Reflect This — Accessorize!

My friend and I went to the mall this morning for mayhem and laughter. I embarrassed the stuffing out of her by running around taking pictures of things. Sometimes I asked. Sometimes I didn’t. It depended on what I was picturing. This is the ceiling mirror in a CLAIRE’S ICING shop. (You see the wall, the mirror at a 55 degree angle, then the ceiling tile.)

The mirror is on the ceiling.

The mirror is on the ceiling.

I didn’t ask permission to take this photo, but I fiddled with framing and angles enough that the sales clerk — who’s head you can see in the bottom right corner — could have spoken up and stopped me at anytime. She just watched with a grin on her face and exchanged rolling-eyeball looks with my friend.

* * *

The Courageous Dragon Hunter

Today I grabbed my trusty camera, made certain it was loaded and went in search of Dragons for that lady-fair we know as Melli. First I drove very slowly through my own little town of Waianae (phonetically: why-an-eye). I racked my brains trying to remember ever seeing a dragon. I know there is one painted on one of the big rigs that travels up and down our coast, but of course I didn’t see it today.

I stop at both Chinese restaurants. The first one isn’t open, but a peek in the window shows me Buddha, not dragons. The second restaurant is decorated with a bamboo motif. No dragons. I drove on down the road, still cruising slow. Not one single dragon.

I drove to the next city over — actually, not. The next city over is Ko’Olina and I skipped it. It is off the freeway and an exclusive community with guards and gates and such and I just didn’t know what I was going to say to gain entrance. I believe the truth — “Hi, I’m hunting dragons,” — would have gained me admission to nothing but the nearest psych ward. So, I went instead to Kopolei. They have many Asian restaurants, most of which are decorated with pictures of the dishes they serve. The Kopolei Chinese Restaurant (catchy name, yes?) is decorated in golden Koi and lotus leaves. Very pretty, but no dragons.

So — since I was really supposed to be doing my chores with dragon hunting as an added bonus, I went to Kunia to the Wal-Mart to purchase toothpaste, fruit juices, and pasta. It was in Wal-Mart that I finally found a dragon. It tried to allude me by hiding in the children’s isle and disguising itself as a toy boat, but it couldn’t fool me!

Dragon Cleverly Disguised as Childs Toy

Dragon Cleverly Disguised as Child's Toy

Slice of Life: The Tree

I was wandering the web about a week ago and stumbled across a website called, “Slice of Life Sunday.” It is a meme site that helps one focus his/her thoughts on a specific topic, and share a related life scene.

This week’s prompts are:
1.) A Lesson Learned in My Youth
2.) A Flight of Fancy

Ha! I thought. I can do both of those with just ONE story. I hopped over to my other blog, The Grownups Wanted Us Dead, and fetched this back:

The Tree

You’ve got to know that the best toy in the world for any kid is a tree with good climbing branches. When I was a kid we had several such trees in our neighborhood and in the summer we would spend more time in them than we did on the ground.

One tree in particular – a young pine – was our favorite. The tree was still very supple and one day when a group of us decided to see how high we could all climb, the tree began to lean. The higher we climbed the farther it leaned. Soon we were suspended just a few feet above the ground.

I don’t know whose idea it was, but somebody suggested we all jump out of the tree at the count of three. Then came the counting, the jumping and the landing. It all went surprisingly well.

After my friends crawled off the top of me and we sorted out which limbs belonged to whom, no one was hurt – much. There was a problem though. We were on the wrong side of the fence, in the Khol’s yard instead of the Jacobs’ yard. This meant that to climb the tree again we had to run through the Khol Orchard, scramble down the embankment, around the end of the fence, scramble back up the embankment, run across a small clearing and back into the stand of pines that housed our tree.

It really wasn’t much of a trip, 50 or 60 yards at most, but as we sprinted the course for the third time, I realized I was getting a little tired. After the fourth trip, as we were climbing the tree, I thought to myself, “I need a rest,” so I decided not to jump.

As the others prepared for departure, I snuggled up to the tree. I put my belly flush against the bark and wrapped my arms tight around the trunk. Handsome began counting …

One: I tightened my arms.

Two: I tightened my legs and crossed my ankles.

Three: …………………………..

I landed flat on my back in the Jacobs’ dog run. When I opened my eyes Thor, the German Shepherd god of thunder, towered over me. Thor spent most of his daily energy trying to catch small children to snack on, and there I was delivered to him from heaven — literally.

Truthfully, at that moment I really wasn’t too concerned about Thor. Probably because I thought I was already dead. There was no air in my body. I could not breathe.

As I lay there gasping … choking … convulsing, Thor raised his ears in curiosity, tipped his head sideways and smiled at me.

About that time my friends arrived, stopping safely out of reach of Thor’s chain. They were wonderfully helpful and shouted such encouragements as:

“Lay still!”

“Play dead!”

“Don’t move!”

I was reasonably certain I wasn’t playing dead.

Finally Preacher, the eldest Kohl kid, stretched out on his stomach and, risking his hand to Thor’s wrath, grabbed my ankle. Slowly, inch-by-inch he pulled me to safety. As soon as I was freed from Thor’s realm, my companions thought I should just pick myself up and walk home.

I remained on the ground convulsing like a fish out of water.

“Maybe we should take her home,” someone suggested. There were murmurs of agreement.

“How?” Someone else queried.

There were other comments, too. “That’s a lot of blood,” and “I’m not going to touch her,” are two I remember. I mean, being too bloody to touch had serious “cool” potential — providing I lived.

My struggle to draw air into my lungs distressed my friends to such an extent that they each grabbed one of my limbs and half-drug, half-carried me across the street and into my own yard. One of them ran to the door to get Gram so she could view my remains.

Gram declared that I would live and set to proving it with a tub of hot water, a scrub brush and much vigor. When she was finished saving me I almost resembled a human girl-child, except most of my visible skin was Mercurochrome neon-orange.

Gram rarely punished me for my stupidity. Usually she just left me to suffer the consequences of my actions — alone — in my room — for days (which sometimes lasted as long as a half-an-hour).

Post originally published on June 30th, 2006

As to the flight, I’m not certain how fancy it was, but it was certainly educational, so I figure it counts for the prompts. And if not, prompt #3 is Writer’s Choice.

UPDATE:  It appears that The Tree has posted the story from its point-of-view:  The Kids.

The Cannonball Tree

Amoeba O’Ceallaigh and I were talking tonight after dinner. I told him I am very prudent and very practical. He appeared to be quite stunned by that news. I asked him to explain. Instead, he replied, “You bent over in the middle of the road today to take a photograph and a pickup almost side -swiped your butt!” Don’t you just hate it when men do that? There you are talking about one thing and they go and change the subject to another?

Anyway, onto the post you’ve been waiting for … The Cannonball Tree:

There are many wondrous and amazing plants at Foster’s Botanical Garden, and I am certain that while I oogled one, I missed seeing two or three others. I know that has to be true of the Cannonball Tree, because the moment I saw it I lost all concept of place or time. All that mattered was me, tree and camera.

The flower is the first thing that caught my eye. I had never seen anything like it. As far as I can tell it didn’t have a scent, or the scent was too light to compete with the Magnolia Blossom.

Cannon Ball Tree Blossom

Cannonball Tree Blossom

Almost immediately I was frustrated. The tree was in the direct sunlight and my photo quality was nil. To top it off, I couldn’t get close enough to the dang thing. The chain-link fence around it encompassed much more space than most of the tree protecting barriers.

That irked me. I had no intention of harming the tree. I just wanted a few photos. I looked right. I looked left. I looked front. I looked back. Then I stepped over the barrier and approached the tree.

Blossom & Buds

Blossom & Buds

Most of the flowers were over my head. The tree stood next to a lovely garden wall fashioned from lava rock. I climbed up on the wall to get the shots I wanted. Being prudent and practical, I looked first for loose rocks or cracks in the mortar.

Blossom & Buds

Blossom & Buds

On the backside of the tree I found a beautiful flower right at face level, and there was no slanting sunlight to screw up my shot. I took photos from near and far, paying close attention to where I put my feet, because coconut-sized nuts covered the ground. A couple of the nuts had broken open. They contained a pulpy fruit that mynah birds apparently love.

Cannonballs on a Cannonball Tree

The typical Cannonball fuit is six to eight inches in diameter. My subconscious related them to coconuts and — while I was snapping photos of them at least, I never gave it much thought — and then:

Warning Sign

I saw the sign and immediately wondered how badly a thump on the head one could get. I reached down to scoop up a cannonball. My hand closed around it … and I dang near fell over. I had to shift my weight and lift the ball. It probably only weighed 3 or 4 pounds, but I expect that to be more than enough to cause a headache. I looked right. I looked left. I looked up. I looked down. Then — proof that I am prudent and practical — I retreated to the safer side of the barrier. Besides, it wasn’t like I needed any more photos anyway.

God’s Wrath

I taught Sunday School today to the little kids.  It was my first time with them, but most of them know me as, “the lady with the trumpet player”.  They were thrilled to learn I have a real name, and I’m a nice person.

I asked them if any of them knew the story of Jonah.  One of the kids thought he was the fellow with the ark.  His cousin corrected him, “No!  That was Noah.  Jonah is the guy who got eaten by sharks!”

I told them that God had a job he wanted done and he asked Jonah to do it, but Jonah didn’t want to.  We got into a discussion about parents who want chores done during cartoons or video game play just to make certain the kids knew just how Jonah was feeling.  Then I said, “Well, God asked Jonah to do a chore for him and Jonah said, “No way.  I don’t want to.  I’m not going to.  And you can’t make me.”

All the kids looked at me with huge round eyes.  One kid queried in disbelief, “Who did he say that to?”

I looked at them while nodding my head and I said, “God.”

“Oh!”  The only girl in the class squealed and hopped from her chair.  “This is going to be a really bad story! I’m not staying here!”  And out the door she ran.