Monday, April 28, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

We got home on Sunday morning, the 27th, safe and sound but extremely tired. We left on Saturday night at 7pm Hawaii time so I thought I'd be able to fall asleep for the trip. Not. I just could not get comfortable. Neither could my mom. Dad on the other had, fell fast asleep listening to his iPod. So I watched "Mad Money" (which was actually a really cute movie, worth renting!) and read and dozed off for maybe 5 minutes at a time here and there. Luckily the flight felt like it went fast and I didn't get restless otherwise I would have had to take a sleeping pill and I wanted to avoid that.


On our last day in Hawaii, we got to visit with Erica, her husband Will and the girls, Phoenix and new baby Nora. It was so good to see them, we got to visit for about 2 hours at the food court of the International Marketplace (near Waikiki Beach, which I didn't get to see) while Joy, Priscilla and Ginger did some last chance shopping.

But before we saw Erica and her family, we did more damage at Maui Divers. You see, Maui Divers offered a free shuttle to the marketplace after we took a 15 minute tour of their design center. So we went. The tour of the company, how it got started and how they make jewelry was really interesting and you come away at least appreciating the jewelry you already own. But once you're done with the tour, in order to get out of the building you have to walk thru....you guessed it...a showroom full of gold jewelry with corals (from the pacific ocean), diamonds, and every other gemstone you can imagine. Right away my dad tells my mom to pick out a ring. So I'm browsing too...cuz I'm a girl and there was nothing else to do...and I try on a gold filligree (sp?) ring with a round coral set in it. It wasn't outrageously priced and I reallllllly fell in love with it because it's a unique design and I love unique rings (and it fit perfectly), and my Dad saw me and said "I'll get it for you." I wouldn't let him buy the ring for me outright, but since he was getting my mom's ring plus a bracelet (the sales ladies LOVED him) on a 12 month no interest card, I let him get it and I'll pay him back. That damn IRS check has been spent (two times over) before I've even received it!! The other ladies also shopped and bought and that free shuttle & tour ended up costing! But the jewelry is beautiful and none of us had buyer's remorse.

Funny story....while in the store they were giving us Mimosa's (I guess typically they try and liquor people up so they are more likely to buy) and my mom -- who doesn't like to drink because she gets tipsy after one sip -- DOWNED her Mimosa in the blink of an eye like it was a shot!!

So here I am...still on Hawaii time, still feeling the motion-of-the-ocean, and not wanting to go back to work tomorrow. And I'm still wanting to say Aloha and Mahalo instead of Hello and Thank You. As is typical of me, I made up my own Hawaiian word...one day I meant to say thank you and said "Maloha" -- 'good bye' and 'thank you' all at once. The lady I said it to just started laughing, so that became my new word. :-)
I went back and added some pics to my Hawaii posts, so you can view them if you want. The rest of my pictures will be processed during the week and I'll post a link to the album when it's ready.

While a 10 day cruise is entirely too long of a trip (especially when you're sharing a cabin with your parents!) and I would never do it again, it was the best way to see all of the Hawaiian Islands and I'm so glad I went. The group (I learned that Joy and Priscilla love to travel) talked about taking another cruise together, this time to Alaska!!!
Phoenix and Mom
Dad making Nora smile
Aloha! (which means Hello, Good-Bye and love)...Dad, Joy, Ginger
Priscilla and Mom

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 9, Lahaina

Last night we sailed past the lava flow from the active volcano on Hawaii. I took pictures but I was using the rail from my balcony as a tripod so they might be a bit blurry. But man...talk about an amazing once-in-a-lifetime event. It was so frickin cool!!

So here I am, on the Ka'aanapali Beach all by my lonesome. We got off the ship to explore and shopped a little more and the heat started to get to mom. I was not going to come to Hawaii without going to the beach, even if for just a little while, so I found the bus, paid my $1 fare and took my happy ass to the Whaler's Village which leads to the beach. All I can say is - AMAZING. The water is cool but who cares, the sun is blazing and there is a nice breeze...and I'm still sweating in true Lisa fashion! I'm only going to lay out here for about 30 minutes and then catch the next bus back. I don't want my mom to worry that I missed the last tender to the ship. I still have all day tomorrow to work on the tan from the ship!


** Updated 4/28/08 to add pictures **

Like my hat?

On the beautiful beach...with Medusa hair!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 8, Hilo

Sleeping on the fold out bed is starting to hurt, my lower back is completely sore. My triceps hurt too from yesterday's snorkeling. Thank goodness I made an appointment for a massage next Monday.

Today was a short day, we did a tour of Nani Mau Gardens, Akaka Falls (400 ft waterfall) and a stop at Hawaii's Willy Wonka, Big Island Candies. (Laurie, I got some Kona coffee cookies, is that what you said were really good?) Our tour guide dropped us off at Hilo Hatties, an island chain store for some shopping. They had a Maui Divers jewelry outlet in there and that's where the damage was done. They had a setup where you could pick a pearl for $15 and they had
discount coupons we could pick out of a jar. I got a 70% off coupon so my pearl was $5. I picked one and it was a beautiful big white pearl. They poke a hole in it so you can set it later in jewelry if you want or you can pick a setting from them. This is where I went wrong, I looked at the settings! When you buy a setting you get to pick another pearl for free (they open the oysters there) and my next pearl was a pink shimmery color. I chose a matching 14 carat gold ring andbpendant shaped like a turtle - the turtle is a symbol of prosperity. Because I got the second piece of jewelry, I got to choose another clam and this time it was a pretty peach color and it
had a twin! So I got twin pearls, it was pretty exciting and everyone wanted to see them. I did enough damage so I just had the hole drilled and will set them at some point in the future, probably for earrings. Mom also got two pieces of jewelry and her last pearl was a black pearl which they set in a pendant for Ella.

We're back on the shop, about to have a late lunch and will start to pack our souvenirs so that we know how many carry-on bags we need to buy to get everything back home!

We stop in Lahaina, Maui, tomorrow and I'm hoping to lounge at a beach and veg out because all this sight-seeing has worn me out!

** Updated 4/28/08 to add picture **


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 7, Kaua'i

Today we had our snorkel trip and let me tell you, it was an adventure! Our guide, Kylie, along with the other guides, took us to a spot that was about 10 feet deep. Kylie had Mom and Dad and some other snorkel newbies holding onto her board and basically floating along with her. I'm glad they did it that way because the current was so strong they wouldn't have been able to snorkel any other way! Heck, getting into the water was tough because of all the rock. But unlike the Caribbean, you don't have to boat out to the location, the fish are all around the rock. We snorkled for about 45 minutes then we walked to a nearby bay for the 2nd snorkel with the sea turtles! We were in 25 feet depth now and we had to stay till the end (unlike before when we could get out whenever we wanted) because we were swimming out further from the shore. Getting in and out was harder since there were more rocks and I had a quick panic moment because I had water in my mask and saltwater is not fun) but I just held onto the board and
relaxed taking it all in. The turtles are HUGE and they were right there below us. I took pictures and I hope they come out, it's kind of hard to aim when you are wearing goggles and are being tossed by the waves. Mom and Dad opted to sit the turtles out and waited in the shade for us.

Despite some scrapes on her knees from being pushed down by a wave as she got out of the water and a little motion sickness coupled with acid reflux from swallowing some salt water, Mom did great! She was a trooper and stayed in the water for the entire first snorkel, so did
Dad. I swallowed about a cup of salt water myself.

We're now sailing back to Hawaii to Hilo. This is the first time we're sailing during the day. I just made my own kukui (koo-koo-y......sounds just like the Mexican boogie man!) necklace and after
finishing by lunch my iPod and I will head to the sun deck so I can even out the "wet suit" tan that I now have!!

Day 6, Kaua'i

We're on the Garden Isle, home of many movies such as Jurassic Park, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Blue Hawaii, etc. Our tour today was to Waimea Canyon, nicknamed the Grand Canyon of the pacific. It was beautiful and odd to see on an island. We also saw a blow horn on the coast. Before our evening luau I was able to spend a few minutes visiting with Valerie, a fellow K-Towner who lives on the island with her family. Our evening luau was amazing! We upgraded to the VIP
tour for an extra $50 and it was so worth it. We had our own transportation, our own private dining (versus buffet dining with 700 other people) were escorted by a guy with a fire lit torch and the best seats in the house. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures because we couldnt use flash and it was too dark.

Best of all? I got "leid"!!!!! :)


** Updated on 4/28/08 to add pictures **

Waimea Canyon



Valerie Haney Parker (with baby boy!) and me

Dinner at the luau. The tradition of the flower behind the ear is, over your left ear if you are married or taken, over the right ear if you are single and available.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 5, Kona

We're on the "leeward" side of Hawaii which means they get sun every day and we did have sun around noon. As we boarded our bus for the Historic Kona tour and went into the mountains we had drizzle which is also normal for the island. Kona is a very pretty town, if I win the lottery I'm going to get a spot on the beach!

We had a nice day, bought way too many souvenirs, so much so that I think we're going to need an extra roll-on bag!

After dinner we got the pics that the ship had taken and Dad and Mom took pics on the green screen that will end up looking like they were surfing. Dad of course wanted his own surfing picture so he could really ham it up, and he did. Now I know where Michelle's boys get
their silly streak from!!

Tomorrow we'll be in Kaua'i!!


** Updated on 4/28/08 to add pictures **

On the tender ferry from the ship

Young boys, practicing for a race I think

On the way back to the ship on the tender ferry

Dad hamming it up for the camera

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day 4, Maui

We had an early start today (6:45 am) for the 8 hour Road to Hana tour. I had read that the stretch was 2 lane highway thru the rainforest that had something like 600 hairpin curves and they were not lying! I was worried, with my mom's tummy problems, that she might get sick but she did great. I'm the one who got sick at the end of the tour but only because we stopped for a Hawaiian treat called "shaved ice" which is a snow cone (raspa to my peeps) but 100 times better! I added vanilla ice cream to mine and I guess that much sugar coupled with the back and forth and up and down driving - it was like a slow motion roller coaster - was too much for me so I bypassed dinner.

The tour was worth it though. We saw beautiful valleys, coastline, waterfalls and the black sand beach (pure lava mixed with coral from the ocean). We even had a little adventure when the battery died in our shuttle and we were stranded for an hour waiting for a new shuttle. Thank the good Lord we were in a spot where we were safely parked, had some shade and had beautiful, picture taking, views. I had plenty of time for some creative shots. It was humid as hell though so you know I looked just *lovely*.

We leave for Hawaii, the "big island" tonight.

I've lost track of the date and day of the week but the trip is going by fast, I can't believe we're at the half-way point!




** Updated 4/28/08 to add pictures **


At the beginning of the tour looking at lava rocks...it was drizzling, hence the slightly frizzy waved hair look




On the grounds of a florists backyard, just beautiful! Notice the bangs are now pulled back because they had frizzed/curled-up beyond repair!


An overlook at the Black Sand Beach -- and now ALL of the hair is pulled up and back.



Inside a cave on the black sand beach



On the black sand beach. If you look closely you can see some frizzies flapping in the wind!


Dad enjoying his coconut flavored shaved ice

Day 3, Maui

Again I was out last nigt by 8pm. You see, the ocean waves make me very sleepy. I slept like a baby! I'm on my balcony right now, I woke up at 5:30 am, I want to catch the sunrise even though there is cloud coverage. We're sailing past Maui now, or maybe that's Molokai.....can't tell. I'm also hoping I'll catch a glimpse of some whales since they have not migrated back to Alaska yet.

Today was a day of exploration for us. I rented a car, got a map and we visited Iao Needle in which I climbed over 100 steps to get to the overlook! That makes up for the cards I've eaten on the trip thus far!! After that we went to the Maui Tropical Plantation and then the Maui Ocean Center which was really cool. After a stop at Walmart for some things left at home (like mom's bathing suit!) we headed back to the ship for dinner and now, at almost 11pm I'm hitting the sack. We have to get up really early tomorrow for our 8 hour excursion!!

** Updated 4/28/08 to add pictures **

At the Iao Needle lookout (Needle is the tall peak on the left)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Day 2, Honolulu

I only stayed up till 7pm last night, I was Tired with a capital T!! My bed, the pull out sofa was so thin that I used my blanket for more padding and only had a sheet for cover. It was so cold in our room, even with turning the A\C high so I dug out the beach towels that I packed. I slept very well despite the low snoring from my dad and my mom's strange noises, she rotates between nothing, to "tea-kettle is ready" hissing to some strange breathing pattern.

After breakfast we started our Pearl Harbor tour. Man, it was very somber. The Arizona is still leaking oil, you can see it on the water and the smell is so strong. 6,000 people visit daily!!! Our tour guide is so funny and is making our day so much fun.

During dinner, the ship took off for Maui. Mom immediately started to feel motion sickness despite her prescribed patch. She also has some pills that should help. But we dock over night in Maui on Friday so she'll get a motion break!


** Updated 4/28/08 to add pictures **

Safety Drill!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Aloha!!

After 2.5 hours of sleep (I went to bed at 1:30 a.m.) I woke up before the roosters and showered. The parents were supposed to pick me up at 5am but I know my dad....he gets anxious and always wants to leave earlier so I was prepared. Our travel mates are Priscilla and Joy,
who worked with my mom at the commissary, and Ginger, Joy's cousin.

After checking our luggage (I was thiiiiiis close to having to pay $50 for going over the 50 pound limit by a pound) we got something to eat and took our time getting to the gate. Not realizing that the flight had already been boarding we showed up at the final boarding call! Hey, did you know that beginning in May you'll only be able to check one bag in for free, with a 50 pound limit? If you're planning a long trip and need more luggage you'll have to pay! No more 10 day cruises for me!!

Learned something new about my dad...he was telling me about the time he returned from Vietnam and how the airport terminal had changed in the year he was gone and he thought he was in the wrong town. The fun fact is that he said he was drunk on the flight and the flight
attendant had to wake him when they landed!!

Our flight over was good, I watched The Great Debaters, a really good movie; slept as much as I could (I bought a neck pillow which was comfy but my neck kept falling forward anyway, I need to belt my head to the seat!) and chatted with the Russian lady from New Jersey who
was sitting next to me. We're trying to stay awake, it's now 4:20pm in Honolulu but our bodies are on San Antonio time (9:20 pm). We're actually watching the Spurs/Jazz game!!!!

Coming up tomorrow, Pearl Harbor and Honolulu City Tour!


**Updated 4/28/08 to add Pics**

Arriving in Honolulu

On the shuttle to the pier

View of Honolulu Pier and Aloha Tower from my cabin balcony

Monday, April 14, 2008

Packing is not my friend

If you know me well, you know I'm a planner. But one thing I'm never good at planning is my packing. I can know for weeks what I'm going to take on a trip but it never fails that I will be up till the wee hours of the night finishing my packing when I should be getting my beauty sleep.

Nothing has changed. Here I am, Monday night at 11pm and instead of packing, I'm downloading CD's to iTunes so I can update my iPod and iPhone. And I'm playing with my blog. Cool thing --- I can blog from my iPhone! So expect to get Hawaii updates, so long as my cell connection is good. Pretty cool huh??

Luckily I did plan to take tomorrow off. I thought about going into work for 1/2 a day but I knew once I got there I'd get stuck working on last minute stuff so I'm taking the day to get my manicure/pedicure, a massage (work has been crazy stressful over the past 2 weeks so I need to unwind!), pack and then spend time with my boys...soaking up as many hugs, snuggles and kisses as they will give me...I need 10 days worth!

South Beach update: My second week went like the first...not too bad, though I'm pretty tired of salads with grilled chicken breast! My trainer weighed me last Thursday and the scale hadn't budged since the week before. I told her it was wrong. There is just NO WAY I ate more salad, cashews, low-fat cheese and eggs than should be allowed and not lost A DAMN THING! But my inches went down across the board so that's all that really matters. I guess. I'm not sure how I will do in Hawaii...I'll do my best to make the healthy, low carb, no/low sugar choices but dammit, I'll be on vacation so I get a pass!

Okay...let me go. I have more cd's to download....

Keep an eye out for posts from Hawaii!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008

South Beach Diet, week 1

So I officially got thru my first week of being on Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet. Let me just say the first three days were a total biatch! I had an ongoing headache the entire time....caffeine and sugar withdrawal. I called Michelle and texted Jamie a couple of times needing an intervention because my head felt like it was going to explode and I was THIS close to grabbing a damn Coke. But I didn't...and as of last Thursday I lost 4 pounds...so I'm averaging 1 pound per day which I think is normal for Phase 1. I have one more week (this week) to be on Phase 1, then I start Phase 2, right before I leave for Hawaii.

This past weekend was really tough... I packed my morning snacks before Jakob and Isaiah's baseball game but I had to go straight to Ella's soccer game afterwards and there wasn't a McDonald's on the way (for a salad) so I went with no lunch or water. And there was no concession stand for a burger, sans the bun. I was starting to get a headache and Rob's big ass Coke from some fast-food place was calling my name. But I resisted. Played my usual "soccer aunt" role of cheering my niece on and tried to ignore the headache and Rob's coke. I'm going to have to do better and pack stuff in a small ice chest so that I don't 1.) dehydrate and 2.) fall off the wagon.

On Sunday I went to Express with Jamie and tried on a halter dress that was on clearance and a really cute top that wasn't. They were both flowy, but Express stops at size 12 so I was sure these things wouldn't fit. But they did!!! So they are both coming to Hawaii with me! Even the shorts I bought for Disney are now way too big (they were slightly big when I bought them but comfy so I kept them) so either I get a belt or get a smaller size. Whoo Hoo!

I think I need to carry around a pair of those shorts with me so when I'm feeling like I want something bad (bad carbs or sugar) I can remind myself of how this way of eating is working and how summer is right around the corner and how there will be more cute dresses and tops and shorts that I'm gonna want to buy and wear!