Family 2004


Lovely BobaFor Christmas Shanalin Kenye received a matching top and shorts with the words "Lovely Boba" on the shirt. This led to calling her "Lovely Boba" with a musical lilt to the appellation. The shirt appears to be from a children's show, but I am unable to find any such referent. The only Boba's on planet earth are Boba Fett (different pronunciation) from Star Wars and a drink popular in Asia: tapioca pearl tea also known as bubble tea. The shirt was made in Thailand, but I was unable to back track the shirt to the manufacturer. Anyway, as a result she gets called "Lovely Boba" with some frequency, especially when wearing the shirt and matching shorts.

About a month ago Marlin ran across the porch and jumped prone onto a rubber ball landing on the ball with his stomach. The ball rolled forward and Marlin hit his forehead on the cement wall of the house producing a large bump on his forehead. He wound up with a goodly knot, but no other symptoms. Still, the bump has been slow to completely recede.

Saturday evening, the tenth of January, Marlin was again running full tilt on the porch - he does a lot of running - tripped over one toy or another and then smacked the remnants of his bump on the corner of cement dividing wall. This split the skin above the bump and produced what appeared to be a deep gash.

As with me when I smashed my head into various objects (sidewalks, overhead arches), Marlin appears medically unfazed by head trauma. Where another child might knock themself out, Marlin keeps right on running. So he runs into the house, crying because it did hurt to whack the wall again, but running none-the-less, with blood streaming down his face. Head wounds always bleed disproportionately to the damage done.

Shrue was napping, woke up, came into the hall, and saw this nightmare on elm street sight of Marlin running and screaming with his face streaming in blood. Shrue became faint and collapsed - too much blood has that effect on her. Hannah grabbed Marlin's insurance card and I scooped up Marlin and we trundled down to the clinic to patch him up.

At the clinic they determined that he needed only those butterfly bandages for closing the gash and not sutures. He gets a two day reprieve from shampoos and is back to running around. As in December, he has been warned not to hit his head again for at least two weeks.

This morning Shanalin was playing with her drool, an act that gets one called "SMD" around our house. I think it stands for special multiple disabilities. There is or was a class for "SMD" children on Kosrae.

Sharisey is a touch home sick for Kosrae, not unusual given the beaches and wealth of playmates Kosrae presents for the kids. She spent yesterday playing with Arcel, a classmate friend.

I spent yesterday unpacking boxes - the division moved into the new faculty building. The new building can be partially seen in the images on I will probably be back up there today to finish unpacking. Classes start tomorrow. Plus I am the lead on the accreditation reaffirmation visit in March. Much to tend to once again this term.

The DVD movie of the moment for the kids? The Santa Clause 2 with Tim Allen, many thanks to Don. Marlin says he watched it six times on Saturday (OK, he cannot count so good...)

The following are images from late December through January taken with the Kodak APS camera. The first shots of various presents that were awaiting the kids upon their return from Kosrae.

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One of the presents were these wax candle houses. The kids really like eating dinner by the light of a single candle - all other lights are off. Marlin calls this "mensees dinner" (romantic dinner). The following are a couple of different Sunday evening "mensees dinners."

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Here Bill Tosie and Marlin play a duet on the porch sometime in late January or early February.
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Marlin likes to drive Shanalin around on their scooter. The scooter has two rear wheels and gets used in the house.
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Sharisey, Marlin, and Shanalin like to hide in the pool under the table on the porch.
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The kids at play on the sofa!
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Shanalin unwashed still clutching a present!
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15 February 2004 Marlin, Mary Rose, and Shanalin pose for a Sunday noon photograph.Sharisey is learning to carry in mathematics. Marlin is still our little hyperactive fuss-budget. He is now on synthroid for hypothyroidism. Theoretically hypothyroidism should leave him lethargic, but he is anything but. I wonder if his hyperactivity in some way decreases his T4 levels (burns it up?) and thus stimulates the high TSH levels he is experiencing. Doubt it, but he is getting a T4 test in the next round of blood work.

Shanalin continues to eat us out of house and home. We continue to refer to her as 'lovely boba" after a shirt she got for Christmas. Shanalin is our primary computer addict. She and Marlin both like to "color" using paint to fill in outline figures. Shanalin also has a special love for Taipei - a computer solitaire Mah Jong. Shanalin uses a special tile set with family pictures on them.

Work is in a heavy and uncertain stretch. The accreditation visiting team is due on on the 27th and 28th of February. Meanwhile the board of regents has lost confidence in the president and is asking him to step down prior to the visit. This is like tossing the pilot out of the airplane while on final approach under category IV conditions. I get to sit at the middle of the typhoon that is sure to result due to my being ALO. Good thing I have pilot training: remaining calm and making sound decisions during a crisis is basic training in flight school.

The kids have stopped watching Santa Clause 2 twice a day every day and returned to a routine of watching a variety of movies including Santa Claus 2. Of late Monsters Inc. has been popular. A Christmas gift book, Christmas Search and Find - a "Where is Santa?" - type of book includes the 12 days of Christmas. Marlin and Shanalin love to hear the song at bedtime. Marlin can find the partridge in the pear tree, the turtle doves, and the french hens on every page. I am reading another Christmas book gift about Chester the cat to Sharisey, she enjoys being read to at bedtime.

Mary Rose, Sharisey, Shanalin, and Marlin

When a CNN piece noted that the youngest ever academy award nominee for best actress was a Maori I decided to check out Whale Rider. By some quirk of happenstance the local video piracy center had Whale Rider on DVD. We rented the movie and then watched it in our usual Marlin-driven fashion: two times in row one evening, three times the next day. Marlin latched onto the concept of sticking his tongue out, he hasn't yet realized he should bug-out his eyes too. So now he thinks that is how he should pose. The following photograph was shot on 29 February 2004:
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The movie certainly has extra levels of richness and meaning out here - the grandfather Koro is probably more comprehensible to Micronesians than to Americans.

All are well here. Shanalin opted out of the above photo. She was busy dressing her baby for church. Shanalin continues to be the night bird - even now late at night Sharisey and Marlin are sound asleep but Shanalin is still puttering about the house cutting up scap paper into smaller and smaller pieces of scap paper.

Now Shanalin is walking another of her babies to sleep. She is very baby oriented. Nothing we did - she has been this way since she was able to walk.

March 2004

14 March 2004

Marlin and Shanalin sleep together and seem to need to sleep in a way that they can be sure the other is next to them...
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Like most Micronesian families, we sleep as collective group on a series of foam pads on the floor.
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24 March 2004

As I work on a variety of matters this evening on the computer, BBC is carrying the memorial service at Almudena Cathedral for the victims of the Madrid bombings live. The royal family and the archbishop of Madrid are there. Beautiful singing. CNN is also carrying it, but they seem to need to have a commentator talking over the singing and praying explaining it like a football game. BBC presumes we are intelligent enough to appreciate the service in its native Spanish. "Terrorista" is the same in both languages.

The DVD of the moment is "Baby Songs Original" by Hap Palmer. Shanalin is deeply devoted to this DVD insisting on watching it over and over. The DVD belongs to Maryrose Benjamin, but Maryrose lacks a DVD player at the moment so the DVD is with us.

The only catch is that one of us has to be around to pick her up and comfort her during two of the songs. In one mommy takes "blankie" to be washed because blankie is dirty. At the start the baby cries at the loss of blankie. Shanalin starts weeping when this happens. Not crying, but weeping. She lays there with tears streaming down her cheeks. Then she holds up her arms to be picked up and comforted. Once baby has the blankie back Shanalin is OK.

Shanalin Kenye loves caring for babies!At least until the "walking" song where another baby tries to walk, falls down, and cries. Shanalin begins weeping again. And needs picking up again. When the DVD ends she asks that it be played again. The whole thing is a little unnerving in a way - I've never seen a two year weep silently and appear so sad and downright depressed.

Shrue says this reaction has occurred to babies crying on TV - Shanalin starts weeping. Shanalin is still the little mother, tucking her dolls in and carrying them around. But now she is empathetically emoting. She also tends to do this when Marlin is scolded - she acts like she has been scolded. And if Marlin is mad, she gets mad.

Marlin is definitely not wired in this way, only Shanalin. Same environment, totally different personalities. Since Shanalin was attracted to dolls long before she could talk, I am left with a strong sense that she came "wired" the way she is. You cannot sell me on the concept that children are a tabula rasa shaped by the environment.

Now if I can get Marlin to stop grinding his teeth at night... wiring I tell you. Its in the wiring.


09 April 2004

A "mantic dinner" means sitting in the dark and eating by the light of a single candle. The kids enjoyed a Good Friday romantic dinner.
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10 April 2004

Easter eggg coloring!
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Summer 2004


September 2004

I measured the loop around the Wisconsin farm twice, once at 2.882 km and once at 3.199 km. The distance is probably best expressed as 3.041 km, the average of the two measured laps. The distance here on Pohnpei around the loop of road on which I live is 3.024 km - an average of a good number of laps. The distances are for all intents and purposes the same.

My best time in Wisconsin was 18:09 for the 3.04 km loop, a 5'58" pace. Tonight I ran the 3.02 km loop in 16:27, a 5'26" pace.

Yet the Pohnpei 3.02 feels like it takes much longer to run than the Argyle 3.04. There is nothing like speeding through the forest, whipping past the trees with but a centimeter to spare, to really bring a thrill-seekers rush to a run.

The computer screensaver is set to play the images from Argyle, so we have a slide show almost every night of the events and activities of the summer. The slide show includes my shots of along the trail loop, a nice reminder of the summer time fun of running through the glens and glades.

Still, my mind cannot accept that the two loops are but 17 meters different - a mere 56 feet for those in the only non-metric nation on the face of the planet Earth. Not only does the road loop feel longer, but I find it hard to comprehend that I could have weed-whacked a distance equivalent to the Pohnpei loop. Weed-whacked, knife-whacked, and occasionally chainsaw-whacked.

So as I run the loop here, my mind is imagining the loop there.

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We went to Nihco marine park on the eleventh of September. The first part of the day was sunny, then a storm cell swept in from behind the Palikir mountains and hit with heavy rain and, most unusual, cloud to ground lightning. All the lightning was more than a mile away, except a single ground shot that hit somewhere within about a fifth of a mile. Then the storm evaporated just as suddenly.

Sharisey, Marlin, and I went down to the botanic garden the following weekend and picked coffee berries. At home I removed the beans, cleaned them up, and roasted a few of them using a hot air popcorn popper. Worked like a charm, although it took an hour and a half to get a cup of coffee. Yes, I skipped the fermentation process. Still got coffee out of the process. One gains a whole new appreciation of how much work one has to do to produce a cup of coffee by hand from the berry. At least my kids now know where coffee comes from! By the way, the coffee flower is one of the most wonderfully exotic and sweet smelling flowers. Smells nothing like coffee.

The kids and I sometimes hit the track on a Sunday evening. On the evening of the 26th, I opted for a hard joggling 5k, twelve and half laps of jogging and juggling. My Polar A1 heart monitor had died last spring, my new A3 came in a week and half ago. I started off at 133 beats per minute and by lap four was pushing 166 bpm - historically nominal acceleration. By lap seven I was 171. I was running what for me is a fast joggle, averaging a 6'06" per kilometer pace. I am a slow runner.

As I hit the last lap I pushed up my pace and my heart rate to 180. High, but what I usually see when I am driving hard after a half an hour of pushing. In the last 200 meters I go all out and peak at 193 as I hit the finish line. Although unusual, I have seen 193 before and hit 194 back in 1999, so again, it is not unusual when I am running well beyond my aerobic threshold. The pace is a crash and burn pace, only maintainable for about 200 meters.

As I shot over the track's finish line I invoked a new feature that my A3 has which my A1 lacked - percent of age-rated maximum heart rate. The number I saw matched that of a KC-135 tanker fully loaded at take-off: 110%. That was the instant I realized I really ought not mix technology with my running. Up until that instant I was completely unconcerned, I was seeing all the numbers I have become accustomed to seeing. Seeing the 110%, however, created a transient instant of panic - my goodness, my heart is going to explode!

Explode or not, I trotted a cool down lap, collected the kids from the long jump sand pit, and then we headed home.

October 2004

23 October 2004

Shanalin Turns Three!

Sokehs Round Island Run 23 October 2004

Being a year older of late, I was prompted to break from my usual running routine and run a route that I had not run in over five years - the round Sokeh's Island loop.

I stopped at Agnes' A-1 store on my way northbound through Sokeh's Powe for a bottle of water. The store had a large refrigerator case. I asked "Mie piehl?" and the young woman at the register pointed at the large case. I checked the case from top to bottom - every shelf jammed full with beer, not a speck of water. "Water?" I asked in English. "Water? No water!" replied the young woman with a smile. Only beer. Misery in a bottle.

Out along the road the children were actively playing, healthy youngsters with vim, vigor, great energy, and button bright eyes. On the porches and porticoes the adult generation lounged and languished, almost to a person carrying too much body fat. I was reminded of the cluster X syndrome genetics found on Kosrae: a genetic predisposition to obesity and the attendant complications of heart disease, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, gout, and kidney failure.

When I run I am more keenly aware than usual that I eat a diet far worse than anyone I am running past - less fish, less taro, less breadfruit. Men my age along the roadside are battling the diseases of obesity, on a worse diet I am jogging a lap of Sokeh's. I continue to believe that regular running is a key differentiating variable. I head up through Danpei and on out toward APSCO.

The dogs are all fairly laid back, including those at the Harris residence. Farther on up the road, past the Oliver place, a pack of eight surrounds me. No one is out to call them off initially, so we enjoy a standoff for a short time. Eventually two rather sleepy denizens appear from the houses and call off the dogs. Other than those eight, no other dogs give me problems on the run.

The run south through Sokeh's Pah is hot, sunny, and filled with the friendly greetings of children out playing in the road. For lack of a store selling water or any sort of fruit juice I wind up a tad dehydrated by the eight kilometer mark. My pace drops to a slog under the late afternoon sun.

Down near ten kilometers a store is selling half liter bottles of cold orange juice for seventy-five cents. The juice keeps me going, but my pace is unrecoverable in the last three kilometers and I finish in an hour and thirty-five minutes.

Sokeh's Round Island Run
LocationLapOut Split
Doli home0.0000.000
Dolihner junction0.2570.257
Sokeh's on-island junction1.3021.559
Mwalok church1.5273.086
Sokeh's Powe School0.3423.428
Danpei church0.8134.241
Danpei pave end0.1894.430
APSCO quarry1.9646.394
Roie border/pave end0.7557.149
Sokeh's Pah old church0.6897.838
Sokeh's Pah School0.1577.995
Sokeh's on-island junction3.30811.303
Dolihner junction1.27812.581
Doli home0.34612.927

24 October 2003

Images from Pohnpei on a Sunday

November 2004

30 November 2004

Children's dinner hour at the Lee Ling family home. Shanalin sports a new haircut, self-administered in a "fisfis" stress reduction session.

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December 2004

22 December 2004

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Marlin sings Jingle Bells with his SDA preschool class.
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The only horse on Pohnpei is at Angie's fast food place next to Palm Terrace. Angie's is to my kids as Andy's was to me when I was a kid.
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23 December 2004

Shanalin has taken to standing and eating of late. Not that she is in a hurry. She still lingers over her food, but now from a standing position.
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Shanalin is a lead star on the two-line etawi srisrik Kosraen marching choir. Mary Rose Benjamin leads the other line. The three year olds rule! This was shot at the last practice before the actual marching.
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