It's official. The Fool, Jamie and I are in Hawaii, staying at the family Hilton - i.e. the basement apartment at Uncle Mo's house. (We didn't want to gloat too much; not seemly.) My Aunt Grace is here from Oregon, her two sisters and their husbands still live in town, and a couple cousins are kicking around as well - even a second cousin.
It's the closest thing my family has ever had to a reunion, and I like it very much. So does Jamie. So does the Fool, and we're not just saying this because we left sub-zero temperatures to come here to a land where everyone is shivering because - get this - it was 68 degrees one night. We've been walking around a lot with Jamie in his sling, greased well with sunblock and shaded by a ridiculous hat and marveling at what living in tropical climes makes people do.
Did you know there are windows here with no glass in them? Only screens, and a louver. There are also garages with no front doors. And because there is no winter to kill off the bugs, the cockroaches are flippin' enormous. People call them B-52s because - ick - they fly. We haven't been doing too many touristy things, as we were both here before, the year after we got married, and Jamie is a little too young to demand we do things like take him to the zoo and the aquarium. As long as he gets a chance to practice crawling every day, chew on new and interesting things and show off his two front teeth (two!), he's happy.
Instead, we have been eating very well, which is easy in Hawaii if you like sushi and fish and rice and Asian food, which we do.
Kalua pork manapua, and andagi (an Okinawan doughnut)
We have been exploring neighborhoods on foot, which is great if you're easily entertained like us. Our best day so far started with breakfast in a funky coffeeshop, featured a stop in a Thai imports store, a fabric store, a hula supply store (we just wanted to see what they sold), a Japanese language bookstore and a yarn store.
The owner is renovating right now, so some of her inventory is hard to get to. She keeps the sock yarn in drawers in her back room, for example, but was happy to let us in to look. The Fool found this - discontinued German yarn - and bought four skeins.
Jamie thinks we bought it for him.
We have also been visiting with my elderly Aunt Clara (the oldest of the six siblings) and Uncle Merle, who moved into a senior living building a couple years ago with their Russian Blue cat, Lukia (who goes by Kittycat and is obviously the one running the household, as smart cats do.) Aunt Clara was completely taken with Jamie. She said, "It's been so long since I've seen a baby, I've forgotten how small they are." She counts his toes and sits him on her lap and strokes his feet and hair and generally adores him. He soaks it up like a sponge.
Uncle Merle is still inquisitive - he and my father were both the kinds of people who would try to build something just to see how it worked. Uncle Merle built an airplane in his back yard once to see if he could make something that would fly, even though he was not a pilot and had never built a plane before. He restored antique cars, he ran his own jewelry business for years, and as he got older, took up stonecarving for a little while, making friendly rounded animals with just enough detailing to define features - ears, tails, paws. At first glance, they look like smooth rocks, but with study, the creature emerges. He made pottery that the Fool and I eat off of. Anyway, while we were all eating dinner together, I commented on a notice I saw from the building management, warning people to be careful of giant falling seedpods if they were using the pool. Merle said, "I know! I haven't had a chance to examine one yet -- but I'd like to!" Next time we go over there, I may see if I can find him one and bring it upstairs.
(Side note: Last time we were here, the Fool and I went to a botanic garden because he was interested in learning more about island flora. We were standing under a palm tree; I heard a rustle of leaves, and covered my head and ducked. He laughed. I pointed out the big seed pods that clonk onto the sidewalks. He stopped laughing.)
Capping the evening off, the Fool, Jamie and I went for a walk through Waikiki, enjoying the touristy spectacle.
As Jamie was still adjusting to the time change, we ate at Roy's, sitting on the deck and giggling about how we were eating at a fancy adult restaurant with a sleeping baby on my lap, nestled happily underneath the purple dinner napkin, which we, er, stole when we left, because the Fool was putting Jamie back in the sling and he woke up and started crying and we thought it was best to make a quick exit, so we did ... with the napkin. It will go well with the spoon from the Thai restaurant that Jamie dropped in the diaper bag tonight. Gotta tell the kid we will buy him a souvenir if he wants.
Last night, we stopped in to visit the Honolulu stitch 'n' bitch, and a friendlier group of knitters we have not met. They were so chatty and fun that I completely forgot to take a picture, but as they all asked if we were coming back next week, I'll fix that.
Adventures continue - contra dancing tomorrow night, the Chinese New Year parade, another visit with Clara and Merle, and who knows what else? Probably more sushi.