30 September 2014

The days we saw the first sunsets!

We awoke after 12 hours of sleep (6 pm to 6 am) feeling perfectly refreshed. We sat in our living room, overlooking the ocean, and drank Kona coffee.

Well, Ryan, Jonathan, and Amberlee drank coffee. I sat and held my coffee, waiting for it to get lukewarm before I dared drink it. 

I never did.

First order of business: find food.

So we did.


We got to a cute little breakfast place, and grabbed a menu. Immediately, I had a choice conundrum. Which sandwich should I get? The fancy "Longboard" with a fried egg, lettuce and tomato, or a Veggie breakfast sandwich. I love veggies but I felt like maybe I needed some protein.

And this is where traveling with friends has benefits. Amberlee had the same conundrum, so we each got one and then went halfsies.

A decision we thoroughly enjoyed! 


At breakfast Amberlee got something in her eye. She tried to wipe it out, but was covered in sunscreen, making that tricky.

She was all squinty and suggested we try to find some eye drops.

Ryan suggested getting her an eye patch instead.

I think he was joking.

He also said, "Or you could just look like you're winking at everyone."

Needless to say, we got her some eye drops.

There are also chickens everywhere. Just like Africa.

[chicken. or is that a rooster?]


I'm just going to say it. I forgot a strapless bra. And no, I don't have a strapless swimsuit either. And yes, I need a strapless bra for all of my "nice" dresses. 

This is a dilemma. If you're a girl, you get me.

We needed to find me a bra, preferably sooner rather than later.

We had to go grocery shopping anyway, so I wasn't really inconveniencing anyone. But let's be honest, if it came down to it, I would have inconvenienced them all if it meant I would look cuter in my photos.

We started at Walmart. Needless to say, we found nothing suitable there. So we grabbed some nail polish and coconut-clay facial masks instead. 

What can I say, we're opportunists.

We decided to try Macy's next. Not only did we find the perfect thing for a great price, but they were also on sale! Amberlee is quite the skilled shopping buddy! They were two for 20 dollars! Score!

Poor Jonathan and Ryan waited awkwardly in the purse section, lest they be called perverts for standing in the lady's panty section. 

We grabbed food at Costco afterwards. Our checkout clerk's sister lives in Arlington. She also gave us some pearls of wisdom:

If you see an abandoned beach, it's not a hidden gem. It's because the waves there are dangerous, stay out! 

We did get a mini-lunch with all the free samples at Costco. Although, half of them ended up on my dress, so maybe it wasn't the best place to eat lunch.


We got home and ate a real lunch and then took a nap. Shopping is hard work!

And, we didn't want to be in the sun between 10 and 3, exposing ourselves to skin cancer.


After our nap we put on about a zillion gallons of sunscreen and walked out of our patio, across the street, and onto the beach. 

And in case you saw some article on the Internet about sunscreen causing skin cancer and believed it, you may want to review correlation vs causation. Or read this article http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-great-sunscreen-cover-up/

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, good. 

I was all disappointed because they had a big area sectioned off, but it turned out to be the most exciting thing ever!!!


[SEAL FRIEND-see he moves]

Amberlee declared seals to be her new favorite animal! She then named the seal Felix, in case we run in to him again at a fancy dinner party. 

We took about 100 pictures with the seal, and then sat down to read on the beach.

We finally got tired of that and came back to swim in one of the 3 pools at our condo.

Then we got hungry again so the boys grilled fish.

Which isn't nearly funny enough to include in a blog....

Except that it started raining while they were grilling. I wasn't really paying attention to that, I was too busy trying to capture the perfect rainy-sunset picture.

And no, I never got it. Sorry to disappoint you.

[fish dinner]

But I did get this one of the sunset:

[Rainy sunset]

We ate dinner with wine, and then saw the shortest sunset (it lasted maybe 30 seconds) between clouds. We practically live next to the beach, so Jonathan promised we would get a chance to see another one.


We then went to find a board game to play. The library only had puzzles, Star Wars monopoly, and a game called The Shtick Adventure Domination. 

We ended up just getting a deck of cards and some juice.

They have a room here just for juice. A juice room. It's some kind of tropical guava pineapple something. It was delicious. We drank the delicious and then went home.

Ryan was already asleep and resisted all attempts to wake him. So Jonathan and Amberlee read while I blogged. Can't let down the blog followers. I made them proofread my first Hawaii post. 

There was laughter. That's good news! Then sleep.


We awoke on Monday to pouring down rain. Ryan got up at like 5:30 or something. 

We researched roosters. I wanted to know what the picture above was. Ryan and Jonathan educated Amberlee and me about rooster. Kind of. The male chicken is a rooster and it's pretty to attract the females (to which Jonathan replied "Ca Caw!")

The hen lays the eggs. Then the rooster comes to fertilize them. How?!

We saw a rainbow. I enjoyed it for about 3 seconds and then ran inside to grab my camera before it disappeared. By the time I got back out, it was gone. Ryan got a photo for you though.


Disappearing rainbow. Lame-O. That rhymes!


We decided to take a walk to spouting horn. It was a mile up the road. It's basically this rock formation that spouts water like a whale whenever a big wave crashes into it.

I got some photos. 

Some of them were terrible quality.

[someone's thumb]

Some were great quality, but those are on my DSLR, so you can't see them yet.

Some of them were taken by Ryan, and those turned out to be beautiful.

[pretty photo of spouting horn]

We also got a photo together. Don't mind the fact that we were sweating like pigs.

[spouting horn shot]

I also got a picture of some baby chickens. And their mommy. 


I searched forever (probably 45 minutes) in the little trinket shops for a black pearl necklace/bracelet/earring set.


I was considering the necklace pictured above, along with some other options. I wasn't exactly sure which one I wanted until some old lady picked my necklace up. Mentally, I yelled, "put down my necklace you old witch!" And she must have heard me mentally, because she did. And then it was mine!

Now I can finally live out my fantasy of being Elizabeth Swan and The Curse of the Black Pearl. Well, not exactly. We don't have a pirate ship. And we don't have Jack Sparrow. But we are going on a sunset cruise tomorrow, so it should work out nicely.

Now we just need to find some swords....


We started our walk back at 9:45 Amberlee and I were starting to get hungry, which actually means we were starting to get hangry. Which means so-hungry-we're-angry if you're not current with the slang lingo we young kids are using these days.

We decided to split a sandwich as a snack when we got back to the condo.

When we actually arrived back, we were all covered in sweat and drenched in hanger. We decided to make a mid-morning snack.

[Ryan, using his 5+ years of experience in the sandwich-making industry]

[Our 10:00 snack. Or more appropriate, 2nd Breakfast. Or Elevensies.]


Then we rested so Ryan's back would be happy, Amberlee could paint her nails, and I could write. On the side of the beach. Feeling the cool ocean breeze.


We went shopping for sleeping shorts. It is WAY to hot here to sleep in pants and both Amberlee and I were vastly unprepared. 

We're quite hot in our pajama pants. Hot. Get it?

We went shorts shopping, but didn't find any shorts. We did find some ice cream and free nut samples.

We also visited the Farmer's market and got 2 coconuts. I managed to convince the boys we needed adorable coconut pictures. These boys really love us!


I got full of coconut water really quickly. Literally, I was full of it.

We also bought a 6 dollar pineapple and a 5 dollar mango. This mango better be the tastiest mango ever!


Amberlee bet me that she could smash her coconut in 3 tries. I bet not. She did. But I did it in 2 tries! 


And then, to celebrate National Coffee Day, we went to visit Kauai Coffee Estate. It was beastly hot outside, and we sweated like beasts drinking the hot coffee. But we tasted it anyway.

Then we ate more ice creams. I opted for a chocolate/coffee covered banana instead. I'm not sure how Ryan felt about my decision.


We haven't stopped eating since second breakfast, which is right on schedule if we were elves.


 We ended the night with a sunset and a hilarious game of Sorry! We listened to the waves crash along the beach and went to bed.

29 September 2014

The day we traveled to Hawaii!

I'm writing this so I can remember the good times. But I'm hoping while reading you can live vicariously through me, and enjoy traveling to Hawaii.


Well, we got up at 4 am. Really, I should say I got up at 11 pm the night before we left after taking a refreshing 6 minute nap and I never fell back asleep.

My hair dried nicely though, so I guess it works.

On our first flight we sat behind a 3 year old. His incessant talking got old after the first 2 hours. Worse, we sat in front of girls that could have starred in the movie Mean Girls.

"Im like going to be in such a zombie state today."

"I wish I could just wear anything like Sarah Jessica Parker can!"

"Man, if our flight leaves at 7 am we're going to have to go to the airport straight from the club. I hope I don't barf."

Quality humans.

We deplained the first flight and walked 3 steps to the waiting area for our 2nd flight. We only had to wait 20 minutes before they started the boarding process. We got to board first because we were flying First Class!!

[the quintessential photo]


They had blankets, pillows, and headphones waiting on us at our seat. They came around with the choice of OJ, water, or Champagne. 

I was at a crossroads. Really, what I wanted was to have a mimosa, but I picked the OJ. After all, local time it was only 8 am and I didn't want to look like a drunkard. Also, we were the youngest people in first class by at least 20 years. Actually, we were the probably some of the youngest people on the entire flight. 

Except for our 3 year old friend from the first flight. Thankfully, he was flying coach again. 

(Ryan got excited because the in flight movie was Xmen days of future past and being in first class we got the ear buds for free.) Guest written by, guess who? Ryan. Sorry I didn't actually give you time to guess.

As much as I want to see that movie, I decided that sleep won out. I could watch a movie any day, but I don't want to be grumpy and sleepy in Hawaii.

Then they came around offering is legit beverages. I got my mimosa in a fancy wine glass. They really know how to treat you right in First Class.

[cheers to 1st Class!]

After half my mimosa I could tell it was time to fall back asleep. My 6 minutes of sleep last night just wasn't cutting it.

But I didn't want to miss out on food. If there's anything I like more than beverages, it's food. All I had for breakfast was a Kind Plus protein bar. And as delicious as that was, we had been traveling for 6 hours and it just wasn't cutting it anymore. 

I decided that if I finished my mimosa before the food came I would just give in to sleep. Lest I let all the alcohol get into my bloodstream and make me act like a fool.

Oh, and the food won out.

[photo egg sufle and a biscuit and fresh fruit.]

Then our flight attendant refilled my mimosa. And I crashed. I slept through the movie, when suddenly, I was awoken my Ryan:

"Babe, you told me to wake you up if they were serving food."

He must have seen my angry "what the heck" eyes and gone on the defensive.

I looked to our flight attendants, and sure enough, they were serving food! I thanked Ryan instead of mauling him. They came by with two choices:


Ben & Jerrry's Cookies and Cream ice cream or Fruit and Cheese. Ryan picked the former, I picked the latter. I took one bite of my Bree and cracker and I said "you know what would taste great with this?"

And, as if I had a rubbed a magic lamp, out of no where appeared the flight attendant and he offered me the wine I wanted.

[what fruit and cheese should stand next to]

Just then, I sneezed 6 times. Well, I sneezed 4 times and then a few seconds later sneezed the last two times. Ryan asked "are you allergic to cheese?" 

Death first.

After finishing my marvelous snack, I thought I should start writing some more blog. Gotta preserve the memories before the red wine erases them.....

....then it was almost time to land. We watched a short informational video about agriculture in Hawaii. I got a bit worried about my granola bars, but they didn't mention anything about nuts being illegal, so I can save them from deposit in the amnesty bin.

I wanted a cool picture of hawaii from the plane before we landed. But alas, we were on the wrong side of some clouds. I'm sure Google has a good one though. 


Now, I have to tell you the story of why we're flying first class. You see, we had just moved into a house 2 months prior, and then some truly horrible things had happened to us.

First, we found out the pipes under our house were completely wasted, and we had to pay a bunch of money to replace ALL the pipes under our foundation. We had to live with some friends for two weeks. That's friendship right there.

Then, Ryan had been diagnosed with a herniated disc and before the move, after the move, and while we were living with friends we had been getting steroid injections in his back to try to improve the disc herniation. Instead of improving, he got steadily worse to the point where we passed up our favorite meal (Grimaldi's salad, pizza, and wine) because he couldn't bear to sit for more than 5-10 minutes at a time. The next step was surgery. We decided to take the leap and go for it, hoping it restored Ryan's quality of life.

That night, after signing up for surgery, we got a message that Ryan's dad was having trouble breathing. He needed to be sedated and given a breathing tube. Then he lost his heartbeat. Despite several efforts to bring him back, and several moments where he had a heartbeat again, he wasn't able to make it. He was so young, only 58. We were devastated.

This is all on top of 2 flat tires, and 8 tires needing air in the last 2 months. 

Life was rough.

Thankfully, our friends stepped in to help out. We got meals from friends, most of whom stayed around to listen to stories about life. Other friends offered to watch our pups while we were gone for the funeral. Others helped with flat tires and brought us wine. We felt deeply loved, and yet, so sad. We needed to catch a break.

Three days After Ryan's surgery we flew to Georgia for the funeral. His surgeon's PA gave him some special compression devices to wear on his legs during the flight. They were baby blue and super "awesome."

Traveling was rough on Ryan's back and he wasn't healing nearly as fast as we had hoped he would.

We had planned a trip to Hawaii with our friends back in March, about 5 months prior. We told them we might not be able to make it with Ryan's back. It hurt him to sit for so long. I mentioned we were going to look into getting Him a first class ticket so it would be easier on his back, but we might not be able to afford it with everything else that happened.

They asked us for our flight information and said they would look into upgrades with their mileage. 

The next morning they presented us with upgraded tickets for the longest flights BOTH ways for BOTH of us. 

Woah. We felt like crying. We were so thankful to go and get away from it all. I'm not sure we will ever be able to express how much that meant to us. But we will try.


Now, from a young age, my father had been passing his SLR cameras down to me. I got my first one at age 12, after proving him I read the camera care book he gave me that had tips about shutter speeds and appetures in it and stuff. 

My parents were in the Yellowstone National Park last week. We waved to them as we flew over It on our way to LA.

They waved back.

So my dad has been sending me these majestic photos of his trip, with a fair amount of "trash talk." He thinks he's going to have the most beautiful pictures.

Clearly, he hasn't been to Hawaii and he doesn't know who he's dealing with :)


I called my Grandmother the night before we left for Hawaii.  I learned a lot about Hawaii from a Wikipedia page, and I learned a lot about my grandmother from our conversation.

She's been to Hawaii 4 times. She thought Honalulu looked too much like Miami. She traveled there in 1945 after her husband returned from the armed forces. 

I said, "wow, what was it like going to Hawaii before it was a state?" She said she thought it was a state back then. (According to Wiki, it became a state in Aug 1959, but it was a U.S. Territory before then, so I suppose it would be like going to Puerto Rico)

She said she traveled to most of the islands and her favorite was "the garden isle." 

We had a miscommunication where she asked me where we were going and I said Kauai. She said, "sorry I didn't understand you." So I said it again. She still didn't understand. So I spelled it for her. Finally, she said, "oh, Hawaii, the big island." That's not my favorite one, but you should like it."

I didn't have the heart to correct her. Good thing Kauai is the garden isle. She would love to see our photos, if she could still see.

Then she started saying that Ryan and I should visit....(she couldn't think of the state....so she came up with facts to help me guess it)....the 50th state.

Hmmm. I know Hawaii is the 50th state admitted to the U.S. (Alaska was admitted Jan 1959 and Hawaii Aug 1959) but we were just talking about Hawaii, so I guessed "Alaska?"

She said no, it's the 50th state" so I guessed Hawaii.

She said "no, it's that cold one attached to Canada" 


"Yep, that's the one. It's beautiful. I keep trying to get your father to go there."

Whew. That was enough understandings for the night. Regardless, I was even more excited to see Hawaii, making a mental note to try and see Alaska before I started getting senile.


So we get to Hawaii and meet up with our friends, Jonathan and Amberlee. We rented a car. We tried our hardest to score a free upgrade, but the lady giving us the car wasn't cooperative.

We also tried to add me as a second driver, but that was almost as expensive as getting me my own rental car, so we opted out. 

So much for my wild and crazy driving around Hawaii.

We hopped in the car, determined to find food before we spontaneously combusted. It was 4pm Hawaii time, and 9 pm our time. We were famished.

We all threw on our seat belts and drove out of the lot. Except for Amberlee. Her seatbelt buckle was missing. I tried to help her, but it just wasn't there. I unbuckled my seatbelt and climbed over the top of the seat to look for it in the trunk. No luck. We made Jonathan pull over. He got out of the car, pulled everything out of the trunk, and still couldn't find the seatbelt buckle. We were about to take the car back (although I had already fallen in love with our Nissan Extera, it was super sporty and climbing over the back wheel to sit in my seat made me feel super rugged) when I suggested we look under the seat. 

Thank goodness we found the buckles in there! I was getting pretty attached to our rental car!

She snapped the seat back into place, trapping the top part of her seatbelt behind the seat.


She pulled it together, thankfully.


We ate dinner and checked into our condo. There was NO air conditioning. I felt a little like I was in Africa. It was getting late (6pm Hawaii time, 11 pm our time, and we had gotten up at 4 with minimal sleep in between) so we wanted to sleep. But it was so hot.  

Ryan wanted me to talk to him, and I tried to, but eventually I said, "sleep has overcome me!" And fell promptly asleep, ending our first day in Hawaii.