Sunday, September 30, 2007

Day Two- Hawai'i

Michael and I started Saturday morning off with the local favorite breakfast of Spam and eggs on white rice. Spam shows up in a lot of places and dishes in Hawaii. I intend to try the Musubi before I go, which is two slabs of Spam on either side of a square of sticky rice, all wrapped in a seaweed wrapper so it looks like a piece of sushi. When in Rome, right?

We took the rental car around the southwest corner of the island yesterday and saw some beautiful terrain and coast. Sadly, many of the most beautiful things I could not get photos of since the road was so narrow by the cliff edge to the ocean that stopping was not an option.

We drove past Diamond Head and then Michael took me back by Hanauma Bay, which is where he took the teaser photo that he sent me earlier in the week. We plan to go back there for a day trip to snorkel above all of the coral and look for sea turtles. We drove through Waimanalo, Kailua and then wrapped around inland by Pearl City. We were looking for groceries to stock the kitchenette in the room, so we "toured" Pearl City and Honolulu until we found a grocery store.

We had a quick bite to eat at McDonald's before grocery shopping. Interestingly, they don't serve apple pies in Hawaii at McDonald's, instead, they serve Haupia pies. Our curiosity caused us to order two pies and the filling is a coconut cream type middle. I also noticed that on Waikiki Beach that the McDonald's seemed to be serving a Udon Noodle dish, that I have never seen in a New England McD's, that seems to cater to the Asian crowd.

We hung out early evening on the recreation deck until a light rain actually did make it to the pool area. And that quick shower of course brought another Hawaiian rainbow with it.

While Michael napped, I found the makings for Mai Tai's in the mini mart of the Resort and whipped up the best Mai Tai's I have ever tasted. I think it was the fresh Guava juice that is abundant here that made it so tasty, and the coconut rum. For dinner, we had garlic beef over brown rice and then a big oriental green salad, mostly made with the fresh produce and the entree I bought from the street vendors on Saturday.

It is amazing how different the view is from the room's balcony. Many of the photos in the blog so far have been from approximately the same place on the landscape, taken from the balcony. The first morning photo, the rainbow photo, and the night view photo, so compare them fore yourself. I played with my exposure length on the camera last night and got a good photo of the view in lights. I like how you can see the lights on the homes up the hill abruptly stop where the terrain becomes so steep that you couldn't possibly build there. If you click on any of the photos, you can look at a much larger version, and then use the back button to return to the blog.
As is usually par for me on vacation, I went to bed by 9:00 pm. Which technically was 3:00 am on the East coast. Michael was able to stay up later because he had a nap.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Day One- Hawaii

My first daytime view of Hawaii was the one at right from the hotel room balcony. It was early morning and the clouds were trying to burn off over the mountains.

Michael had to go to the job site, so I spent the day just recuperating from the flight. When I looked down from the balcony, I could see that there were some vendor tents going up in the parking lot below. I got dressed and went down and bought some fresh fruit and veggies. I also got a few things to experiment with, like bittermelon, apple bananas, and long eggplant.

I have found the locals to be very nice if you show interest. I asked the older vendor what I would do with bittermelon, and she assured me that I knew how to use it and told me, "You know- chop it up and saute it with eggs!" Would not have never come up with that combination on my own. She said it would also be good with eggplant or chicken, sauteed, not raw.

At the other vendor site, I got coconut Thai chicken for brunch with a side of Baklava.

Putting away the groceries must have made me very tired, since I laid down on the bed to rest my swollen feet and woke up 3 hours later.

While waiting for Michael to finish up his work day, I used the recreation deck on the 6th floor that includes a snack bar, pool, and hot tubs. Off in the East, I could see where it looked like storm clouds were coming, but they never seemed to make it to the city, no matter how dark the clouds got. It remained hot, with a brisk wind, and and the clouds kept producing rainbows. I understand now why there are rainbows on the Hawaii car plates.

After Michael got back to the hotel and used the pool and hot tubs, we went out for a little shopping and dinner. There is sushi and Asian cuisine every where, one of our favorites, so we had a sushi dinner on the Waikiki Beach strip and then went to dip our toes in the Pacific Ocean. I was surprised at how warm the water was. Can't wait to see the beach during the day light hours.

We already bought some souvenirs. Michael has purchased the must-have Hawaiian shirt and some light blue board shorts. We will have to get a photo of him in his shirt some night when we go out to dinner.

Aloha Hawaii!

That was a long flippin' flight from Atlanta to Honolulu!

Big thanks to Mike's Dad for driving me to Manchester airport on Thursday morning. I was checked in and sitting at my gate (knitting) waiting for departure within 20 minutes of being dropped off at the curb.

Got stuck on the tarmac in Atlanta for almost an extra hour. Will NEVER get the seat by the bathroom again. Even if I wanted to try to sleep in the cramped seat, I kept getting hit by the people trying to get into the bathroom. And on a flight that is 9.5 hours or so long, the only excitement is getting up to go to the bathroom, so everyone was doing it.

Flying into Hawaii at night was impressive since it was all black and dark over the Pacific until suddenly there is a bright and large mass of lights and high rises that just pop up out of the blackness.

Almost didn't recognize Michael at the airport in Honolulu. He was so tan, or at least, in the places where his T-shirt and pants weren't, that he looked like a local. I was so happy to be off that plane, and Michael seemed genuinely happy to see me too.

My first Hawaii disappointment- there are not beautiful hula girls hanging out in the airport to throw flower leis around you as you depart the planes. But I know now that you can buy your own plastic leis for about a dollar most every where in Hawaii.

Arrival time for me was almost 9:00 pm Hawaii time, almost 3:00 am east coast time, so my body was/is a bit confused.

Our first Hawaii adventure together, after dropping my bags off at the hotel, was to find something to eat. We found a restaurant still serving right across from Waikiki Beach, The Tiki Grill & Bar. We had a meal that sampled the local flavors to include Pork Lau Lau (pork steamed inside taro leaves that tastes like pork wrapped in spinach), mashed sweet potato with coconut shavings in it, a calamari dish with a wonderful sauce (calamari is not the little circles and tentacles you get back home), taro bread with banana and lemon flavored butter, white rice, a salmon salsa called Lomi Lomi Salmon, the infamous Poi (taro based "dip" the Hawaiians originally used as their starch before potatoes and rice appeared), and of course two tropical drinks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elleigh's Digger

In the fury of packing for Hawaii and trying to track down the contract for the Lake Opechee Inn reception hall, Elleigh has taken a digger on the steps. She has completely maimed her face. Not sure she will ever recovery fully. I have pointed with a red arrow in the picture to the pink area around the side of her nose where the black flesh has been scraped down to pink soreness. You will see she has pout lip in the photo and is trying to use the injury to keep her Mother from leaving her to go to Hawaii. If she keeps up with all of this drama, she will need to get her own blog to deal with her own issues.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Blog Partner

It would be wrong to not acknowledge my very helpful blog partner. I never write alone. Elleigh is always there: reading over my shoulder, whispering suggestions on what I should write, giving me inspiration. She is insistent on good grammar and proper spelling. She's quite creative. Wish I had captured something better on the tube in the background.

Hawaii Teaser

Michael sent me a teaser Hawaii photo today of Hanauma Bay. He didn't have to work at all on Sunday, and so he spent the day driving around the Oahu Island and scoping out potential tourist locations for us to check out when I get there. I fly out on Thursday. I have just one more high stress work day to go and then I am officially on vacation. I took Wednesday off to do laundry, pack, and drop the four legged kids off at their respective doggy lodges.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Date Is Set

I met Nancy, one of my bridesmaids, and Jacinda, my Justice of the Peace of Honor, at the Lake Opechee Inn late this afternoon. I am so excited to report that the date for my wedding has been set as Saturday, March 8th, 2008. The ceremony and the reception will take place at the Lake Opechee Inn in Lakeport, NH. It is such a relief to have a date. Now I can pull all of my planning so far together with an actual end date. I believe there are 168 days left to my wedding now, 5 and a half months. 5 months left once I return from Hawaii.

Now I can stop stressing about not having a date set and start worrying about how little time I have left to plan.

And I am so lucky to have friends who network. Nancy was able to arrange for me to have a "life of the party" DJ for my wedding. Everything is shaping up for a stellar wedding so far.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I broke down and had to swatch for my felted laptop sleeve on Sunday. I talked a big talk about jumping in and being all cavalier with my knitting. But after 5 days working on the sleeve excessively, and only getting an inch, I realized I better swatch and find out how much this sleeve was going to felt. My swatch didn't shrink horizontally at all. In fact, it could have grown by a 1/2 inch. I called my master knitter, Denise, to make sure that was a possibility. Vertically, it shrunk from 5 inches down to 3.5 inches. So with these new figures, I have now casted on a much smaller number of stitches for the laptop sleeve and I am now about 3 inches into the new sleeve, and I want to get to 20 inches before felting. I have a much better chance of actually finishing this sleeve and being able to use it for the trip now. Though I suspect that the sleeve may still be drying as I board the plane.

Elleigh Already Misses Daddy

I got up at 2:30 am this morning so I could shower for work and then take Michael to the Manchester airport for his early morning flight to get him to Hawaii. I went to work before 5:00 am instead of going home and wasting time. I don't think I have ever been to work that early in the morning. It was nice to leave work early, but at this point, I am exhausted and ready for bed. Just waiting for Michael to call and tell me how beautiful Hawaii is and that he arrived safely. According to, Michael's plane did land, but it was a few minutes later than anticipated. That must have been a long leg from Atlanta to Honolulu. Michael saw on-line last night that the flight was so long it had time to offer three different movies.
Elleigh May is not pleased at all that Daddy isn't home tonight. She wasn't pleased that Michael was away at the NASCAR race all day yesterday for that matter. She's pouting on her doggy bed. Little does she know that it will be a long 3 weeks before she sees Daddy again.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Something Blue

I finished reading Something Blue today while driving to and from Concord. Without giving too much away, Something Blue did not turn out to be a wedding story. It started that way, but actually ended up being a novel about becoming a mother. Very much chick lit, but sometimes it is nice to listen to a fun story that will never win any awards.

I am sure it was all the book's fault that I strayed from looking at wedding shoes at the Burlington Coat Factory this afternoon and found myself instead over in the Baby Land area. I was checking out baby cribs, bags and strollers. I got myself back on task though, and bought a new outfit on sale to wear out to dinner in Hawaii and found myself possibly a pair of shoes to wear at the wedding reception after the dressy shoes (that have not been found yet) are killing my feet.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Starting the Laptop Sleeve

Another fine Wednesday night spent at the monthly knitting guild meeting at The Elegant Ewe (my local yarn store) in Concord, NH. I couldn't overcome my impulse to immediately start on a sleeve/bag for my laptop. Now that the Hawaii trip is booked, I think I want to take my laptop and will need something to carry it in on the plane. And though I have had the laptop for about 3 months now, it doesn't have a bag yet. I am going to jump right in with both feet and start knitting. I purchased six skeins of Cascade 220 while at The Ewe tonight, and spent part of the guild time winding the skeins. I purchased two shades of brown, a darker fuchsia pink, a mauve pink and a blush light pink- strikingly close to the color scheme I am intending for the wedding. Despite most of the group member's urging and caution, I am skipping the swatching phase, so who knows what I am going to end up with in the end. I don't need no stinkin' swatch test! And if I had the right circular needles with me at The Ewe tonight, I would have started the laptop sleeve there. I did finish the pair of baby socks made out of 100% Merino wool in the Geranium colorway from Knit Picks. Stay tuned for my blog entry on how the laptop project ends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Casts Off

I finished reading Casts Off by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on my commute home from work Tuesday night. Now I understand why my knitting friends love her Yarn Harlot blog site so much. The book felt like an affirmation of all the reasons why I like knitting, and I was pleased to learn that I am not the only knutty knitter out there.

Last week, I finished reading The Friday Night Knit Club by Kate Jacobs. I definitely was on a knitting literature kick over the last few weeks.

I am now moving into a wedding literature period and will be beginning Something Blue by Emily Giffin during tomorrow morning's commute.

Disclaimer: Unless otherwise noted, when I refer to reading, I actually mean listening to audiobooks on my ipod while driving around in the car.


Michael and I sat on the couch tonight with our dueling laptops, Elleigh May supervising, and searched the travel websites for the best airfares we could find to Hawaii.

Our tickets are purchased!

Michael is heading out to Hawaii this coming Monday, September 17th, the day after the Nextel NASCAR race in Loudon, NH. He is going to be working on a pump in a landfill for work. (I wish my job sucked like that.) Michael needs to be at the Manchester airport in time for his 6:00 am flight on Monday morning. Yikes!

The plan is that I will fly out to Hawaii on Thursday, September 27th, as Michael's work project is concluding. We are then going to spend an additional week on the Oahu Island as vacation. Yippee! Neither of us has had a week off from work since August 2006. We will both head back on the same flight, starting in the afternoon on Friday, October 5th out of Honolulu and we will arrive in Manchester, NH just after noon on Saturday, October 6th.

Elleigh is aware that something is up since she has been extra cute and cuddly this evening. She will go and kennel at Susan's house for the week we are both gone, and Austin will go and stay with his Grandpa and Grandma at "the farm."

I better keep going through the Hawaii travel guide book I bought way back when Michael first thought he would be sent to Hawaii for work.

My First Blog

All of the interesting girls from the knitting group have their own blogs. So as not to be out done, I am going to start my own blog. (They are not your Grandma's knitters!) Hopefully, I will have enough of my own interesting tidbits and comments to keep a loyal following.