The Good of Life

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Yesterday my brother and sister in law who were visiting for the past couple days left with their adorable little one, who’s about to turn 1. Preparations for her gigantic first birthday party in Hana are in full swing and I made little ribbon bows to top the 25 brown ceramic owls that will serve a centerpieces. I beam as my fingers juggle the ribbon and the glue gun because almost a year ago, we received a phone call that baby was delivered at 21 weeks. For weeks she barely clung to life, but miraculously she pulled through and now you’d never guess that she had such a rough start. Yes. I think only a gigantic first birthday will do. Fitting for the monumental effort she put forth to stay alive.
Today I’m sitting at my desk feeling the warmth radiating from the morning sun reaching through my green curtains. I’ve been printing and cutting and folding and working on typography like a person on a mission, prepping for my first booth. I’m thinking Swap Meetor Wailuku First Friday. I’m so proud of myself for finishing this typography project, which I’m planning on selling as a print:
This is near and dear to my heart because aloha has many interpretations and uses – so much more than “hello, goodbye” and “I love you.” BUT, at the center of it all is love.
In a couple hours I’ll go and visit my cousin, who just gave birth to a B-E-A-UTIFUL bouncing baby boy…after about an hour or so of labor. Jealous much?
In pondering all this, I can’t help but feel grateful.
Grateful for the family I have right nearby.
Grateful for new and old friends.
Grateful that everyone is healthy and happy.
That our relationships are peaceful.
That I have something to work on and work toward.
That I’m learning new things.
And making new connections.
Grateful that I can witness new life, and old wisdom.
And see warm smiles and feel wet, open-mouthed toddler kisses.
Life is full and good.
What is the good of your life?

Learning to Love…

A couple days ago I hacked my hair off. I saw this picture of Heidi Klum and while I’m not trying to look like her (really, it’s pointless, plus I like being a tan brunette), I did like her hair. And since I hadn’t cut my hair in a year and a half, I thought I had let my rat’s tail grow long enough.
I don’t have a stylist I normally see, so it’s always nerve wracking to put my head under the blades of a stranger. Fortunately, I had a really good lady cut my hair. Just the right length with the layers just the way I wanted it. Some people don’t believe me when I say my hair was really REALLY poofy in high school. With a short style, you can see the bigness it a little better, though even this hair is a little subdued compared to 10 years ago. Here’s my hair au natural. I mean really. Au natural. I haven’t even brushed it.
Ya know? I actually really like this hair. It brings out a playful, sassy side of me. It could be a real fro if it was a little shorter…which could also be awesome.
And here I am with the hair I’ve always wanted. Always. I HATED my natural hair and thought it was ugly. Straight has been the elusive style that I’d drool over. I love that people with straight hair can roll out of bed run a brush through their hair and walk out the door without wondering if anything connected to your head is defying gravity in unattractive ways.
I did a rush job this morning so it’s kinda frizzy but wow what a difference huh?
I’ve come to a place though, where I honestly love both styles. Well, maybe the top pic needs a little styling cream, but I’m comfortable with not taking a flat iron to my hair every day. It’s just a little way that I’m learning to love myself just the way I am. I wouldn’t mind some interesting hair accessories though, just to spice things up. Any suggestions?
Is there anything about you that you’ve had to learn to love?

You.

You. You and your father are how I know God loves me. You are kind and generous and affectionate. You share so easily (usually). You will be 2 in a month and then I’ll only have 16 years left with you. Judging by how quickly the last two years have gone by, the next 16 will be over in a flash I’m sure.
You call me “Mommy” and it’s the most beautiful sound in the world. Sometimes you call me “Aunty” because that’s what you hear your cousins call me and that’s also cute.
You live in a world of absolute truth. You feel each emotion so fully and it shows. I love it. I love it when you have a meltdown because I’ve told you “enough Starbursts” like you did just a few minutes ago. You sat on the floor and wailed and I picked you up and told you I was sorry and that you can have another one tomorrow. I told you I loved you and you said “I la you” back. You can let go of disappointment so easily. I want to cultivate that more in my own life.
You are so meticulous. You MUST close every door behind you when you leave a room. You know which way your slippers (flip flops) are supposed to go. Most kids wear them backwards for years, but not you. You arrange them neatly, side by side before you wiggle your little toes into them.
You need to take a toy with you whenever we get into the car.
You run everywhere. Eager. Am I running toward my life with the same eagerness?
You run to grap a bowl every time I make you grapes, or apples, or oranges. Your favorites.
You like to hop like Baby Bop. You can spend 20 minutes hopping and spinning around the room.
You still need to grab mine or Daddy’s ear whenever you go to sleep. I love it, except when you’re pinching my ear with your fingernails.
You say “Ooooh Daddy!” over and over again when you’re excited about something. You’re a total Daddy’s girl and I love it! I melt when I see him playing with you. I’m so glad you have a good man in your life to teach you how you should be treated as a woman.
You love to give us running tackles and hug our legs when we’re trying to get stuff done around the house. You love to give me hugs and kisses and tell me “I la you.” It just about reduces me to a puddle. I love you so much and never get tired of telling you. You are perfect just the way you are.
I love the confidence you have. I love that you know there’s nothing wrong with you. That you are just the way you’re supposed to be. The world will try to take that away from you. Sometimes it may succeed in making you feel that you’re not important or not worth anything. I feel that way sometimes, but then you show me how much you love me and those feelings go away. I will always be grateful to you for your love. If you ever feel like you’re less than, come to me and I’ll tell you how fabulous and amazing and good you are. Because you are a piece of heaven pattering around the house.
You. You are how I know God loves me.

Back and Ready for Action

Wow what a great week we had in Laie! It started off a little rocky with some bad weather but we still had a blast with family and friends. Much, MUCH needed vacation.
The best part about it, is that I think this trip did just what it was supposed to do: make me excited to get back to work. I did a lot of thinking about the direction that I want to take SoPupuka and made some changes that I’m excited to share with you.
1) I ordered my new business cards before I left and when I got back they were waiting for me. Let’s just say they’re beyond fab.
They’re mini cards and I think they’re just small enough to make a big statement. All my details are nice and big on the back. I’m majorly thrilled!
2) I decided to move my Etsy shop and position myself to reach customers who don’t shop Etsy. One Etsian said that she wanted people to recognize HER name, not Etsy. How many times do we say “Oh I bought it on Etsy,” subconsciously giving Etsy the credit for what someone else created. I’ve also discovered that while most bloggers in my niche know what Etsy is, most people DON’T. So to try to explain what Etsy is every time someone asks what I do is kind of a pain. I also want more flexible options and I can get that elsewhere. Anywhoo, I’ve moved to Big Cartel, which you can access from the sidebar. I’ll eventually change the URL to something that doesn’t include Big Cartel, but I’ll work on that later. Just know that all my cards can now be purchased (without an Etsy account) by clicking on the sidebar link that says “Shop SoPupuka.”
3) Along those lines, I’ve decided that trying to figure out shipping costs is annoying. So for the time being, I’ve decided not to charge shipping. Yay! My prices will remain the same for now, but I may need to raise them as time goes on. I’m just gonna play it by ear but I think it’s welcome news to everybody.
4) I will be working toward selling in person soon. I’m setting a tentative date for early May, to get all my inventory together and design a booth space, etc, but I know that getting my face out there can only help business. Plus it’s super fun to meet new people.
So there you have it. I’m so excited to get going again and work toward making things happen.

Today I’m Going Where It All Began

Photo by the AMAZING Monique Saenz
We have ALWAYS loved Laie, and today we’re going for some much needed family time and r&r. I always wanted to grow up there, with cousins and grandparents and aunties and uncles all just a short walk away. Keola went through a REALLY difficult time in his younger days and came to Laie for college, where through good friends and nurturing mentors he was able to put the past behind him.
It’s where we started being “us.”
Laie is probably the closest thing to Utopia for us. It’s where we grew into who we are now, and if an opportunity ever came for us to move there, we’d do it in a heartbeat. Sure Laie has its’ problems just like any other place, but it’s the one place where both Keola and I feel like we’re at home. Kahului is Keola’s home, and the Hilo is mine, but Laie is all ours and I can’t wait to be there.
We land tonight and I cannot wait for that (hopefully) moonlit drive down the windward coast. Please pray that the rain stops before then. Also, pray that Noweo is not a screaming banshee tonight. We’re flying late in the hope that she sleeps for most of it. She doesn’t do so good in unfamiliar places (including cars) and the hour long drive home could be heaven…or hell. I’d rather deal with her in the morning when she wakes up and realizes she’s not in Kansas anymore.
This should be fun!

Perfection A.K.A. Today

It’s been a slow week on the blog just because I haven’t really done a whole lot, and being cooped up has a way of sapping my motivation to do ANYTHING. I was finally able to emerge from my cave today and I’m always amazed at how good for the soul being outside is. A trip to Haiku was just what the doctor ordered. There’s nothing better than sun, salt air, wind, good food, and my favorite people.
How was your Saturday?

My New Completely Free Home Office

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I’m really trying to make an effort to create a space that is conducive to work; someplace where everything I need is nearby, where I can comfortably be on the computer for long stretches, and where I can work with minimal distraction. Being a WAHM (work at home mom) working without distractions is almost impossible, but I can create an uncluttered space that doesn’t take my attention away from the task at hand.
Getting my computer was a huge step to more efficient work. Yesterday I also threw together a new home office that has everything I’ve been looking for, and I did it in about an hour with stuff I found around the house.
I’m fortunate to live in a home full of old things, which is probably the only reason why this was possible at all.
A few days ago I was playing hide and seek with my nieces, and I saw this really nice sized table with a bunch of random stuff on it. It had a large work surface and was the perfect height. I asked grandma if she was gonna use it for anything, and if I could pull it out and put it in the bedroom. She had no object so I cleaned it up and moved it in the house. I originally had it facing a wall instead of the window, but the outlet was under the window so I thought that would be a better place for it. I know that’s a hideous chair and possibly the only thing I might have to buy, but I don’t feel like spending money to house my butt so I’m ok with it for now.
I managed to find a power strip that wasn’t working hard enough and plugged in our phone and computer chargers and the Time Capsule. A strip of tape keeps the cords peeking over the top of the table to make charging easy. I’m putting strict limits on what is allowed to live on this desk: A cup of writing utensils, my time capsule, a notepad, and my phone. That way I can easily clear space for my cutting mat and board for making cards, and any other craft projects I have coming down the pipeline.
I decided I wanted the printer to be right next to the desk to make printing, cutting and folding notecards easier, but I didn’t want it on the carpet so I had to find something to put it on. A quick walk around the house revealed this solid wood stool. I think it was built by Keola’s great-grandpa but it’s so well made and sturdy that it holds my super heavy printer no problem.I love the quality of old things.
The desk is old too, and I’m absolutely over the moon about it. I could’ve painted it or something, because it does look a little outdated in a not-so-hot way, but I’m totally utilitarian and don’t really care what it looks like. I’m just so happy to give it new purpose.
The final icing on the cake was a little table and chair I put next to my desk for Noweo. Now she can color and draw while I work and it’s ridiculously cute to see us both sitting at our “desks.”
My only gripe is that it’s so dusty in Kahului that by the end of the day the table is covered in a fine film. I try to keep the window shut and wipe everything down often. Hopefully that’ll minimize any grimy-ness. The macbook air seems so…well…air-tight and easy to keep clean so I’m not too worried about the laptop, and you can’t beat the amount of light coming in.
It’s amazing how different I feel sitting at this desk typing away at this post. Design-wise this may not make HGTV but I feel settled and focused and productive. Prior to this I would work all over the place – the kitchen, the dresser across the room, the living room floor, the bedroom floor, but now that I’ve brought all my work to a central place I just opened up all my brain power that was previously going to moving work supplies here and there and re-arranging things and being uncomfortably huddled on the floor and being annoyed that I didn’t have a sufficient work space. Now I feel peaceful, uncluttered, powerful and ready to work and I achieved it all FOR FREE.

She’s here!

I thought she was a boy, but yes, she is decidedly a girl.
She’s sleek, she’s bright and shiny and perfectly groomed.
EVERYBODY wants to put their hands all over her.
Her keys make a nice stiletto sounding “click-click” – you KNOW she means business!
She’s SUPER efficient (like girls) and does everything with FLARE.
This photo doesn’t do her justice, but I was losing daylight so it’ll have to do.
I think we’ll be gal pals for a looooong time.