Hawai'i was full of surprises. A while ago, I followed the advice of The NYT Samurai Shopper and bought the drugstore mascara recommended therein. I found it akin to applying oatmeal cookie batter to my eyelashes. But
Other "Huh!" Moments:
I was kinda underwhelmed by the beaches. I know. I think this was island specific, and I didn't have a choice of islands (see: business trip that underwrote my husband's ticket and some of our hotel), and everyone tells me not to give up but the beaches elsewhere are fucking insane. I'm usually lemonade out of lemons when it comes to beaches -- Sure I can cram my towel in here, close enough to smell a strangers deodorant! The shells between the glass and syringes are truly wonderful! No really, 49 degrees is refreshing! -- but I guess usually I don't travel that long for the privilege? Or something? Anyway: next time, if there is a next time, different island. Oh, and I'm leaving from the west coast. Because 13 hours in transit is too, too long for anyone, grown-ups included.
I had never given much thought to how good pork would be in Hawaii. I suppose if I gave five seconds of time to the concept of a luau, the progression would be: lei, grass skirt, some weird stuff called poi, roasted pig. Pig. They must have pig there! But never really applied this concept widely to consider Hawaii's pork industry as a whole. Apparently there is one! I pride myself on my continental bbq excursions, but people -- don't let the islands go underestimated here. Mighty fine. Failing a sandwich, make sure to sample bacon, sausage, or random hot dog. You won't be disappointed.
Food overall was much, much better than I had anticipated. I don't know what I anticipated -- fresh fruit and fish? And there was a lot of that. I think four to five of my meals were fish tacos in a variety of preparations. But overall, I guess I never gave much thought to the idea that a place that made sugar might be pretty good at making, oh, I dunno, pastry. Or that a local microbrew would actually taste great and be more than a simple tourist plug. Yay food!
I was a bit taken aback by the number of homeless I saw in Honolulu (apparently others are too, I discovered via google). Not in a "Ew! Homeless!" kinda way (dudes, I live in Philadelphia), but in a per capita, "Wow that's a lot," kinda way. After rummaging around a bit, I guess my surprise has piqued; the total population of all the islands is somewhere around 1.28 million; Philly's population is circa 1.5 million. The park there I saw was more crowded than any I've seen downtown here; BUT, I'm thinking the resources are probably centered around the capital, and ergo, the people are too. It didn't really buzzkill my paradise as much as it made me realize this global recession thing truly is. Sadz.
Bella is apparently talking to strangers about Maddy. The incident on the beach was the first time I've heard her bring up her sister to anyone other than me or her father (and in fact, talking to Dad is a rather recent development. Apparently last week while outside on the swings, she asked him what we would name a subsequent baby girl. Mr. ABF gave up our second-to-Maddy name, and Bella made a face. I'm at least relieved I have some back-up should it come to this again). Not only did she cough up this information to beach girl, but while I was packing and panicking on the phone, she outlined the particulars of her Very Special Family to a new best friend by the hotel pool. Mom apparently turned to Mr. ABF and mouthed, "Really?" to which he responded, "Yes, she lived six days" or somesuch, and she was appropriately sorry. AND THEN went on to say how her son had some lung cold and they had to delay their trip home until he left the hospital. Because you know, same exact thing, really.
I think Bella's output here is pretty question specific. That is, the inquiring party needs to directly offer information about his/her siblings, and/or ask Bella about hers. Mr. ABF said a new neighbor came by yesterday while he and she were by the fence, and she asked Bella something to the effect of, "So is it just you?" Which, DUH! Does Bella resemble Macaulay Culkin? Does she look parentally neglected? More to the point, does new neighbor understand the literalness of a four-year-old? (She should, she has one herself.) Was she expecting, "Why yes, it is just me. When do you eat dinner?" Of course Bella answered with a "[Fuck] No! There's mom and dad, my dogs Buddy and Max, and my cats Kirby and Tucker." So there, neighbor lady. Mr. ABF figured he'd spill the beans about the urn in the family room some other time.
Or maybe she's just responding to us and kids right now. People who get it on her level. Her homies.
I have been a complete bundle-of-nerves-insomniac this week. I was blaming Hawaii (sung, avec ukelele, to the tune of "Blame Canada"), but last night after talking myself down from a Bella-getting-a-lethal-illness panic attack, I've come to conclude that the whole heart attack/swine flu bullshit has ratcheted my anxiety level up through the ROOF. I'm reminding myself multiple times during the day when my brain veers toward the horror graphic that "It's not a premonition! It's a symptom of your fucked up psyche!" but still not feeling much better.
It would help to know you're freaking out too. Aloha!