Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A whale of a tail

I didn't take the camera out to the beach tonight because I was stupid so you'll just have to believe what I say. We had just gotten settled on the beach to watch the sunset. There were plenty of ships and small craft in the water. All of a sudden, there was a huge black animal flying through the air! Then a huge splash and moments later a huge tail coming up straight in the air. Then splash! Boom! and then all over again. There were at least two whales playing tag all across the long watery horizon. Not every jump was as high and dramatic as the first one, but they were none the less fun and fantastic. To think it usually cost $100 to be out with those huge mammels and then we got our own personal performance. Shamu loves to perform for the people in water tanks and then in the ocean, Shamu-like replicas perform for fun. I'll never forget this performance and the cost: priceless.
A correction to an earlier submission: The Cessna is only a single engine and we are scheduled to fly back to O'ahu tomorrow afternoon when the breezes are forcast for 25+ knots or maybe it's mph. No matter which I hope we make it over and don't need the barf bags.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We didn't rent a car this trip because of finances being so tight so we weren't sure how to get to church. We don't know any members here and didn't have phone numbers of the bishop or R.S. Pres. so we decided to take a long Sunday drive with the Polynesian Adventure tour company. We were picked up outside our hotel at 7:15 am and headed for the volcano Haleakala. We were going from sea level to 10,000 feet in just over an hour so we needed to dress warm, have plenty to drink and basically just sit back and enjoy the ride. Our tour guide was a very knowledgeable little man. He reminded me of a retired science teacher he had so much knowledge. We got a detailed history of the Island from the 1700s when Capt Cook arrived to the present day. We learned about the 4 climate zones on the way up to the top of the volcano and indeed, the foliage adequately represents these zones. If I don't lose my blog like I did the other day I will attempt to put pictures showing the different zones. Anyway this picture shows the inside of the inactive crater of the the volcano. It is very dead and usually has clouds inside. We lucked out and got to see this moon like area well. The volcanic rock is much denser than the volcanic rock in Calif because the size of the Hydrogen bubbles that formed inside the lava as it spilled out of the main cone. The volcanic eruptions has slow moving lava that doesn't kill people but will burn and destroy property in its' path. We heard a story of a village that watched the lava approach, but after 5 months and the lava still hadn't reached the homes decided it wasn't worth moving. Well, the heat from the lava consumed the buildings like a cardboard box thrown on a hot furnace. The homes disappeared so fast when it reached them. There are also "cones" that are formed at the top of the eruptions and eventually are blown many miles and become part of the landscape. The picture of the porcupine like plant is one of the very few plants that grow at 10,000 ft. It is the silversword plant. The leaves have little hairs on them to absorb the moisture from the clouds for water. In the summer there is a long blade looking part that grows to nearly 5 ft high. Hence the name silversword. This part of the plant has blossoms on it that reseeds itself when the growing season is over and the sword part dies. It isn't summer today so no sword section of the plant. Not many other plants grow up here. This picture of a bush is in the next climate down from the volcanic climate. This looks like Grouse from Scotland and very well could be if a bird was blown off course and ended up in this section of land. The native foliage on Maui is not the lush green trees palms and fruit trees you normally picture as Hawaii. These didn't get here until the Polynesians came over. There are also many trees from explorers and workers from other countries such as France, Australia and New Zealand. Thank goodness these people brought in the wonderful lush and verdant trees. Sugar cane was such a good crop for the economy. There is only one operational plant left on the Island. There are many sugar cane fields we passed going up to the volcano. Next we went to the Iao State park. It usually has clouds all over the green verdant mountain. This is where Capt. Cook introduced King Kahemahema to canon and artillery. We are standing in front of the Needle which is 2,250 ft tall from sea level. The whole state park is pretty green and lush with a river that is constantly rushing down from all the rain. This is the 2nd largest amount of rainfall in all of Hawaii:350 inches per year so the river is always full and flowing very fast. Anyway in this valley of sorts is where King Kahemahema took on the Maui natives with artillery and killed 10,000 of them. What carnage there was. Hi won though and made Lahaina his capital for several years. All in all the day was educational and very beautiful. We met some very nice people and enjoyed the wonderful creations of God on this beautiful Sabboth day.


We had a great day on Friday sight seeing in Lahaina Town. Lahaina was once the capitol of the state of Hawaii when King Kamehameha was in power in the 1800s. He was King on the big Island and after he conquered the Maui Hawaiians he moved to Lahaina. It was such a bawdy town with so many brothels that he moved out in 1860. In the square there is one Banyon Tree that is so big. It is nearly 200 yrs old. This view is of the many branches that are supported by the roots going down from the branches. The whole square is covered by this one tree. What a sight it is. We walked down Front Street which follows the ocean. There are some really unique restaurants and many art galleries. The ever present ABC stores are in evidence as well as a competitor store called E Z Stores. We walked back up to Hilo Hatties where we rested our very tired feet and legs while we sat in the shade waiting for the shuttle to bring us back to The Weston. In the evening we walked over to the Whalers Village and were treated to a wonderful demonstration of Hawaiian dancing. In the square a stage was set up and a man on a ukulele played and sang as many different aged girls danced. The tiny girls were so cute and they could really dance. It lasted for about 30 minutes.
Saturday morning we decided to walk on the beach instead of work out in the fitness center. The sun was just coming up so I was able to get some very nice pictures of the sun rise. There are continual clouds over the mountain that rises from the beach in front of our hotel. Despite the early hour there are many people up and outside. With jet lag so prevalent in all of us this is really a 24 hr. hotel. The sun rise was beautiful and the waves were wet and the sand was cold and fun to walk in.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rats, this is frustrating!!

I'm in the middle of trying to put together this blog and can't move the picture so the picture I want is Oahu from the Cessna. It is in the other section. Let's continue on: The picture above is the ocean at the height of our 5,000 ft flight and the whales that are out en mass. The two white areas are spray from two whales. This is the view from our balcony. It is really much more bright and beautiful than the picture portrays. Our lobby opens up onto this pool with trees, flamingos, black and white swans and plenty of breeze. There are parrots and cockatoos squawking and water falls that add to the ambiance and lure and romance of the island. What a relaxing place to sit and eat, read or just stroll by. We are really enjoying the restful time. It rained yesterday so didn't get much sun, but visited the Whalers Village and shopped at the infamace ABC stores. I love this store and the many Hawaiian treats available. We are having fun trying to eat on the budget of nothing. The food prices are so high that we are shopping and eating in the room. We bought a muffin this morning:$4.00!!! I'm glad I like yogart and celery. We cook bacon in the microwave and that is a real treat. Can I lose weight? Probably not. The bed is great, I fall asleep by 8pm their time and wake up at 4am their time. We enjoy the workout room which stays open 24hrs. a day becauseof the easterners waking up at 1 and 2 am. I'm glad I only wake up at 4am. We're going to go shopping and then sit by the pool. It's windy and cool today but I'm sure I can get some color today.

Happy Hawaiian holiday

We boarded the plane in San Jose, Ca. early in the morning. We were pleasantly surprised about the size and ease of the San Jose airport. We only checked one bag and put the other up in the overhead compartment. It was so easy to do that that I think I will travel that way again. The trick is packing only the minimum amount of clothes and makeup. Hawaiian airlines is a nice airline. We had plenty of liquid and food. We rented an individual DVD player and watched Australia for 3 of the 5 hrs. of flight. Fast forward and we are arriving at the Hawaiian air port in Ohau. That's when the adventure really starts. Trying to find our way to the baggage claim in another building. The walking felt good but the distance was something else. I had my rolling bag and the carry on bag that were so heavy. Keith had the computer and nothing else so he was traveling at a rate that left me behind and lost in the crowd of tourists. He finally realized he was walking alone. Then he turned to find me and couldn't see me so he stopped and finally I caught up with him. That was when he took my roller bag and things got better. It took us quite some time to get his bag. We were sure the airlines had lost his case, but finally it came out on the baggage carrier. We looked around for where we could find info for the inter island flight. What we found was another long walk back to a different building. I guess we could have gotten a shuttle, but the walk was more appealing to our tired hips and legs. We had about the same distance to walk but not the easy way. There was construction to go around, but we made it. The inter island building was full with noisy happy visitors. We had reservations on another airline than Go. It took us about 15 minutes to find the right window and then we were sent to another window. I was able to check my bag in this plane. The reason: no overhead compartment and no leg room. We didn't get a picture of the plane, but it was a Cessna. One engine on each side of the plane. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate flying. Last year I was able to fly over the island of Kauai in a small plane, but not over water for 45 minutes.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Trusting in Prayer

We are getting ready to sell the house in Reno. Time and circumstances have made it necessary for us to turn to prayer more and more. With the economy the way it is should we rent or sell? We made it a matter of fasting and prayer and even spent time in the temple to be sure and the answer was to sell. I feel very comforted about this answer so now we are getting the painting in the house done. My friends in Reno, Diana Steadman and Barbara Ward are helping me. Keith and I went to Reno for the day on Saturday so we could get the paint and have everything ready for Tues. Keith has an appointment with a Urologist on Monday here in Auburn and depending on that outcome he might not be going back to work just yet. If that happens, the paint will be there and Diana can start without us. The other part of the day we spent with Billy, Shauna, Joey and Heather in Dayton. It was a great day, fun to see the kids and catch up on things. One thing for sure, I like my children, their wives and grandchildren. My life is so full with these people in my life. I have all 13 grandchildren on my wall in the family room. I don't know why the light has faded Brad's picture, but it did. No matter what I did to get rid of it. Soon there will be 14 grandchildren. My mother used to say that children are the jewels in our crowns in heaven. I feel this is true. I love being able to be at so many of the things that half of my grandchildren do. That's why I moved to Foresthill after much prayer. I will never be bored with so many wonderful grandchildren. So, don't forget your prayers, morning, noon, and night. Life is so much better with prayer in it. It's for sure I'll be praying for a quick sale of the Reno house. Please keep this in your prayers for me as well.

Daring rescue made possible by Priesthood and prayer

After 48 gruelling hours of cold and hunger Chester, who ended up in the neighbors tree because of diress, was rescued by the heros of the Branch and family. Chester is such a stuborn cat! He cried and wanted to come down but he wouldn't try. I spent a sleepless night hoping that he would be down in the morning. However, my wishes were not granted. Sunday morning dawned cold and clear. Chester had not moved from his perch. I was so torn, should we call the fire department or be patient. Patience won out, actually, Keith and I both needed to be at church. We were the speakers, organist and S. S. teacher. After services, Steve, the #1 son in law, brought his sturdy ladder and ingenuity. However, the deed was not completed this first try. The tries at this time ended up sending Chester up higher into the tree. Keith, Tonya, Kathy, Steve's mom and myself had stood under the tree with a big yellow tarp to catch the cat, but all we caught was a long stream of urine when the cat was scared up the tree to the next branch. We all needed a break and so after 3-4 hours rest, I bundled up in my warm coat, it was chilly despite the sun, and sat on the steps of the neighbors deck and talked to Chester and Heavenly Father repeatedly. I wondered if cats have guardian angels since they have 9 lives. I tried to talk to my guardian angel and asked him/her to nudge the cat down the tree to the next limbs. Chester did stand up to rest from sitting with his front paws on one branch and back paws on another branch and walked around the trunk of the tree. His cries were pretty weak and he appeared to be fading. I tried talking to him, throwing pebbles at him, showing him water and telling him he could have a drink if he came down. After about an hour Tonya and Steve came over again with a brilliant idea: create a noose to go around Chesters' neck and hopefully onto his body. Then he could be pulled down. "The best laid plans of mice and men, often go Arri" Chester walked around the tree truck and the noose came off his neck. He didn't go up any higher though. I ran into our house and called Kevin Dickson, to bring over another tall ladder so I could climb up the other side of the tree and grab the cat. What Kevin brought along with the ladder was a long medal pipe and a fishing net. Steve was on one side of the tree and Kevin on the other side. Chester was in the middle of the two growling at the noose that had come off his neck and very unhappy about the net that blocked his way around the tree. After many tries, much patience and a few, "stupid cat", Chester was maneuvered into the net. Steve came down the ladder and I went up. I put the hood of my coat over my head in case Chester decided he didn't like me after all the pulling and prodding. He settled into my arms and we went back to the house. Needless to say, Chester started to eat as soon as he was put down by the food. My heros of the day are the priesthood and prayer. Chester is now asleep and life is calm again. Thanks Steve and Kevin!!!! Thank you Heavenly Father.