The Land of Ooze

“What time is it?” I whisper to Katherine, the only lady at the monthly Game Night wearing a watch. There are ten of us here at Marge’s and this is our second round of Catch Phrase.


I was first invited by my friend Deborah. I had a great time in October, missed November, and tonight – December 3 – she just got up and demonstrated several 1960s dances (Twist, Watusi, Jerk and Pony) and our laughter rocked the entire 16 mile square subdivision.

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“Eight forty-five,” she says.

“I said I’d be home by 9,” I say and a couple of the ladies across the table just howl at my curfew. We are all wild and whooping it up, sipping wine and munching pupu platters and staying out late. Still, half the women live in other subdivisions, one has an outside job, and yet another’s cat allergies have kicked in and her eyes are watering. Everyone agrees to wind it up.

By 9:30 I’m out the door with my empty cookie plate and a big slab of apple pie in a plastic box for the Bearded One.

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The moon is huge, just 3 days from full. I see the constellation we call The Three Twinkly Ones – Orion’s Belt – clearly and think as I always do when seeing these three stars in a row of our three adult “kids,” all of whom were actually here together last month.

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After they left, unsurprisingly, I felt a bit bereft, pondering life and my navel and badgering everyone for a definition of home.

NeNe, my swimming buddy, says home is where your beloved is. The Bearded One says home is where you don’t want to live anywhere else. Our younger daughter, the Nurse, says home is where her hair products and cat are.

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I climb into the dark truck. It starts right up and stays started. Monday it was with Ed at Kolohe Car Repair on 19th Street getting its fuel pump relay replaced. Hawaii is hard on cars. Lava cinders grind the tires down, salt water and vog eat the paint and feed the rust, and the roads are rough. “Just gonna rattle the truck to death,” says the Bearded One.

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On the other hand, it’s December and the weather is exquisite, in the 60s at night, low 70s during the days with sun rays and a trade wind breeze. These are the reasons we moved here 8 months ago.

I back out the pitch black driveway and swerve to avoid a pothole the size of a toilet. I think how Ed the Mechanic reminds me so much of Virge the Mechanic back in Washington, good guys who come to our house to pick us up since we have just one car. I don’t want to be in Washington, though, I think.

I feel tired as I drive through the dark. I weeded one of the pineapple patches earlier today while the Bearded One weed-whacked.


I can only imagine him trying to stay up for me. It’ll be 10 before we’re in bed. This with a man who went to bed at 2-3am most nights for the first decade or so we were back together.  He shifted his clock for me.

I turn left onto Paradise Drive, past the piles of uprooted albizia trees from Tropical Storm Iselle back in August, and I’m halfway home.

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One of the other Game Night women behind me turns right toward Pahoa, where the lava flow has picked up again after stalling out last month. “The vog set off our smoke alarm last week,” she told us between game rounds and pupus refills. She shrugged and smiled – what can you do?

The lava river has split and is oozing more toward us now, but it’s still miles away. A slow motion, months-if-not-years event.

And the feral pigs. One of which, a small black hog the size of a golden retriever runs in front of the truck as I turn onto our road off of Paradise.

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The Three Twinkly Ones and the moon shine brightly above our house as I enter our driveway. It’s 9:40 and the Bearded One greets me at the door in his jammies – electric blue surfer boy pants. The house behind him is dark.

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“I’m so sorry I’m late,” I say. His eyelids droop sleepily and he mumbles something about being happy that I had fun as he shuffles toward the stairs.

“Here,” I say, “I brought you some pie. Maybe a few days’ worth.”

“Pie?” He looks at my outstretched hand.


He perks up, takes the pie to the kitchen and turns on the light. There is our new microwave oven, the smallest available at Target, but still uses lots of watts. Carefully he microwaves the pie, and then sits down by the window under the universe of stars and eats it all. There’s no place like home.

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26 responses to “The Land of Ooze

  1. Aloha! Pothole the size of a toilet! Haaaa! Yep, munchies trump beddy bye time any day! I am so glad you are making friends and having fun, Christi! I love seeing the stars. I have to drive a ways out to get a good look. We have feral hogs at White Rock Lake, or so I’ve heard. You just reminded me of Lost :-). I believe home is where your beloved is. Enjoy the beauty of HOME! Love, Susan (your birthday sister from another mister)

    • Mahalo Susan. The stars are one of my favorite things about Hawaii. The sky is immense and it’s so dark you can hardly take the universe in. The stars go down to the horizon — almost. I never watched Lost but the B.O. did and he just explained about the pig and all the Hawaiian babes running around. 🙂 Three weeks ’til birthday time! Love you.xo

  2. Home is where the bearded one is!

  3. As a perennial gypsy, mine is: ‘Home is wherever you make it!’ This post reeks of settling in, making friends, having fun and coming to terms with the way life is in your new neck of the woods. Eight months! Already? Doesn’t time fly!! xoxo

    • Aloha, Pauline. Yes, eight months! Almost a human gestation. And you are exactly right, “coming to terms with the way life is” in our new neck of the woods is what is afoot. Thus I treasure your definition of home. It’s a creative act, no doubt about it. Love you! xo

  4. Lovely, mindful, gentle post. Thanks, Christi. John

  5. Thank you as always, I spent the weekend in the woods and thought of you both. Home is where the dog is.

  6. Clever girl! Men will forgive you dancing the night away so long as you come home with something edible in a box for them ;). We have those same stars but they are on our “saucepan” constellation. I think of food whenever I see them ;). Home is where you set yourself down and where you feel your feeder roots settling. If you drink tea/coffee there and it makes you feel sane, you are “home”. You are home Christi girl, you are gardening :).

    • Aloha Fran! What food do you think of when you see The Three Twinkly Ones?? 🙂 My roots are going in. Since all three Twinkly Ones have been here and approved, I’m HERE. Home. Hope you have a wonderful time with your daughters this week…and a equally wonderful homecoming. Love you. xo

  7. So much stands out here, Christi; but, seriously, ‘weeding pineapples’? That thought never crossed my mind, ever . . . Glad you two are happy and settling further in, too.

    I can relate to your ponderings on ‘home’, too. In the end, it’s a choice, isn’t it? Pauline said it well.

    Hope that ooze stalls again, decides it’s ‘home’ and settles in for a long cool nap.

    Thanks as usual for the thought-provoking and the laughs; and to the B. O. for the hearty illustrations. ~ Linne

    • Aloha Linne! The pineapples were choked with weeds! We could hardly see them. But it did take some getting used to avoiding those prickly pointy leaves. I agree with Pauline, too. I love how she said, “coming to terms with the way life is in your new neck of the woods.” It is a choice, and then it is more choices. 🙂 I know you’ve been through the home wringer lately and please know that I think of you and your mum and auntie often. Stay warm, good friend. Oh…and at Game Night, I got to tell about kefir! No one has any, but we discussed it thoroughly. 🙂 Love you. xo

      • Thanks for your thoughts for us all, Christi; I appreciate that so much. You are so right; choice and then more choices. I think that I make that first choice easily, then struggle with the ones that follow . . .

        You will be glad to know that Dutiful Dorcas continues to churn out the kefir; I’ve been making a large batch of ‘cream cheese’ every couple of weeks, but it’s quite tart, so I’ve had to be creative in finding ways to use it. Lately I’ve been adding medium hot salsa (can’t find mild anymore) and some of that cheese stuff for chip dip, which also has a bit of a bite to it. I mix them in well, spoon a large dollop onto a soup plate, then my frittata goes on top. Mmmmm . . . I also eat it with whole grain tortilla chips (the smaller, round ones), but a little goes a fair way, at least with me.

        If you are ready to make kefir again, I can send you some; Dorcas has been happily cloning herself for a while now. Let me know, ok?

        Love back to you and the B.O. I hope your weather is continuing to be mild and only breezy and that the ooze is slowing down more every day.

      • Aloha Linne! It is amazing to me that the kefir grains I sent you last year — some time in 2013 anyway — are still alive and curdling milk. And I’d love to have a few Dorcas grains. 🙂 I like to include kefir in my baking…muffins and bread and cakes…and I’m actually getting into that again. But hmmm, come to think of it, I bet you can’t mail them to Hawaii from Canada. They are very strict here about flora and fauna coming in. So don’t bother. But THANK YOU for the offer. 🙂 Your salsa/frittata sounds delish! xo

  8. Christine Widman

    Having lived all over the map and having felt “at home” all over the map, I think??? home is where “I” am. Does that sound odd?
    Having just had our 2 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, & 2 grandchildren visiting for 5 days, I know that “whoosh” sensation in the stomach once they left.
    My love and I sat pondering for awhile this “home” question about our next stage of life and haven’t an answer yet.
    I think the answer is “in the stars”…somewhere.
    I look up to the Big Dipper which hangs just above my head in our courtyard. The Little Dipper pouring liquid darkness into the Big Dipper’s bowl. The two outer stars of the bowl pointing to the North Star. The Talisman that helps lost wanderers find their way home.
    Love you.

    • Aloha Christine! I LOVE your home definition. It feels similar to the Bearded One’s, the idea that to be home is to want to be no where else. To be at peace where you are. Kudos to you for putting it so simply.

      Also the Whoosh sensation, as you say, is right on. The energy shift is palpable.

      The Bearded One says, “Good luck finding the Big Dipper here.” He has looked and looked and can’t find it. Too many stars? Maybe you can’t see it at this latitude. Anyway, yes, celestial navigation is the surest way to find home. 🙂 Love you lots. xo

  9. Nothing like a good laugh with a group of women to make you feel great. The roads sound like they are a bit scary to drive at night?? I think home is where my husband and I are… although it’s been strange to leave our boys in the city and move, we have settled into that easy way with each other and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. x

    • Cheers to you, Kym! Laughing is good for body and soul, and I could hear you and Fran (back when you visited Tassie) all the way to Hawaii. And it is wonderful that you and your husband have made a new home together! 🙂

      Puna is very very dark at night. No streetlights, and lots of dark basaltic roads. I just drive slowly. Mahalo for commenting. xo

      • I certainly stocked up on that visit lol. Shame we can’t bottle it and give it to the lonely people…
        Sounds like you need to put some “spotties” on that car of yours. They are huge lights you fit to your car, usually a ute in Australia, and go out “spotting” roos (kangaroos). You can “spot” animals for miles, well their eyes anyway :).
        The sky must be like black velvet at night, filled with diamantes.

  10. We await a big wind storm, from the south with tons of south 150ft trees. It’s weird warm, like 65 today- had to take my jacket off in JoAnns, so I wouldn’t have a panic attack- that store brings it on! Wind or lava?!
    I think sometimes to feel alive we need a new adventure- why you moved there, why us here. Home is wherever you feel your dreams may come true- I know our girls just want us to be happy. Sometimes I’m so sad that I didn’t figure that one out better! Like to give them more wisdom, a wise wise lady in my dreams that I thought I’d be. But we did give them that we keep on trying, keep on living, keep on doing what’s right, stand up for what’s wrong- as much as we can. We gave them a sense of adventure, you more than I, and we can be proud of that! Remember we wanted to give that, right? So we did! Love you! Maria

    • Aloha Maria! Oooo, I hope you’ve still got power and no trees on your house! I do remember the fall storms of the Pacific Northwest. And 65 degrees is unbelievably balmy. I’d shed a layer, too. (I loved JoAnns:) Your new art pieces on FB are beautiful…you go places with your art, my dear. The daughters have all marveled at your creations and are now creating their own lives. I love that they still are such good friends!! Your place on the lake is a perfect retreat for them, too. Molly and Annie love it there. Hugs and love to you and Michael, Christi

  11. I’m always awed by the things you casually mention in your posts–things like lava rivers, feral pigs, and pineapple patches. What an amazing place to live!

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