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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Sunset in Waikiki

We are going home today.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Can Take it With You

          There is so much to do before we go back home.  I'll spare you my list this time.  There are also so many things I want to take back with us to Phoenix, including macadamia brittle, coconut syrup, taro mochi, Maui Mango tea, strawberry-guava jam, Li hing cherries, artwork and, of course, souvenirs.  Although I may have to buy another suitcase to take all of this with us, there are some things more precious, that I wish we could simply pack in our luggage.

          I wish I could take the breeze  back to Phoenix.  It blows all our papers around and knocks the cereal boxes off the top of the fridge each time we open the front door (creating a strong cross wind), but I love the feel of it as I sleep on the sofabed (in the living room).  I often wake up in the middle of the night reminded of our remarkable circumstances by this breeze and the lights of the city right outside our window.    The breeze reminds me of the ocean that surrounds us even when I don't see it.

That's what the view looks like at night when I'm not wearing my contact lenses

          I want to take back the spirit of aloha.  A sense that "it's all good" or at least will be.  The love the people have for their culture and the island.  The optimism of the vacationer who left their worries back home to spend some time in paradise.  I believe Nicki will be our ambassador of aloha when we get back.  Always eager to make friends and share her experiences, she embodies aloha and will take the lead in sharing our love with friends and our appreciation to those who have kept us in their thoughts and those who have contacted us.  These daily reminders that there is aloha at home as well, makes it easier to leave. 

          I want to take the family coziness back with us.  When we return, we'll probably relish all the

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'll Miss You, Honolulu

          Having been in Hawaii for nearly 4 months now, I can hardly believe it is almost over. While my Hawaiian activity list is near and dear to my heart, I think I'll remember and miss the truly local experiences we've had in Honolulu. I'll miss the library, with its shushing librarian and old stacks. A place so familiar that it now feels like an extension of our apartment. I'll remember the trick-or-treating in our neighborhood away from home with families that may look a little different from our neighbors in Phoenix, but have the same desire to share a holiday and "talk story" with the newcomers. I'll remember the trapped lady I helped rescue from her 15th floor apartment who reminded me that living in a city has its charms, least of which is the fact that there are always people around and ready to help. I'll miss the local general store that serves the best shave ice in town. 

With our many trips there, we now recognize the tourists who are confused by the menu and we chuckle when their ordering slows the line. And I'll miss the park, with its rundown rec center that is the heart of this community, the place where my kids learned hula and ceramics and, most importantly, made friends.As our trip comes to an end, I am reminded of all the fun we had on our vacation, but I'll cherish the moments we spent living in our home away from home.
This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition: 
November's theme - Living like locals


Saturday, November 20, 2010

One in a Million

          Contrary to what you may think, it's not all fun and games 24/7 here in Hawaii.  Well, at least not for Steve -- he has to work.  We are here as part of Steve's sabbatical at University of Hawaii. This is a way for him to collaborate with others in his field in addition to all the research he continues from ASU.   His work can be fun too, though.   This week, he hosted a public outreach event for anyone in Honolulu interested in space.   The usual educational lecture was replaced with a fun-filled game show format based on the popular show  Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.   Steve's  version, Who Wants To Be A One-In-A-Million-aire, explored how likely it is for life to evolve in other solar systems in our galaxy.

         In order to to see how the scientific community is working on answering the question, What are the odds of intelligent life and civilization in our galaxy?,  Steve led us through each variable in the Drake equation,

N = R^{\ast} \times f_p \times n_e \times f_{\ell} \times f_i \times f_c \times L \!

Each contestant had the opportunity to chime in on a specific variable.  For each, a question was

Saturday, November 13, 2010

My List

          I love to make lists.  It's the only way I can organize all the things I need to get done.  The lead up to our trip to Hawaii was list making heaven for me.  I had a list of what to pack of course, what to do to get the house ready, a list to prepare us for homeschooling and a wish list of all the cool things I wanted to do and see while we were here.  Take a look.  There's more on the back.

          It may not look like much, but it has been the driving force for all of our activities here in Hawaii. The culmination of hours of research in guidebooks, on tripadvisor.com and through personal recommendations.   If Steve asks what I want to do over the weekend, I always refer him to the list.  I can't be expected to remember what I want to do.  After all, I made a list for a reason.

          Some people, I've realized, don't document their thoughts the way I do (for instance, the server who takes your order without writing anything down).   I wonder how they can get on with life without having a list of action items.  Their minds must be full of thoughts they need to remember that could be easily cleared away with a pencil and paper.  I think Joseph  might be one of them.  In homeschooling, one of the biggest issues I've had with Joseph is in math.  When I  assign him problems, I always remind him to show his work.  When I watch him work, I can see what's coming.  He often looks off into space and I can tell he's calculating a problem  in his head that would be much easier done on paper.   I know that when I check his work, there will be answers, some right and some wrong, but without showing his work, there will be no guide as to where he might need help.   Joseph will probably not be a list maker, but I still have hope, because I know it will make his life a lot easier.

          While lists make my life easier by streamlining my thoughts and leaving some space in my brain for some other ideas, they also offer me a way to reflect on what I have done.  I sometimes keep old (usually completed) lists for years just because it reminds me of a specific time in my life.  After all, a

Monday, November 8, 2010


       We have been trying to take advantage of our time on Oahu to get to visit and know as much of Hawaii as possible.  But after our whirlwind island hop to Maui, we spent a low-key week at home in Honolulu.  The week started off with a celebration of one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.   We had a great time trick-or-treating in the Kaimuki neighborhood that is adjacent to Waikiki.  It was a lot like our neighborhood in Phoenix.  Families hung out on their front porches handing out treats, including fresh cotton candy and popcorn, to everyone's delight.  The costumes were your general assortment of ghouls, princesses and movie characters, except for Alex.

Here's Nicki as Alice from Alice in Wonderland:

...... and here's Alex:

         "What's that?", you ask.  While Alex insisted on wearing just a paper plate mask, we insisted on a little more (if someone is going to give you candy, you should put a little effort into what you wear,

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here Today, Gone to Maui

        As I sat in the hot tub of the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa in Maui, I struck up a conversation with the older gentleman who was hogging the best jet.  When he asked where I was from, I fumbled.  As I started to say Phoenix, I ended up saying "Phoahu".  I had to explain my fumble - that we are from Phoenix, but living in Oahu for 4 months and have come to Maui for a vacation.  He said I should be embarrassed to tell people that.  I am, but I'm also so excited about our good fortune, that I cannot contain myself.  I told him he should be happy for me and he assured me that he was.  So, here I was, in Maui for vacation, from Oahu, and it was great!

        There is something for everyone on Maui and I mean everyone.  My family, including my parents, spent last week in Maui, on its western shore.  Here we experienced all the variety Maui has to offer, in scenery, in weather, in activities.   Maui is called the valley isle and once you fly in, it is easy to see why. If you've been to any other Hawaiian islands,  you will appreciate how unique it really is.   There is a vast valley between two volcanic mountains.  To the east is Haleakala, a 10,023 ft peak, on the north slope of which is the famed Road to Hana.  To the west is Pu'u Kukui, the 5,787 ft peak, on the west shore of which is Lahaina, Kaanapali and some of the best snorkeling in the world.

Steve at the top of Haleakala overlooking the valley and Pu'u Kukui (under distant clouds)
      We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa, our first experience with real  luxury (thanks to a great Costco promotion) on our Hawaii trip.  Upon arrival at this Kaanapali resort, one of many along Kaanapali beach just north of Lahaina, we were indulged by the the scenery, the staff, and the accommodations.  The lobby entrance was gorgeous with a large atrium filled with flowers, trees, ponds and wildlife, including penguins and colorful birds.

African Crowned Crane
The pool was a massive oasis which included a tunnel through a pool bar to the kids' side which had fountains, floating animals, a sand bottom and slides.  All of this, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a tremendous view of

Saturday, October 23, 2010


        My parents are visiting from Phoenix this week and it is so nice to be reminded of home in such a personal way, a visit from your family.   On their visit we are trying to do things that bring us together as a family; sightseeing, playing and dining together.

They arrived just in time for Joseph's birthday, but Jospeh and Alex had previously arranged plans for the day, so the family celebration would have to wait.   The boys participated in the Lacey Veach day of Exploration at the Punahou School, in celebration of Hawaii's own astronaut who flew in the Space Shuttle.  He died of cancer in 1995, but his family continues his great work bringing science to the children of the islands by providing this activity each year.  It was apparent that the whole community missed him terribly and sought to honor him by spreading his passion for science to the next generation.  Joseph and Alex had a great time learning about the ocean and electricity while participatingin fun hands-on events  (ANLCers, sound familiar?).  Our family was able to come together for dinner for Joseph's birthday when we dined at the Oceanarium, which has a two-story aquarium inside.  As a special treat, we had a diver dive into the aquarium and hold a sign wishing Joseph a happy birthday.

      A visit to Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial is a must-see here in Oahu, not only to pay respect to those that died on December 7, 1941, but also to experience the history of this place and the history of the United States of America.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Flying By

        We went flying, quite literally, this week. We all went parasailing off the coast of Honolulu, even the little ones.  We went in threes.  First, Steve, Nicki and I were harnessed and attached to a parachute at the back of a speed boat.  Once we were secure, they let 'er rip and we were suddenly lifted up into the sky on a 700ft line, an exhilarating and fun feeling.    It felt like I was a kite taking off and then coasting through the air.  We were at the mercy of the gentle trade winds, pushing us around in a most pleasant way.  With the magnificent view and noticeable quiet, I did not want this 10 minute ride to end.  As they retracted our line for the return, we were dunked in the ocean.  This was a pleasant surprise right before we landed safely on the boat.   As Joseph, Alex and Steve (yes, Steve again) lifted off, I could see in their faces, what I felt on my turn......pure joy and surprise mixed with a little uneasiness, but so much anticipation for the rest of the ride.

Just taking off!
        Our whole trip so far has been a lot like my parasailing experience.   It all took off with a flurry of activity as I planned many activities each week.  Even the thought of homeschooling motivated and excited me back then.   Now, in the middle of our journey, we coast.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Just the Two of Us

Yes, we've been working out
        It really hit me while Steve and I were driving back to our apartment.  I was singing along to More Than a Woman by the Bee Gees when I realized we were actually alone.  The combination of the lack of bickering, the sound of actual music (which replaced our typical children's audio book on the stereo) and the view of Diamond Head  triggered a most welcome relaxed, vacationy feel. We were returning from a great snorkeling trip to Kahe Point Beach Park (nicknamed Electric Beach) while the kids were in camp.  

        This week marked the first time since we have arrived in Hawaii that Steve and I got to spend time alone.  It was fall intersession here, a break from school which allows families to spend quality time together.  Luckily there's another option, with a number of camps offered during these breaks.  It was the perfect opportunity for our family to spend just a little time apart.  I signed the kids up for 3 days of camp: a science camp at the Bishop museum, a "Hawaiiana" camp at the YWCA, and a magic camp at a local elementary school.   While they were having fun and maybe even learning something, Steve and I got to have a little "vacation" for ourselves.

        As our children made poi and learned some more Hawaiian words, Steve and I went snorkeling at Electric Beach, which is across the street from an electrical power plant.  Aside from the obvious aesthetic value of having a beach near an electrical facility, this is a great place to snorkel.  As in most electrical plants, water is used to cool down the generating equipment.  This clean water becomes

Saturday, October 2, 2010

La Hanau Season

        This week marked the beginning of what I call Birthday Season.  It's the time of year in which we celebrate all three kids' birthdays.  Alex's and Nicki's were this week and Joseph's is coming up.  We didn't exactly plan to have all three kids at the start of fall three years apart like clockwork, but I love the way it worked out.   After the excitement of summer and start of school, it's great to kick off the national holiday season with our very own Birthday Season, just as the weather in Phoenix starts to cool down.  For me, Birthday Season is better than Mother's Day, because each birthday represents the anniversary of the days I became a mother for the first, second and third times.  Each of those days was special and beautiful.  Looking back, I want to relive every aspect of having my children.   I wish I could go back and hold their tiny (well, not so tiny at 9, 9.3 and 10lbs) little bodies in my arms.   I wish I could take back all the times I'd wished they'd hurry up and grow out of a certain unpleasant phase of their life.  Now, I sometimes wish they would just stop growing.  I really didn't like the newborn phase with all the crying and lack of sleep, but I sometimes envy the clarity I had when my children were infants.  It's a time when everything is put into perspective by the fact that your sole purpose is to take care of this little creature for a while.  Almost nothing else matters at this stage and outside pressures and influences often get their proper due, and are ignored.  Birthday Season is a time for me to reflect and celebrate my children's, and my own, growth.

        This year, our birthday celebrations will have to do without some of the normal trappings of a birthday at home.  There is no big birthday sign which is usually left on the wall for months.   I won't be making any elaborately decorated cakes or cupcakes.  While I really do enjoy the baking, I'm relieved that  there's no need to triple bake for each birthday, once for the birthday itself on the actual date, once for the school celebration and once for the party which is often held on the weekend after.   Alex didn't even want cake this year.  We went out for Shave Ice instead and sang "Happy Birthday"  in the Waiola General store while it poured outside.  And for Nicki's birthday, we made a simple cake and orange Jell-O.


        This year, there weren't any nicely wrapped presents meant to surprise the kids, either.  We've

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vacation Pictures

         Ever since Steve and I returned from our trip to Kauai 3 years ago, I had been wanting to show the kids this island, the most beautiful place on Earth.  I would picture my favorite beach, Tunnels, on the north shore.  While I was snorkeling in the water there last time, I couldn't decide what to look at: the plentiful fish, the beautiful mountains, or the expansive ocean.   I wanted to take them on a catamaran ride along the Na Pali coast to see the verdant cliffs and sea caves.  And I wanted to try some new things that I'd seen in tour books and brochures, like hiking in Waimea Canyon, going to Ke'e beach, kayaking, visiting a botanical garden, horseback riding or mountain tubing.  I got the chance to show my family all Kauai had to offer this week as we took a little "vacation" to the Garden Isle.

         I planned a picture-perfect vacation.  This time, I really wanted to stay on the north shore, before October when the winter swells render many north shore beaches almost unswimmable.   This trip was also the first time in a long while that we took a vacation that was not part of a work-related trip.  Since most of our vacations are trips of opportunity, piggybacked on one of Steve's many conferences, we are not usually responsible for the destination or even the hotel (but, fortunately, not all the cost, either).  This vacation to Kauai, however, was completely my vision.

Kalalau Valley
         We encountered many disappointments as we embarked on this trip.  Our boat tour had been postponed due to weather and cancellation was a possibility.  The kids were especially annoying and cranky.  And it was raining when we arrived.

        As planned, we drove straight to Koke'e State Park and Waimea Canyon after we landed.  Rain is not a big deterrent on Kauai.  After all, Kauai is home to the world's rainiest spot, Mt. Wai'ale'ale, but it did make it difficult to get a good view from the Na Pali coast overlooks.  The mist and rain were sporadic, so while sometimes you could see to the ocean, most often visibility was limited to a few feet.  Luckily, for a few minutes, the fog dissipated and we saw a beautiful rainbow deep in the Kalalau Valley below.

       The rain also put a damper on our plans to do a rim hike in the Waimea Canyon, which would have been slippery and dangerous. Waimea Canyon is one of the gems on this small (550 square miles) island.   Although it's not as grand as the Grand Canyon, its beauty rivals our Arizona treasure.   As we headed out of the park and down to a lower elevation, the rain subsided.  We happened upon a great little hike, the Iliau Nature Loop and the start of the Kukui trail, which had terrific views of the canyon, nice examples of Kauai vegetation (with labeled signs), and nice rocks to climb.  Most importantly, it gave us the opportunity to stretch our legs and goof around for more than a few minutes. It was a much needed break for all of us after a couple of hours in a compact car.

That night, even after settling into the beautiful Hanalei Colony Resort, taking a solitary (recall the compact car and three children) sunset stroll, and enjoying the pool and hot tub, I couldn't help but feel disappointed in our vacation.  Things were not going according to plan. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Charm of the City

        Living in Hawaii has reminded us that the city can sometimes be hectic.  There is so much going on, all the time, it's easy to overlook the wonderful scenes unfolding all around you.    On our walk to the Waikiki Community Center, we almost missed our opportunity to help a lady, a neighbor, who was stuck on her balcony on the 15th floor.   She couldn't get back into her apartment and didn't have a phone to call for help.  We wouldn't have noticed her had it not been for the elderly man on the sidewalk who was looking up the side of the building.  It is a well-known fact of rubbernecking, that if someone is looking up at something, passersby will immediately follow suit and look up, even if there is nothing to look at.   Even though he didn't seem to understand her predicament or how to help, this stranger's  simple act of looking up in the middle of a busy sidewalk, called enough attention to her situation that help soon arrived.  That's where I came in.   I managed to speak (or yell) to the stranded lady during the 60 second breaks in the noisy traffic on Ala Wai Boulevard.  I got her apartment number, and we decided on the best plan of action.  I called the building manager and checked on her to make sure she was OK.  She was so appreciative, but I assured her that it was "no big whoop".  After all, we live in a city.  Someone was bound to help eventually.

        This scene reminded me of growing up in Brooklyn.  We were constantly talking, or rather, yelling, from our apartment down to the street.  In fact, we would often toss items down to our family members or friends from our 6th floor window.   If the ice cream truck stopped at the park down the block, there was always someone running to the building to "call" their mom so that they could "send" down some money.  This was before cell phones.

        There's a lot about Honolulu that reminds me of Brooklyn.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Go Fish

        The first week we were here, Steve bought a game for all of us to play on the occasions when we didn't have something exciting planned and we were cooped up in the small apartment.   It's called Go Fish! Hawaii.  Yes, it's just Go Fish, a game you can play with any deck of cards, but each card has a lovely drawing of a Hawaiian fish along with its Hawaiian name and a description.  Very educational ;)  and it has been worth the hefty price of $8 for the deck.  We play often because it is (mostly) fun to play games with your kids and this game has the right balance of luck, strategy and memory we look for when playing with an almost 6 year old.  What's most enjoyable, though, are the fish names, themselves.   The joy in our voices is apparent as we ask, "Nicki, do you have any Humuhumunukunukuapuaa?" or  "Alex, give me all of your Lauwiliwilinukunukuoioi."  These fish names are so fun to say, once you get the hang of it.  Nicki started off just holding up her card, not wanting to attempt the reading, but now she joins the rest of us in our all-out pronunciation of these funny fish names. 

        The fish pictured on the cards need to be seen though, in their natural habitat.  I am surprised it took us so long to finally get out in the water to snorkel.  It did take a while to make sure we had all of our equipment.  Aside from Alex (who needed to practice in our pool at home), we all bought snorkel gear here in Hawaii.  Once we had the masks, snorkels and fins, I went on a quest for "floaty things" like the banana yellow float belts Steve and I rented along with our snorkel gear the last time we were in Hawaii.   While we are all strong swimmers, I felt it best that we have flotation devices for our snorkeling adventure.  For me, at least, it makes the experience more enjoyable.  I don't really worry about tiredly stepping on fragile coral , or even worse, sea urchins.  I effortlessly float above it all, saving my energy for propelling myself forward to chase the cool species that swim by.   We settled on life jacket-like apparatus for Alex and Nicki, which warned "not to be used as a life saving device".  Ok, if someone is in trouble in the water, I promise not to use this to save their lives.  My search for float belts for the rest of us brought me back to Snorkel Bob's.   Turns out, Snorkel Bob will sell you one for $45 but, otherwise, they are nowhere to be found.  Being the consummate bargain shopper, I called all over town; surf shops, big box stores, sporting goods, even ABC.  I went online (of course I found exactly what I wanted here - but I didn't want to wait around to receive them) and asked around.  I just couldn't believe that these floaty things were not sold side by side with snorkel gear.  I was starting to think that I was a total wimp to for not wanting to tread water for an hour to watch fish do their thing.

        I hit the jackpot, though, when I found aqua aerobics equipment at Sports Authority.  They have a "Aqua Fitness Jog Belt"  that is designed to fit around your waste and keep you vertical as you jog or  pump iron under water.   At $25 a pop, it was the best bargain I could find.  We practiced snorkeling in the apartment pool, with and without the floaty things.  I was so glad I had my float belt.  It gave me the security to actually feel comfortable with my face under water, a fear I have never quite overcome since childhood.  Plus, since we were going with our kids, who are notorious for hanging onto you in the water, every bit of added buoyancy helps.

        I have snorkeled at three spots in Oahu so far.  Nicki and Alex and I went to the famous

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"I Call Taking a Shower First"

        I don't think I've ever heard this phrase coming from my kids until now.  I hear this practically every day in Hawaii.  We are taking advantage of all the outdoor opportunities in this natural paradise, and it's a dirty business.

        The messiest of all is by far the sand.  It gets everywhere!  Not just everywhere on your body.  It consumes all the places where you and your stuff resides...... your home, your car, your drawers full of clean clothes, your purse and your reusable shopping bags.  In fact, our checkout lady at Safeway, Lehua, spent a good two minutes shaking my bag out before she would put my newly purchased groceries in it.  I told her she didn't have to do it, but she insisted.  Maybe she's had a taste of turkey and sand on a whole wheat roll and wanted to spare me the experience.

        When you are ready to leave the beach,  you wash off in the ocean in a big wave, which helps a little.  Next, you rinse off at the beach-side showers.  After our first public shower, where we hogged all the spouts for an uncivilized amount of time, a local told us where the more powerful showers were.   They were better, but even after that, we stilled trekked plenty of sand to our apartment a good five blocks away.   I swear you could fill a kids sand box with what's left in our shoes, bathing suits and towels after a couple of hours at the beach.  I know what Joseph feels like when he doesn't want to go to the beach because he'll get all sandy, but the prospect of missing out on frolicking in ocean or snorkeling is too unthinkable to make me deny myself this pleasure.  I've decide to live with it, especially since I have no choice.

       Then there's the sweat.  It's true, we are more active here in Hawaii with so much outdoor activity and everything else within walking distance.  But more physical exertion is just part of it.  The weather is deceptive.  When the sun is blaring on you, you feel hot.  Otherwise, you feel so cool and comfortable in the constant breeze that you are surprised by the moisture soaking through your shirt in just a short walk.  To say the least, it's a wet heat.  On the plus side, no chapped lips.  On the minus, poofy hair.......with sand in it!

        Today, we discovered yet another reason to shower.......mud.  We hiked to Manoa Falls in the gorgeous Manoa valley.  This is where we see rainbows every evening from our apartment.  The reason: it rains every evening.

The wet valley is behind that rainbow
 That leaves morning hikes full of muddy trails and dripping leaves.  Slippery rocks, plus mud, plus kids equals a royal mess.  It's worth it, though.  The valley is pristine, the falls spectacular, the sweat profuse the poofiness

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mother Nature

        Many people have told us that if you want to see the real Hawaii, you need to get out of the city.  We did just that this week.  We traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii, the biggest and newest of the Hawaiian Islands.   After a short 40 minute flight, we arrived in Hilo, early enough to start our adventure.  

        I was first struck by the beautiful, sunny weather.  Yes, sunny weather is not uncommon in Hawaii, but the last time we were on the Hilo side of the island, it was rainy all day.   Our first order of business was to return to Akaka Falls.  We saw them clearly from the viewing area this time and the gorgeous rainforest looked even more beautiful in the dappled sunlight. This time of year, the rains come at night.

        After a lovely lunch at Cafe Pesto (highly recommend) in downtown Hilo, we headed straight for the Kalapana viewing area, an area at the end of Highway 130, which the county set up to view the latest lava flows.  The lava has been flowing actively near here for a few months now.   In fact, the last viewing area, further down what used to be highway 130 was covered in lava about a month ago.   As we drove to the area, I got so excited to see a plume of smoke that looked like a very low lying cloud out on the horizon.  This was the steam and gases caused by lava flowing into the ocean.  We reached the viewing area some time before sunset, so there was no glow.  We explored the most recent flow which decimated this residential neighborhood.  There are still a few houses and a bunch more "For Sale" signs  (For Sale: Ocean View Property).  It's a real bargain.

Plume from Lava entering Pacific Ocean
        There was no surface lava that day (it had been diminishing over the past week), but as the sky grew darker, we saw the puffy white plumes change to light pink and then to a deep orange.  It was amazing to watch the plume change color and shape as thousands of gallons of lava spilled into the ocean creating more Hawaii. The lava was flowing underground in a tube to the ocean.  You could see steam rising from the ground

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Neighborhood

       Our first order of business as we settle into our new home, is exploring our neighborhood.  We have an apartment on the 20th floor of a building on the Diamondhead side of Waikiki.

View from building "hallway"

        Although Waikiki is full of high rises, we are adjacent to a residential neighborhood which provides numerous advantages.   The first is having access to an actual grocery store, Safeway.   While most tourists end up shopping at ABC stores, a high priced convenience store located throughout Hawaii, we get to shop at the high priced Safeway.  In the two days we have spent here so far, we have already gained a greater appreciation for food.  With milk at over $5 a gallon, we don't throw out what's left after our cereal.  With bread at $4 a loaf, no more cutting off the crust.  It's about more than just expense, it's about waste, as we realize that every bit counts.
         Another advantage is that there is a library right across the street, the Waikiki-Kapahulu branch.  Compared to those in Phoenix and Scottsdale, it is nothing to write home about, but I will anyway. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trader Joe's

Of all the items on my long list of things to do before we leave, the most enjoyable has been buying gifts for those in Hawaii who have helped us or those we will meet and befriend.  A colleague of Steve's mentioned that she stocks up on items from Trader Joe's whenever she is on the mainland,  a store they do not have in Hawaii.   It turns out, a lot of Hawaii locals like to stock up on Trader Joe's stuff.  In fact, the Las Vegas store on Decatur Boulevard has a top ten list of items for their Hawaiian customers.  Apparently a lot of Hawaiian tours go through there.  I had the good folks at Trader Joe's store # 90 send the list to my local store.  This is what is on the list:

1. Butter Waffle Cookies - the clerk here noticed a few Hawaiian customers stocking up on these!
2. Roasted Almonds
3. Roasted Cashews
4. Dry Roasted Pistachios
5. Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix
6. Chocolate Covered Pretzels
7. Dried Cranberries
8. Simply Almonds, Cashews & Cranberries Trek Mix
9. Almondina biscuits
10.  Honey Sesame Sticks

I am bringing many of these items with us to show Aloha spirit.  I am interested to find out if they truly are sought after.  It also make me wonder, what would I stock up on if I were leaving for good......and what I'll miss from Hawaii when we get back.  I'll let you know!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trying to stay in touch

Welcome to my Hawaii Blog.  The whole family is heading out on an adventure in about a week.  We are going to be spending a semester in Hawaii while Steve does a sabbatical at university of Hawaii.  This blog is a way to keep you posted about what we are doing and how the homeschooling is going.  I hope to have Joseph and Alex create Blogs as well.  We'll share our thoughts as well as pictures and videos.  And you can post comments as well!  I hope you enjoy and I hope I keep up with it!