Communication

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Yes this is pretty much how he responds to me when I want to talk to him

How do I find common ground with my  preteen grandson?  For that matter just finding common ground with any of my grand kids has left me wanting.

I don’t want to just be grandma, the old lady that always wants a hug and a kiss. Of course here in Hawaii that is a given. Regardless of age, you would not dare enter a room without giving your kupuna (elder) a hug and a kiss. That type of respect is ingrained from day one.

I want to communicate. I want to discuss, to ignite conversation and encourage my grandchildren to experience life beyond cell phones and games.

Two of my grandsons love photography.  One lives about 20 miles away and I rarely see him. The other, Nico, lives in the same house as I do. Our communication has been limited.  “What’s for dinner?”  “When are we leaving for school?”  “Why did you pick me up so early from school? I was still talking to my friends.”  And last, but certainly not least, “Good night grandma, I love you.”

So Nico gets a Camera for his 12th birthday. He no longer has to take photos with his phone, he now has a DSLR!

Here we go, the common ground! “How would you like to go on some adventures like when you were younger?” I ask him.  Quickly I add, “I mean we can go to different places to take photos.” So far, he has used his cell phone to take photos of buildings as he drives by, photos of feet, close-ups of his dog and things around the house. Fun photos I admit, but his area is limited.

To my great surprise he says, “Yes!”  I suggest a drive to Haleiwa, ( where else?), we can go in the evening and photograph the sunset.  The date is set and surprise again, he reminds me that morning about our plan.

As we get ready to leave he heads out with his camera bag. I start to tell him that I would rather he put his camera around his neck, and he pulls a face on me and starts to get grumpy.  So I let it go.

When we get in the car I tell him to let me know if there is something he wants to photograph along the way. Out comes his phone and before I know it he is deep into YouTube.

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Unfortunately his phone arrives with him. Notice his camera is now around his neck. “Sort of late,”  I tell him as people will notice that we put his camera bag in the trunk. “Oh well,” I think to myself, live and learn.

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I try to call him over to explain about the two Hawaiian flags. How  the Hawaiians were forced to take down their flag and put up the American flag. He is having none of it.

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When we arrive at the beach he wants to know how long are we going to have to wait for the sun to set. I feel like he is the kid in the back seat of the car asking “are we are there yet?” I tell him, “Look around you.  The mountains are behind us and the clouds are setting on them. You can photograph that.” Too late, his phone is back in his hands.

P1010054At last he exchanges his phone for his camera and is starting to take photos. I think to myself had he been dressed all in white he would have blended right in with the windmill farm behind him.

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The sun is setting quickly and I’m not sure if he is still taking photos but I don’t want to miss it. This view was worth the hassle, and I marvel at the fact that it is now past 7 pm and the weather is still nice enough to be out in the ocean swimming. I want to tell Nico to try to get some people in his photos but I push that out of my thoughts. He will do what he wants to do.

After the sun has gone down he shows me his photos of the sand, his name in the sand and photos of things around. I did see one really nice sunset photo but he was clicking through his images so quickly that I’m not sure.

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I snap one last photo of the sun going down

P1010024I say goodby to the shack and beach where “Bay Watch” was filmed.

Maybe one day he will let me show him how to put his photos onto the computer so that we can see them together. I won’t hold my breath though.

As we head back home I resign myself to the fact that I have once again failed to communicate with him. “Nico, we don’t have to do this anymore I know you did not enjoy it.” But he surprises me and says he really did enjoy it and wants to do another adventure again. Wow! Communication at last.

He pulls out his phone and down the road we go.

Chinese New Year 2016 in Honolulu-The Year of The Monkey

 

I Had such a wonderful day in China Town today. It was the celebration of Chinese New Year. The year of the Monkey. My grandson Nico’s year.

It has been at least 40 years since I attended the last one. Same old, same old. “Oh I so want to go down and see the celebration” but I just always put it off.

Not this year. My family was going down and I was invited too so I went! Here is the proof in photos.

IMG_4308Some of my family

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IMG_4251These three are my favorite. There were so many of these toys, tee shirts and food lining the streets. We strolled all morning and spent lots of money.

IMG_4315I could not figure out what this was and I had a hard time understanding the Chinese man’s accent. He was patient and kept repeating until I figured it out. Red Dates!

IMG_4301So hard to choose. All was freshly cooked and smelled so good.

IMG_4312One of my favorites. Char Siu. Bought to take home

IMG_4310Can you tell we are in China Town?

IMG_4316This is one of the most popular bakeries in China Town. You have to get to it early or this is what happens.

Odds and Ends Along the Way

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A tip of the hat to my dear friend

chinese New Year 2016 - 61My daughter couldn’t resist all of the colorful cartoon items Inside the bookstore

IMG_4276At last what looked to be an authentic Item. When I went to check to see how much it was I was told it was being used by the fortune teller and not for sale. Sigh.

IMG_4300Guan Yin Goddess of Mercy. There is a wonderful blog that tells you all about her at https://lol8.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/dreams-on-her-birthdays/

IMG_4282And what is Chinese New Years without a Lion Dance. Here the lion hesitates. Should he enter the smoke?

IMG_4285But then his companion catches up to him and says, don’t worry little buddy I’ve got your back

IMG_4283And little buddy feels brave and stands tall and into the smoke he goes

IMG_4264These are other members who also participate in making the lion dance. They all wait their turn as the dancers change out quite frequently

chinese New Year 2016 - 44Here you can see them changing out. Notice the woman with the blue arm sticking out towards the green lion. She is offering him money for good luck. This is also how the club makes their money.

IMG_4294Oh the lion is so happy to have been fed.

IMG_4274So my daughter feeds the lion too. We can all use a bit of luck.

IMG_0391And I can use all the luck I can get.

IMG_4333Then these little lions came along. I could not resist following them as they would stop and wag their tail end.

IMG_4339The little lion makes it up the stairs and heads to this woman who definitely wants good luck for her business. See all those red papers on her desk? She has been feeding many lions and she must be feeding them well as the lions don’t give those papers to just anyone.

IMG_4342And there he is giving her another good luck paper

IMG_4330And these are the little children who are dancing that lion. They start from a very,very young age.

So what a wonderful day I had. I loved the banging, drumming and all of the commotion. I watched the smiles on all of the old Chinese people’s faces and wondered just what memories were going through their minds. For me I loved seeing all the different nationalities co-mingling. I thought what a wonderful island this is that we all celebrate and enjoy each others differences. That is why I can honesty say “Hawaii No ka oi.” (Hawaii is the best)

Tuesdays at Bishop Museum

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My mind has become very dull. I need to challenge it. By dull, I mean giving children’s tours at Bishop museum has made me complacent. Giving adult tours always keeps me on my toes.

Fridays at Bishop have an abundance of docents and none want to give up their public tours. Not many want to do the children’s tours either. So when the museum re-opened their doors on Tuesdays I jumped at the chance. I knew I would once again be able to do regular adult, public tours.

After the museum had closed it’s doors on Tuesdays, for financial reasons, a way was found to once again welcome the public back that week day.

Kids aren’t my thing. As I had said my brain was starting to atrophy having to talk down to them. When I did get to substitute on Fridays and do adults I was finding I was having a hard time describing artifacts and culture in a more mature way.

Now having started in the last part of 2015 on Tuesdays I am once again researching and trying to switch my tours up to a more interesting subject to keep adults interested. I am not complaining. I love research but the funny thing is I’ve discovered I miss the kids. So starting the first of January we started booking them once again now on Tuesdays.

Guess who is able to do both children and adults? Me! With mixed feelings I have started back with the kids with the provision that I still get to do one public tour each week along with the kids. My brain is being challenged. I do realize now that it takes just as much work to keep the kids interested as it does adults.

Today on my children’s and adult tours I stopped to talk about the Hale Pili. I always ask the children what they think this particular Hale (house) was used for. You can read about it in this past post https://kareninhonolulu.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=524&action=edit

Today with the adults it was interesting as they asked questions I was not prepared for.

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It was a simple question and one that I could not answer. So I had to do research. Someone had asked me where did the adult children who married go when they needed their own houses. Hmmm. Well I knew families did stay together but just how?

What I found was they added on a hale or house in the compound where the parents lived with other families or they built a large Hale to accommodate everyone.  I found this quote from the book ” Arts and Crafts of Hawaii” on page 77,  amusing. “…some persons had no houses but lived on the hospitality of others,” and he refers to such person contemptuously as “o-kea-ili-mai (drift gravel) and “uni-pehiiole” (stone to throw at a rat).” Even back then they had the problems with unwanted guest.

On further research I found hales had one door. It was a very low door so that you had to crawl into the sleeping house. This had a purpose. When winds would blow it helped to keep them from wafting through the dwelling. Also in the middle of the sleeping hale was a small pit to keep a fire burning throughout the night. Though it helped to heat the area its main purpose was to keep spirits that roamed during the night out of the house.

There were many common areas too that everyone shared so it was just a matter of one or two houses being needed for sleeping. Cooking was done by the men, women ate together with the very young children in their own hale, and men ate together in theirs. They had hales for fishing equipment, working on household items such as kapa, baskets and mats.

I never thought about this but it makes sense. They did not have problems with bugs or pest coming into the sleeping hale at night because they did not have any. It was not until the Europeans and whalers started to arrive bringing pest and illnesses with them.

The larger introduced animals also meant big problems as they started to eat the grass off of the Hawaiian’s dwellings! They also ate the grasses and leaves used to make the hales. It gave new meaning to being eaten out of house and home.

I am so happy to be back to the public tours and having this one simple question has given me much to add to my bag of tricks so to speak. I know the kids will really enjoy hearing about the cows eating the houses. Oh those kids they laugh at the darnedest things.

Information about the Hales comes from the book “Hawaiian Culture”page 198-201

Does Hawaii Have a Winter?

246772_2038314394142_3246539_nWith my raincoat and rain boots I was one happy kid on a winter day. The above house where I lived as a young girl in Daly City California was usually shrouded in fog. On a winter’s day which seemed to be all year-long I would dash out the door on my way to General Pershing Elementary and immediately jump into the gutter where the water was over flowing the curb.

I was a smart kid because I knew that the water would go into my boots and soak my socks and shoes. Why was that smart you may ask? I hated school and I knew that the teacher would see how wet I was and therefore sit me in the hallway on a bench with a heater under it.

Smiling, I would sit and miss a good hour of class. That was my winter in California.

IMAG0055This is my winter where I live in Hawaii. signs of winter? Well you can see there are not too many people on the beach in Waikiki. Who in their right mind would want to swim in 68 degree temperatures? You’ll notice that most of the people still have tee shirts over their bathing suits.Of course it is still early morning.

IMG_3104No leaves on the plumeria is a sure sign of winter. Oh, and you will notice there are gray skies above. But the plumeria seems to be the only tree that looses its leaves this time of year. Remember in Hawaii it’s a jungle out there.

DSCN0725Then there is this wall of orange flowers that has bloomed in the late fall. Pretty apropos since Halloween is just around the corner when you see this in bloom.

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How did the ancient Hawaiians recognize winter? It was during this time that the Makahiki season began. The above symbol for the god Lono would be carried around the island and offerings were collected. When this was finished the official season would begin.

The Hawaiians knew this season by the rising of the constellation Makalii or Pleiades and they would put away all intentions of war and would play games. Games that would demonstrate ones skills such as throwing spears, or slings among other things. These would sharpen their ability to fight during a war.

Of course this being winter, the ocean would be to rough to paddle canoes to carry warriors to battle so this all made sense.

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Navigating the long lines headed out to the North Shore  I see many signs of winter. Someone must have piled their stones to ask for big surf or maybe their work of art. In ancient times it was not unusual to see pohaku ( stones) piled or placed around a dwelling as the Hawaiians believed that stones could have mana or power.

DSCN2269But a dead sure sign of winter is this sign. I never get tired of looking at the waves. They are magnificent. Unfortunately I did not have my good camera with me and did not get any shots. I was having trouble looking into the viewer on my pocket camera and was lucky I even got these shots. Lessen here is never leave home without my Cannon.

DSCN2280                                    50 foot waves and higher are the surest signs of winter and that brings out all the surfers…..

1044422_10203000667967669_41725385_n                                     Gotta catch that wave.

DSCN2272                                                                                           and sightseers.

So you see, we do have winter in Hawaii. Ah it’s a bitter season but someone has to endure it. Never need my rain coat and boots anymore. Even if I had them it is too hot to use those rainy day items. What can I say. Lucky I live Hawaii.

Mau Kau Kau (Are You Ready?)

It’s Friday morning and I call my friend, Yvonne. “OK the paper says that “Saving Mr. Banks” is playing at 10:30 at Kahala Mall. So let’s make it for Sunday, that way there will be even less traffic for me to drive in.” Yvonne lives in Waikiki so she is close to the theaters. “We can watch the move and then go get some lunch” I add.

Yvonne thinks that sounds good and I think I’m pretty smart because if I go into town at that time and on that day I will save myself a lot of stress driving.

Sunday arrives, I zoom into town and I pick her up and we are at the ticket office by 10 AM. I get my ticket. Yvonne puts her money down and for some reason the woman who is selling the tickets ask Yvonne, “Do you want the 1:00 PM show. She never asked me that she just gave me my ticket. We both say “No!”

I look at my ticket and notice mine says 1PM. “We want the 10:30 show the one that was in the Friday paper.” Ohʻ she says. The schedule changes on Sundays.

“Oh no!” I’m going to be stuck in traffic. Yvonne this is the absolute last time you will see me. If you don’t take the bus out my way I’m just not coming into town! And so my day begins. Full blown curmudgeon. I’m here, I want to see the movie, I have no choice. I jam my ticket into my wallet and try to calm down.

So we decide to walk through the mall and stall for time and take in an early lunch. So we start our stroll with plenty of time to kill.

DSCN2235In the middle of the mall there is a crowd waiting for something to start on the stage

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The people were waiting for these little girls.  I whip out my not so trusty pocket camera and try to focus. For some reason I can’t get a clear photo. Trust me these blurry little faces were adorable.

DSCN2210Here again as in my last blog these children who are getting ready to perform on stage in front of dozens of people are so calm and can think of nothing else but what is going on with their wrist.

DSCN2230Well one of them is paying attention and is standing ready at the stage. But where are the others?

DSCN2213They are laughing and enjoying themselves in line. No longer examining their hands they start to form some sort of line with their little ukuleles held tight. Still they are calm and collected.

DSCN2226At last they stand by the stage. Mommy makes last-minute adjustments.

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DSCN2224They watch as their kupuna (elders) finish their performance

DSCN2227And now it is time for their little bare feet to step upon the stage and warm the hearts of all those friends, families  and shoppers.

DSCN2228Another Mommy makes another last-minute adjustment and…DSCN2234Mau Kau Kau?DSCN2215Ai (yes). There little bodies move, maybe not in unison but they dance their little hearts out. Who knows. Maybe the next “Little Miss Keiki Hula is in this halau.

Now I have to admit, I truly enjoyed this. I went to have lunch with my best friend we looked in stores and I found a few things I needed. We then enjoyed watching the story of the making of Mary Poppins even though it made me feel like crying remembering how much I loved Walt Disney, the man not the studio. As a child I was ever hoping that I would see him one day at Disneyland. But alas when he died my dreams were shattered.

Then it was time to go home. To drive in what I knew was going to be a mess of traffic. How did I know? Because I’m a know it all. And as they say “mau kau kau?”  for the traffic? Aʻole (no.) And was there traffic? Aʻole. But am I going to go back? Not anytime soon.

Hula And the Family, Hula Oni E 2013

IMG_2011Youngsters really, step onto the stage, but when the chant begins you become enthralled. So confident, graceful and thrilling. As I watch ,I admire the ability to step onto a platform and perform as though they were born dancing. The leis, hakus and costumes can take time and money.

Pain and hours and hours of practice is all behind them now as they immerse themselves into the past.

It is time for the Hula Oni e competition 2013 at the Hilton Hawaiian resort.

IMG_2281They aren’t just beautiful and graceful, they ARE the hula. In deep concentration, aware of every move, the face betrays none of this but relaxes as it tells the story.

IMG_1923My grandson has been dancing for about 3 years now and enjoys every step he makes. He has poise and confidence and executes his moves perfectly.

When his and other  performances are done  pockets of  audience disappear. We’ve managed to get our photos. I’ve managed to get back up with my camera from my kneeling position without falling over. I join the exodus. The families, excited, file out the doors and down the hall to greet and hug their kids and add their, “job well done.”

In the past I’ve tried to show some of the behind the scenes as well as types of performances watched. But this year seemed different. As families and friends we have come together now for a few years to watch. In doing so we’ve grown more and more involved as we see the kids mature and grow in their art.

So I thought I would share the love and pride that is shown among families and friends back stage. There are also a few behind the scenes shots that I thought were colorful.

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While waiting to perform these two boys kept each other entertained. “I’ll take a photo of  you then……IMG_2123you take a photo of me.”

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completely dressed to perform but keeping warm while they wait.

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These girls might have been from Japan as groups do come over from there to compete. They are concentrating on something. It might not even be performance related

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These young girls were adorable. They may even be related. But they were all dressed up and waiting and family started to take photos so I did too.

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I took a photo of these two as no one had a camera so I photographed them for one of the relatives and emailed it to them.

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This guy was relaxing with a cool drink of water and wearing his socks. I love photos that are so out of context. It remind me of the admonition that entertainers are no different than us because they have to put their pants on one leg at a time.🙂

IMG_2138Then when I went back into the auditorium to watch more hula here was the guy who was drinking water. He got up their as cool as could be and gave a powerful, solo performance.IMG_2251

This guy was posing and having a lot of fun while waiting to go on

 

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The kids are close in each halau as close as family and they gravitate to each other after their performances.

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The grandparents grab the kids making sure to get their photos together.IMG_2318

These two siblings compete in the hula and with each other.IMG_2314

Mom and auntie’s turn to poseIMG_2309

 

Grandma has something special  for her girl.( I just love how beautiful and long  Kili’s hair is gettingIMG_2023Proud fatherIMG_2079

By now the kids are getting tired and want to be with their friends but wait. There are more grandparentsIMG_2043

 

And Dad wants a photo with his sonIMG_2030

Mom is back again with both kids nowIMG_2239

And even the mentor who helped my grandson to stay on track throughout the competition steps inIMG_2247

and though my grandson has on his hat and is ready to make it he has still more family that wants those photos.IMG_2234And last but not least I manage to get  into one shot, all washed out from running around trying to take everyone’s photo.

but that’s what family is about and we support the kids in their endeavors. But families here in Hawaii extend beyond blood.IMG_2075

 

The most important family in hula life is the Kumu. You can see the admiration for kumu Snowbird on Kili’s face.IMG_2049

And of course there are the hula sistersIMG_2227And the hula brothers.IMG_2353

And the very touching love of friends.

I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough. What touched me most about living in Hawaii is how much children are loved. They, are to be seen, and they, are to be heard.

Ah Nuts!

I’ve given the garden tour at the museum how many times when someone has opened a kukui nut for the guest to try. Not a big piece but just a tiny sample with the warning that it causes diarrhea. (that kept them in check) So I never thought that I could react to the nut itself. IMG_1415

This is a fake Kukui nut lei. But I think they are still pretty. The museum would like us to make real Kukui nut leis as part of our uniforms. But I’ve not been able to make it in on Saturdays to do this so I brought some raw nuts home to work on.

I was watching “Big Bang Theory” Laughing in bed surrounded by my four dogs happily cleaning out the Kukui. I was on the third one when I finely thought that the numbness around my mouth was getting too uncomfortable. Though it was not as uncomfortable as the fact that my throat was closing up. I stopped cleaning and went to the computer to find anything on reactions to it. All’s it said was that the meat could be poisonous if eaten raw. Well I knew enough not to be eating the meat. I’m thinking it was the fact that as I chipped away at the meat, inside, I would blow through one hole to make it come out the other end.

It must have been the nut itself that was making me react. So as I’m sitting at the computer trying to find a natural treatment my daughter comes home and finds out what I’m doing. It was around 7:30 PM and she had been in town with my grandson all afternoon and she was tired and cranky.

“Mom, do you think you need to go to the emergency?” With my abhorrence for doctors I said through the very tiny hole in the back of my throat, I don’t think so let me just see what I can find here.

Meantime my son-in-law is asking me to stick my tongue out, then to smile. I said, are you checking to see if I’m having a stroke? With that he said I guess you’re not. Then Nico got worried and chimed in with a scared look can something happen to grandma? So all this is going on when my daughter comes down and tells me to get off the computer and get dressed. She was taking me to the emergency. So I did and off we went with the tiny, little hole in my throat getting smaller. ( I thought, thank goodness I had showered and brushed my teeth.)

We drove to Pali Momi. My daughter was tired and cranky because she knew this was going to be an all night thing. I kept worrying about the dogs and telling her to call Alika to make sure they didn’t find the Kukui nut meat. Chris kept saying don’t worry about the dogs worry about yourself! I tried to keep up a cheerful conversation because I knew she was tired but It didn’t help.

Of course when we got there the place was busy. Chris dropped me at the front door and I went in while she went in search of parking. I gave the two women attendance my reason for being there. (All the time trying not to sound too pitiful yet so embarrassed each time I said I was blowing on the Kukui Nut. I had to tell the story about 7 times.) By now even my teeth were hurting. As I looked around I thought this is going to take for ever. But before I knew it I went from person A to person B and then to triage, which must have really made the guy sitting across from me angry as he was complaining about how long he had been there.

IMG_1414I felt I was one with my dogs at last wearing these tags

So now I’ve messed up my daughters night, and was helped immediately while the poor guy across from me hunkered down. I manage to upset people wherever I go. Anyway they put me in a room, hooked me up to an IV and before I knew it I was 3 sheets to the wind.

But I must say, before I sailed off I managed to notice that the emergency room ceiling was made of this beautiful Koa. Not only that, there were carved squares in the ceiling, each, depicting a different Pacific culture canoeing through the ocean. It was beautiful! I wanted to talk about it to Chris but she gets so upset with me and I think sometimes bored listening to me talk about Hawaii. But I thought I would give it a try. So I carefully maneuvered my arms and IV and turned to her. It was then I realized that my eyes were shut and I couldn’t see her. When I opened them I got a shock. She was sitting there looking at me and I was looking up at the stark white ceiling. Wow, what ever they gave me was great. I just turned on my back and said “I only have three more nuts to clean.” Actually it was only two but at that point I couldn’t count anymore.

After my daughter read me the riot act about touching the nuts again I went off to never, never land. We got home around 10:30 I immediately went to bed and the last thing Chris said to me was, “You make sure to pick up your medicine and take it!”

Waking up and feeling great I told my daughter I had no more symptoms. She  reiterated once again, before she sailed off to work, about the medicine. Well I picked it up after I went out to breakfast, looked at magazines, and yarn. I knew I was going to be tired after I took it so I managed to do what needed to be done. Don’t tell Chris, I cleaned the last two Nuts!

IMG_1413Raw Kukui nut and the tool I was using to hollow it out.