Thursday, December 18, 2014

so close, so faraway

Some of you may have noticed that i re-implemented the Gold Stars For Grown-ups program a little while back.
I didn't point it out at the time, just added it to the side as a carrot for me to get back on track doing the things that need done.
Things that i really don't want to do.
Like laundry.
Or taking out the trash.
Or ab crunches.
Mostly i am happy with how it is going, but when i just updated the ticker i realized that i am ONE star short of earning a reward.
Really? One star?
Almost as exasperating as looking for my camera doo-hickey or discovering that the mouse snacked on a jar candle.

Come on now, Niki.
Massage is waiting for you.
Do the @#$%^ laundry!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

i think evil gnomes took it

I can't find the USB converter for my camera's memory card.
Can't pull pictures from my camera.
There are time sensitive photos an there people.
Things that should have been blogged already.
I always have my converter with me.
I had it; then it was gone.
I keep holding out hope that i will find it, but those gnomes are wily.
sigh... i don't want to go to an electronics store a week before Christmas...

Where could it have gone?
I need to get my pictures.
My blog is empty.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Pearl Harbor

73 years ago the Japanese Imperial Navy launched an attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu.
Battleships, cruisers, destroyers and aircrafts were beached, destroyed or sunk.
Over 2,400 died with more than 1,000 of the bodies lost to a watery grave.
The next day, the US declared war on Japan and vice versa.
Three days later Germany and Italy declared war on America.
Less then 150 hours after the attack, the US was fully engaged in the Second World War after spending years trying to avoid it.

Those dry facts can be found in any history book or on any WWII website, but they mean little to modern generations for whom that war might as well have been as long ago as the Civil War.

I think that is why Pearl Harbor is one of the most visited sites in Hawaii. We all know in the back of our collective consciousness that we should remember it, but it is tucked so far back that it is not until we stand in the actual location that we are moved to care.

Driving west from Honolulu, I knew i had to be getting close when missiles starting peeking over the fence.

I was shocked to see that the Pacific Command is still housed here.
Logically it isn't surprising, but somehow i'd always assumed that it was moved after being all bombed to heck.
Guess not.
The Pearl Harbor location is home not only to the Arizona, but also the USS Missouri, where the Japanese formally surrendered, the USS Bowfin submarine, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

The USS Arizona Memorial can only be reached by boat shuttle as it straddles the remaining wreckage of the battleship right where she sank. 
2,000 free tickets are given out each day to visitors; with the visitor center opening at 7am, the tix are often gone by mid-morning.
Come early!
NOTE: pictures are from October 2010

The short boat ride gives you time to appreciate the stark beauty of the white bridge, bowed in the middle to represent the depression in the spirit of America after the attack and its resilience to rise again as you approach from the left, getting closer and closer.

Here are some pictures to illustrate locations for you:

For me it was one thing to know that the monument was over a sunken ship, but a very different experience to stand looking at rusting pieces jutting out of the water, sea life claiming the underwater metal as its own and oil slicks continuous on the water.


To lend perspective to the size of the ships attacked and the enormity of sinking or beaching eight of them, you walk by one of the Arizona's three anchors next to the launch pier.

Today i pause to remember and acknowledge your sacrifice

It was one of the most beautiful and affecting places i have ever visited.

Monday, December 1, 2014

balancing living at home and working at home

My house is a mess.
Not dirty, mind you; there is just stuff everywhere.
No, not like hoarders, either: it is useful stuff that gets used on a daily basis.
Consider that it is my apartment and a full papercraft studio and a full jewelry studio.
It is not uncommon to have the dining room table set up for beading, a card table up in the living room for card making, Makes it tough to have people in for a visit.
Plus, i hate my tiny kitchen.
Over the summer, Amy and I were going to get together for tea and i decided that by jiminey i was going to host it, mess or no mess, crappy small kitchen and all.

STEP 1: consolidate in-progress jewelry projects into containers; stack them neatly to the side of the room

STEP 2: consolidate in-progress paper craft projects onto the dining room table; cover gently with a table cloth; add a pretty teapot to keep with the theme
STEP 3: cover wretchedly small, mismatched counter tops with a matching tablecloth to create the illusion of a buffet; lay out food that was prepared well in advance so that the kitchen did not need to be utilized that day, except to boil water
(from left: chips with Rea's homemade peach salsa; toast fingers with Rea's homemade black raspberry jelly; trail mix customized to my specifications (fruit and nuts have to be a 1:1 ratio, people); cantaloupe and grapes; black and white cookies (made by the grocery store because i don't really bake); 2 versions of toasted party ryes {cream cheese herbed with basil and garlic, topped with tiny tomatoes & cream cheese herbed with garlic and oregano, topped with prosciutto}; zucchini rounds with either plain or chipotle hummus; and green olives)
STEP 4: eat, drink, be merry

Tea turned out so well that i've decided more entertaining needs to happen in Chez Nicole.
Lydia and I were supposed to have a Friday adventure, but i had to cancel at the last minute so i invited her over for home cooking instead.
One of the house specialties is Nik'obo Stew: a seasonally variable stew that is loosely based on jambalaya and a bbq hobo stew a friend made for me 20 years ago.
It always has sausage and/or chicken, a sweet element balanced against a savory element and a grain of some type.

This Autumnal version was kielbasa, black beans, chili beans, sauteed onions and corn cooked in a tomato base with bay leaves as the savory half mixed with the sweet half of eggplant, butternut squash, chopped onions and whole garlic cloves roasted with nutmeg and ground cloves. 
I think it is okay to serve on tv trays as long as you have pretty napkins folded into flatware pockets, right?