Friday, March 21, 2014


On Tuesday evening, my body scheduled a cleanse, without my knowledge or consent. It was a big surprise.

And not a welcome one. Doing a cleanse never sounded like anything I would enjoy. First, the things you have to consume to initiate the process are less than appealing. Second, the purging of the toxins doesn’t sound like an activity that is something to savor either. I know you’re supposed to feel so good after it’s all over, but it’s just a little too much like how you feel after you stop banging your head against a wall.

So I guess I can’t really blame my body for springing it on me. It’s not something I would do voluntarily. I prefer to trust that my body will let me know when there is a sufficient amount of toxins present to create a dangerous situation, and then just take care it.

Apparently, that’s what happened…Thanks, body, for saving me from further dangers. But I have to say, the process is pretty terrible. From the experience, I can only conclude that I must have been in grave danger, because my body took the whole thing pretty seriously.

And I’ll leave it at that.

It wasn’t over after the toxins were purged either. I felt totally wiped out…which is an unfortunate cliché, but it just keeps coming to mind. Yeesh! My body was purged of energy, and strength as well.

So I HAD to lie around and watch TV…which I found is a much more attractive activity when you really shouldn’t be doing it. When you are allowed to do it all day, it gets rather boring.

As my friend, Barb, says, being sick is a big waste of time.

Although, just like when you stop banging your head against the wall, you have a renewed appreciation for things that DON’T happen everyday. And chicken noodle soup and a piece of white toast become delicious fare instead of a desperation dinner. And sleeping in your bed, instead of lying on a bathroom floor, is something you don’t take for granted anymore…

…but probably not for long enough. So I suppose that an unanticipated, nasty, but short, involuntary cleanse has its benefits. I think a few things were purged out of my mind as well.

Perhaps my body really knows what it is doing!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Wonderful World of Hobby Lobby...

I went to Hobby Lobby for the first time this week…SHAZAM! Acres (well, it seemed like it) of wonderfulness. I entered with excitement and determination, but within minutes, I became dazed and confused…My mind could not categorize the many departments of covetousness that came over me.

Of course, the next logical thought was that I should redecorate my entire abode. There were so many opportunities in every aisle, on every shelf! What a shame it would be to waste them!

Thankfully, as time passed and I traveled from one end of the store to the other, my adrenaline levels began to fall. Reason was restored, and I am proud to say that I only purchased a few things that were not, technically, necessary for my life.

The rest of the cartful was really, truly necessary…Really, truly.

Although, I came home and set the bags down and haven’t looked in them since…I wonder how necessary those items will seem when they see the light of day.

Oh, apprehension!!

I think I need to pursue another hobby…that doesn’t include a lobby.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Every vacation should include a Field Trip...

I know this is becoming the never-ending vacation story…Please bear with me. I’m following the writing adage “Tell your story once, and tell it on paper.” And you know that is old wisdom as it uses the antiquated term – paper.

Or maybe I’m following the newer adage from the Food Safety Industry – “If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen.”

Either way, I want to record for posterity the story of my favorite vacation…There are some other activities we enjoyed besides all the beach time in Makaha.

Being a former homeschooling mom, I felt it only proper that we include a field trip in our vacation time. Fortunately, all the kids enjoy history, and since I didn’t tell them it was a field trip, they were happy to give a day to touring the USS Missouri and visiting the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

(Some kind of ceremony was being conducted under the big guns...wish we could have known what it was about...)
I booked the guys on the Heart of the Missouri guided tour. They were able to go below decks to the engine rooms and learn about the systems that propel the Mighty Mo. They were also able to go inside the gun turrets, and learn how they fire a 2700lb. projectile 23 miles with pinpoint accuracy. They got to see parts of the ship that are not available to the rest of the visitors.

Doubting that we girls would be able to appreciate the “mechanics of an Iowa class battleship”, I booked an historic tour for us. We enjoyed seeing the spot where the Japanese surrender was signed, and learning about the retrofit of the Mighty Mo for its participation in Desert Storm…We were shocked at the tiny space allotted to each sailor’s accommodations, and admiring of the discomforts they endured in the service of our country. (Air conditioning wasn’t added to the ship until its Desert Storm retrofit!)

A little bonus -- our tour was shorter, so we had time to shop for souvenirs, and eat a shave ice before the guys returned.

Then, it was back on the bus to return to the USS Arizona Memorial, World War II Valor in the Pacific facility. We had a little bit of time to look around the new buildings before our appointment to ride the launch out to the memorial. The National Parks Service has upgraded the facilities quite extensively. The displays are divided into different, and larger, buildings, each titled with the subject: “Road to War”; “Attack”, etc. This allows people to move more easily, see more of the displays, and learn more.

The ride on the launch out to the Memorial is always striking…The gleaming white Memorial, the remembrance of the beginning of The War, and the Mighty Mo, towering over it in the background, the remembrance of The War’s end.

The Memorial itself is so beautiful, and so solemn…the long list of names…So many young men – younger than my boys – who rest there. We do not remember well enough the price paid for our freedom.

After our visit to the launch, we returned to tour more buildings, and found ourselves stopped at the video displays of survivors recounting the experiences of the date that lives in infamy. Indeed, they are heroes.

We finished out our visit with protracted perusal of the bookstore. Oh my! What a treasure trove of history! Being a former homeschooling mom, I encouraged continued learning by telling the kids to pick out a book and I would buy it…and borrow it later.

I couldn’t take our kids to Hawaii without making sure they visited the place where such a significant part of our history occurred. There’s just something about standing at Pearl Harbor, and looking to the mountains imagining those Japanese planes coming toward you…Seeing the watery grave of the heroes of that day…The date that will live in infamy happened right here, with real people, with civilians living all around, fearing that the war would engulf their islands…

To my mind, it’s always good to make history live. It helps us to avoid repeating the mistakes of our ancestors, and hopefully, live in such a way as to inspire our descendants.

It was my dream come true to visit Pearl Harbor with my kids!

Monday, March 3, 2014

After our return from Tropical Paradise, 2 weekends of winter...

I thought this would all be over by the time we returned from Hawaii...

No! Winter came back just for me to enjoy for a little longer.

Thanks, Winter -- and I hope you're not surprised that I am the only one thanking you...

February 24 & 25...

The roads became much more difficult to negotiate as the day wore on...At this point, the snow plow had come through...but they had to forget the side roads after this, and just try to keep the Badger open...And did not succeed -- had to close it for a few hours.
 And now, yesterday and today, March 2 & 3...MARCH!

Our weather station became non-functional...

Glad the buds are still tight!

Our clump birch trees are obviously 2 different varieties!
The left one has had some natural pruning this weekend.

This maple is a lot wider than usual.

It is just so pretty, though!

Not sure how my blueberries will handle it...their buds weren't so tight.

Same for the forsythia! I hope that soon there will be yellow blooms all over this.
Because even I am done with winter.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Beach Days in Makaha...

So, yes, when I got on the beach that first Saturday morning, I had some irritation that needed to be forgotten. I think by the time 5 waves had fallen onshore that was accomplished.

Oh sweet beach of Turtle Cove! From Lahi Lahi Point (the rocky promontory on the left) lies a curve of luscious sand, all tiny grounds of pulverized seashells, that rounds up to the north where it becomes rocky again. The Hawaiian Princess condos, and the Beach Cabanas take up half the space against the sandy part of the beach. Some lucky homeowners have the rest.

As you walk out into the water, there are no rocks under your feet, and though it is not shallow for long, the water is most often gently rolling. It’s a wonderful spot to snorkel, and to bob on the waves – my  favorite water activity!

Then back to your chair in the sand to sun, and read, and to watch the waves…I’m always surprised at myself that I am so satisfied to just watch the water go back and forth…I find it perfectly relaxing and so restful!

Despite this being one of the best beaches on Oahu, it is not a busy place. This is a picture of the busiest time we experienced there.

With the light population on the beach, and those being mostly residents of the Princess and Cabanas, you can leave your chairs and mats to go up to the condo for lunch. And, of course, when you stay at the Princess, you don’t have to walk a block or two to the beach. It is right at the foot of the building… just down the elevator, and out into the sand.

After months of anticipation, and a long day of travel, it was a dream come true!

We spent the first 2 days of our vacation just sitting on the beach. Our only interruptions were to go to the local L&L Drive in for some BBQ with white rice and macaroni salad. Oh, those Hawaiians love their starches! And then we did have to pace ourselves in sun exposure. We didn’t want to get fried, so we had to take some breaks to go sit on the lanai and watch the turtles swimming in the cove, and the whales breaching outside it.

Caitlin had determined and declared before our arrival in Hawaii that she would NOT be getting the water. We looked at her askance, and demanded, “WHY?” Apparently, she could not imagine immersing oneself in a soup of salt water and sea creature excretions. We predicted that once she saw the beautiful blue water, she would change her mind. She remained unconvinced.

However, on the 3rd beach day, after observing that even her fraidy-cat mother got in the ocean and bobbed on the waves, she figured she could do it. She joined me at the water and said, “Show me how to do this…”

Imagine! ME teaching her to do something physical! She quickly became a fan of the activity.

A couple of beach days later, Cait and I were out bobbing and we turned to see turtle legs poking up out of the water just a few feet away from us! At first it didn’t register with me…it looked like bird wings…A bird floating by? Of course, we began to flail our way out into the waves further from this creepy reptile. They are more fun to look at when they can’t get close enough to touch you! The turtle decided he wanted no part of the panic and went underwater, which made us feel even more panicked. As soon as we could get onto the sand without risk of encountering the turtle, we made our way out of the waves. We were done for the day!

But Cait and I did get back in the water again. I think one of my favorite memories is the six of us out bobbing on the waves, talking and laughing…My favorite people with me, enjoying Paradise.

As the week went on, some weather systems approaching the islands began to cause an increase in the size of the waves. No more snorkeling, and I was reaching my maximum for risk-taking in the water. It is fun to ride a big tall wave straight up, and then find yourself down in the trough that follows…but when I could see waves starting to break over the kids’ heads, I knew that the only water I’d be in was the pool, or the shower.

On our second to last beach day, we had a sobering reminder that one must know their limits when it comes to water play. The waves were pretty vigorous and a gentleman was trying to get back on shore when we realized he was calling for help. He had become too tired to fight the rush of water pulling him back into the cove. A young burly fellow who had just made his way out of the water, went back into the waves to grab him, and hold on to him so that he wasn’t swept back out. It took multiple waves to get him moved to where he could sit on the sand away from the pull of the retreating water. Others had also come to help the young man retrieve him. The rescuee was completely spent, and sat for 20 minutes in that same spot before he had the energy to walk back to his condo.

It was scary to think that we had been watching him in the water, unaware that he was in distress until we heard his weak cries for help. A number of us stopped what we were doing before we all began to move toward him…was he really calling for help? Fortunately, we did hear him, or a tragedy could have occurred.

On our last day at the beach, the storm had finally arrived, and the waves were the biggest we had seen -- big enough that a bunch of locals showed up to ride them in the cove. Since it was our last day, the kids (except Caitlin) wanted to ride the waves just one more time. After what I had seen the day before, I was pretty nervous about the danger in the water so I stayed on the beach, in the rain, as the spotter.

(This video was taken the day before the waves got really big, but it shows the kind of fun they were having.)
Dillon, Tiffany and Jess were having fun, and doing pretty well riding the waves until Tiffany drifted a little too close to shore, and found herself in that danger zone. She saw it coming, and did her best to dive into the wave and away from the shore break, but after it broke I saw Dillon’s head pop up, and Jess’ – but no Tiffany for a few more seconds. (Seemed much longer than that!) By the time she got up she was in a bad position for the next one, and got rolled again. This time she escaped and got up on shore. Her hair had been in a pony tail when she went under. Now her hair was free and the elastic was nowhere to be found. She decided she was done with the waves.

I was glad.

Jess and Dillon wanted just a couple more…and soon, Dillon had drifted into the danger zone and got slammed onto the sand. His ribs did not feel so good. Jess bobbed a couple more, and managed to escape unscathed. I was very relieved that they were done. And I don’t doubt that the pain Dillon and Tiff were feeling made it easier for them to leave our sweet beach later that day.

In the days since, we have learned that Dillon broke 2 ribs. Tiffany has a cold that Randy insists must be a consequence of ocean water in the sinuses – because he got a cold after inhaling salt water in his snorkeling adventures…and Jess still loves the big waves too much in my opinion.

Caitlin and I seem to demonstrate the truth that sometimes retreat is the better part of wisdom…because we are just fine.

Despite the painful ending to our days at the beach, we do love it there in Makaha. So far, we haven’t found a beach we like better. And we’ll be back…Good memories of great beach days are already calling us there!


Monday, February 24, 2014

We left Winter and went to Summer...

The Girls' side of the plane...

The Fellas' side...Randy is SO excited! ;)
I promised this “What I Did on My Vacation to Summer” essay a week ago, but that red eye flight kicked me to the curb! And my immune system took a brief hiatus so I was forced to coach the white cells into fighting off a bug that kept trying to invade…which I did by sleeping and resting often…voluntarily and involuntarily!

It’s all made my return to the PNW time zone quite delayed. Thursday, I woke up at 8:15 -- had promised to meet my sisters and parents for coffee at 8:30. Did.Not.Happen…until later, but I did get there eventually and gave them the Vacation Report which, of course, was verbose.

As this one likely will be now…because, well, ME!

Our trip got off to an inauspicious start when our flight was delayed an hour, and there was a strong headwind, so it took longer than planned. Then, because we arrived late, we had to wait on the tarmac for ½ hour while they found a place for us to park.

We were fortunate to arrive at the shuttle pick up just as the rental car shuttle did, so we felt our luck was about to change.

And we were wrong.

Because Thrifty decided that the way to be thrifty was to employ the barest minimum of people for 10:30 at night. Two shuttle loads of people were dropped off, and one agent was on duty. Well, there was one more, but apparently she could only help Blue Chip people…and we were not Blue Chip people…

For awhile, I was pretty sure that we had been dropped off at the Dept. of Licensing…you know, the place where employees take their break even if 1000 people are waiting in line.

Anyway, by the time we got our rental car, we were all on the cranky side…way over to the cranky side! Then we had to navigate our way off the Nimitz highway, which is conveniently underneath the H-1 freeway that we were trying to access. Our navigational aids kept telling us we were already on H-1, no matter how many times we told them we were underneath it. Finally, by some stroke of masterful navigation (thanks Dillon!)we escaped the Nimitz, and headed west to Kapolei, where we knew there was a Zippy’s restaurant that would be open at 11:30pm. HUNGER was not helping our emotional states.

It was open, alright, and crowded! We had to wait for a table…and then, for our food because they were so busy. What??? In our state of crankiness, we kept saying to each other, “What is the matter with these people? Why aren’t they home in bed? Why are they bringing their children out to eat dinner at midnight?” Some wisely adhered to the adage, “if you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all” and kept their heads down. Evidently, we were witnessing a cultural practice we couldn’t understand…nor appreciate at that moment.

Eventually, the food arrived and we all felt our spirits begin to rise – and that was a good thing as we still had to get to a grocery store so that we would have breakfast in the morning, and sunscreen to protect us for our much anticipated landing on the beach.

Next stop, Safeway – where we bought a bunch of stuff that kind of made sense for our needs of the next day, though we later became aware of some regretful omissions.

And then we were off for the last leg of the journey to Our Beach, our home for the next week, Makaha and the Hawaiian Princess.

Of course, that couldn’t be simple either. We had trouble finding the keys for one of our condos, and had to solicit help from security. Then it took a while to find a place to park because the lot was full…And the wind was blowing a gale while we divided the groceries and got the luggage to the correct condos, which were 10 floors apart.

By the time we located our beds, it was 1:45 am Hawaii time – equivalent to 3:45 am PNW time – 12 hours after we had boarded our flight.

At that moment, I wasn’t entirely sure that going to Hawaii was such a good idea…Before I conjured up too much trouble, I decided the better part of wisdom was to not think too much until I had 8 hours of sleep…I resolved to avoid consideration of these little annoyances, and fears until I was sitting on the beach.

And, of course, by then I had a much better perspective.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I went away...and came back!

I am home.

Better yet, we are all home.

The best part of vacation for me is the thrill I get when I return home…Not that I had a bad vacation -- not at all! We had a wonderful time -- good memories made, the best of souvenirs.

But going away, reminds me how much I love home…and what could be better than to love the life you live?

It’s not just the conveniences that you have created for yourself, or the comfort of your own bed, or the faithful dog you missed seeing every day.

It is all those things and more…the friends and family, the activities, the community, the beauty of this place, your vocation, the weather (yes – even the weather!)

Taking a respite from one’s everyday life allows you some perspective, and a renewed appreciation for what is yours.

And I believe that is the highest good of a vacation.

The second highest, in my opinion, is that you accomplish this while doing things that are fun, entertaining, refreshing, enlightening. No need to suffer to accomplish a renewed appreciation for life as you know it.

It’s a good system…and one we 20th century* first-worlders are privileged to enjoy.

I am also reveling in the fact that I have learned to enjoy it. I grew up with a phobia about leaving home. In my value system, I had created a belief that there was a Circle of Safety in which to reside. Closest to home was safest, with lessening degrees of security the further you traveled away from the epicenter, home. Outside of Whatcom County, there was no security. If I crossed that border, I had fallen off the edge of my world, and was inviting all manner of evil to attack me.

Fun way to live, huh?

But I believed it whole-heartedly, and was committed to it insofar as I would try to prove that those who didn’t subscribe to The Circle of Safety were reckless and wrong.

Eventually, I wondered if my conviction was wrong, and began to wish I thought and felt differently. But when I challenged my belief system, and chose to step out of The Circle of Safety, my visceral reaction to the perceived danger was overwhelming.

Many times, I wanted to give up on challenging my Circle of Safety philosophy. I just wanted to avoid the painful fear and retreat. But part of me still wished to be free of it, to be able to enjoy the world, and live rightly, knowing that my security was not of my own making.

Little by little, I have challenged The Circle of Safety. It has been at times very uncomfortable. (Ask my poor husband who has had to witness the process!) My emotional fear has lessened over time and I have learned ways to diminish it, but, truthfully, I still struggle every time I go away; and this time was no different. Having all our kids with us made it a bit more difficult…Was I subjecting my most precious ones to unreasonable danger by taking them with me?

Oh – I can see the foolishness of that question, but I feel the fear in it despite the irrationality. Going on vacation, for me, is still a process of answering my fears with truth, accepting that my feelings lie to me, and acting in hopeful anticipation of the good that is coming.

I have come to understand that this is how one lives by faith, which I thought was a much grander endeavor than being able to look past one’s own foolishness and do the right thing.

But it is not; living by faith is this very thing…and is applicable to so many scenarios in our lives.

And so, it adds to my rejoicing over a vacation well-spent and enjoyed, that it was, indeed, well-spent and enjoyed…that I went, and had fun, and smiled and laughed, and felt wonder at a place so different from my own, my home.

Today, I am reveling in my accomplishment. Tomorrow, I will share some of the fun we enjoyed.


*Yes, I meant to say 20th century…and this is why:About that Gregorian calendar...

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (