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Archive for life

It’s my birthday and I’m hosting a giveaway!

Woo hoo!  Happy birthday to me!

This year’s birthday wasn’t as spectacular as my 50th birthday last year.  Last year I was in Hawaii and went snorkelling with turtles on my birthday.


Hard to top snorkelling with turtles!


This year, I worked at Seaport Village. And although I was working, it was about as perfect a day as you can get at work… clear skies, slight breeze, happy vacationers… and I found a package of googly eyes and drew this panda on a little girl who was also celebrating her birthday!

A great day at the office!

A great day at the office!

So I decided to share the love on my birthday with a lucky winner:

My gift to one of you!

My gift to one of you!

In the bag:

  • A full-sized Makana Artisanal Soy Candle in a yummy Grapefruit/Lychee scent.
  • A Mineral Fusion Mini Nail Polish kit in the hot summer colors of Trinket (a red-purple cream), Lagoon (a carribean ocean green) and Blaze (a glorious red-orange cream)
  • A sample bottle of Acure Pure Organic Argan Oil
  • A sample of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint soap
  • Two teabags of Yogi Tea
  • Other stuff as strikes my fancy between now and the time a winner is chosen.

To enter, just tell me about your best birthday celebration.  You can enter more than once, but I’d appreciate a different answer per entry (just coz I read them all!)

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

When the spouse is away….

I shall have a spa day!


It has been ages since I had a whole day off all by myself!  Hubby is in Tucson at a meeting, and I had a surprise cancellation.  Woo hoo!

My spa day actually started yesterday evening with an hour-long massage from Nell at Spa 33, followed by a half hour in the sauna.  Then I had a spa dinner of stir-fry over quinoa and read magazines with the cats.  Heaven!

This morning I got up at my usual time and slathered my hair with a mixture of coconut oil and camellia oil (available on Amazon and at Asian groceries) — and covered it with a plastic bag.  Then I went for my walk.  You would never know that my hair was getting beautified underneath my walking hat!


Doing the hot oil treatment and getting fit, too!

Having the kitchen to myself for a few days seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new diet.  I saw this book at the library and could not resist the title: Happy Hormones, Slim Belly: Over 40? Lose 7 lbs the First Week, and then 2 lbs. Weekly – Guaranteed. by Jorge Cruise.  The premise, in a nutshell, is that women start craving sugar (meaning sugar in a global sense — everything that breaks down into sugars in the digestive system, so sugars, fruit, carbs, etc.) to help boost their serotonin levels which are going haywire during peri-menopause. The result is weight gain and difficulty sticking to diets which make us miserable.  Jorge’s answer: what he calls carb-cycling.  It sounds like a modified marriage of the Atkins Diet and the Fast Diet — 2 days a week, you avoid all “sugars” (eating as much meat, dairy and vegetables as you want) and then the other 5 days you eat a sensible Mediterranean diet.

My hormones certainly are going haywire… and my weight is currently plateaued at 20lbs more than what the Dr. considers healthy…

So I’m on the second day of the Diet which has 2 “Slim Days” and 5 “Happy Days”  Today is a “Slim Day” — and it’s going well.  I have some fruit cravings, but have almonds instead. And the avocado with lunch really helped fill me up.

Tomorrow I get to have tortillas again!  It seems fairly easy to work around the spouse.  He will be happy with the increase in bacon consumption… All I really have to do is not eat the carbs on my slim days, but in practice, I’m not sure I can watch my husband eat bread without having some myself….

I am dubious about the losing 7 lbs in one week part…. and I’m pretty sure the guarantee won’t apply to me since it was a library book… but we’ll see how it goes.

So, back to the spa part….

I made a simple scrub by adding some Hawaiian red salt to Alba’s Coconut Milk Facial Wash.



Ingredients: Aqua (Water), C14-22 Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract*, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil*, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Panthenol, Polysorbate 60, Potassium Hydroxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Alcohol*, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Phenoxyethanol , Coumarin, Fragrance (Parfum) * Certified Organic Ingredient

Then followed that with the Honey Girl Organics Rejuvenating Mask (which although is clay-based, has enough oils and honey that it is actually not drying at all)


Ingredients: Raw Pupukea Honey, French green clay, organic diatomaceous earth, Hawaiian blue green algae, Royal Jelly, propolis.

Then washed the oil out of my hair with Whole Foods 365 Lavender Shampoo — which has no sulfates or other nasty stuff. It left my hair soft and clean, but not squeaky and stripped.  This was one of the freebies I got from the Whole Foods Blogger event last month.

365 Shampoo for dry and normal hair "lavender blend": water, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium cocoamphacetate, wheat germ amidopropyl, betaine, sodium chloride, benzyl alcohol, glycerine, citric acid, dehydroacetic acid, burdock root extract, panthenol, vitamin E, hydrolyzed soy protein, rosemary, lavender, tangerine

365 Shampoo for dry and normal hair “lavender blend”: water, sodium laureth sulfate, sodium cocoamphacetate, wheat germ amidopropyl, betaine, sodium chloride, benzyl alcohol, glycerine, citric acid, dehydroacetic acid, burdock root extract, panthenol, vitamin E, hydrolyzed soy protein, rosemary, lavender, tangerine

I also tried the Whole Foods 365 French Milled Organic Lavender Soap (also a sample freebie from the Blogger event) — and it was delightful!  Nice lather, and a fresh lavender scent. Definitely a keeper!

Wholefoods_LavenderSoapAlas, being at home is not the same as being at The Golden Door, so there were still chores to be done.

But my hair and skin feel fantastic, and after a bowl of hearty soup, there is a Disney Princess movie marathon (on the couch with the cats in a pile) on the agenda…

I feel ready to face the next 5 weeks (without a day off)!

Natasha’s Thai-Inspired Spa Chicken Vegetable Soup

In a soup pot:

1 tbl coconut oil
1 chicken breast, chopped
1 tbl (or so) of fresh chopped garlic
1 tbl chopped ginger (I like the ginger cubes that I found at our local Asian market)

Then add:
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbl chopped ginger (I like the ginger cubes that I found at our local Asian market)
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 cup frozen spinach
1/2 yellow squash, chopped
2 chopped fresh tomatoes
1 celery stick, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup snow peas or sugar snap peas

Sriracha sauce to taste





Friday Fitness: Hit restart again


It’s been a sobering week for health and fitness.  I saw my regular physician last Friday with a list of concerns… and other than finding out that I don’t need a Pap smear for another 3 years due to revised guidelines, the news was not pretty.

I have a heel spur and plantar’s fascititis in my left foot (I had PF in my right foot last year).  The prescription: wear orthotics (already do), rigid night splint and gel heel cups.  Long term solution: lose at least 20lbs to reduce the stress on my feet and joints. If that doesn’t work, see a podiatrist for custom orthotics…

The spots on my face that I thought were just recurring hormonal breakouts on my chin are actually pre-cancerous spots of interest: pre-actinic keratosis.  The prescription: keep an eye on them; increase sun protection.


The heel spur is pretty easy to deal with — although I am not happy about the prospect of pain lasting for several months.

I knew I was 20 lbs overweight, but now I have more incentive to lose that extra baggage.

The spots of interest have got me worried. I am a diligent sunscreen user.  I wear hats and scarves and uv sleeves when I walk… and I wear spf 50 on all exposed skin as a matter of course — even when I don’t think I’m going outside. That has probably prevented a lot of spots of interest… but I can only speculate about why I have two on my chin…


My usual walking gear — SPF 50 hat with back veil from Columbia Sport (it’s vented for heat management), an SPF 50 scarf from Coolibar, SPF 50 Hi-Tec UV sleeves, and Banana Boat Baby Tear-Free Sting-Free SPF 50 Lotion (it’s got zinc and Titanium Dioxide and is really cheap at Walmart)

Skin cancer runs in my family — which is no surprise since I come from pale Irish stock.  I know it’s very treatable, if caught early.  My sister-in-law went through treatment last year; it wasn’t pleasant.  An uncle declined treatment… and ultimately died from complications… this is serious and scary stuff.

My doctor is a young thing who probably just graduated last year and has been trained to speak in “plain English”… which is probably why after I left the office, I was confused by a lack of specific terminology.  I sent a message asking for clarification, but have yet to receive a reply.

So in the meantime, I am wearing gel heel cups in all my shoes.  They really help with the pain, although not being able to wear sandals in the summer is a sad thing.  I ordered a heel-gel sock thing from Amazon which, if it works, would let me wear sandals again… hope it arrives soon… and hope it works as the product description claims.

AND, I have added stick sunscreen to my regimen; it’s waxy and hopefully more sweatproof than the sport sunscreen I have been using.  I layer the stick (right now I am liking Badger unscented Face Stick in SPF 35) on top of my regular facial sunscreen (CeraVe SPF 50 Sunscreen for face) and after applying a thin layer of tinted BB cream (SPF 20-30, depending on the brand), I dust everything with Mineral Fusion SPF 30 Brush-On Sun Defense. I am wearing a hat more often, even when I’m not working or walking.

And I am trying to stay calm as I wait for more information. My brother-in-law, the doctor, suggested vit D supplements for both the heel spur and the skin condition.  He feels we are chronically deficient in vit D which leads to poor metabolism of calcium (creating “bone” spurs) and also makes us more vulnerable to certain kinds of cancers.  He prefers supplements over an hour of sun exposure per day during 10am and 2pm…. so I have added 1000 IU to my vitamin pile.

And we shall see.

Fitness Friday… bits and bobs…


It’s been an up and down week fitness-wise.

The downs: back to back grad nights Friday and Saturday…

If you are not aware of this modern custom of torture, here is a quick overview.  After a day of graduation celebrations, many high schools offer Grad Nights for their graduates.  These all-nighters usually start around midnight and end around 6:00am and include junk food, caffeinated drinks, music, dancing, and “entertainment”.

As a henna artist, I am an “entertainer” and even though grad nights are not my favorite events (for lots of reasons), I do them because they are big parties with guaranteed 3-4 hours of pay.

However, I do “pay” for them later…

In order to stay up all night, I drink Red Bull, Mountain Dew and Expresso drinks heavy on the expresso, chocolate and whipped cream.  I eat a ton of candy. And if the caring parent chaperones bring me bowls of ice cream, I accept gratefully.  And then when I get home at 7:00am, I crash and burn. No exercise (or movement of any sort) is done the next day… unless I have to get up to do another grad night… which I did last Friday and Saturday…. and then on Sunday, we decided to go for a big BBQ dinner at the newly re-opened Jones Brothers Mississippi BBQ down the street… it seemed like a good idea at the time…

Needless to say, I did not weigh myself this week.

The ups: I managed to get in at least 10,000 steps most days (except Saturday and Sunday). My walking partner (next door neighbor) and I meet most mornings for 3 miles of amiable chatting and gossip… it doesn’t feel like exercise at all! But those steps add up fast!

And I’ve started back up with my personal trainer at 180 Fitness. Preza Ford is a gentle man who manages to get me to do things I would never do on my own.

Fit Pods... instruments of balance and torture!

Fit Pods… instruments of balance and torture!

Look at those spiky little half-domes.  Would you step on those?  Well, at Preza’s invitation, I not only stepped on them, I did 3 sets of squats on them… and lunges, and then I did kettlebell swings… basic exercises that become a zillion times more challenging when you are trying not to lose your balance while standing on spiky half-domes.  And the next day, my abs hurt just as much as my quads… so I hightailed my way to Amazon and bought a pair…

I have yet to do 3 sets of squats on these puppies at home, but I did try doing dishes while balancing — and it made a basic chore into a full-body work-out.

The daily walks were easy to fit back into my schedule, but getting myself to do strength training at home is another story.  I was aiming for today… but then my car’s radiator blew out and I spent my spare time at the dealer and at the rental car place… fortunately, everything was covered under the warranty and the dealer even paid for my rental car so I could get to today’s gig.

Next free spot on the schedule: Sunday.  I plan to report to you next Friday how I did a full strength training session in addition to my daily 3 miles.

Harriette Thompson! My new heroine!  She finished the San Diego Rock-N-Roll Marathon last Sunday morning (the reason I had to find an alternate route home from one of my grad nights — roads were closed from 4:00am until 2:00pm). Now, just finishing is a big accomplishment in itself, but Harriette is a 91 year-old cancer survivor, who had her last treatment just weeks before the marathon. She finished in just over 7 hours!

And she didn’t start long-distance walking until she was 76!

What an inspiration!

I don’t have any week-ends I can spare for real races in the near future.  It is my lot to work most week-ends… but I can do virtual races to give me that kick of motivation to push myself.

So I registered for the Full Medal Runs Birthday Month Marathon.  The rules are simple: complete 26.2 miles by the end of your birthday month… how it gets done is up to me: 1 mile a day for 26 days, 8 5k events, 4 10k events, 2 half marathons or the full monty in one day…. The fee benefits the “Make a Wish” Foundation (which after reading the Fault in Our Stars by John Green, I now feel compelled to help fund…)

birthdaymarathonMy birthday month is July… so there are a few weeks to figure out how to do this… right now I am thinking of 4 10ks or 2 10ks and a half marathon…. the only difficulty with virtual races is that the race volunteers with the cups of gatorade are also virtual… so there are a few logistical challenges to doing a half marathon on my own that will have to be figured out before I commit to that path…

More to come…

Getting back in the saddle again…

It’s been awhile.

We returned home not quite 3 weeks ago, but it feels like months have gone by… and yet, I’m still having trouble getting back into my routines.

Part of the “problem” has been maintenance.  Lots of things have needed repairing since we returned home.  I took the car in for what I thought was a routine oil change… and it turned out I needed new brakes (got them last week) and new radiator hoses and an air conditioner tune-up (scheduled for this week).  Our washing machine decided to back up into the garage sink…. waiting on the plumber right now.  And the back fence needs replacing. And the cat had to go to the Vet for her routine check-up…

As the one with the flexible schedule, I am the designated person who takes things in or waits on repair persons…

Good thing it’s not ME (or hubby) that needs repairing!

I am, slowly but surely, getting back into my habits… blogging, among them.

So while I am not fully back today… I am aiming for a substantive post tomorrow and then to get back into the swing of regular posting.  There are plenty of ideas… just not the routine of photography, editing, thinking and writing.


See you soon!


Fitness Friday: Whirlwind!

It has been a whirlwind few weeks!  And smack dab in the middle was the Hapalua Half Marathon!

After we returned from the Mainland (cats are still doing well at the cat hotel — we check in on them daily via webcam — I know, we are cat nerds…), we rented a car for the week.  The hubby does not want to waste the rent of the car by letting it sit parked for more than overnight, so we did a *lot* of sightseeing… and then, after a couple days rest, we rented a car again!

Some highlights:
Manoa Falls, just up the street from our place and a hidden gem.  The hike is steep and somewhat slippery, but it’s rainforest lush and  the reward at the top is a beautiful waterfall.

Manoa Falls

Manoa Falls

Inside the Atlantis Submarine

Inside the Atlantis Submarine

We took a ride on the Atlantis Submarine and splurged for the premier sub with the giant windows.  It was a delightful ride past 3 manmade reefs, two sunken ships and a sunken airplane (all deliberately put there to create artificial reefs for the Atlantis company — no-one was hurt in the sinking)

Turtle alongside one of the sunken ships

Turtle alongside one of the sunken ships

We saw schools of fish, a couple manta rays, a group of puffer fish and this graceful honu who hung around one of the sunken ships to our delight.  Since we were more than 100ft down, it was difficult to see colors other than blue — which makes picture-taking challenging.  Our only complaint about the submarine ride was that it was too short!  Only 45 minutes at depth.  I could have easily spent 2 or more hours watching all the variety of life at the bottom of the bay!

Hanauma  Bay

Hanauma Bay

We went back to Hanauma Bay twice!  And each time we saw tons of tangs, parrotfish, sea urchins, spotted puffer fish, triggerfish of 3 varieties (including the state fish, humuhumunukunukupua’a) and a sea turtle!  Hubby saw an octopus, but I missed it.  I saw a moray eel and he missed that.

There is nothing better after a full morning of snorkelling than shave ice, a Hawaiian specialty.  We found Uncle Clay’s House of Pure Aloha Shave Ice through TripAdvisor, and were not disappointed.  The ice is truly snow-like (not granular like a snocone); they make all their syrups in-house, and the toppings are super-fresh.  Picture here is a Mango-Passionfruit Shave Ice with pineapple topping.  We met Uncle Clay himself after our second visit — and he is full of joy, pride in shave ice and pure aloha!

And there was a day devoted to taxes in there somewhere…

Then, on Sunday, April 19th, at 5:00am, Hubby drove me down to Waikiki and I walked to Duke Kahanamoku’s statue for the start of the 3rd Annual Hapalua Half Marathon.

The starting line of the Hapalua Half Marathon on Kalakaua Avenue

The starting line of the Hapalua Half Marathon on Kalakaua Avenue

Kristian Lei (my voice teacher) sang both the National Anthem and the Hawaii State Song

Kristian Lei (my voice teacher) sang both the National Anthem and the Hawaii State Song

Then we were off!

After the first thousand runners or so went by, us walkers started out.  I quickly fell into pace with a couple from Hilo who did lots of half marathons, including one in Las Vegas and one in Portland last year.  However, when I needed a pitstop at mile 4, they decided to pick up their pace and I found a slower walking buddy.  And for the next 9 miles, I got to know Carol from Arizona as we plodded down Ala Moana Blvd, back to Kalakaua Ave, down Monserratt and up Diamondhead Drive and back to Kapiolani Park for the finish.  As some of the slower walkers, we witnessed the take-down of the bands just before we arrived (so we never heard any of the music along the course) and also missed water stations because they were taken down early, too.  But the first aid station at Mile 11 was still open and had ample water and well-stocked porta-pots.  And then the last 2 miles were some of the most scenic I’ve ever walked — Diamondhead on the right and the ocean on the left.  Stunning!  The last mile was just a matter of willpower.  But we made it! 4:42:43.  Less than 5 hours and way less than my goal of finishing in under 6 hours!

Passing through the Finisher's Shoot and accepting my medal

Passing through the Finisher’s Shoot and accepting my medal

And then I saw Hubby at the finish line!

And then I saw Hubby at the finish line!

Fortunately, although the bands were all finished, the malasada booth was not!  And we chowed down on fresh malasadas made on-site!  And then the rains started pouring so we went home.

And after a quick lunch with lots of fluid replacement, some ice on the feet and a well-deserved shower, it was time for my ukelele recital at the Manoa School of Music and Art. Most of the other students were in grade school, but there were 2 other adult students in the performance.  Despite the informal crowd, I was nervous, but managed to remember both my song (Hanalei Moon) and the chords. Everything fell into place and the music just floated.

Playing my ukelele at the student recital.  I have taken lessons for 6 weeks.

Playing my ukelele at the student recital. I have taken lessons for 6 weeks.

In the week since Super Sunday, we have been to Chinatown…

Statue of Kuan Yin in the Maunakea Marketplace in Chinatown

Statue of Kuan Yin in the Maunakea Marketplace in Chinatown

Foster Botanical Garden:

Corpse Flower at the Foster Botanical Garden -- fortunately, it had bloomed 2 days before our visit and had no lingering odor... apparently it smells incredibly horrible when it's in full bloom..

Corpse Flower at the Foster Botanical Garden — fortunately, it had bloomed 2 days before our visit and had no lingering odor… apparently it smells incredibly horrible when it’s in full bloom..

Koko Head Marina

Koko Head Marina

and snorkeling in the lagoons at Ko’Olina.

Sunset from the deck of AmaAma Restaurant at Disney Aulani Resort in Ko'Olina.

Sunset from the deck of AmaAma Restaurant at Disney Aulani Resort in Ko’Olina.

The beaches at Ko’Olina are all public and free.  There is limited free parking, but with the holiday and the LPGA golf tournament at the Marriott, we ended up parking at the Disney Aulani parking garage.  We spent the afternoon snorkeling in a manmade lagoon with perfect, calm water, then rinsed off and decided to splurge for dinner at the Aulani.  There was no pressure to buy anything (except $30 worth of food or gifts in order to get free parking) and in fact, other than the Stitch statue, and the giant volcano waterslide, it was hard to tell it was a Disney resort…. it definitely doesn’t look like Disneyland!  After our dinner, we strolled down to the beach to watch the sun set, our first in Hawaii! (A clear view of the western horizon is blocked by mountains in Manoa).

And tomorrow!  I get to climb trees at the Wahine Tree Climbing workshop which was postponed due to gale force winds last month.

I may not be losing weight (in fact, the scale back home told me that I’d gained 10lbs in February and March), but we are active and I feel stronger.  And I finished a half marathon!  13.1 miles! My feet were sore for a day, but other than that, I had no aches or pains due to walking that distance!  Now that’s fitness in my book!


Turtles and Warriors… yes, all in one day!

Yesterday was a great day!  We got up, put on a zillion layers of sunscreen, then headed to the North Shore to a small cove called Turtle Beach.  It’s just a pull-off from the highway and you park on the side of the road then cross over to the beach.

But that small area is magic!  It’s named Turtle Beach for a reason!  Turtles love to hang out, swim and sun themselves right there — next to the highway and among the throngs of tourists.

Turtles and snorkellers both like the waters at Turtle Beach.

Turtles and snorkellers both like the waters at Turtle Beach.

Heading back to the water after a morning sun nap...

Heading back to the water after a morning sun nap…

We spent about an hour at the beach, but since we had reservations for the macadamia nut farm up the road, we couldn’t stay longer.

The Tropical Farms Macadamia Nut Outlet is nestled in the valley of the Kualoa Mountains.  It’s a stunningly beautiful place that has been used as the setting for LOST, the wedding scene in 50 First Dates, Jurassic Park, Fantasy Island, and many other movies and TV episodes.  It even was cast as a Korean concentration camp in an episode of Hawaii Five-O!

Our tour took about an hour as Chief Laumoli (which he translated as Mauloli, always hungry) was our witty and knowledgeable host.  We took a quick tour through the flower fields.  The ladies from Wisconsin were enthralled to see bananas up close along with torch gingers, heliconia, and birds of paradise… and even after 2 months of living with all these plants in our backyard, I still find them amazing and beautiful.

Red heliconia beds at the farm

Red heliconia beds at the farm

Then we stopped in the “Coconut Grove” for a short entertaining section.  Our guide showed us a traditional method of creating fire from rubbing 2 sticks together and putting the embers into dried coconut husks.  Then another guide emerged from the hut with 2 poi sticks and took the fire and deftly lit his sticks, tossed the firestarter somewhere safe — and danced!

Poi dancing in the coconut grove

Poi dancing in the coconut grove.

When that concluded, we took a short boat ride around Moli’i Pond, which is the largest manmade fishpond in the world. The ingenious system of rocks to block in the large fish, but let the smaller ones pass in and out, allowed for an ample stock of milkfish, crabs, barracuda, and other fish for the ruling elites in the old days.

View of the Kualoa Mountains from Moli'i Pond.  The boat on the shore was used in a Hawaii Five-O episode.

View of the Kualoa Mountains from Moli’i Pond. The boat on the shore was used in a Hawaii Five-O episode.

The tour concluded by a quick trip through the fruit groves of mango, guava, custard apple, starfruit, jack fruit and coffee trees.

A glorious coffee plant!

A glorious coffee plant!

I took this selfie in the bus with my cellphone...

I took this selfie in the bus with my cellphone…

Today we plan to head back to Turtle Beach and then stop by Shark Bay.  Unfortunately, our underwater camera died yesterday so we will have no photos from snorkelling.  But so it goes.  It will still be an amazing experience… even without photos…






Where I’ve been and where I’m going

It’s been a whirlwind week.

I visited a friend on Kauai and enjoyed the lush, green scenery. So many wonderful waterfalls!

Opaeka Falls in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

Opaeka Falls in Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii

We ate, we pinned (mutual Pinterest junkies), we worked, and we played.

At the Hanalei Bay scenic overlook

At the Hanalei Bay scenic overlook

She did jagua (a body art dye made from the South American Genipa plant -- lasts 1-2 weeks) and I did henna (from the Middle Eastern henna plants, stains the skin and lasts 1-2 weeks)

She did jagua (a body art dye made from the South American Genipa plant — lasts 1-2 weeks) and I did henna (from the Middle Eastern henna plants, stains the skin and lasts 1-2 weeks)

I got home Sunday, and today I finished my muumuu…

I made this muumuu in sewing class!

I made this muumuu in sewing class!

And tomorrow I fly back to the mainland for 8 intense days.  I have a day in San Diego, then Hubby and I will fly to New York on Thursday.  We pick up Java from the pet hospital on Friday, and the fly back to San Diego with both cats on Monday.  The cats will stay in San Diego and we will return to Honolulu for the final 4 weeks of sabbatical on April 2.

I will try to post from the road, but given that I’m leaving the laptop in Honolulu and I find the iPad an awkward tool for blogging, there may or may not be many posts.

I leave you with a view of Anini Beach on Kauai… amazing to find a secluded beach on such a crowded island! It was so beautiful and peaceful that I could have stayed there for days.

Lovely Anini Beach on Kauai, Hawaii

Lovely Anini Beach on Kauai, Hawaii



Life happens… an update

It has not been the most stellar time in paradise. Rain, fitful sleep, many early morning phone calls to the veterinarian in New York (6 hour time difference is not fun!), and a UTI have been the order of the week.

Miss Java at the Pet Hospital

Miss Java at the Pet Hospital

Java (and her “sister”, Sahara) have been under the care of my patient Mother-in-Law.  Sahara has been the problem cat — jumping where she shouldn’t jump, knocking things off shelves, opening doors and snooping in closets.  Java was the sweet one… until she started drinking excessively… which lead to peeing excessively… not necessarily in the litterbox.  The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was when my mother-in-law returned home to find all her towels had been knocked down out of the closet — and all of them had been peed on…. and there were also puddles in the bathroom.  The volume was incredible — even if both cats had a peefest.

So, last Friday, Miss Java went to see the veterinarian (thank goodness, our friend who was helping out with the litterbox changes just happens to work at a veterinary clinic!).  She had a mouth ulcer and was dehydrated.  They put her on an IV and ran a full range of tests. She started a course of antibiotics for the ulcer.

The tests all came back negative — including the one for kidney disease which she had tested positive for back in October! The vet is at a loss to explain her excessive drinking. But the antibiotics have been working well to clear up the infection and after a few days of subcutaneous fluids, she is back to normal.

But she can’t go back to my mother-in-law’s house.

And she can’t come to Hawaii (very strict quarantine laws).

It’s been a sleepless week working through all the options. And yesterday, we decided to take a week to go retrieve our cats from New York and bring them back to a cat’s only hotel in San Diego, The Purring Parrot.

Located in lovely Point Loma, The Purring Parrot features very attentive staff, views of an aviary, and lots of climbing space.  And webcams. It won’t be home, but it will be close enough.

So now the travel arrangements and reservations have all been made.  Family discussions have started.  And it will all work out.  Hubby leaves for a conference in Arizona tomorrow. When he returns to San Diego, I’ll fly out to meet him and we’ll fly to NY at the end of March.

Now I just need to figure out what the best place is for Miss Java for the next 2 weeks.  Sister-in-law is contacting her list of catsitters for options.  And I just need to stay calm, get enough sleep and know that by Monday when Java is discharged, we will have a plan.

Honolulu Festival Fun

It was a mostly rainy week-end in Honolulu, but when the skies cleared on Sunday morning, we hopped on the bus and headed downtown for the Honolulu Festival. It was so large that it was held in 3 venues — the Hawaii Convention Center, Waikiki Beach Stage and Ala Moana Center.  Because we only had a few hours, we decided to go to the Convention Center first.

The Hawaii Convention Center is a gorgeous building with tall palm trees both indoors and out.  There were 3 performance stages there along with several exhibit halls full of information, crafts and hands-on cultural exhibit booths from around the Pacific Rim.  The theme of the event was Pacific Harmony — and there were exhibits from native Alaskan groups, Filipino groups, Chinese and Korean groups — but the majority of exhibits and performances were from Hawaiian and Japanese groups.

The first performance we saw was the Japanese Taiko Drum Ensemble, Wadaiko Mamezakura.

They were a very dynamic and energetic group.  It was impossible to doze off during the performance!


After the performance we headed into the main exhibition hall.

The variety and quality of the Hawaiian quilt exhibit was amazing!

The variety and quality of the Hawaiian quilt exhibit was amazing!

There were a lot of educational booths, such as this one that gave one-on-one kanji instruction.

There were a lot of educational booths, such as this one that gave one-on-one kanji instruction.

I didn't know that Japan had log-sawing competitions!

I didn’t know that Japan had log-sawing competitions!

Say hello to the Taiwanese Techno Gods -- they walked, talked, and played funky music!

Say hello to the Taiwanese Techno Gods — they walked, talked, and played funky music!

After the the end of the exhibits, we headed down Kalakaua Avenue to watch the Festival Parade.  There were more than 64 groups marching!

A Hawaiian Chiefess takes a few pix with her iPad before her group's turn in the Parade.

A Hawaiian Chiefess takes a few pix with her iPad before her group’s turn in the Parade.

This is just one of many hula schools who performed.

This is just one of many hula schools who performed.

This was one of many groups of delightful Japanese dancers.

This was one of many groups of delightful Japanese dancers.

This dragon bowed and swayed and greeted its adoring fans.

This dragon bowed and swayed and greeted its adoring fans.

This dragon boat brought up the rear of the parade with a bang!

This dragon boat brought up the rear of the parade with a bang!

And then, after the parade, everyone walked down to Waikiki Beach for the fireworks display orchestrated by Nagaoka Fireworks company in Japan.  The music was broadcast on a local radio station, but very few people in our section (including us) had fm radios… but the show was amazing even without music!

Here is the finale of the show!