I Move to Hawai’i and This Happens…

In July, this Kansas woman moved 3800 miles to the island of Oahu.  We came for a job. We put our kids in good schools. We started to settle into a routine. We are slowly getting everything unpacked and the house put in order and taking care of all of those logistical things that happen when you move long distance.

Kansas City to Honolulu Map
Map of the United States

The State of Hawai’i is part of a 1600-mile archipelago of volcanic islands and is home to the most remote city on the planet, with the next nearest metropolis over 2000 miles away. We aren’t near much of anything except tinier islands that stretch back across Eastern Pacific Ocean, a trail left by a volcanic vent over the course of several million years. That volcano continues to erupt as Kilaeau and is currently expanding the size of the Big Island.

Hawai’i is a place where people want to go on vacation. Why? Because the weather is almost always sunny and the air and sea are warm. The ample beaches are sandy and the turquoise water beckons. We go to a beach at least once a week as a family to take a dip and watch life.

Between June and November, it also happens to be Hurricane Season in the Pacific. The likelihood of the major Hawaiian Islands being hit is rare – a small group of islands in a vast ocean makes a tiny target. Conditions have to be just so.

Hurricane Hector passed by with a distant wave in early August, but that storm

Satellite and Radar of Hurricane Hector
Satellite and Radar of Hurricane Hector – August 2018

went on to break the record as the longest lasting major hurricane on record. (And the entire storm only completely dissipated on August 16th.) Hector’s nearness to the islands, as well as a class assignment about disaster preparation, made me act on getting our supplies together little by little. I planned to stock up over several weeks to the recommended 14-day supply.

Fourteen days because we are out here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and it takes at least that long to resupply the island with commodities like bottled water and food. Fourteen days for each person in your household. That’s 28 gallons of drinking water, 28 gallons of general use water, and 14 days worth of non-perishable food to cover 4 people. That’s quite a bit to stock, but I’ve got time, right?

Hurricane Lane has other plans. Hurricane Lane, just two weeks after Hector, is charging at us with torrential bravado. Lane is here, and it is going to drop rain by the truckful on these little islands. The Big Island is already in the deluge. Maui, Lana’i, and Moloka’i are next. On Oahu, we are just waiting for the rain and the wind.

How much of each? Forecasts predict 20 inches or more possible of heavy rain in the next few days. Winds depend on the strength of the storm as it closes in. If the weakening trend holds, this might feel similar to a severe Kansas thunderstorm – with the winds coming from the wrong direction. Either way, I’ll let you all know what happens when we come out the other side.

NOAA Image of Hurricane Lane
NOAA Satellite Photograph of Hurricane Lane and the Hawaiian Islands


#OctPoWriMo 17 – Strawberries

She turned her nose up at the berries
I had grown with my patience and toil.
They aren’t the same as the store-bought ones.
They are small, very small, and very red.

“But you love strawberries.
You eat them by the pint.”
“They don’t look right,” she refused,
Shaking her blonde head and scrunching her nose.

So I left the bowl on the counter,
A tangerine bowl filled with crimson fruit
Bright against the mottled brown stone.
I went outside to enjoy the shade of the porch and sip my wine.

Not to my surprise, my girl followed me out,
Bowl in hand and berries in her mouth,
Juice dribbling down her chin.
“I told you so.”

Road Trip Activity Books

ROAD TRIP time is coming and, when you spend long hours in the car, the kids need something to do. (You can make these for adults, too!)

Activities and coloring pages are available for all ages and interests, from your child’s favorite characters to educational activities for Math, Science, and Reading and Writing.

Kids’ Activity Books

Materials and what to do with them:

3-ring binders: 1/2″ to 1″ for ease, any color. Use the kind with the clear outer layer to slip in a cover. Create personalized covers for each child with suitable clip-art.

Attach a pen or pencil with string to one of the rings.

Slip-in Page Protectors: Collect Map, Tickets, Brochures, etc.

Slip-in page protectors: for collecting maps, ticket stubs, and travel info at rest areas, visitor centers, and fun stops.

Pencil bag to hold colored pencils or markers. I selected the Large All Purpose Zipper Bag by Cumberland Concepts to hold enough for two artists. Crayons will melt in a hot car, so you may not want to pack those in the car books.

Activities (a short list of places to look):

Download Junior Ranger booklets from the National Park Service. Great even if you aren’t heading to a National Park on your trip. If you are, the kids can get a head start on earning a Junior Ranger badge. There are different booklets for different parks.

Junior Ranger Motto

Educational Worksheets:



Coloring Pages:

bestcoloringpagesforkids.com (print straight from browser, lots to chose from)







Or search the internet for more amazing options. The sites listed above were the most user friendly and easy to navigate. I found many other sites with potential, but wading through ads and incorrect pathways made them less than ideal.

When you’re finished with one trip, you can take out the used pages and fill the book again with new activities!


#OctPoWriMo 18 – The Reader

Resident of a hundred worlds
Voyeur of a thousand lives
Escapist from life
From cooking, cleaning, working
Words are like dreams
Inventions far greater
And more powerful
Than any modern potion
“Don’t read this book, mom.
Its spells are too powerful,”
Says the child of three.
“That is more true than
You can understand,”
I reply.
She will be a reader one day


Note: My young daughter has said many such statements since she learned how to speak in full sentences by the age of 2. I hope her wisdom stays with her all her life.

#OctPoWriMo 9 – Aquamarine

An ocean mosaic washes across the floor
Quickly I step by on my way to the tower
Up in the elevator I travel, anguish rising
Almost there, I bury a breath, steady
Myself against the tinge of disinfectant
And the auditory assault of medical machines
Rendering care at the doctor’s discretion
I am afraid, I am hopeful, I am worried
No one should have to endure this
Everywhere – the walls, the curtains, the scrubs – is aquamarine

Whale Mosaic


Notes: October is always a difficult month of memories. Aquamarine is the dominating color decorating the children’s hospital that I spent a great deal of time in six years ago.


#OctPoWriMo 5 – Her Shoes, My Shoes


Her shoes:
These little skiffs are light, unladen.
She flitters and darts like a tern.
She dives into the waters of the normal
And streaks out again.
Her own way, her own thoughts.
Her feet sail on favorable winds.

My shoes:
These boats are waterlogged.
They’ve motored many miles,
Some waters choppier than others.
Sometimes I thought I would sink.
These shoes are battered and storm-worn
And struggle to rise above the pressure of the waves.


Notes: My daughter snapped this photo completely by happenstance while playing with my phone. I sometimes find a hundred new photos of randomness in the photo files, especially when the device protests that it is out of memory. I save many of them, and sometimes they summon inspiration.


Check out these other poets:




Dance Mom – Well, Not So Much

My daughter is in ballet this year. She’s a tot with a short attention span, and her class is performing a dance with a few dozen moves about 2 minutes long. This leads to comical assortment of girls standing and staring in confusion, girl’s doing half the moves, and those girls making up their own moves to the music.

We’ve come to recital time and in proper preparation, we’ve been through the “tech rehearsal” – giving the children and staff the opportunity to use the stage and set the lights. This is my daughter’s first time on a stage performing, and she’s a little unsure what to expect. But she’s brave and curious and does her best to follow the moves while a small group of parents and siblings watch on. They run through the routine three times before being dismissed. We don’t have to stay for the other parts of the rehearsal so we don’t. It’s time to hit the pool.

We’ve been through “dress rehearsal” – all of the dancers dressed in costume and makeup for a straight run-through of the show from beginning to end. No one is allowed in the auditorium during the rehearsal, so all of the girls (and four boys) are sequestered in the “dressing rooms” with the Backstage Moms while waiting their turn. I wait outside in the courtyard of the high school with my computer and pleasantly balmy weather while the majority of parents and siblings are waiting in the lobby annoying each other. I’m happy to be outside by myself with the pigeons and robins and sparrows. The two hours of alone time allow me to get quite a bit of editing work accomplished. I keep infrequent watch on the group inside in order to pick up a sign that they are ready to dismiss the dancers to their parents.2015-05-02 11.57.34

And now the recital. It’s early afternoon. In the dressing room, I help my daughter into her costume and fix her make-up. She’s actually very excited to wear the blush and eyeshadow and lipstick, though it only lasts as long as she keeps her hands off of her face. I had to buy the make-up specifically for her, since I don’t wear these contrivances on a daily basis and don’t keep them on hand. By the time she hits the stage, there won’t be any left. After promising that Mommy, Daddy, Brother, Grandma and Grampa will be watching from the audience, I leave her with her class and head out to the lengthening line of families waiting to be seated in the auditorium. Flowers by the dozens and gifts in frilly gift bags walk by. On the way in, we are handed colorful programs featuring a couple of pages for the actual program notes and rosters and about a dozen more with advertisements from local companies and family ads conspicuously boasting encouraging words for everyone to read. The high school auditorium is packed. Only a few free seats dot the sloped landscape of spring-loaded butt-traps.

I’m proud of my daughter. For a three-year-old, she’s accomplished quite a bit and she’s up on the stage with a smile and makes her way through the movements bit-by-bit despite the distraction of a full house of strangers. I’m disappointed with the teacher that the class did not learn more ballet basics and the routine was mostly about looking adorable – which they accomplished in full. We wait through two full hours and 27 performances to glimpse these few minutes of the Itty Bitty Ballet dancers.

Obviously, I don’t share the overly animated enthusiasm of some of the other moms. I want things to be run well, and I want to see my daughter learn independence as well as knowing when to synchronize with a group, and both of these valuable skills can be learned in these situations. Fortunately, this isn’t a competitive arena, at least not yet. She won’t be soloing for a while and she has a lot of work to do before she’s ready for that. I want her to enjoy experiences I never had the opportunity to attempt. She’s happy the recital is over and that she doesn’t have to do the dance again – she was getting a little bored with the same routine. She wants to dance again next fall, but maybe in the jazz class or tap. Come August, she’ll get to make choice, and I’ll be back in the waiting area of the studio reading books or trying to write for thirty minutes while dance moms, dads, and non-dance siblings fill the hard space with a cacophony of chatter.



Bedtime Aerobics

Put both kids in bed. Climb into own bed. Get warm. Start reading.

1st kids needs a drink of water. Leave warm bed, go downstairs, fetch water. Get some for yourself. You’ll need it. Deliver water.

2nd kid now needs a drink of water. 2nd kid is out of bed playing with blocks. Order 2nd kid back to bed. Go downstairs to fetch water. Get some more for yourself.

Deliver water. Watch her drink and put cup out of the way. Put 2nd kid in bed and cover up.

Retrieve cup from 1st kid. Re-tuck blanket. This requires climbing the ladder to the loft bed. (In retrospect, not the best investment.)

Return to own bed. Cover up, get warm, start reading again.

2nd kid, “Mama, I spilled.”

Get up. Fetch towel. Dry up water. Convince 2nd child that her covers are not wet and she needs to lie back down. Drop towel in laundry basket.

2nd kid needs more water. Go downstairs and refill cup. Return upstairs with fresh water.

2nd kid needs to go to the bathroom. When finished, put her back in bed.

Return to bed. Get warm. Don’t start reading yet.

1st kid, “Mom, can you come here?”

“What for?”

“I need to tell you something.”

“Then just tell me.”

“You have to come here.”

Of course. Get up again. Listen to what first kid has to say, which is something about wanting an Xbox so he can play Halo. “We’ll talk about that some other time. Go to sleep. Good night.”

“Sing me a lullaby.”

Sing Twinkle, Twinkle. Start return to bed. 2nd kid hollers for mama, so do a quick spin back to bedrooms. Find 2nd kid playing with blocks again. Put back in bed and say goodnight.

Return to bed. Again. Listen, wait. Everything is quiet. Begin reading.

Hear footsteps dashing down the hall. 2nd kid climbs into bed with you and finally falls asleep. Carry 2nd kid back to her own bed. Good strength exercise.

Get back in bed and finally relax.

Then realize that all that water you drank earlier is filling up your bladder. Get up and go to the bathroom.

Another Year, Another Book

Time passes on, as we all know it does. Time doesn’t care that you have 2 million things to accomplish today, both mandatory and recreational.

For whatever reason, I always take my writing supplies to the in-laws house for Christmas. I have this fantasy that I will have a moment sometime during the stay to take pen in hand and scribble thoughts.

What thoughts?

The house is so busy with children and relatives, chit-chat, game playing, cooking and cleaning up, there isn’t a silent moment until after midnight. By then, I’m exhausted from the constant stimulation of my senses, the noise and the movement. I crash into bed without a thought in my head.

By the time the holidays are over, I realize it’s been over two weeks since I’ve written anything on my stories. Not one word. My books and pens have been neglected. I’ve lost my place in the creation of the story. I have to re-read what I wrote in order to remember where I was headed and why. I have to reset my mental capacities for creation rather than reaction.

So, I’ve set my goal this year to publish three (3!) new novels. Two of these are already well on the way, with edits in progress and last minute fixes. The third is still up in the air, with my choices being a haunted B&B or a alternate version of the ancient past by delving into my recent archeology studies, or another installment of the Stormflies series in the form of a prequel, or what is commonly called an “origin” story these days.

The thing is, if I don’t recuperate from the social season soon, I won’t get any of this finished!

Time to plan the first vacation day away from everything and spend a quiet day at home, in the dark, alone. (Introverts will understand.)



A Year in Review

fireworksHappy New Years Eve!

We’ll start with a brief summary of what I learned:

  • Some people have no logic. I’ve learned this before, but it just keeps showing up.
  • Don’t agree to review exchanges. I usually end up with the short end of the draw.
  • My metabolism isn’t what it used to be.
  • Even genetically related children can be completely different (again, I knew this, but I am recognizing it again).
  • Soy is in nearly everything. It’s cheap and accessible, but if you have soy allergy or intolerance, life is a lot more complicated.
  • I can make time to read.
  • I can make time to write.
  • My husband thinks I’m hard to buy for; I think he’s hard to buy for.
  • Crowdtap is awesome for getting free stuff.
  • Swagbucks is awesome for getting free gift cards for Amazon.
  • Amazon Prime is totally worth the money.
  • The Kansas City, Kansas, Post Office has a thing against delivering my chocolate order correctly.
  • Purples are my new favorite colors. (Prior to this, purple was unwanted since it was the color of the college rival school. Far beyond that now.)
  • I have channeled both my mother and father in my housework.
  • Settlers of Catan is a fun game.
  • Without evolution, we wouldn’t have many medicines or biochemical products we use daily.
  • A lot of people can keep a secret for several months. Considering the people in this case, I’m very surprised by this.
  • I naturally knew more about the art of rhetoric than I realized.
  • If your beliefs about something are weak, you are more likely to be upset when someone challenges you.
  • There are only 4 bird lineages in the entire world (these four lineages survived the last mass extinction event). All existing birds stem for those 4 lineages.
  • The past has happened. The future hasn’t.


And let’s celebrate what I accomplished:

  • I wrote 32 poems in 31 days in October (I didn’t quite make one per day, but I made up for the 2 days I missed.
  • I completed 50,000 words for a non-fiction novel in November. A heart-wrenching 50,000 words.
  • I had 4 poems accepted for publishing in various anthologies and on various sites.
  • I read over 32 books in 2014
  • I completed 3 MOOCs – Sci-Fi Literature, Evolution, and Rhetorical Composition
  • I started my own small business to supplement my incoming – Bee-Edited.com


And my goals for new year…?

  • Publish 3 new books in 2015 (I have 8 open ideas, so this shouldn’t be hard, right?)
  • Work on my poetry skills
  • Make more time for writing and reading
  • Read 40 books in 12 months
  • Keep signing up for MOOCs (4 coming up) – Paleobiology, Australian Lit, Galaxies and Cosmology, and Astrobiology and the Search for ETL



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