Synchronized Surgeries!

This sure has been a busy couple weeks! First Mary's visit and the convention and all the house-sitting and airport shuttling. Then the folks both managed to get their long-needed surgeries, which had to be done on Oahu, scheduled simultaneously!

I dropped them at the airport early Monday morning. Once on Oahu dad's classmate, Arthur, picked them up and shuttled them to mom's hospital, Straub. She had her pacemaker installed without any problems and immediately after she could feel a difference - instead of dragging around with a pulse in the 40's she was more energetic and alert with a more normal pulse in the 60's.

Dad has a bunch of funny stories regarding his prostate surgery that was performed at Queen's hospital, 4 or 5 blocks from Mom's hospital. One that was particularly entertaining involved the test he had to have to determine that he truly needed the surgery that was schedule for the next day. He was told it was going to be an ultrasound - NOT!!! It was a tube that was inserted that showed the enlarged prostate and blocked urethra and the full bladder behind all that, not quite the simple ultrasound he was expecting!

Apparently they were quite the couple at the airport. They both had to be pushed around in wheelchairs so they had a captive audience. Mom is usually the one cracking jokes and being a little too open with the details but this time it was more Dad! But everyone seemed interested and got a big kick out of it, they even shared the stories with other airport personnel so they had a forewarning about the couple at gate 59!

So now that they both got their fixes we'll see how things go, hopefully we'll see some improvement for a while...

Good 'Ole Mary

Mary, my buddy who went to New York with the boys and me back in '05, then we went together to San Diego to help a family move last December, has always wanted to visit Hawaii. Since I was planning trips twice a year I knew I could time a visit so she could accompany me. That was, of course, before I knew I'd be MOVING to Hawaii. Anyway, November was the next scheduled visit and she jumped at the chance!

I went home to visit my family and winterize my yard and timed it so I'd return with Mary and then, because I'd moved here and didn't know I'd be doing that when I originally booked our tickets, I just didn't fly back with her. She whined about having to get on the plane and fly by herself but all turned out well.

Surprisingly, when we got here she was up to a trip to the beach so I took her to the same beach I'd taken Rachyl to when she first got here - Kahili Beach, my new favorite. We just walked down to the beach and found some rocks to sit on and watch the surfers for about an hour.

We were fortunate enough to have timed our flight when most of my friends were heading to Oahu to attend our International Convention. That meant there were lots of empty houses and few left behind to house-sit. By the end of Mary's visit I was house-sitting 4 places to different degrees. We were here with the folks from Sunday - Tuesday, then Wednesday we moved over to the funhouse to watch it for Kathy. The following Wednesday we moved into a very nice place with a stunning view and stayed there for the remainder of Mary's visit, then I stayed a couple more days to take care of their cat, dog and young chicken. And I was also stopping at a neighbor's place every day to feed their pets.

In our first week I got to show Mary all of the sights that she could handle, with her sensitivity to heat and sunlight. So the 2nd week we were just in relax mode. While we were on the road a lot we carried a cooler and took our lunch and ate on the beach several times. Mary treated me to many meals out and paid for all my gas. Such a generous friend! Well, maybe that was because she only had to pay $99 for the buddy ticket I got with our Alaska Airlines credit card!

We were originally going to go to a luau but after checking around decided instead to do the Na Pali Coast sunset dinner cruise. It was a good choice! There were swells about 8' high and lots of wind so we flew out to the far end of our cruise, then came back leisurely while Captain Ian told us all about the valleys and pali (cliffs) and their history. The ride out was exhilarating, Mary found the best spot where we could be outside but not get blasted by the wind and sea. She was very worried about getting seasick but everything turned out fine. There were a few sick ones on the catamaran but fortunately Mary was not one of them. But oh! I didn't mention the dolphins! On the way out we had spinner dolphins accompanying our boat for a while. Then on the way I saw a flying fish! It almost looked like a hologram because it was travelling at the same speed and direction as our boat. It was about a foot long and bright silver! A couple and I were the only ones who saw it and we just stood there in amazement til it was gone - then we all basically high-5'd each other for witnessing such a cool sight! On the way back the bottle-nose dolphins lead our boat for a while. They'd swim beside and between our hulls, then take off in front of it and jump! While that was going on the spinners were in the distance just have a dolphin party! Jumping completely out of the water! Weee! The simple meal they offered was one of Mary's favorites of the whole trip - pulled pork or chicken salad sliders, pineapple slices and some salad or something. Food is not my first priority so I don't remember exactly.

Oh! Another thing about our boat trip. We bought the tickets for Tuesday and the weather and swell were so bad that the captain decided not to do a sunset cruise that day but gave us lots of options: we could choose another day, get a full refund or go out with him to wherever he decided to go that afternoon, it just wouldn't be the Na Pali coast. So we chose Mary's last day here because it was predicting the best weather. It was a perfect day for it! (for November, that is)

There are lots of little stories I could tell from the visit, the nene at the Kilauea lighthouse overlook that almost let Mary pet him, the parrot in the cage on the roadside that squawked and jumped when Mary reached her hand out, feeding the chickens grapes at Ha'ena, the foul-mouthed, drunk partyers at Salt Pond, the moon party and the discovery of the '49ers, the numerous visits to the Kauai Coffee plantation, the adventurous drives down roads previously unknown, the search for pineapple fields, etc.

So will she be back? Maybe in the new system...

A Home Visit

Well THAT was the longest I've been away from all my kids! 3 months! Some of us felt it more than others but it was great to go home and spend some time with everyone.

I got to go with Rach to pick a new kitty. She found a real winner and named him Mongo. He's a bengal mix, probably with tabby. He's very much like their current kitty, Izzy. For some reason he adopted me and my robe. In only a week the 2 cats were playing! One of their favorite things is to chase each other up and down the hall. It sounds like a couple little horses running! I got to learn first where he likes to sleep - right on my face! So the first night I had to move him off my face 8 or 10 times before he gave up and slept in the middle of the bed. So now when they're sitting on the couch Tony has 2 cats and Rach has none...

The new little baby Kevin is such a sweet smiley little boy now that they figured out how to fix up his tummy problems. He's crawls and stands pretty good for just 6 months old! I think the grandkids all enjoyed seeing Gramma Soup. Hunter came and helped me in the yard as often as he could. We found a dead possum skeleton (and hair) in the woods where I dump my grass and saw deer back there too! Both little girls talk a blue streak and Taylor seemed to have fun when I went over to see their chickens and visit Gage.

Rach and I also went to the Kubota Gardens for a quick photo day. It wasn't as pretty as in the summer but I'll go again in May. It should be gorgeous then!

One night I heard that Denny was gonna can some tuna that he caught on a recent fishing excursion so I went over to watch the process. Very interesting. Imagine - my SON cans stuff!

Since Tony has lost over 100 pounds he needs a complete new wardrobe, which they, of course, can't afford. Rach convinced him to check out a Goodwill store when they were donating some of his fat clothes ("If you're donating these just think - so do other people") and now he's hooked! So we went into Seattle to visit the massive one there. We had a very successful shopping trip!

I managed to cram in all the yard work time I needed. It rained often but if it was a dry day I worked. And every Sunday it was dry, so I couldn't get to a Sunday meeting! But I made it to all the Thursday meetings. And my last Monday was a beautiful day so I killed myself to get what I could done. I worked so hard and was so sore that I had a hard time getting to sleep. I even dreamed that the next sunny day was the next day so I'd have to work instead of getting my day of rest! It was a nightmare! But I got everything done that needed doing: balance hot tub chemicals, put moss killer on the roof, clean the gutters and chopped lots of shrubs back hard. Then there was cutting back the spent perennials, putting weed killer on all the gravel and mowing. When I was done I had my park back once again!

I requested 2 events to take place on my visit that I enjoy every year, visiting a pumpkin patch and having our big turkey dinner. So we also got those in and both were as memorable as usual. There was a very obvious void, though. Our newest little family was missing but maybe we can do things with them when I visit in May. For May I'm requesting a trip to the tulip fields in Mossy Rock.

So the weekly texts will resume this coming Saturday, kids - be prepared!

Dis Couch Ain't Very Comfy

Tuesday night. If something's gonna happen, it'll be on Tuesday night. Because I plan to go out in service on Wednesday. That's my sleepless night. No, I don't get nervous, it's just the way it is. So last night I was sleeping quite soundly, for a change, when I felt something.

It must have been my buddy on Maui's story of waking up and finding a centipede on his back that made me instantly aware of the crawling I felt through the sheet. It was large, fast moving but not heavy like a mouse - it was a centipede.

I was instantly awake and aware of what was going on. I quickly slithered out from under the sheet in the opposite direction from the big bug's movement, flicked on a light and began hunting. I found the 5- incher right away but he moved so fast I knew I wouldn't be able to catch him. I grabbed my pillow and sheet and attempted to sleep on that little couch - ouch!

So I missed another morning in service. I was glad I stayed home, though, because once the folks were up I began tearing my "nook" apart and found the nasty thing on the floor. I went and grabbed some tongs and got him! He was twisting around in the tongs and I had planned to flush him but the bathroom was occupied! WHAT DO I DO WITH IT!?!? The answer was out in the yard - throw it to the chickens! They love the yummy things. So I chucked it and a big rooster ran after it and cleaned it up for us...

After all that I researched what attracts them and found out that they're considered beneficial insects - they eat other bugs. That's too bad, they're not welcome here!

A New Pastime...

You've been seeing it on my Facebook posts - my new friends have a routine of going "swimming". I wondered what exactly that meant and now that I know I'm all for it! What we do is go to our favorite, fairly calm, reef-free area and stand out in the water, talk and fight the current!

I've been invited to walk down to the beach with some of the friends that live right nearby. I've turned down their invitations, though, because the walk first heads away from the ocean, then leads down a dark, narrow, curvy road with barely any shoulder on one side, a hill on the other and is riddled with potholes. It's downhill so once we're all relaxed and maybe tired from all that "swimming" it's a long walk uphill. I used my asthma as an excuse. What I should have said was "Ain't gonna happen!"

So there's 4 of us most of the time:

Kathy Gay is a recent transplant from the mainland, a stage 4 breast cancer survivor, has outlived 2 husbands and is a great-grandma already at 60! She has crazy energy and has sunk a ton of money into the funhouse so she'll be living off her investment for the next couple years.

Leslie Fabiana is a local girl who lives on her family's Hawaiian homestead land with her husband and lots of relatives in neighboring houses. She's been on Kauai for something like 30 years and knows everyone and every place on the island. She's the oldest of our group, is a grandma and one of her sons is a photographer.

Leslie Proffitt is an adorable southern belle from Kentucky, also recently transplanted here. She has a husband back home, selling their property there, and a 39 year old son here that she's living with. She also has custody of her grandson, Lachlan (sp?). She found a property here with 2 houses on it that her family will be living in and it's nearby, less than a mile away!

Every now and then Diana Mahi joins us. She and Leslie F have been close for decades. She's a recent widow, has 3 kids and a few grandkids. She lives on her land with rental properties (one that I stayed in ten years ago) and a tree farm or something like that, a beautiful property where a previous blog "Aloha Donny" took place.

So we like to go and stand in the water and, if it's late enough, we bring drinks and pupus (snacks), usually hummus and nori and chips. After we got out of the water they all drink wine and I bring a beer or 2. Diana's been bringing battery-powered candles so we have a nice glow after dark. Last week I left around 8 and after I was gone some people showed up to lobster hunt using snorkels and underwater flashlights!

We had a full moon party a few weeks back, the full moon was supposed to be huge, orange and coming up at sunset. We had a real nice group that included some kids, I think there were 10 all together. One girl had just been at her ballet lessons so she ended up dancing on the beach in the moonlight.

So I have a new pastime to spend with my new friends! When it's time for me to leave the beach (when I'm getting chilled) they promise to bring a jacket for me so I can stay longer the next time. What a great bunch!

Kapa'a Nightlife!

Here on Kauai they have lots of monthly or weekly "Art walks" in various towns around the island. From what I can tell the one in nearby Kapa'a is one of the largest, held on the first Saturday of the month. Stores stay open late and there are vendors set up all along the street and on church grounds, in parking lots, etc. 

I've wanted to attend some of these art walks to do research to try to sell some of my own "art" and when I mentioned it to my friends they all wanted to go too! So it got put off for a bit. Last night we finally made it.

We parked at the library on the north end of town and headed south. The street was packed with cars and the vendors were EVERYWHERE! I had no idea this would be so large. One of the first tables we passed was kids selling Hawaiian sweet bread. The table right next to them had some kind of meat, I don't recall exactly what. It was served in a bowl, probably on top of rice, for $5. There were tons of jewelry, wood art, fabric goods (Aloha dresses, sarongs, etc), glass art and wares of all sorts.

As we walked on one of my friends suggested we stop and have a beer. So we found a place that advertised draft beer for $2.50. That's our kind of price! Unfortunately, they had no draft beer, only bottles. So we bought our drinks and sat RIGHT NEXT to the big speaker that the guitar players were pumping their music through. They were very good musicians but it was a little on the overpowering side for me, with my hard of hearing ears... Then a little local lady joined them for a couple songs and did the hula. She looked nothing like a hula dancer, her salt and pepper hair was cut short and she had a cute sundress on. But she was very graceful, she'd obviously been doing the hula for decades.

There were musicians and food vendors everywhere, so the sounds and smells added to the sensory overload!  We perused a few jewelry vendors and one friend found a beautiful hand tied bracelet made with fresh water pearls for $10, it's beautiful!

We came near to the end of the vendors on one side of the street so crossed over and started down the other side. By this time we all needed to use the restroom and so that became a priority but the sounds coming from the Eastside Cafe pulled us close. It sounded like James Brown was singing, I was looking for his jumpin' and jivin'! The band was called The Quake and they were fantastic! Then as we're trying to look in and see the band another friend from the hall spotted us from inside and dragged us in and bought us drinks. Unfortunately we were once again parked right in front of the speakers. It was a lot of fun but personally, I think next time I'd rather enjoy it from the other side of the glass, along with many others doing that very thing last night.

I did get to do some research along with all the fun. Now I just need to find out how to get a spot.

Aloha Donny

On my first visit back to Hawaii back on '04 we stayed in a beautiful house across the street from my folks', a place called Mahinani. The Mahis are friends of my parents, members of their congregation and they had vacation homes and a tree farm. It was a beautiful visit, a beautiful house. One night Joanna (my friend who came along) made a fantastic chicken curry dinner and we had Don join us, since his wife was working on Oahu. He was a very nice guy, we enjoyed visiting with him.  At one point I remember he was riding his big mower around and I discovered the cattle egret following in the freshly mowed grass, cleaning up the bugs.

About 2 1/2 years ago Don was diagnosed with cancer and began a long battle, which he recently lost. He was loved by very many people here in the islands and on the mainland. He was 64 years old, the youngest of 4 siblings, all of them having survived him. He has 2 daughters, a son and a loving wife. 

Knowing that his memorial would draw a massive crowd the family opted to have a "private" event on Saturday 8/23. They rented a big white tent (same style as the wedding 2 blogs back), invited our whole congregation as well as probably 100 other special, close friends and family. So even though this was meant to be a small memorial it was still rather large. 

One of his closest friends locally gave his memorial talk. A soft-spoken man who seems to have a shortage of self-confidence and was probably fighting back the tears through much of the talk. But he did a fantastic job, his talk was very clear and touching. The family members then took turns telling stories of Don as a child and young adult. 

Per normal Hawaiian tradition there was once again live Hawaiian music, a Hawaiian feast of finger foods (pupus) and late in the evening the hulas began. Unfortunately I didn't stay long enough to see the hulas. Next time I'm sticking around!

Something that was different from the way it's done back home on the mainland - they had his ashes there. They were in a beautiful hand made wooden box draped with leis. Very classy.

Don was quite the fellow and is missed by throngs. We're all looking forward to reuniting with him in the future paradise and he'll be more like the vibrant man I met back in '04.

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.