Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What is it about Girlie Girls?

Ask this two year old her name and she readily says, "Princess Ava." Not just Ava. Recently, two events in my life brought the "Ahhhh" into my heart...one was seeing great niece Ava with a sparkling crown on her head, and the other was seeing a fluffy movie about a young woman who was a bridesmaid in 27 of her friends' weddings. What is it about fancy dresses, crowns and princesses that sucks me in? Is there a (gasp) girlie girl lurking inside of me? Was I the only one who cried in the Princess Diary books and movies? And, when Princess Diana was alive, I would purchase any magazine with her on the cover to check out what she was wearing? And that I also loved the fashions Jacquie Kennedy wore in her White House years - oh, those hats and gloves and ball gowns!
So, what is it that makes a girl one of those girlie girls? Is it if she likes to wear glitter, sparkles and a crown every now and then? Is it that she likes to see movies like Enchanted
or 27 Dresses where, in the end, she finds the true love of her life? Is it about loving to have manicures and pedicures? Or being attired in soft, flowy, feminine pastel fabrics? Never have I thought of myself as a girlie girl, but it sure is fun to do some of the above things every now and then.
Now, about that vintage hat, purse and clothing collection...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Family Matters

After just being the two of us for many days in Hawaii, we came back home and our unofficial Lindahl B & B was up and running. We had gatherings with 9 relatives in just as many days! Niece Jennifer (at right) visited from NYC, then brother Duane from Colorado, nephew Andrew and his wife, Timi - also from Colorado came to see us. Fun times. (Although our cat Marshie wasn't used to so many people in the house, she loved any attention given her.)
On Wednesday, my sister Diann took me out to lunch at Mickey Finn's and then we went out to see a fun movie 27 Dresses. Her themed gifts to me were a huge hit: everything related to the game of Scrabble with crossword clues. Clever, clever, clever!
Five cousins gathered with us on Friday night at Lou Malnati's. (Well, only three of them are "blood" cousins, but the more the merrier!) On Saturday, 7 of us went to the Art Institute in Chicago. L to R: Wes, Timi, Andrew, Picasso Strummer, Duane, Diann and Ryan.
John drove out to our hometown from Chicago to surprise me for my birthday today. Earlier in the week he had arranged for flowers and a card to be delivered here! It's what every Mom hopes for someday, and this year it happened for me!
My last visitor of the week, Anne, came in with a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a sweet little raspberry cake, a magazine and just look at her with her freshly shorn haircut! (She donated her locks to Wigs for Kids.) With her radiant smile and happy disposition she lights up a room!

A busy week, to be sure, but one that brought a whole lotta love my way...thanks, everybody! I love you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Our Retirement Plan?

This guy had the right idea for getting exercise, enjoying the wonderful surf, sand and sun that Hawaii has to offer and HE MADE MONEY WHILE DOING IT! What a retirement plan!!! I only wish that I would've had the guts to ask what what a typical day "take" was...did he find gold, jewelry and other treasures besides all the coins I witnessed him finding? Only in our dreams could we ever afford to retire in such a beautiful state, but the biggest issue would be missing our loved ones back on the mainland. They're simply the best. But, a trip back to this paradise would sure be nice every few years....signing off with Hawaii memories now. Love, Deb and Wes videoTip: If you are having trouble seeing the video image, double click twice on the play arrow button on the lower left side. For some reason the picture doesn't show up until you click. And, by the way, the little speck in the ocean you see is Wes snorkeling.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Above the Clouds

See that small ridge of dark gray just above the band of clouds in the middle? That's the Haleakula volcano crater we're going to attempt to reach as our final destination. With the weather patterns created by sea and elevation, it's almost always invisible to the tourist eyes. I've never see a real volcano crater, so i'm pretty pumped about this road trip!
After about only 30 minutes on the slope switchbacks, we entered a heavy cloud cover for about the next two hours. Certainly beautiful in its own way..the cows didn't seem to mind it at all.
We made it to the top! Thanks to our rental car!
Wes at the summit. It was quite cold up here above the clouds. Maybe in the high 40's. To the
right, a view of the crater. And the clouds below us.
Unexpectedly, we took a closer look at the clouds where people were pointing and there was a person parasailing! Four more soon followed, and we wondered how they could ever see through the cloud covering below to know where they were landing.
The colors of the sunset over the crater.
Advice to those who wish to see the sunset from Haleakula: be aware that there is a research complex facing the sunset, so all your pictures will have domes, satelite equipment and tent-like structures in your view, too. If you can stand getting up really early, go instead for sunrise.
Again, like Hana, it was almost as if the trip getting there was as delightful as the final destination. Though the view of the crater was spectacular and the sunset lovely, we could not see beneath the clouds to the island below. Still, a wonderful time...and now I'm nearly concluded with our trip highlights - thanks for staying tuned to my blog. However, you might not want to miss the wrap-up coming soon on our idea on how we can finance our retirement in Hawaii!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Maui Flora

Flowers
everywhere on Maui! Blooming trees and bushes. Orchids, Birds of Paradise. Purples, reds, oranges, white, yellows, pinks. Even folks wearing flowers around their necks, in their hair.
We were expecting to see beautiful flowers abloom on Maui. What we didn't expect was discovering a farm growing fields of lavender (above picture) on the lower slopes of the Haleakula Crater...or that it also was the fertile ground for growing protea - a plant native to South Africa.
Keep in mind that these flowers can be as large as dinner plates. You might want to click on them to get even closer views, especially on the one below where you can see little black "fur" peeking out of the lower pink flower on the left. Truly exotic, if you want my opinion!
So, the next time flowers are to be given, think of giving a bouquet of protea! On the island of Maui, it will only set you back about $10, but elsewhere expect to pay about $95.00 for a large bouquet. Just my luck...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Spouting Off

Humpback whales migrate to Hawaii from Alaska from January to April...one of the reasons we chose why to take our trip now. Females are nursing their calves here, while this is also their mating season. What excitement we had on our whale-watching cruise day!
Though we saw whale spoutings from the shoreline, my big dream was going out on the ocean in a boat to get as close to the whales as possible. We chose the non-profit organization, Pacific Whale Foundation to take us on our two hour whale-watching tour. This group is known for its preservation of the whales as well as educating people about whale conservation and behaviors.
After watching a lot of round out/peduncle arch and fluke up/fluke down dives, we somehow found ourselves in the midst of a whole lot of real action:
To be in the boat between two different whale pods was one of the most incredible experiences ever. To our right, whales were breaching meaning that two thirds of their bodies pushed upwards from the ocean depths and jumped out visibly from the surface of the ocean. We could even see their belly barnacles! To our right, whales were responding to this breaching by doing
pec slaps where they rolled sideways at the surface slapping their pectoral fins against the water. Admittedly, I was disappointed that our camera missed most of the actions: we ended up with a lot of water splashes. But, forever in my mind will be the witnessing of creatures as big as school busses communicating with each other and how we relate because of being social creatures in the same amazing universe.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Smoothie Operators

We hoped we'd find a blender in our condo kitchen and we were gleeful to discover we had one! The two of us - mostly Wes - would be operating this machine nearly every day of our stay in Hawaii.
So many fresh fruits to choose from in a Safeway grocery store! The colors, the shapes, the sizes...we were in paradise for sure now!
We had smoothies most every day, including breakfast. Part of the reason we wanted a kitchen in our lodging was to be able to have the freedom of choice and convenience. We ate two meals at "home" everyday and went out for the third. Besides, we had a lovely outdoor patio facing lovely exotic trees, flowers and pool. Above: Grilled cheese and chicken sandwiches served with pineapple smoothies.
Never did a sandwich taste better!
Of course, I will give you our basic recipe:
Fresh Pineapple or Papaya Smoothies
3/4 cup fresh chopped fruit (can mix types of fruits together)
3/4 cup fruit juice or berry "cooler"
1 cup vanilla yogurt (or plain)
6-8 ice cubes
Put everything into a blender, adding ice last. Whir vigorously and serve!
Then, imagine you are in Hawaii.....

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Under the Sea

Wes had snorkeled before and I hadn't. He rented his gear right away; I didn't. Why was I so darn freaked out about going underwater snorkeling? Finally, I had had enough of his telling me of all the amazing, colorful fish and sealife he was spotting underwater, and I gave in...the tidepools were fine that I
could see (pictured right), but I needed to
be brave and go underwater now or forever regret it! And it turns out that snorkeling was one of the best things about our whole trip!
At the Snorkle Bob's shop, we were given this reference guide, and actually saw many of these fish underwater. Wes even saw an octopus and a couple of sea turtles! My favorites: the spunky little bitty Yellow Tangs, the geometrically asymmetrical Threadfin Butterfly Fish, the exotic Moorfish Idol, and the long skinny Needlefish.
The beauty and the meaning of our time under the ocean surface hit home yesterday when Wes
came home after teaching his class Change Management (studying organizations within the world of business, and especially those undergoing change and how to deal with/prepare for it) and told how he used something we saw undersea as an explanatory illustration. Called the Complex Addaptive System,
it relates to how reactive patterns are formed that don't appear to be directed by the boss or anyone else - they are not controlled from the "top" down; they just happen! Fish aren't told how to organize into a school: they just do this emergent pattern on their own, based upon a simple rule of relating to each other with the right distance apart and facing the right direction. What we saw was this: a group of at least 15 goatfish were swimming closely together, stacked vertically in a line. Never saw anything like it! There's no "boss" that we know of telling them to do so, but we saw this same pattern in another spot we where we snorkeled with the same kind of fish, but certainly not the same school of fish! Pretty swimmingly awesome is how I'd describe life under the sea!

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's Not the Final Destination, But the Trip Getting There...

Really...it's not about the final destination, it's all about the trip TO it. The road to Hana is about 52 miles, and it's a winding, curvy, windy, sometimes wet, glorious trek. Not for those prone to car sickness; that's why we didn't do this outing when I was pregnant 22 years ago. There are more than 50 single lane bridges and the trip alone, with no stops, takes three hours. However, along the way there are: waterfalls, seascapes, taro patches, bamboo groves, mountains, gardens and rainforests. You certainly don't have the chance to be bored here!
Time for a hike at mile marker 9 in the Koolau State Forest Reserve on the Waikomoi Ridge Trail. Yes, this is a rain forest!
Coastline view near Keanae which is one of the oldest Hawaiian villages. Taro is still grown here. Mile marker 17.
Here we are at the booming, thunderous coast near mile marker 25 at the Old Lahaina Lookout. This was the only time during our whole trip that we felt a little unsafe...driving through one part of the road made us feel like we were living Deliverance Hawaii style!
Our guide book told us to stop at mile marker 29 for a taste of some locally homemade coconut candy served from a primitive stall. Man! This was divine - strips of coconut are cut and baked for 24 hours, then coated with pure Hawaiian sugar. (Wes is no fan of coconut and he loved this sweet treat! We wish we could give all of you a bag of the stuff, but at $5.00 per small bag, it is a rather pricey treat.)
At mile marker 32, we stopped for a picnic lunch and a stroll along the black sanded Waianapanapa Beach. It is told that if you remove any of this black sand to keep, you will have very bad luck.
The beautiful, numerous waterfalls on our journey were lovely to see and hear. This particular one had swimmers in the pool below it!
At the very end of the trip to Hana is the gravesite of Charles Lindbergh. Wes had especially wanted to see this quiet, remote
resting place of one of his personal heroes.
Lindbergh was buried under river stones in a seaside gravesite behind the Homman Congregational Church - built in 1857. His tombstone is engraved with the words from the
from the 139th Psalm: "If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea..."
And with that last stop on our road trip to Hana, we got back in the car and redrove our journey back to the beginning feeling like we set off on the right path for the right day.