25-48 The Second Twenty-Four
49-72 The Third Twenty-Four
73-96 The Fourth Twenty-Four
97-120 The Fifth Twenty-Four
121-144 The Sixth Twenty-Four
145-on The Seventh Twenty-Four
49 Pure Michigan
50 Ah, Youth
51 Unlikely Friend
54 Before/After Squared
55 Hawaiiana 1
56 Hawaiiana 2
57 Hawaiiana 3
58 A New Outlook
59 Hawaiiana 4
60 Crash Dummy
61 Dogs, Boards, Kids...
62 Photographic Treasures
63 Hawaiiana 5
64 My Comb is Crooked
65 Call Me A Doctor
66 Hawaiiana 6
67 Home for Christmas
68 Led By Words
69 Pono Bowls
70 Poppy Tour
71 An Invitation
72 Wunderkammer I
There was a spike in air travel to, from, and among the Hawaiian Islands this past few weeks, and all caused by Sandin connectivity. JR, Courtney, and Poppy flew in to Maui for a few days, hopped over to the Big Island (BI) for a few days, and then returned to the mainland. Stuart and Jen flew in to Maui, hopped to O’ahu for a wedding, hopped back to Maui, and then returned to the mainland. Pono hopped to the BI for a few days and then returned home to Maui. Meanwhile Jen’s grad students were in Maui working a project, her folks were in Maui vacationing, and Courtney’s parents live on the BI to round out the connectivity. How we all got together is too complex to explain.
Stuart, Jen, Pono, Courtney with Poppy, and JR in Maui
JR, Co, and Po planned one week in Maui and two weeks on the BI. I elected to maximize my Poppy-time by following them to the BI for a while. I stayed with a very gracious neighbor of Courtney’s parents who have a few acres across the road from them and raise Kona coffee.
Charlie and Patty have 3 acres with 180° view of the ocean. They raise macadamia nuts, oranges, papaya, mango, lilikoi (passion fruit), figs, limes, pomegranate, sapota (white and chocolate), loquat, bananas, pineapples, coffee, starfruit, dragon fruit, lychee, and a variety of garden vegetables. Much of this is for their own use, but they also take mac nuts and extra produce, including dried fruits, to market. Patty makes very creative jewelry and trinkets from various seeds, nuts, shells, coral, and fibrous plants, as well as leis from puamalia (plumaria) flowers. Plant materials include manele, manila palm, orchid tree, canna lily, HI pussy willow, whole macs, iron wood, grey nickers, Jobe’s tears, wiliwili seeds, etc.
I have no idea where all the plant materials come from for Patty’s work, and I guess she wouldn’t want to reveal her sources, but whenever we got back from a trip, Patty had a pocket full of something to turn into creations. They claim to be retired, but they put in lots of hours of hard labor!
The folks have one dog and five cats. Yoshi the dog is fixed, but he runs free, has two “girlfriends” and tends to party a lot. The cats vary from friendly, stay-at-home to skittish, come around only at feeding time. The property is quite a ways from Kona and even little towns are some distance away, so good neighbors become very important. Modern communication devices are also important. They are on the electric grid but have both solar water heating and solar electric and are adding more solar electric panels.
Water is king. It doesn’t rain much on the Kona coast and of course there is no water service. Catchment is the source and there hasn’t been much rain lately. Drinking water is always purchased and recently it has been necessary to purchase water for enough irrigation to keep fragile plants alive. No one told me, but I dropped into the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” mode while there. Actually, I follow a modified version of that at home as well – leeward Maui has been right on the verge of water rationing for several months.
The BI lifestyle is so different from mine it was really interesting to experience.
My travel to the BI was a surprise. I took an inter-island flight from Kahului to Kona and back. The plane was a tiny 9-passenger. There was no security. I had only carry-on bags so no cost for check-in. Since I was only going to be gone for 5 days, I left my car at the a/p. It was only about 244 yards from the plane, so on return I was in my car and out of the a/p before the propeller stopped spinning.
Of course 2 year 3 month old Poppy was the focal point of any event she attended. I know that I am biased, but she sure is a cutie, and her little brain is on steroids! I put together some monkeypods of her name and she recognized it immediately. She cleared the board and broke the “o” in process. But then she proceeded to put them back together, including fixing the “o”.
Poppy studies a monkeypod…
…and puts her name back together
One evening Charlie, Patty, JR, Courtney, Poppy and I were sitting around chatting and quite out of the blue Poppy said “Three daddies and two mamas.” She knows all the letters and can count, but gets a bit confused after nine. She plays games on one of those tablet devices. She can pick a dessert, fill it in with a color, add sprinkles of her choice, and then “eat” it. She can choose one from a screen full of animals, make it move around, etc.
She learned about toothpicks from JR and when introduced to Q-tips decided they were “fluffy ear picks”. I showed her how to indicate four by holding up her fingers on one hand and hiding her thumb. She studied her hand for a little bit, collapsed her thumb, and held up four fingers. (You have to have Sandin blood or be very close to the family to understand the significance of this, Poppy obviously has the proper gene.)
Nana (G’ma Patty) & Poppy make pasta
Baba (G’pa Charlie) & Poppy stretch
As you can see, when Poppy was awake she was part of everything.
March 12 was our best chance to see the comet PANSTARRS due to its proximity to the new moon. Unfortunately the western sky from the Kona coast sports a lot of vog from the active volcano, so as sunset neared it seemed unlikely. There was a constant cloud layer obscuring the horizon and heavy clouds at a higher level with just a few degrees of clear sky between. We watched the sun move through the slight break and started our vigil as it disappeared. The prediction was that we would see it 30 minutes after sunset and we allowed 20 minutes or so until actual sunset. We made a mark on the horizon representing the ecliptic and started checking the little strip of clear sky at the appropriate time. Nothing, nothing, nothing – I was just about to give up and JR was at the door going inside when the bottom of the sliver of moon broke through the higher clouds into the clear sky. With binoculars we found our target just a little left of the moon. None of us could spot it with naked eye and it even came and went with binoculars due to some spotty clouds, but we saw PANSTARRS!
Tiny PANSTARRS left of the moon – most like what we actually saw
Most common petroglyph – umbilical cord repository
About 9p we turned out all lights and went outdoors. The stars were incredible in the clear, totally light-pollution-free sky overhead!
One big trip included the petroglyphs at Pu’uloa, the Visitor Center, Jaggar Museum and the caldera overlook in Volcano National Park. Hot and dry down below and we were within just a few miles of where the lava is running into the ocean. Cool and rainy up above with the caldera obscured off and on by fog/vog. We visited briefly with family friend Judy. Her office is just across the street from the Visitor Center. This is just a mile or so from where I first met her back in 1995. We ate at a black truck that Judy recommended, but they had no filet mignon or any other animal product so I must remind her that I am carnivorous.
On the way we stopped for malasadas at “the most southern bakery in the US”. On this trip (and others) JR and I rode in my rental car, while the rest rode in Patty and Charlie’s car. While I thoroughly enjoyed the family times, this was the most one-on-one time with JR in several years and I enjoyed the memories and also an update of his current life.
With mama, daddy, nana and baba around, it was easy to see how I took last place on Poppy’s list. I didn’t push very hard and enjoyed watching her interactions with the others. I did carry her around a little, she walked hand in hand with me a bit, and I pushed her on the swing with nana’s help. But she continued to view me as kind of an outsider. Perhaps she has never seen anyone quite so old and ugly. Anyway, at the a/p goodbyes, Poppy gave me a hug and a kiss and I drove away with leaky eyes.
Returning from a trip is always a bit like New Year to me. I tend to make resolutions to lose weight, get organized, clean house and get rid of junk. And like New Year, I find something interesting to do and the resolve slips away. This time I’m working on Poppy’s pedigree. I have lots on the Sandin side and I collected a ton from Courtney’s folks, so I am entering data, verifying what I can, and working toward big charts for all the folks whose DNA helped to make the little darling. And not losing weight.