Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hawaii Part III

My favorite part of vacation was getting to hang out with Amy.  We text daily but it had been a year and a half since we’d been in the same zip code so we had some catching up to do.

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She played tour guide and met us at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and we had fun wandering the stalls, sampling food, and picking up souvenirs –  t-shirts and coconut peanut butter for the adults and shave ice and ukuleles for the kids.  One of my favorite stops was Lin’s Market where Amy introduced me to the joys of li hing (which I think is powdered plum but I’m too lazy to google) and we ate it sprinkled on pineapple and I think it’s my new favorite thing.

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While at the swap meet we were also able to fulfill Travis’ one island vacation desire and that was to drink water from a coconut.

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He enjoyed it for the ten minutes it stayed down but the heat of the morning finally got to him and he deposited the coconut and the rest of the contents of his stomach in a conveniently located grassy median and has forevermore declared that coconuts make him sick.

Amy also showed me the jewelry stall where she bought her toe ring.  Since I was looking at boot weather back on the mainland, I opted for a matching thumb ring instead.

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After leaving the swap meet, lunch was in order.  Amy’s been raving for years about a Korean BBQ place she loves so we went to the Navy Exchange to grab a bite to eat at Yummy’s and I finally understood what all the fuss was about.

Kal bi, shoyu potatoes, and kimchi

Kal bi, shoyu potatoes, and kimchi

We liked it so much that we ended up tracking down another location before the trip was over to eat there again and I’ve been on Yelp since our return to find a local Korean place but, sadly, the reviews are telling me to enjoy my memories and wait for the next trip.

The afternoon was spent catering to the boys in the family.  My idea of fun doesn’t always include military history but Craig thinks Wings of War is the greatest show ever so I took one for the home team/paid for making them see educational sights we went to the Pacific Air Museum on Ford Island and saw planes, planes, planes and more planes.

And this is the part where WordPress stopped uploading pictures so you’ll have to imagine fuzzy, out of focus, iPhone pics of aircraft that I can’t remember the names of and aren’t you happy that I spared you the pain? 

I was fascinated by the bullet holes in the hangar where we viewed the WWII planes on display.  Hangar 79 took fire from the Japanese planes strafing Pearl Harbor and the airfield on that fateful December day and the broken window panes have not been replaced, bearing chilling witness to the horror. Seeing the jagged glass made history come alive for me in a way that countless movies and documentaries never have and I now more deeply appreciate what the servicemen lived through.

We initially had plans to visit the Missouri Battleship as well that afternoon but the kids were history-ed out so we went back to the hotel pool for down time and then met Amy and her family for a late dinner at Duke’s Waikiki where it was worth fighting the jet lag for fresh-from-the-sea fish and a piece of Hula Pie. We toured the Mighty Mo the following day and paid our respects to the fallen from the U.S.S. Arizona at a distance since the government shutdown prevented us from visiting the memorial.  We were able to get a good view from the end of the pier where the Missouri docked but left a teensy bit disappointed that we couldn’t get on it.

Maybe next time.

To be continued…….

Have a nice day.

Hawaii Part II

We thought familial harmony on this vacation might best be achieved with a little breathing room so we booked a condo at the Hilton Hawaiian Village for our vacation.   On our way there from the airport, we made a stop at Walmart to pick up breakfast supplies and snacks for the week and I thought Craig was going to have a religious moment when he rounded the corner and beheld the glory of the Spam aisle.

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His love for the potted meat product knows no end.

I, however, focused on the carbs.



By the time we finally made it to the hotel room and got luggage and groceries unpacked and put away, we had a full-scale mutiny on our hands.  It was midnight by our body clocks and the kids were D-O-N-E.  We were trying to keep them awake until 8:00 local time to force them on the new clock so we set out walking Waikiki in search of dinner.  They immediately honed in on the “Authentic Chinese Buffet” across the street from the hotel and so we went in.

Our first clue that the experience might not be the same as Raleigh came when all the restaurant patrons looked sideways at us when we walked in the door as if to say “Who are the crazy white people?”

The second clue was when the proprietor tried to give us fair warning by encouraging us (rather insistently, I might add) to take a look at the buffet line before committing to eating.

And yet we stayed.

Because, D-O-N-E.

I honestly have no idea what we ate.  We arrived at the same time as a busload of Chinese tourists and they descended like a plague of locusts so it was every man for himself and we just threw whatever we could grab on our plates.  Craig and the kids filled up on anything that looked like noodles or dumplings (delicious and probably made from someone’s cat) and I threw caution to the wind and ate the shellfish because a) I knew what a mussel looked like and b) the pig parts just weren’t doing it for me.   We staggered back home like drunken sailors and crawled into bed at 7:30 and it was immediately LIGHTS.OUT and we managed to sleep (and not wake up with food poisoning, yay!) until 4:30 in the morning and enjoyed watching the sunrise on the balcony while drinking Kona coffee.

I had big plans for our first day and we headed downtown to the Historic District to learn more about Hawaiian history and to tour the Iolani Palace, the only royal palace on U.S. soil.  Across the street from the Palace we also visited the Supreme Court Building and stopped to take the boys’ picture in front of the famous statue of King Kamehameha.

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You will notice the delighted look on the faces of my people.  By this point in the morning they had all the education they wanted to experience on a vacation, decided Mom wasn’t in charge of the schedule any more, and set the GPS for the nearest hole in the wall to find food.  I vetoed McDonald’s so we settled for the local drive-inn called L&L where we had the best meal of the trip.

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Yes, everything is brown and fried.

And fantastic.

For dessert, we stopped at an open-air market and bought cinnamon rolls from this delightful, diminutive woman who kept giggling at Craig, especially after he started sweet-talking her for a good deal.  She was a DOLL.

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We spent a few hours in the afternoon walking around Chinatown (where I didn’t take pictures because I was trying not to be THAT tourist but am kicking myself that I missed showing you the toads in the cage, destined for dinner) and then went back to the hotel so the kids could swim and Craig and I could enjoy the sun setting on a very fun first day of vacation.

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To be continued…

Have a nice day.

In which we begin at the very beginning

So, we were gone and now we’re back and now I can tell you all about the last two weeks because they were oh, so fun.  Except for the part where I possibly tore my rotator cuff and had to spend the days leading up to vacation wearing ice packs on my shoulder and attempting to coherently function under the influence of very good drugs.

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One of those drugs was Prednisone which is what every girl wants to go on right before she leaves for a vacation so that her face looks puffy in every picture made me a little bit, um, ZIPPY which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I’d waited until the absolute last minute to wash clothes, pack, and get the house in a quasi-presentable mode for the woman who going to housesit for us and a couple of doses of steroids helped accomplish those tasks lickety split.

I thought they also made me hallucinate because one usually doesn’t see this much camo on a female at a hipster urban coffee shop but the photographic evidence would suggest otherwise.

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Anyhow, at midnight the night before we left, the laundry finished drying, the last suitcase packed, and the final yellow sticky note placed so the housesitter would know where to find the muffin cups if she wanted to bake (I blame the Prednisone for the extra dose of OCD though my husband would say it’s par for the course) and Craig and I settled down for three hours of sleep before getting up again to head to the airport.

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And where did we go this time?

To beautiful Hawaii, State #35 on our “Visit All 50 States Before The Kids Graduate From High School” list.

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This was probably the most logistically challenging trip we’ve made because it involved transporting a wheelchair almost 5,000 miles on planes, trains, and in someone else’s automobile but thanks to the good people at Delta, Hilton, and the rental car agency, the trip over went smoothly and with the exception of one missing armrest pad, without a hitch.

We left Raleigh at 7 a.m., switched planes in Atlanta, and then settled in for a lovely 10 hour flight all the way to Honolulu. Because of the seat configuration, we had to split up.  Craig and Travis sat together, I was across the aisle, and Tommy and JJ sat five rows back, happy to have free rein to watch movies to their heart’s content and eat snacks every time the cart came down the aisle.

Oh, they took full advantage.

“We drank TEN COKES, Mom!”

And finally we arrived – in the middle of the afternoon locally but in the middle of the night East Coast time and these natives were less than cheery by this point but we all perked up when we left baggage claim and were surprised by a welcoming committee that we did not expect to see until the following day.

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Sweet Amy

And my heart was very happy and despite the jet lag and the exhaustion and the cranky travelers, all was right with the world again.

To be continued…..

Have a nice day.


Five on Friday

1.  The kids tracked out for their fall break and they’ve wasted no time with the lounging.  They’ve had a fun week staying up, sleeping in, snacking every six seconds, and dragging after Mom on all! of! the! fun! errands! she! has! to! run!

Who knew Hobby Lobby was the third circle of Hell for a teenaged boy?

2.  We’ve been in party mode.  Last weekend we had a bunch of friends over from Craig’s work (thank you, Pioneer Woman, for the jalapeno poppers; they were a big hit with our guests and doubled as my breakfast for two mornings this week) and tomorrow night I’ve invited some girlfriends over for a crafty type party which is really just an excuse to eat snacks.  Currently, the house smells citrusy because I’m dehydrating several pounds of lemons and oranges in preparation for our festivities (finally using the food dehydrator I bought during the SARS scare AKA my prepper phase).

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We’ll be making dried fruit-and-spice sachets to simmer stovetop.  I thought they’d make nice hostess gifts for the upcoming holiday season.  For the baking crowd who like to give cookies, we’ll also be stamping and embellishing some brown paper packages tied up with string.  I thought they’d make for cheery packaging.  I’ve not stamped before so any of you crafty people who have tips for avoiding that little black line when pressing down, feel free to share.

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Or maybe we’ll just call that “homespun”, “charming”, and “a feature”.

3.  Craig and I were reminiscing about our most memorable  government shutdown.  The year was 1995.  He proposed to me on the steps of the Capitol building on a late Sunday afternoon in early November and the next morning, I was an unemployed federal worker.  Suddenly saddled with an out-of-work fiancée, Craig jokingly called to demand the ring back.

I sweetly said, “For richer, for poorer” and hung up.

Deemed “nonessential”, I sat home for several weeks while the toddlers in the White House and on the Hill tried to work things out.  It was not wasted time; Craig wanted a very short engagement so I used every spare minute of the furlough to book our wedding venue, choose colors, flowers, the wedding party, and find/buy with my nonexistent paycheck The Dress.

4.  While we’re on the subject of Craig, here’s what he would look like if I’d let him purchase the hipster glasses he tried on this week.

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I think we can all agree I made the right call.

5.  Have a nice day.