. That would have made it all worth it! Damn!

[note to self: stay away from the rum!]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

my nightmare

Shot taken right now in my moment of realization.

My nightmare - the one I have nearly once a month... I'm in Hawaii for only one day and it's sunset and I've suddenly remembered all these things I've yet to do. I'm living it. We're a mere 2 hours from sunset and we leave by sunrise tomorrow morning. How can this be?!? Ah!!! Well, the husband and the bugaboo are out enjoying the sunshine and I suppose little Mr. BabyBoo and I should too. Mother trucker, are we really headin' home tomorrow!?!?!??! Do you suppose there's a reason I feel homesick da second da plane lands on this island or wha? This moment, right now - this is my nightmare. Only a coupla hours left a daylight and what do you do wit it?

This is my home.

What my grandma called home till the day she died... Kauai. Do I just sit here and cry or do I watch the sun set?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

out of touch

Ah, beautiful Hawaii.

Everything is green and lush. It rains every morning and is sunny by breakfast. Birds - so many birds! I love hearing them after a rain shower passes by. They all come out singing and dancing from ginger stalk to ginger stalk. It's easy to waste away handfuls of time looking at the mountains, studying a flower and watching the fish dart in and out of the rocks on the shore. I also love those clouds. Big fluffy things hanging low and just leisurely drifting by on their trans-Pacific journey. Blue sky, crystal clear water, bright flowers and every shade of green you could possibly imagine.

Doing my best to keep everyone from burning to a crisp. The sun is so intense here. I've had my fair share of sunburns and don't need to go through that again. I'm always so pleased with myself when we return from a trip to the beach with no red noses or burnt shoulders. Especially when baby's fair white skin continues to be just that. Both boys are having a wonderful time in the water. Here on the North Shore of Kauai the surf is calm this time of year, so we're enjoying gentle waves rippling onto the shore.

I feel so out of touch, though. I mean, yes, I have an internet connection, but I haven't been turning the computer on much. I guess that's how you know you're having a pretty good time. Maybe I should read a newspaper or something though. When you're on this island it's really easy to forget that there's anything else out there in the world. With stars as bright as they are here at night, one would think this little island is a star itself, floating out amongst the other stars in the galaxy!