Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Koko Head Hike

We hiked Koko Head today (technically yesterday, since it's 1am).  We made an epic video documenting the journey.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chris and Laurie

Heidi's cousin, Laurie, and her husband, Chris, were the first in our lineup of visitors this year.  :)

Here's our schedule:

March 17-24 Chris & Laurie
April 26-May 9 Quinn & Kristy
May 30-June 1 Brett's Parents
June 14-16 Kael & Heather (flying out 22nd)
June 17-26 Family vacation in Kauai
June 30-July 3 Brett's Parents

We LOVED having Chris and Laurie here, and we miss them now that they're gone.  We relied on their camera while they were here, and they haven't posted any Hawaii pictures yet, so here's one we stole from facebook just to give you an idea of how much fun these people are:

Their incessant smoking did get a little old, but it was worth it.

Did I mention that we loved having them here?  We've been so stressed, mostly about finances, and having a couple of fun-loving tourists stay with us was a breath of fresh air.  We went to the north shore and did a (very) quick little hike, where the wind was gusting like crazy and the waves rolled in without gaps in between.  We went to Haleiwa and had shaved ice.  We snorkeled in Turtle Bay (I think?) and Hanauma Bay (that one I'm sure of).  In Hanauma bay we saw TURTLES!!!  Finally!!!  I love sea turtles, and I saw five of them.  I learned after the first two that I should not tell other people when I've found a turtle, or else I quickly get crowded out by the swarming turtle-harassers.  I found myself feeling quite upset when people were not careful with the reef or the turtles... maybe I'm an ocean hippie?  Still... I want to try grabbing onto a turtle and letting it pull me around!  I won't do it, but... man, it looks fun.  The first turtle I saw was the biggest.  It had a barnacle on its head, and looked like the godfather of the reef.  I dove down next to it and held onto the reef with two fingers, kicking my fins a bit to stay in place.  The turtle was feeding on the reef, and as I was watching it, it came over to me!  I was only a couple feet away, but it came toward me until it touched my arm with its front flipper.  My gosh... I love sea turtles!  Definitely my favorite animal.


Anyway, we snorkeled, sunbathed, and snorkeled again.  We spent about five hours at Hanauma Bay, and we loved it.  It was Heidi's first really enjoyable snorkeling experience.  Hanauma Bay is free for Hawaii residents, so I definitely think we'll be making more trips over there!

We also went out to dinner at South Shore Grill and to frozen yogurt at Menchies while Chris and Laurie were here.  A very generous couple that was visiting a few weeks ago gave us TWO entertainment books, so we've been using coupons whenever we do anything.

We really, really had a blast with Chris and Laurie, and we are sad that they're gone.

Pacific Swing

The day after our evacuation and sleepover at the Hallstroms, we had volunteered to usher at the Pacific Swing show at the Marriott across the street.  The producer, Jon Davidson, and the star of the show, Nathan Osmond, are both in our ward.  They said if we helped with the ushering, we could stay for the show!  It was a lot of fun, and we didn't just get to see the show... we got dinner and a show.  The food was a huge bonus.  :)

The show was SO good!  It's a new show, and they're trying to make it a permanent gig.  Nathan is really, really good.  He interacts with the audience in a way that makes the show feel really personal.  He talked about his family, including the famous family members and his wife and kids.  He joked that a portion of the proceeds from the show goes to helping children... "my children!"

At one point, he invited people to come up to the dance floor and dance, and I could not believe I actually had to convince Heidi to dance with me!  But she came, and we danced.

It was a fun, free date night, across the street from our apartment.  We loved it!

Tsunami Warning

On March 10th, I was at the mall studying, waiting for Heidi to finish at work so I could take her home.  Our Elders Quorum president, Kevin Hallstrom, called me and informed me of the Japan earthquake and Hawaii tsunami warning.  He said we live in an evacuation zone.  He said, "Now you're true Hawaiians!"  Heidi got off of work, and I told her about it.  We went home and tried to get some information on the internet, but the internet was not working very well.  So we went out to the car to listen to the radio.  Oh, but before that, we heard a guy yelling outside.  He was saying things like, "You're all $%&#ed!  You're all gonna die!"  Someone yelled, "SHUT UP!" and he responded with "I WILL $%&#ING KILL YOU!"  (Side note: I programmed the police into my phone shortly after moving here).  I went out to find several of our neighbors on the edge of the walkways, looking at the street.  There was a homeless man, leaning over his shopping cart and yelling, "I AM JEHOVAH GOD!!  YOU'RE ALL $%@#ED!" etc.  Anyway... that was interesting.  When we went down to the car to listen to the radio, he was gone.  We didn't listen to the radio for long before we decided we better evacuate.

Kevin had offered his home, so we called him back.  We ended up staying at his brother's house, where they had more room and an extra bed.  We packed up a few things - Heidi was worried about all our stuff getting ruined, so she packed a suitcase full of clothes.  I just grabbed a change of clothes and the laptop.  We were on our way out of Waikiki, when we remembered our friends Michael and Patti, who also live on Waikiki, on the ground level, and don't have a car.  We called them, and looped around and back to their house.  After a lot of coaxing and coercing and explaining... Michael just wouldn't budge.  So we left them there and went to Jeff and Julie Hallstrom's house.

We stayed up late watching the news.

video

Finally, we went to bed, but set an alarm to get up and watch the news again when the tsunami was supposed to hit.  They showed footage from traffic cameras near the beach, and a shot from diamond head, looking down on a place where a resident had turned on their flood lights facing the ocean.  The Waikiki shot showed the water recede, and then rise above the walls, and recede again.  Nothing dramatic, but pretty eerie to see the sea level rise and fall like that.  The diamond head footage was crazy!  The whole reef was exposed twice, but no big surge ever came.

The next morning, we got to meet Jeff and Julie's cute kids!  I forgot to mention that we had a good time talking with Jeff and Julie during our impromptu visit to their house.  Nothing like a tsunami warning to bring people together!  They have a daughter named Heidi, and now Heidi and Heidi are good friends.

video
That seemed like a good time to stop recording.

Anyway, we had breakfast and went home!  Heidi had to work.  :(

Monday, March 7, 2011

Date Night!

We had our Friday date night on... Friday!  That's actually more remarkable than I'd like to admit.  It was FUN!  All our plans fell through, but better non-plans emerged.  We planned on going to Soho (a "mixed media bar") to see a glass blower and fire dancers, but learned the hard way that we should take the bus downtown at night or park before 6 to get one of the metered spots (don't have to pay after 6).  The only parking we found was $15.  SO... we started heading elsewhere (I think Ala Moana was our intended destination at that point?  Which is funny cause the night started with me picking up Heidi from there when she got off work)... so, we started heading to the mall and practically ran into a giant cruise ship!  It was docked right at the end of Nuuanu Avenue.  We parked in the Aloha Tower parking ($2 for a half hour) and practically ran over to see the ship during our half hour.  We talked to the security guard, an old man named Frank who served on battleships and submarines, and now he sits and guards cruise ships.  He was definitely knowledgeable about ships (don't call them boats).

I'm thankful to live in a day when my phone AND a camera are always in my pocket.

The picture doesn't quite do it justice.  I commented on how big the ship was, and Frank said, "It's the biggest."  I should have asked for clarification about that.

We ran back to the car, and couldn't leave because you have to pay CASH for parking, and we had none.  The lady wouldn't let us do a U-turn... she made the line of cars behind us back up (including a hummer limo), and we got to do the back up plus 3-point-turn of shaaaaaame.  We had to go park again so we could go to an ATM.  Awesome.  Does this mean we pay more for parking?  Heck no.  Let's find something to buy to get our parking validated.  We were planning on going to dinner somewhere anyway.  We found a sushi place... no debit cards accepted!  So we asked where the nearest ATM was, which we needed anyway.

WELL, not far from the ATM was MK Hawaii (I think?), a classic rock cover band playing Journey songs!  But wait... the band members were three 11-17 year old Japanese sisters!  (plus a 20 year old bassist, and 21 year old drummer [the only male member]).  They were AMAZING!!  We listened til the end of their set (just 3 songs, unfortunately), met their dad, brother, and grandparents, and had a great time.  THEN we went back to the sushi place.  THEN we went back to the parking lot.  THEN we got out!

video
Listen to the last ten seconds.  The rocking out at the beginning was great live, not so great via cell phone video.

video
Don't stop believin.

From there, we went to Leonard's bakery, where I got a chocolate filled malasada.  YUM.  They also had cinnamon bread for $2 a loaf.  YES, PLEASE.  We bought two.  I've been eating it with Nuttella.  Whoa.  Yum.  We went home with our sushi and baked goods and watched the A-Team, which is a great movie.  Totally ridiculous and unrealistic action with a lot of laughs.  Loved it.

Fun, fun, fun date night!  And my date was lookin SO hot.  Wow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They're back...14 days and counting.

Death stands on our apartment porch, waiting for the jackhammer crew.

I've tried to keep him quiet.

I'm not succeeding well.

It's raging, boiling, coming to the top,

Death and it's need to kill the noise.

Fourteen days of...

smothering,
strangling,
and suppressing,

A long time to try and suffocate an urge.

Today I just might let him out.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why listen to one when you can have all three?

Beep!

Clank

Swoosh.

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Ding Dong...

Sounds fill our ears just as air fills our lungs. Our ears, the ultimate explorers, seem to reach out and grab even the slightest vibration.

You can't escape sound.

Even silence creates an adventure for our ears to go hunting vibrations.

We need to experience as many sounds as possible. Music, crowds cheering, the ocean, the wind, a buzzer, the piano, the guitar, sneakers on a gym floor... all make me glad my ears like to explore and help me understand the world around me.

I thought I was pretty well versed in the greater sounds of the world. How was I to know I was really missing out? You see, I had yet to experience the sound of being inside a blender.

I know! Can you believe it?

Good thing we moved to Hawaii so I could finally find out.

For the past three hours, my ears were delighted by the glorious pounding of a jackhammer, combined with the ripping of a chainsaw, and the screams of fire engines and ambulance sirens.

The jackhammer and chainsaw ran together most of the time, with the just occasional taste of a siren. How nice they could finally find a 10 minute period where they all sprang to life at once. The whirlwind of pounding and ripping and screaming filled my ear canals with vibration after vibration after vibration. It felt like I had put in earplugs of noise.

It was lovely.

And now they are back from lunch to start again.