Monday, January 26, 2009

Diamond Head and Home Again

First off, we are home safe. We landed around 11 last night, had our bags by 11:30 and were in the apartment by midnight. Of course, then I had to unpack our suitcases because I am anal like that, so it was 1am before I got to bed. Tim took today off but I headed in for a 9am staff meeting. I managed to keep it together pretty well, I must say. Any time I drifted back into consciousness last night, all I heard was purring - Lulabelle purring on my pillow, Thory purring as he walked up and down the bed hoping for a pets - they were some sad little lovebugs.

Yesterday morning we started by hiking up Diamond Head. It looks deceptively easy from the ground, but it was tough. I mean, I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but my legs were trembling by the time we got down. It's almost a mile up, and the first part of it is up a narrow gravel road.

Doesn't look so bad, right?

There are some beautiful scenic vistas along the way.

But then when you get to the top, you hit this:
There's some steep, narrow stairs. Over 100 of them, in fact. By the time we got to the top, our buns were a-burning.

Then you walk through a low, dimly lit tunnel.

And then there's these! Narrow, corkscrew stairs.

To get to the actual vista point, you cross this board and climb up a little ladder.

Finally, you climb under this low wall thingie. It's a nightmare. I must admit, as I was climbing up and down, all I could think was "I'm glad Grandma was with me on the Death March to the Great Wall, rather than an attempt up Diamond Head." It was vicious.

But, the views at the top were SO worth it.
The view over Waikiki. You can see a little rainbow in the clouds.

Down to the ocean - you can see a little lighthouse along the coast.

The reef below.

Another windswept photo.

We climbed down and had a shaved ice reward at the bottom, then jetted back to our hotel room to finish packing, shower and get ready to fly out. We went through the International Market Place one last night for some last minute presents (maybe we picked up something for a certain birthday girl...) and then went to the International Pancake House for lunch.

Returning our rental car was a breeze, as was checking in. The woman at the AA counter was like, "I can see you have a pet" and then tapped our suitcase. At first, I thought she meant that we had a pet IN our duffel bag. Which, if I could bring the cats I would, but I would buy them little pink kitty strollers. She was then like, "you have pet hair on your suitcase... I have a cat... I understand." Our big suitcase lives under the bed 24/7, and the cats sleep on it constantly. It's half cat fur when we pull it out.

The flight was smooth, except for when I spilled my soda onto Tim. Damn my ham hands!

So now we have nothing on tap until Door County for the Fourth. Well, Sara and I have a massage next weekend, which I am very much looking forward to. Hawaii was so relaxing and amazing - we had a great time.

I leave you (for now) with our pictures from our fancy dinner out on Saturday night. We went to Alex Wongs, which was delicious (but which I might have liked more if its menu had less seafood options.)

Here is me and the world's cutest husband, with our dessert courses. He had five tastes of creme brule and I had THIS!

Coconut ice cream in a chocolate shell, garnished with fresh fruit. It was so realistic looking that I could hardly take my spoon to it. But once I did, I found it to be absolutely delicious!

So there are our first two travelogues of the year. Keep posted for additional fun about the Ford family. Now I have to go snuggle a cat on the couch.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

If You Like Pina Coladas...

Last night we met up with Jesus and Alfredo at the International Market, and then ended up at the Princess Sheraton for a last drink. Mine was in a pineapple! We also convinced ourselves that we should do some kareoke in the hotel lounge. We each took a song and did our best to rock out. I had the Japanese tourists clapping along with me. The last girl of the night was a total ringer - we're glad we went before her.

Today Tim and I slept in and then headed out to the North Shore again. I think if we come back to Oahu, we will rent a place on the North Shore and just lay on those lovely beaches. On the drive up I called Grandma and said we were on the way to the beach and she said "shut up" with as much venom as if she'd told me to drop dead. I guess it's not as warm in Wisconsin as it is in Hawaii right now.

We spent most of the day on Waimea, until the clouds rolled in and the rain came down. We left and stopped off at Turtle Beach, where we saw three turtles (two on the beach, one in the water) and two rainbows. It was a lovely place to catch our last sunset.

Tonight we are off to a fancy dinner, to close out our trip. Tomorrow morning we're going to hike Diamondhead before we go. I must admit, I wasn't a huge fan of Hawaii before our trip, but now I'm definitely going to be sad to go.

Pineapple Princess filled with the "chi chi" cocktail. And some flaming hot Cheetos!

Me and my matsomoto sweatshirt, with my pineapple hat.

More pineapple action!

Looking a little less sickly and pale.

Turtle! Turtle!

Underwater turtle taking an underwater nap.

Out on the rocks

The rainbow and the sunset

Friday, January 23, 2009

Just Beachy.

This morning we headed off to Hanauma Bay for snorkeling. It's a beautiful nature preserve inside a cove. They have a giant reef and a lot of fish. And they make you watch a dumb video before you go down about not touching. Look, but don't touch. We rented snorkels and fins and did some splashing around. The reef wasn't teeming with fish, but there was definitely some interesting wildlife. Tim and I did a lot of pointing and then grunting at each other behind the snorkel.

We stayed there until about lunch time and then headed back to Waikiki for... what else... PUKA DOG! Then it was off to the North Shore. We went and hit up a lot of the local places that we'd missed the first time around. Giovanni's is a roach coach that does garlic shrimp. I had a few bites of the shrimp but mostly ate Tim's garlic rice. Then we went to Matsomoto's for a fabulous shaved ice. Behind Matsomotos were a bunch of half-feral cats and chickens. I got one cat that would let me give her a little love. Today is apparently cat day - we saw a random cat outside the nature preserve and I gave it some of Jesus's muffin to get it come over for a tiny bit of love. It makes me miss our kitties.

Right before we got to Turtle Beach, my camera battery died (I blame the fact that Tim took 230 pictures at the wedding ceremony.) So I missed the photos of the two turtles and the seal who had beached themselves for a little warming. They said that seals came up to the beach rarely, so that was a special treat. Then we moved on to Waimea Bay because everyone wanted to see the giant waves. They weren't as big as when Tim and I were there the other night, but it was absolutely gorgeous out, with the sun setting in the background. I ended up going back into the waves, to the chagrin of the rest of the group (seriously though - I am the only person who is not natively from California or an island nation, and I am also the only one who's not scared of the water. Jesus and Jasmin flat out can't swim, and the other three are freaked out by waves. Meanwhile, this little Wisconsin chick was out there floating and crashing around for a good half hour.) It was really beautiful - the white surf and then pink and purple sky. It was one of my favorite moments of the trip, definitely.

We're home tonight and getting ready to go meet the boys for a little wandering. They have some last minute present shopping to do. I am looking to get another Dole Whip, possibly. Alfredo and Jesus are heading back to LA tomorrow, so we'll have the day to ourselves. We're planning on hiking up Diamondhead, and then I'd like to go back to Waimea. If Tim isn't too skerred of the big scary ocean.

The cove.

Us after snorkeling.

I order mine with hot-hot garlic sauce and yellow mustard.

The kitties at Matsomotos. I petted the calico sitting on the bench.

So excited for Hawaiian shaved ice!

USS Arizona and Other Adventures

So Frank and Jasmin are married! Very married. We got a text from them this morning about breakfast, and so went to meet up at the Original Pancake House at 9:30. No one else showed up until almost ten, so by the time we sat down, I was suffering from low blood sugar and high levels of homicidal rage. Thankfully, my coconut pancakes rolled out quickly and I pretty much ate them before the plate was actually placed on the table.

We ran a few errands after breakfast - dropping off the boys tuxedos and going to the grocery store to get snacks (and cash back!) Then it was off to the USS Arizona Memorial. It was a very moving experience. There's a 20 minute film about the attack and then a boat ride out to the memorial site. Tim's first game for EA was actually about the war in the Pacific, and this was his first time seeing the actual places that he'd researched and turned into a video game reality.

From then we all sort of split up. Fluffy and Jasmin and her friends headed to Kailua Beach and Alfredo and Jesus headed up towards the North Shore. They all planned on going to a luau tonight. Tim and I have both seen luaus before, and weren't down with the $75 ticket price. So we went up to Pali Lookout point to check out some scenic beauty, and then came back to nap. We have hit the wall on our wildness, and are both looking to eat lighter, drink less, and sleep more so that we can enjoy the last few days of the trip. So I slept like the dead for an hour or so, and then we went out and got sushi (or sushi rolls, as my dad will correct me. Not sashimi.) I am not a big fan of foods from the sea, but the ahi we had tonight was so delicious. It was so fresh and tender and basically just melted in my mouth. We wandered back through the International Market. I feel like I could go through and investigate those booths every day, which of course makes Tim want to throw himself out in front of a car.

Tomorrow we're getting up early so that we can take Jesus and Alfredo to drop their car at the airport. Then we're all planning on going snorkling at some apparently very beautiful bay up the coast. We need to get there early to get a good parking spot, and then we are going to spend the afternoon trying to chase fish. Tim and I would also like to hike Diamondhead, but we'll see what the boys are up for. As far as we know, they are still out drinking right now, so we might have to push them up the hill.

Tim in the parking lot at the pancake house. Everyone took his picture and because he is a circus freak. His shirt says "Irish I was Taller"

Pearl Harbor

The USS Arizona Memorial

The ship is still leaking oil

the view from Pali lookout point. Absolutely gorgeous.

It's very windy up there.

Oh Tim, you can't escape me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Couple of Photos of the Blessed Event

Me making fun of the traditional "handshake" photos between people who know each other well at weddings.

The bride and her daddy.

Mr. and Mrs. Fluffy

The wedding party and parents doing a little shaka.

Me and my b-funk.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Fluffy

Fluffy is married! The ceremony was beautiful. My speech went well, though I was shaking like a leaf. Fluffy, who is Mr. Tough Guy, shed a tear, which freaked me out because I wasn't sure I could hold it together if he started crying. But I did, despite he and Jasmin's tears. The food at the reception was delicious, and we did a good job sneaking down to the bar for a cocktail or two. They are back at that hotel - I called yesterday and arranged for them to arrive home to chocolate covered strawberries and a bed covered in rose petals. We are off to meet the boys for another cocktail.

Here is part of my speech - the passage I read from Corelli's Mandolin:

"Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And it is when it subsides that you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so intertwined together that is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all of the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

Me reading to the Big Ol' Crybaby.

(the rest of my photos aren't working right now - stupid crappy internet connection. Pictures of the gorgeous bride and Fluffy Groom later!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wedding Bells Will Ring!

Today's the big day! Yesterday we did some quality rehearsing and then went out for a rehearsal luncheon at a dim sum restaurant. I wore my awesome tuxedo tee shirt and got some good laughs. The pastor was obviously a little confused as to why there was a girl on the groom's side, but he will be impressed once I give my awesome reading during the ceremony.

Afterwards, the boys went to go pick up their tuxes and the girls went to go get mani/pedis. Well, the girls and Fluff, who also showed up and got a manicure. Seeing him, sitting between his mom and his bride, with his hands in the warm soapy water made me laugh hysterically. He did not get any nailpolish though, thankfully. By the time we were done with our pampering, I was so relaxed and sleepy that I went and took a nap.

For dinner last night, the younger crowd met up and went to Benihanas. I'd never been there before, and it was a fun experience. After the lovebirds parted, the guys (and me) took Fluffy out for his last drink as a single man.

This morning we met up with the boys and introduced them to Puka Dog. They all regreted that they hadn't been there earlier... or eating there every day! We drove up the coast a little bit to Kaluia bay, which is a beautiful white sand beach. The water was this amazing turquoise color and the scenery around was gorgeous. The only downside was that it was a little cloudy and windy, so we were slightly chilled. We only stayed about an hour, but it was nice to lay and relax. Fluff is off having a meal with his parents. Tim and I grabbed some sushi and are about to get ready to gussy ourselves up for the big deal. The ceremony is at four and then dinner and dancing to follow. There's no liquor, but we were promised bacon wrapped filet for dinner. We will bring a flask to deal with the lack of booze-drinks. It's the flask we were given in Scotland, which is even more awesome. Speaking of our other wedding friends - Cory and Natalie found out today that he's going to be stationed in Japan. We were hoping he'd stay in California so we could visit more, but maybe we'll have to arrange a trip to Japan sometime soon.

The Groomsmen

The groom and his mom.

Today's beautiful beach.

Parasailers and windsailers.

Umm... I'll pass, thanks.

I liked this sign. Also - my awesome pedicure.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes We Can!

We got up before 7 this morning so that we could watch the inauguration. As on Election Night, we are sitting, holding hands, with me crying. I am so excited for Barack Obama to take office, and hope he will lead us well.

Here are our pictures from yesterday (click to enlarge)

Waves on the North Shore.

Tim says I am in this wave. Somewhere...

Waimea Bay

Delicious desserts at Ted's Bakery.

Random chickens outside a park. As I walked by to go to the bathroom, I said "I just ate your friends!"

Ned the turtle at Turtle Beach.

Here I am, petting him.

Waving his flipper at us.

Another glorious sunset.

The happy beach bunnies.

Today we have the rehearsal and the rehearsal luncheon. I am wearing my sweet tuxedo-print tee shirt. I guess the plan is for all of the kids to have dinner together as well, but we shall see what the day will bring. I am probably going to need a nap!