Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Happy New Year, version 2012

Well, another year down and gone.

There was a block party on the street for New Year's Eve. Uncle Francis, at the end of our street, and Uncle Jack conspired to put a pig in the imu in Francis' yard. They enlisted the help of the neighborhood boys and got the fire going early on Saturday morning. I wasn't awake for that part, so I didn't get any pictures. But I made sure I was on hand for when the pigs came out of the ground.
Uncovering the pit

Off came the coverings first. Then the banana leaves. Then the boys hoisted the pig in its chicken wire cage out onto a near-by table. It was still wrapped with banana and ti leaves, with some hot rocks in the belly cavity.

Ed and Jason and a one-handed Billy (he's got his wrist in a cast) helped with unearthing and prepping the goods. They slid the pig from the chicken wire mesh into a big metal tray. Francis' son added some salt, and then they pulled out all the bones, mostly by grabbing a bone in each hand and digging through the meat to free the other bones.

The meat all went into a new galvanized trash can and then up to Jack's lanai for the meal. Ka'amo'oloa pot lucks are amazing feasts! We have some great cooks on the block and half the fun (ok, well maybe a quarter of the fun...'cause there's *lots* of fun at these things) is finding out who brought what dish. Needless to say, I ate too much. I don't remember what everybody brought, but here are a few highlights:

Molly made an amazing Thai hot sauce for the pork. I think it had cilantro, chilis, garlic, fish sauce, lime, and maybe something else. But it was *hot* and so tasty!

Getting to the good stuff
Laura made scalloped potatoes, Gretchen brought a yummy salad. There were pasta dishes, and soba noodles, mashed potatoes, pies, cookies, chips and so many other goodies.

Ed's sister Jen made fresh Fijian awa. While awa is not the best tasting beverage, it's wonderfully mellow, and I enjoyed a few cups of it.

I made Estate Bread Pudding. Ok, really, I just took all the stuff from the fridge and the freezer that I didn't know what to do with, and stirred it all up. Raisins soaked in rum and a little triple sec, macadamia nuts, pecans, a few cashews, hotdog and hamburger buns left over from Mom's memorial bbq, a airplane size whiskey...all soaked in milk, eggs and butter. I used up so many odds and ends. And the best part was that the end product was even edible!

 The gathering wasn't just about the food though. Liam drew out a handball court on the street and the kids (mostly the grown-up kids!) played a few sets of doubles games. Then Jason and Liam went head-to-head in a death match. I don't remember who won :)

Shutting down the street for a game of handball
After the food was all eaten, or at least appetites were somewhat satiated, Laura busted out a case of poprocks. She gave out individual boxes to all the kids and they spent the next 15 minutes slamming the little balls of paper to the ground. It made a wonderful racket. And then the kids spent the next half hour wandering around, looking for the stray rocks that hadn't popped on the first round.

There were bike races, with Molly on a mini kid's bike, and Punky on a grown up bike; dance practice for the kids; and a continuous display of fireworks from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Uncle Jack and Uncle Francis -- masterminds of fun
 The awa took its toll on me, though, and I headed home (pathetically) early. That doesn't mean I got to sleep though...those neighborhood fireworks were loud enough that I knew almost to the second when the clock struck midnight. I opened up the bottom window above my bed, and was able to look out and see a pretty impressive show of starbursts and colorful rockets.

The feasting tables - Jay, his son, and Molly
I figured on a quiet New Year's Day and went for an early run. Then about mid-day a  friend texted me to see if I wanted to go out on his boat with him. My response: "A boat ride?!? What kind of sailor could I call myself if I turned down an offer like that?"

Auntie Tonya and Uncle Francis...love Francis' hat!!
I was a little surprised at how excited I was at the prospect of getting out on the water. I mean, I do this for a living, right? What's so special about going for a boat ride? But, BUT, I haven't been on a boat for more than a year and a half, and I guess the separation was more deeply felt than I realized. I was out of the house, headed for Hawaii Kai within about ten minutes.

Scott has a 20 foot, aluminum hulled boat pulled up by his condo in Hawaii Kai. We got the cooler in the boat and headed out. It was a beautiful day, kona winds, not much of a swell. I'd never spent much time in that area of the island and wonder why now, because it is so pretty.

We went out around China Walls and it got a little choppy. I brought a bag of pretzels with me, ya know, just in case I started feeling seasick. Scott kept asking me if I was feeling okay. I was feeling *great*! There was just enough of a chop to be a little bumpy and throw a little spray. We saw a couple of whales and a bunch of dolphins. When we headed back to calmer waters, I jumped it to look around at the coral and reef. It was an unexpected and delightful surprise to get to spend my New Year's Day out on the water.

So here's to a brand new year. May it bring you fullness, happiness and all the fun you can stand. If  it keeps going like it started, I think it's going to be a fantastic ride!


Anonymous said...

How about the Sunset?...the two swimmers?..& how handsome your host was ;-)

Just a Girl said...

I can't believe I forgot to mention those things! The sunset: ho hum, another awesome sunset underway, the red ball of fire, sinking slowly beyond the horizon, dyed glowing pink by the haze of vog moving into the area.

Oh, and those two boys. How fun were they?! So, we were just off of China Walls, drifting slowly to the west, watching the crowds play on the rocks, jumping into the waves. We noticed a couple of kids swimming out in our general direction, but figured they'd eventually turn away. Wait, were the really swimming to the boat? Pirate attack, maybe? When they were about 20 feet away, one of them called out to ask if they could touch the boat. Scott flipped the ladder over and invited them onboard. They had lost a bet and had to swim out to the boat. Unfortunately, the boat was drifting away from them, so they had to swim a little longer than they expected. They were *delighted* when Scott offered to drive in to shore a little closer so they wouldn't have to swim *all the way* back.

Handsome, and gracious, and funny, and articulate and interesting and adventurous and...ok, well you get the idea. Thanks again for the boat ride, Scott ;)