Thursday, June 17, 2010


Dear John,

Thank you for pulling me out of my funk this morning. Well, maybe not fully but you have helped! Here comes the sun, it's alright. Turn it up, listen again. Today, I'm going to rant. Because I can. Why don't you leave a comment and tell me what you think? Agree? Disagree? Shut the F' up? It's all good with me.

I stayed up too late last night watching Shutter Island. The ending left me annoyed, does anyone else not understand and want answers?! To live as a monster or to die as a good man. Does he get a lobotomy by choice? Is he insane or not? Ambiguity leaves me restless.

Public restrooms. Ummmkay. Work, for instance. 5 stalls to choose from. Why the F' do people come in and go into the stall right next to you if there are several open NOT next to you? It creeps me out, dude. It's like they would rather be in the stall WITH you, I mean, I get that its a public bathroom but for F's sake, a little privacy please?! And how about the awkward standoff when you have to go #2? There is nothing worse. Seriously. There's no way I'm going #2 with someone else in the room, are you really waiting for it? Are you waiting for me to poo so you can poo too? Gee thanks, I'm out. You win the standoff, I'll be back later. F'!

Turn it up, listen again. Keep calm and carry on. Or...
On to more important things. Or not. I've been traveling a lot lately. Every 3rd week for the past few months I've been out of town. Fabulous? F' yeah. Double edge sword? Yup. It makes me want to quit my job and live like a "hippy", growing my own food, wearing flowy dresses with braids in my hair and seashells around my neck, making babies with my husband, taking 100 photos a day of everything and nothing, cleaning things and polishing things and painting things and rearranging, cooking... lots of cooking, playing games with my puppy, writing, reading... lots of reading, long walks, watching birds. You know, the REAL stuff. The GOOD stuff.

Not everyone wants that life but I sure do (or do you? c'mon, admit it).Work sucks, dude. Career building workshops. Vacation accrual, sitting here day after day only to earn more time away from here. Funny. Listening to your boss' bad jokes day after day after... you get it. Goodbye cookies? FML. But we do what we do because we have to. What do you do to make your 9-5 tollerable? Posting little things in your cube. A photo. A fun calendar. A tea mug from home. The wallpaper for your desktop, thats very important isn't it? That REALLY defines you, really helps you make a statement: This is ME within the sea of cubes. Is your sssshhhtapler prettier than the others? Do people stop by and comment on it and then thats what you talk about for like 10 minutes? It's painful. Really. On the up-side, I'm blogging at work. I chat at work, facebook at work, read at work. Hell, I even taught myself how to knit at work... but I got in trouble for that one. My responce: "would you rather me be searching the internet?" boss: "yes". HA! Alrighty then...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not ungrateful for my job. I do appreciate it very much. I like my coworkers, bonus! I'm just not a career woman. I'm throwback. But modern. I've not always been this way either, I thought my career would be everything to me growing up. I like options. I appreciate all the hard work women have put in to create equality in the work place, in the world, but what's wrong with a little bit of this?:

Turn it up, listen again. Have you seen Keep Calm and Carry On before? If not, or even if you have, here's where it came from:

Monday, June 7, 2010

Aloha - day 6

(A statue of Duke Kahanamoku, a local Hawaiian credited with popularizing the sport of surfing)
It's our last day in Hawaii, sniffle... This trip has been so wonderful, I feel refreshed and relaxed and even though Geof had to work some we got to do and see a lot together. We planned some days and not others and the time sure did feel like "island time'. Our Hawaii trip went nice and slow and we constantly were looking at the clock saying "it's only noon?! Awesome!". What a great feeling!

Today we got up and packed up all of our bags, it was bitter sweet of course. Our flight leaves at 8:40pm so we have plent of time today to see more of O'ahu! Our first stop is the Valley of the Temples. It was about 20 minutes from Waikiki and its funny, after being here for a week, it seems like a far drive! There are temples for several religions here, but the main attraction is the Buddhist replica of the 900-year-old Byodo-In temple. It was a quiet and peacefull place and perfect place to start our morning.
After spending some time at the temple, we drove back to the beach and had a picnic before we went to the Waikiki Aquarium. I fed the birds and it was so much fun! There were some brave ones that ate right out of my hand and then a few that would catch the bread in the air when I threw it :) Pretty neat, and pretty birds!

Our picnic by the beach was right next to the Aquarium so we went and toured it and saw all kinds of fun creatures, including the Hawaiian Monk Seal, which is an endangered seal specific to the Hawaiian island chain. There are said to be only 1,500 left in the world...
We still had a few hours to kill after the Aquarium and I had something special in mind I wanted to do. A big part of my inspiration for my blog is Stephanie Nielson and her blog. If you don't know about her and her amazing story, read it you fools! :) Really though, Stephanie just had a big surgury on her neck to repair some of the burned and tight skin. It has been a hard one for her I think...A few days before, I passed by a special place on the beach called the Healing Stones. I knew then that before I left I wanted to go there and say a prayer for her, and place a Lei at the stones for Nie. We parked, got out of the car and headed down the street to where the Healing Stones were located. As we were about to cross, I saw something laying on the ground...
I stopped short and got a really tingly feeling all over... as I realized... it was this:
I kid you not, my friends... A book of Mormon, Stephanie's FAVORITE book and a huge part of her life and recovery was just THERE, sitting there, alone on the sidewalk, no one around and only a few feet between me and the Healing Stones. If that's not God speaking, I don't know what is. I. Was. In. Awe. I crossed the street and approached the stones, said my prayer for her and left my Lei among the others still baffled by the book left laying in the middle of the sidewalk. I still am in fact. I wish I could tell her! 
(mine-or rather- Nie's is the one in the center with pink and yellow)
We got a small bite to eat before heading to the airport for our overnight flight home. Sushi in the middle of the Pacific Ocean... is there anything better?
Now that I think about it, our last day was a spiritual and peaceful one. I think we could get used to that :) Until next time Hawaii...
Peace, Love, and Aloha

Aloha - day 5

Only two more days left in Hawaii! What to do... what to do?... We decided that we should make today a beach day! Can't go wrong there right? Tomorrow is Friday and we have the entire day to hang out, our flight is at 8:40pm and we will be flying all night. BUT, we have to check out of our hotel at noon and so we won't want to be beachy sandy surfy after that for our long flight home. SO, today we go beach!

We started out by going to Diamond Head Park, where we were going to hike up to the tippity top of the crater for amazing views. Upon arrival though, the parking lot was already full (at 9:00 am) and they told us to come back after 1:00pm. That was a bummer so we took a few photos from as high up as we could get in our car (the hike wouldn't have been that bad at all, just time consuming so we didn't want to spend 3 hours in one spot today!) We drove down to Diamond Head Beach because Geof wanted to check the surf, see if he wanted to get a board and if I wanted to beach it up there. It was rough, a bit too windy so we headed back to Waikiki and Ala Moana.

Geoffrey rented himself a surfboard downtown and picked a nice spot for chillin for a few hours at Ala Moana. Its a little less touristy than Waikiki and more of a local vibe I guess. Lots of little Hawaiian bebes runnin around :)

After several hours at the beach we went back to the hotel and had a cocktail poolside. Then showered and got ready to go to a reallly cool spot to have another, YES ANOTHER, drink at RumFire before we had dinner at the Ocean House.

Ocean House was no less than AMAZING, of course. We had some local seafood again, and another salad with those yummers Maui Onions! While waiting, we stepped out onto the beach and Geof got me another beautiful fresh Lei. I wish we all wore flowers every day back on the mainland! It makes you feel (and look) so pretty :)

(another lei shot)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Aloha - day 3 & 4

Well, my Geoffrey had to go off and work so I played and rested and really took the word vacation quite literally! I worked out, went and lounged by the pool, finished up my book club book: The Art of Racing in the Rain, started a new book: The Help, wandered around, went and got some groceries and drinks for the room, spent the morning at the beach and then took myself out to lunch overlooking the local surf spot, played dress up in my fresh flower Lei and hairpiece, stuff like that. On our way to dinner we were stopped by these locals!

Geof was back by 4 or 5 so we went to the beach or pool and then out to dinner. On Tuesday we had dinner at this yummy place called the Hula Grill. I had the special which was 2 types of Hawaiian fish, one served terriyaki style and one broiled with crab on top, served with a curry coconut Jasmin rice and Chinese bok choy. It. Was. Awesome. Geof had the surf and turf special: short ribs that fell apart by just looking at them, grilled shrimp skewers, garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. Oh, and for an appetizer we had bread with their house made sweet chili water and olive oil and a Maui onion and tomato salad. True: the onions from Maui really do rock your socks off. Not bitter, not sulfur like, but small and sweet and juicy. I'll be updating my food blog when I get back with all this and more, so check it out later here
Flowers from our Mai Thais. One thing about Hawaii, there's no shortage of fresh flowers! They grow in the trees, bushes, and can be found in almost every plate of food and drink you have!
~ Aloha ~

Aloha Day 2 - ehu ahiahi

After our day at the beach, we came back and changed for the evening. We called a taxi to take us to the Ala Moana Park for the Memorial Day Lantern Festival. The roads were blocked due to pedestrian traffic so the taxi driver let us out across the street, in front of the Ala Moana Mall. Indeed, there were many many people. Over 40,000 they say.

We wove our way in and out of the onlookers and got a spot up close to one of the big screens, just as the ceremony started. The ceremony was beautiful and strongly asian influenced. The crowd was anything but one influence. There were Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, Anglo, African American, and everything in between. We were all there for One Love. One Life (or maybe a few) that we were honoring and remembering. Some died in wars, some died from cancer or disease, some died suddenly, but their spirits were felt there that night. They sang, we prayed, and one by one, the lanterns were released into the sea carrying hand written messages for those lost loved ones. It was very emotional and powerful and I am thankful to have been there. The figurative expression for dusk in Hawaiian, I learned, is ‘ehu ahiahi – “the dust of the evening”, also signifying twilight and old age.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Aloha - day 2

Day two in Hawaii happened to be on Memorial Day. This means 2 things, 1) We felt obligated to go to Pearl Harbor to pay our respects and 2) the island was buzzing with holiday fun. We didn't end up going to Pearl Harbor, but did something very special, even more special in my mind. Here's how our crazy day unfolded:

At night the weather has been so perfect, we turn of the AC and leave the door to the balcony open, letting in the 70 degree night air. In the mornings as the sun rises, the birds sing sing SING their little hearts out and it wakes me gently. I think its the combination of letting a little bit of the outside in and the time difference here (4 hours earlier than CO, 6 from FL) that wakes me so early! I don't mind, but on this particular day, we woke, dressed, and hit the road by.... 7am!!! We didn't realize the time until we were in the car and boy, did we feel like go-getters!

Our morning plan was to get out of Waikiki and go to a more remote beach in the town of Kailua. We planned to rent kayaks and spend the moring on the water of Kailua Bay, touring the "twin" Mokulua Islands, two cone shaped, volcanic islets off of the coast. Unfortunately it turned out to be much to windy. Once we arrived in Kailua, about a 20 minute drive on the beautiful Pali Highway, we hit up a little market for breakfast called the Kalapawai Market. I love supporting local places, standing in line behind the local surfers and women with little hawaiian bebes running about, and avoiding chain places (which are SO abundant here!). I ordered a lox bagel and Geof got a breakfast burrito. Everything was so FRESH and yummy, even the homemade salsa and cream cheese spread. The Market had been around since 1932 and you could tell the customers were lifers. Check it out!

Kailua Beach was beyond lovely and there were only a handful of us there so early. We walked the long beach which was 3 miles each way, I think we walked about 4 miles that morning in the early sun and blustery trade winds. As lunch time neared, the crowds were growing and we decided to drive to the North Shore and continue our beach day. We drove through the countryside, past the many pineapple fields of Dole plantations, and hit the North Shore Memorial Day traffic just a few miles from Waimea Bay. I was starving so we took a detour and went to the North Shore Marketplace in the town of Haleiwa.

We stopped at a few of the famous shrimp trucks but were slightly disappointed in the prices ($12 per plate, a handful of shrimp and some rice, and no beer or wine?...) and we ended up at an outside table at the Breakers Cafe that served up seafood and $5 Mai Thais. Yesss please! The Marketplace had some cool local art, restauarants, and then we came across a REALLY FUN SPOT, the Ron Artis' Reserection City and the Ron Artis Family Band! Ron Artis is an artist who takes old surf boards that sacrificed their lives on the big waves of the North Shore and turns them into art. His family is a big one (11 children!) and they had an open studio that they rock out in all day, letting the public stroll through, buy some tunes and see the live sessions! Thats right, Jackson 5, meets Hindrix, meets Marley sprinkled with lots of Aloha and they were JAMMIN!

Having gone all the way to the North Shore, we had to stop at the beach for a dip and we went to the Haleiwa Ali' Beach Park. To my delight there were sea turtles swimming in the bay!!! We watched one sunning itself and I took a few photos. Then while we were in the water, they were popping their heads up just 10 feet from us, so neat! It was a perfect day in Oahu, but we still had quite the evening ahead.

Read about it soon, when I post Aloha Day 2 - ehu ahiahi – “the dust of the evening".

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Aloha - day 1

I'm going to blog this trip and see how it goes, maybe I can discover new things by blogging it or keep the specific unique memories at the top of my mind.

Day 1 was spent getting here but we arrived at 12:30pm so we just HAD to do SOMETHING, didn't we? We landed and unlike the many movies that define the places we have yet to set foot in on our own, they do not hand you a lei upon arrival. I knew this, but couldn't help but to be dissapointed when there were a few tourists wandering about who were adorned with leis (they hired a lei delivery service, nothing special about them).  The Honolulu airport was very pretty, even from the tarmac. There were palms and lush flowering plants strategically placed amongst the concrete. Inside, the airport wasn't locked and loaded with "Code Orange" security warnings  like on the mainland. It was all open to the outside and breezes were flowing, a very different feeling of "protection of freedom" there. I think its called Aloha ;)

Into our Jeep we rented and on our way to Waikiki Courtyard Marriot, it was interesting to see all the street names and try to deciper between the street names: Kiaolu or Kuhio or Kalia, they all take a second glance to see if thats where we should turn or not! A few minutes in our room, and off we went to Dukes Barefoot Bar for a small bite and drink and unwind. It overlooked all the festivities of Waikiki Beach and I must say, it seemed so SURREAL!

Sometimes it takes a few hours to really BE HERE NOW, so Geof suggesgted we go to this cool park I found, just a few miles away. We went with our snorkel gear and blue and white stripped pool towels from the hotel (hello! We're tourists incase you were wondering! I hate being obvi...) to Magic Island at Ala Moana park. We "washed off the mainland" as Geof instructed and indeed felt refreshed and connected. We saw signs for the Memorial Day lantern festival taking place the next day and decided we had to go. Little did we know what all it meant...

Back to the hotel, a short rest, shower & change, and off to find dinner. We ended up at Siam Square, an authentic Thai restaurant across the street and it was VERY good! A group of young girls came in for what looked to be a bridal shower or engagement party and hand delivered Lei's to the guest of honor and they chattered in native tounge. YES!!! we said, we have succesfully arrived in the Hawaiian culture.