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...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Part 2 of My Long Tale of Parade Participation...


I lingered a little after Dillon's broadcast was done but realized that the crowd that was accumulating was significant. I decided that I had better head back to try to find my sisters, and get back to the hotel.

Each block as I headed back became more and more congested. The jovial spirits and courtesy continued, but it was getting more and more difficult to make forward progress. The intersections were the worst because there were no barricades there.  My sister, Erin, had called to let me know where they were. Our conversation was yelled into the phone because the crowd noise was so great that it was the only way we could hear. Soon, people were moving single file, slowly, someone ahead of you, someone right behind you. If a larger opening presented itself, you got into it as quickly as you could. When I reached the area where my sisters were supposed to be, I couldn’t see them. I tried to call – no calls were going through. After multiple attempts, I got a text through, and told them that the better part of valor for me would be to retreat to the hotel. Even if I saw them, I likely couldn’t get to them, and if I didn’t move then, I might not be able to get back to the hotel until after the parade was over.

The last block took the longest, and was SLOW going. I was very relieved when I managed to get across 4th Street, and into the hotel. It was good that I made that I decided to return to the hotel when I did. If I had waited much longer, I would not have had any choice about where to go. I would be stuck in the crowd that was pressing forward to the street…and I really didn’t care for that feeling! I was reminded of the “huddled masses, yearning to breathe free”…Yikes! It was a mosh pit of fans out there.

(A couple of geniuses decided to take their bikes to the parade...had to carry them overhead to get through...sore arms!)
The Board ended their meeting early, and we filled up the conference rooms with wives and family who came down to take advantage of our premium location. The hotel staff told us they had many requests to rent out that room for beaucoup bucks…but, sorry, we had it! A bunch of farmers from Lynden…Lucky farmers from Lynden, that is.

Having kids there was so much fun! They were so excited, and we had such fun talking about Seahawks and favorite players, and watching all the crazy sights out the windows…People climbing on signs, policemen making them come down, unfortunate bicyclists trying to cross the street, periodic chants and cheers from the crowd…Party atmosphere! And when the players came by, many waved to us because we were up above the crowd. They probably thought we were VIP’s – and, for that day, I guess we were.

We had to have patience though, as the parade started over 1 ½ hours later than planned. We kept looking up the street for signs of movement, or a glimpse of the duck vehicles. When the parade began, there was no doubt because we began to hear noise that grew to a ROAR as it cascaded down the street ahead of the parade. They were finally here!!!

The roar continued as the dignitaries passed, but it became deafening when Marshawn Lynch appeared, standing on the deck of the Sea Gals duck, throwing Skittles to the crowd. Beast Mode!!

The parade continued slowly as the police had to keep pushing the people back to make the street wide enough for the ducks, and military dump trucks to pass. Pete Carroll’s humvee had extra security – they looked like Secret Service guys – but the government officials didn’t. I’ll say no more! The players were surrounded by police and National Guardsmen, but were very interactive with the crowd. They were appreciating the 12th man, and celebrating with enthusiasm. The Lombardi trophy was being passed from truck to truck, and the players were making sure they got their picture taken with it.






When the final vehicles passed by, so many of the people on the street just folded in behind it and walked the rest of the way to Century Link…One huge mass of humanity flowing easily, following their heroes.

It was quite the sight! One I won’t forget…

It was amazing how quickly the crowds dispersed through the city. However, that didn’t mean it was easy to get anywhere. Traffic was at a standstill in most places, and all the eateries around the area were packed. We waited a little while for the traffic to start moving, then had to have the valet walk us over to where our car was parked. There was no way they could get it back to the hotel. A sheriff had said that though traffic was bad now, it was only going to get worse when the rest of the celebration ended. The guys in our group talked over some strategies for skirting around the worst of the traffic, which involved getting to 99 and then to I-5. It was a great plan. Though we had some stop & go, soon we were out on the freeway and moving well. Others who were further south of us were not quite so lucky and had to endure a long drawn out journey home.

Though I would never have chosen to go attend this momentous occasion, I certainly enjoyed being part of it. To see 750,000 (likely more!) people in the city, all happy and cooperative, is quite a sight in itself! I realized that I would never get closer to the SeaHawks than I did that day, and was privileged to acknowledge the accomplishment of these people I admire.

Thanks Seahawks, for a great season, and a great result, and memories that will last! GO HAWKS!

Friday, February 7, 2014

It wasn't on my Bucket List...the Extraordinarily Long Story about My Experience with a Super Bowl Parade...


I can’t believe that I have participated in an official Super Bowl Victory Parade…myself, and 749,999 others…In downtown Seattle (The BIG BIG City) no less.

I have to be honest and say I would never have PLANNED to do it, but I was there when it happened, and I enjoyed it, and will never forget it!

The fact that we were in the middle of the action yesterday was actually a fluke. Whatcom Farmers’ Co-op Board of Directors, of which my Farmer is a member, had planned their annual Board Retreat for February 3, 4 & 5…in downtown Seattle. Yippee-ki-aye! I would get to go shopping in the BIG BIG City!

And then, those mighty Seahawks kept winning, and winning, finally annihilating the competition in the SUPER BOWL!!!! SUPER BOWL CHAMPS!!!! AND THERE WOULD BE A VICTORY PARADE!!!!

…that would just happen to pass right by the window of the conference room where the WFC Board was conducting their meetings…

Oh for goodness!! This could be exciting…

I decided that Dutch practicality, which would require that you leave the scene before the event because time would be wasted trying to get out of the heavy traffic and home in an efficient manner -- Yes – Dutch people do that – skip once-in-a-lifetime events for the sake of convenience -–That honorable inclination would be ignored.

We began to get an inkling of the enormity of the event when it was reported that they expected 300,000 people to attend. Then, Tuesday night as we made our way back to the hotel after dinner, rows of chairs, and even couches were found on the sidewalks. The hotel, which had been quiet on Monday night, was now bustling with new arrivals.

Even my sisters had decided to make the trek! They were in a hotel just down the street. We got together with them and talked strategy. They were planning to be on the street, and I wanted to be as well because I wanted to yell…uh, YELL! However, the Board was meeting in that warm and perfectly located room – second floor, overlooking the parade street…My sisters absolved me of any guilt should I choose the cushy comfort of this amazingly situated opportunity. We agreed to consult in the morning. They planned to head to the street at 8am. As our hotel room looked right out on Westlake Park, I agreed to inform them should there be a lot of early morning activity that warranted earlier action on their part.

During the night, I woke often, and checked out the window to see what was happening, wondering just how early people would appear. Most of the night, it was pretty quiet. I saw city workers lining the streets with barricades during the 4 o’clock hour, but at 5AM, I began to see people moving around and staking claim to their territory here and there. I went back to bed, but by 6am, the 12th Man began to make his presence known. Sporadic, but loud, cheering commenced “Sea – HAWKS!, Sea – HAWKS!”

Honestly, I thought, “Save it people! We’ve got 5 hours to go!”

Not much sleep was had after that. I knew that Dillon, and the KPUG Sports crew were coming down to do their shows from the parade route, so I was getting nervous about whether they would find a place to park that was close enough for them to pack in their equipment.

At 7AM, I reported to my sisters that the spots next to the barricades were still available but getting sparse. Dillon texted to say they had arrived and were set up, so I bundled up and headed out to join him.

Unfortunately, the valet service at the hotel had to park our cars off-site, and I had forgotten my headband in the car. I had looked for a cheap replacement on Tuesday, but couldn’t find one, and foolishly decided that I would wait and buy one on Wednesday, before the parade.

But, DUH!, nothing was open at 7:45AM – so I am now the proud owner of a “Seattle Champions” hat (not even licensed merchandise), bought from a vendor on the street. $32…Freezing ears encouraged me to abandon my Dutch principles, and put it on, though I did kick myself that I had not bought something I liked the day before.

I made my way 8 blocks to the other end of the parade route where Dillon was. What a fun walk! Everyone was cheerful, laughing, celebrating every 12th Man flag that went by. Everyone was having a good time, and politeness was expressed on every side…because the population was growing exponentially, and the sidewalks were filling up.

I had a fun time watching the guys do their show, and was even interviewed by The Radio Guy that is my son. He asked if I would have allowed him to skip school to go the parade, and I had to confess that I likely would not have, because I would not have driven 100 miles to go to a Super Bowl Parade.

And yet, here I was, right in the middle of one.


Part 2 and more pictures to come....

Sunday, February 2, 2014

GO HAWKS!!


It’s Game Day. The Big One…the game you can’t name unless you pay royalties…

Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl!!!!!

So sue me. It seems like cutting your nose off to spite your face when you don’t allow people to use the title of the Biggest Game of the Year!

I usually enjoy the Super Bowl, but this year…OH FOR GOODNESS!...I am crazy excited!

GO HAWKS!!!

This season has been so much fun…I love football, and I love the characters that are on this team…and I sincerely hope that they come home with the trophy today.

After they defeated the 49ers, I thought, “This is enough. Even if they don’t win the Super Bowl, I will be happy with this championship.”

Not anymore!

I want them to win! I’m as nervous as I used to be when my boys were in the high school playoffs!

And a little bit sad because even when they win, it will be the last game of the season…and August is a long time coming.

Like so many die-hard Seahawks fans, we are NOT having a party. No distractions! We are concentrating on the game.

And I mean CONCENTRATING!!!

I think I might call everyone to come over and party AFTER the game…

What do you think?

I know I’M IN! GO HAWKS!!!!

About Me

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