Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sushi Arms

Kulani has been perseverating about knives for a few months now. He has quickly built up a pretty nice knife collection. The last time he went to Benihana's, he sat at the sushi bar so he could watch the sushi chefs do their magic. He also peppered them with questions about knives. Last night, he wanted to put all his hard, obsessive work to the test, so he made us sushi. We invited over Lani and Patrick, and later Alika stopped by after work to finish up the spoils. As always, it was delicious. He made a few Philadelphia rolls, a "sunrise" roll or "Utah" roll (it has salmon and lemon, so it tastes almost like a breakfast roll), a California roll, and a roll he called the "Patrick" roll. He made it for Patrick, who really likes Tamago--a Japanese-style omelette.

Melissa loves sushi. Lilia likes it too, but it seems like Lissy loves it more. Poor, Melissa. She and I have gone the rounds this past week trying to potty train her. She's 3 1/2 years old. She should be potty trained already. With Lilia, it just seemed like she started going on the toilet by herself at the age of 2 1/2. I've had to strong-arm Melissa, and she still fights me every time. The other night she pooped her pants twice. It almost sent me over the edge with rage. I had to walk away from her and give Kulani an "S.O.S." phone call.

I watch a few kids from the neighborhood a couple of days a week. The kids are the exact same age as my kids. The parents are really nice, and I don't mind watching the kids because they get along very well with my girls. But sometimes watching two infants can get hairy. They're fine as long as I'm holding both of them. So nothing gets done when the kids are over here. I just sit in the recliner holding the babies, and asking the two older 5-year-olds to grab this and that for me. In ways, I feel lazy just sitting there. But it's also kind of nice. I think I know a little better the difficulty in having twins. Holding the two babies inspired the following poem:

At times I wish I had three arms.
I saw a woman who was born with four,
But two didn't work so well;
functioned more like decorations.
And if I had three, then I'd wish for four or more--
God must shake his head at us complainers.
And I'm ashamed for complaining
When I pass someone with only one, or worse--none.
But still, holding twin babies in this rocking chair,
Each hand holding a bottle to their suckling mouths,
I'd love to have just one more extending from my belly
And holding the remote control.
The TV is stuck on soaps again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Last night we were sure we had a murderer in the family. You see, we have a new creature stirring in our house. It's an orange kitty that Lilia named Blossom, but he's a boy. Kulani says he's like a "cherry blossom," which in old Japanese culture used to signify the kamakaze warrior. The kitty is on the daring and crazy side. We've only had him since Saturday. We got him from an old man in Ben's neighborhood. There I was, minding my own business, when this old man named Peter approached me. The man wore two button-up plaid shirts, and I later find out he can't hear or see very well. I was standing in Ben's driveway when he appeared. He asked if we wouldn't like a kitty. His momma cat just had three kittens, and his wife was making him give them away. He wouldn't take my hesitation as a no. He insisted me and the girls go over to his house and take a look. Once I saw the kittens and the girls started begging, I couldn't say no. Peter almost cried to see his kitten go.

But we brought him home, gave him some food, showed him his litter box, and he's been surprisingly easy to take care of, even more so than our dog. The only complaint is that he uses my leg as a scratching post, runs all over the keyboard when I'm trying to do work, and occasionally hisses at Jesse, but for good reason.

Jesse, our dog, has been a little put out. Last night around 7 o'clock, we could not find Blossom. We looked upstairs, downstairs, under every bed, everywhere. Kulani went outside to look. Then I went outside to look. No Blossom. By 9 o'clock we started getting scared. By 10 o'clock we started thinking Jesse might have done something to him.

"My guess is that he got outside and either a coyote or Jesse ate him," Kulani said. The thought of Jesse killing Blossom really made me sad. How could I harbor a killer in my house? For a slight second, and in a very small way, I imagined what it must have been like to be Eve when Cain murdered Abel.

Around 10:30 p.m. while I was making some cheesecake to go along with our Thanksgiving dinner to be had on Thursday, I heard a very faint, "Meow." Kulani was about to go outside one last time and look for Blossom's mangled remains. I said, "Wait. I hear a meow." Kulani thought I was imagining things or hearing Blossom's floating spirit. Every time I went to the pantry, the meows got louder. Was he hiding behind the flour? I finally found him in an empty box on the bottom shelf of the pantry. He'd gotten stuck and couldn't get out. We were so relieved to have found him. The girls went to bed thinking they'd lost their kitty.

I woke up this morning to this:

Blossom quickly made himself welcome in our home.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bits and Pieces

We're snoozers. Have you ever known someone or been roommates with someone who is a snoozer--the ability to press snooze on the alarm clock every 10 minutes for up to an hour and still sleep? I'm sure if you are not a snoozer, this can be VERY annoying. But luckily for us, Kulani and I are both snoozers. And luckily, we now live in a home. When we lived in WyView some years ago, the walls were pretty thin. Our poor neighbors weren't snoozers. By the end of the semester, after the first alarm went off, we'd here this banging on the wall we shared between us. Yes, the geniuses who designed WyView put the master bedrooms next to each other. You could hear other sounds as well, but we won't go there.

Kulani's nephew Alika visited us last night. Alika is a singular fellow. He returned from a mission in sunny California and is now attending BYU. I feel as though I am personally responsible for helping Alika get into BYU, because it was me who went around collecting all his important data that he needed to submit before the application deadline. I trapsed up to the UofU with newborn in one arm and two girls following to retrieve his transcripts; I called his old high school to fax his transcripts; I made sure his essay was in on time. And it paid off--he got accepted into BYU. And now it's paying off for me, because Alika is a wonderful guy to have around. I'd like to adopt him if I could. Last night when he stopped in to visit, he heard Nohea crying and picked her up while I prepared dinner. Nohea knows and loves Alika. She layed her head down on his shoulder and snuggled into him. It melted my heart to watch him hold her. Then Alika helped me clean up the dishes. If you know of some single ladies who are the cream of the crop, let me know. Alika deserves a good woman in his life. And he's good looking to boot.

Poor Jessie is sick today. That dog has somehow managed to wedge himself into my cold heart. Poor guy keeps having to throw up or something, so he shakes his head feverishly to wake me up and have me let him outside. He doesn't bark to wake me up, he shakes his head, which causes his ID tags to clank together. He's had some close calls where he almost threw up on the carpet, but we somehow managed to get him outside before he did. How does a pet know and care enough to not throw up on the carpet? It's pretty amazing when I think about it. We always say that Jessie is a horrible security dog because he would lick the intruder and nothing else. But he amazed us last night as we were sitting around the dinner table. All of us were accounted for, so it surprised Jessie when someone (that someone being Alika) walked through the door without knocking or ringing the doorbell. He instantly let out a bark. Jessie does not bark. I've heard him bark maybe once. Kulani and I just looked at each other stunned. Maybe he's a good guard dog afterall.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I've been falling a bit behind on my housework as of late. It just seems kind of pointless to me. I spend a couple of hours each day cleaning for what? To do it all again the next day or even the next hour? Right after I had Nohea and was training for the Hawaii Half-Ironman, I hired two ladies to come clean the house. They came every other week, and it was like heaven to walk into a clean home. But it seemed I spent at least an hour to two hours cleaning up in preparation of their coming, so I stopped seeing the point. Plus, bills were tight. So now it's all up to me again.

But today I got a reprieve of sorts. Lilia has a friend who is about a month older than her that lives on our block. She loves to help me clean my house, and who am I to deny her of the privilege. She helped me put the girls' toys away, then she asked if she could vacuum. She didn't do the best job vacuuming, but you know, I'll live with it. I used to love a perfectly tidy house, but the older I get, the more I realize, just tidy enough is perfectly fine.

To my dismay, one of the things I am most ashamed about is my drive for a perfectly clean house. My upstairs neighbor at WyView was moving about six years ago. I had planned a day to ultra-clean my apartment. They were busy moving. On my trip out to the dumpster, I met her coming out of her apartment.

"Looks like it's moving day for you," I said to her. "Is everything going okay?"

"Yes," she said. "We just have to clean the apartment now."

And that's when I said the proverbial phrase, "Well, call me if you need some help." And I left back inside my house to clean my own home. I didn't have children at the time. She had a little boy. I didn't have to work that day. I only had one, small 400-square foot apartment to clean. Why didn't I stop what I was doing and help her out? I found out later that she was really sad that no one from the neighborhood came over to help her move. I was so ashamed.

It's said that we regret the things we don't do more than the things we do. Thanks to the little neighbor girl who showed a great example of service to me today.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy Birthday to our Sweet Lilia!

Yesterday was Lilia's birthday. In about four hours, a half dozen little girls will be here to help us celebrate. Lilia loves doing art projects, so for her birthday this year, we're doing crafts. We're decorating little hand bags and hats. But yesterday, we celebrated as a family by going to the BYU vs. TCU game. I wrote BYU an e-mail to ask them if they could please have free knit beanie caps with the Y logo on front, fireworks, and a canon boom in honor of Lilia's birthday. They delivered in fine form. I told Lilia about the e-mail I sent for her birthday. She was very impressed and grateful to BYU for the present. Lilia said she had a great time at the game, and Dad let her have her pick of one BYU item at the Cougar Den store. She chose a zip-up sweater with a baby cougar on the front.

Lilia is our trooper. She rarely complains. I think it must be due to no longer having earaches. When she was young, she had many, many earaches. She finally overcame them at 2 when the doctor put tubes in her ears. Perhaps because she no longer is in pain, she sees no need to complain about other things. At any rate, we love our Lilia.

Lilia goes to a special preschool because she has speech delay. She sometimes has trouble making new friends, because kids her age don't always understand her. Recently, she was invited to a birthday party for another little girl in the neighborhood. I knew a lot of the girls, even the older girls, would be at this party. The older girls are kind of snotty and they don't include Lilia. Rather than not allowing her to go, I told her my trick. "Lilia, if those girls don't want to play with you, you just say, 'that's okay. I'll find my own friends.'" So as I was driving her to the party that was to be held at a trampoline fun house, I overheard Lilia repeating to herself, "That's okay if you don't want to play with me, I'll find my own friends." It broke my heart and made me proud at the same time to hear her say that. After the party, she told me she made a good friend with the boy down the street. "He was so funny, Mom." That's my girl!

When you're old enough to read, Lilia, I hope you'll enjoy reading these stories about yourself. You are a precious jewel in our family. We love you very much. I know why we give gifts on birthdays more now that I'm a parent. Because you and your sisters are the best gifts your dad and I could have evern dreamed of having.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Meal that Takes Me Home

Last Saturday we took the girls to Disney's Ratatouille at the American Fork "Sticky Shoe" theater. We enjoyed the movie thoroughly. If you are a foody, like our family is, you no doubt also love this movie. But one scene really touched home for Kulani and me. It's the scene where the food critic takes his first bite of the ratatouille meal the rat made for him. The movie flashes back to his boyhood days, his bike is broken in the doorway, and his mom is cooking at the stove. He sits down at the table, and his mom places a bowl of ratatouille in front of him to help ease his suffering. The true definition of comfort food.

So Kulani and I were discussing our comfort foods. We each have many meals that bring us back to mom's home cooking. For me, it's homemade spaghetti, roast and mashed potatoes, and dad's pancakes. Mom's fried chicken is still the best I've ever tasted, and it's the simpleness of it that makes it great. For Kulani, it's pancakes with sweetened condensed milk, fried rice, and meatloaf. He also has a fondness for custard-filled long johns and Kentucky Fried Chicken, because growing up in Blanding, those were two food items you couldn't find. So when his dad was out of town for work, he'd bring back custard-filled long johns and Kentucky Fried Chicken that didn't even reach the table before it was eaten.

But the main dish that would take Kulani home faster than a jet airliner would be kalua pig and poi. Good times in Kulani's house growing up were marked by having pig and poi. Even now, no one is in a bad mood around Kulani's family's dinner table when pig and poi are on the menu.

For me, the item that takes me back are homemade french fries. Sometimes for a family outing, we would follow the harvesting combines picking up renegade potatoes. Our goal was to find the biggest potatoes we could. We found some doozies. Then we'd take them home, peal them, cut them up, and deep-fat fry them. It made for long nights, but the french fries were sooo good. And it seems that was the dinner for the night; just potatoes, with ketchup as the side.