SoCS: Is it really almost over?

Is it really almost over?

I have been AWOL from One-Liner Wednesday and Stream of Consciousness Saturday for the last several weeks as I have been visiting my daughter in Honolulu. Her husband has been away doing research for his PhD dissertation in London, as well as visiting his family there.

My husband came out with me for the first two weeks, during which time we stayed in a hotel. Then, he had to return to go on a business trip. I moved to my daughter’s apartment and have been staying with her for almost three weeks.

It is less like vacationing and more like living here, which is cool! I have been blogging about it, such as this post about settling into the Kaimuki neighborhood where she lives, but there are others to check out at Top of JC’s Mind, if you are interested. (Shameless plug!)

I fly out on Tuesday, but I’m having trouble wrapping my head around it. Just a few more days and I’ll be back – and six-hours-of-time-change jet-lagged – in upstate New York. Back to the stuff that is filling up my calendar back home – appointments and meetings – and the catching up on mail and errands and visits.

I’m not sure I’m ready – but it is what it is.
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Linda’s prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “is” Please join us! Find out how here:  http://lindaghill.com/2015/07/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-july-415/

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Food – leeward – food

Yesterday, E started a four-day holiday weekend, so we decided to go on an excursion to avoid the crowds that are sure to be huge over the holiday.

We started with breakfast at Town, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. E had polenta, greens, and egg and I had baked French toast.

Fortified, we set out on the H1 for the leeward (west) side of O’ahu. I had never been to that side but E and L had a short honeymoon getaway there and sometimes go there to visit the beaches. As I have mentioned, driving in Hawai’i is an adventure for me, but we made it through the day safely, despite some slowdowns. The weirdest thing on the road was passing my former rental car. Earlier this week, some warning lights came on in the Honda Fit, so it got swapped for a Toyota Corolla. E spotted the license plate of the Fit as I passed it on the highway. I’d say small world, but small island is more applicable in this case.

As we got away from Honolulu and its suburbs, we drove through terrain that reminded me of part of the Big Island – red soils, exposed rock, sparse and dry vegetation. In Hawai’i, the leeward sides of the islands tend to be dry. It’s common to see cactus and other plants that don’t need much water. The higher elevations as you go inland tend to be wet, some with annual rainfall of 400 inches (1,000 cm) or more. The highest peaks in the younger islands even get snowfall during the winter.

We parked close to the series of lagoons and beaches that the hotels that populate the leeward coast in Ko Olina had built.  We walked along the path behind the lagoons, enjoying the breeze and the views. Then, we went to get a smoothie and an acai bowl for lunch to cool off.

We headed back to E’s apartment before the traffic got too bad and to make sure we were here for our dinner reservation. The executive chef/owner of Town has recently opened a new restaurant kitty corner across the intersection from Town. It is named Mud Hen Water, which is the literal translation of Waialae, the avenue on which it is located.

Mud Hen Water specializes in small plates that fuse local ingredients and cuisine with more modern food trends. E and I shared:
*  pa’i’ai, which is taro pounded and fried, in a seaweed wrap so you can pick it up to eat
*  a beet salad, which was prepared similarly to poke. E was happy because she wanted me to experience poke style, but I don’t eat raw fish, so doing it with beets, which I love, was a great alternative.
*  A mutligrain risotto with peanuts and greens
*  lawalu, which was opah (a fish) wrapped in green banana leaves and cooked buried in coals, served with various grilled vegetables
*  a upside-down pineapple polenta cake, served warm with vanilla gelato
*  butterscotch-miso rice pudding with lacy ginger wafers
Everything was super delicious! We will have to go again the next time we visit. I’m sure we’ll go to Town also. We love to support the local businesses of Kaimuki!

Settled into Kaimuki

I am still in Honolulu, which probably seems to be the longest vacation ever, but it is really an extended visit with family.

It started out looking pretty vacation-y with B and I staying in a Waikiki condo/hotel, although he was working via Internet part-time and I managed to get sick for a while, which cut down on some vacation-like activities.

The real reason for the visit, though, was to spend time with our elder daughter E while her husband is away doing PhD research.  After B went back East to travel for business, I moved into E’s apartment which is in the Kaimuki neighborhood, mauka (toward the mountain) from Waikiki. Kaimuki is one of the oldest neighborhoods of Honolulu and the house in which she lives, now broken into several apartments, is old enough to apply for status as a historic home. Fortunately, that doesn’t preclude its having solar panels on the roof.

It is a mostly residential neighborhood, but includes some churches, schools, restaurants, and shops. Having never lived in a city, I am unused to neighborhood identity, but I’m glad that E and L live here because of the sense of community. President Obama’s sister lives in the neighborhood, although he doesn’t come to visit her when he comes to Hawai’i because the security would be a nightmare on the somewhat narrow and hilly streets. (I’m sure she gets to go visit him and his family, though.) When Ruthie Ann Miles won the 2015 Tony for best feature actress in a musical for her role as Lady Thiang in The King and I, E immediately knew that she was from Kaimuki. E and L were married at St. Patrick, the Catholic church in the neighborhood, where they are active in the music ministry.

I have been learning my way around and doing what I can to help out. I bring E to work and back with the rental car, which gives her a break from her usual bus routine and shortens her commute time by half an hour each way. I also do some of the shopping and chores while she is working so we have more time for visiting and relaxing when she is home.

So, I’m not really on a five week vacation – just lucky that, for now, my daughter lives in Hawai’i!