conservation ftw, joanna irl

New Year This’n’That

Happy New Year! I have a few random things to share, but nothing very philosophical, so here goes.

First, 1-1-11 is fun to type! I didn’t think about it until this evening, so I guess I’m a little late on that one. But I’m hoping people call it “twenty-eleven” and not “two thousand eleven,” which doesn’t line up with all of our other names for years. We don’t say “nineteen hundred eleven” do we? No, we say “nineteen-eleven.”

Today we saw a lot of wildlife. Everything is so green and pretty right now and looks different, but in a very good way, and the animals have all been active. We not only saw turtles, but whales breaching and another monk seal! These photos aren’t great, but they’re what I could manage in the moments with my point and shoot.

That’s actually a photo of two whales, but the second one had already fallen back into the water– see the small splash on the right? And here’s the seal.

So there’s that.

In terms of “resolutions” for 2011, I don’t really have any. I will say that I’ve decided to attempt a 365 project in which I take a photo every day of the year. I’ll post today’s at the bottom. I will also say that I intend to go back to my Harry Potter commentary after I take a little break to read some other things so I can come to the books “fresh” again and give my honest thoughts on them. I want to have it all done before the last movie is out this summer.

So I guess that’s it. Sometime this week I’ll get photos and maybe an entry about our guests that are here, but until then, best wishes for twenty-eleven!

joanna irl

Kauai, much delayed

I suppose I owe you a blog entry. Since, you know, July is 3/4 over and I haven’t written one iota.

Well, that’s not quite true. I did caption the photos over at my photo journal… but I didn’t even add a little blurb over there when I uploaded new photos today. Shame on me.

The month started off well enough, with celebrating Year Four. Actually we celebrated a little early as J was gone over our real anniversary, but that was okay. We saw fireworks on the 4th (isn’t it awesome that they always give us fireworks for our anniversary? We’re just that special, I guess. ^_^) and then my folks got to Hawaii on the 7th and I flew to Kauai with them.

That’s the Na Pali coast. Parts of Kauai look a lot like Oahu, but most of it is very rural and open and beautiful. We stayed at a beautiful resort, and went swimming every day (well, my brother and I did), and did a good bit of sight-seeing.

One day we went to the north shore of Kauai, which is completely different than Oahu’s north shore; it’s rocky and steep and the road winds along the side of the mountains (and off of the mountains in places) and has nothing but tiny little towns you drive through in about a minute. It also has a lighthouse that’s surrounded by a wildlife refuge with a huge amount of birds, including wedge-tailed shearwaters that burrow into the ground to nest.

Another day we drove Waimea Canyon, which is down the middle of the island and looks a good bit like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon. The road winds back and forth as you go further up into the mountains and then you get to some sharp overlooks and then you see the red layers of the volcanic dirt, full of iron and left by ancient lava flows. If you keep going all the way to the top and back of the Canyon, you eventually get to where the red turns to green and you see the view I first posted of the Na Pali coast. It’s the only way to see that view without taking a boat or a helicopter, or doing a seriously hardcore hike.

We also toured both a coffee plantation and an organic chocolate farm. At the coffee plantation we got to sample about 15 different types of coffee, and at the chocolate farm we got to try whatever was fresh picked off the tree, including a young coconut, a tropical lemon, lychee, and cocoa pulp off of the chocolate seeds. Then we tried several types of chocolate made on the farm, including some traditional chocolate like the Aztecs ate and a chocolate drink made with coconut water and spices. It was so good!

Once back on Oahu, I took my folks to visit the north shore here, drove them around to the Blowhole, and to the Arizona Memorial. We also went on the Atlantis Submarine tour, which was a lot of fun, and I took them to a concert at the zoo to hear ‘ukelele music. They went home about a week ago now.

So there’s your update. I’m going to try and be better about updating the rest of the month, and I’m thinking about taking the BEDA challenge– Blog Every Day in August. We’ll see if I’m up for it. And in the meantime, check out photos from the Kauai trip. ^_^

joanna irl

Visits from the Sister

I’ve been bad at writing lately. In my defense, I’ve had company for nearly two weeks, and then entirely too much going on this weekend. Time for an update!

My sister came and spent 11 days with me, and we did more things than I can even remember all at once. We made a list to keep track of it all, even. Mostly you can see photos at the photo journal, but I’ll try and give you a little recap anyway. ^_^

The first thing we did was a little driving tour of the island (E got here on Sunday 5/16 very jet-lagged, so this was on Monday), where she discovered that lava rocks are sharp. E also discovered that Hawaiian sweet bread is yummy. I think we went through 3 loaves of it…

The next day I took her downtown and we walked around the zoo and then through Waikiki so we could look at all the tourists. There’s always something crazy going on down there. We had mahi tacos for lunch. Then we had malasadas. ^_^

Wednesday we went to the swap meet at Aloha Stadium and did most of her souvenir shopping (always good to get that done early). I don’t remember what else we did on Wednesday. I think it rained. I don’t have any pictures from that day, so maybe we got abducted by aliens. Who knows. Oh, wait, I think I spent a long time getting my phone fixed. Never mind.

Thursday, we went to the USS Arizona Memorial and I took her on part of the Navy base. We were supposed to have dinner with J, but he had to work late on this project that came up at the last minute… More on that in a bit.

Friday we drove to the North Shore, with a stop at the Dole Plantation along the way. We saw sea turtles and had shave ice, but the traffic was bad so we turned around at Waimea and came back toward home. That night we had J’s birthday dinner with some of our friends who live nearby.

After dinner, J got a phone call… and had to go into work on Saturday morning. He was there all day, until after dinner time. Maybe E and I went to the beach that day, but I don’t remember. I do remember that we got up on Sunday and J got called in to work on that same project, again. By Sunday afternoon we were all tired of J’s ship, but we got invited to dinner at our cousins’ house, and he did make it to that, which was nice.

Monday, E and I went horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch, which really deserves its own post. Maybe it’ll get one later this week. Kualoa is located along the Valley of the Kings, which is a famous filming location. Scenes from Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Mighty Joe Young, Windtalkers, You Me & Dupree, and Lost have all been filmed there. It especially looks like Jurassic Park because of the wide open fields that seem like they ought to have dinosaurs wandering across them. Seriously. See?

Tuesday we went to the beach, then had dinner with J on his ship (and got a nice tour, too!), then we went downtown for the Magic of Polynesia show. It was pretty good. Oh, and Elvis was there. Surprise Elvis!

Wednesday we went hiking at Waimea Valley and saw ruins, beautiful flowers, and the waterfall. Thursday we went to the beach, and then E had, well let’s call them “adventures” getting home that night.

So that was her visit in a nutshell. We did a lot. I merely summarize.

joanna irl

Stayin’ Alive

I feel that I should post something, but as I also feel I don’t have much that’s interesting to say, I haven’t posted anything.

The past two weeks?

Oh. That.

Well…. We need new tires, Caspian has a possible systemic (i.e. his whole little kitty body) infection, the next door neighbors had their baby girl (who has a set of lungs, lemme tell ya) aaaaand J’s duty section changed, wreaking havoc with our weekend plans for the next month.

And, oh yeah, one of my best friends came to visit with one of her friends, so I had a wonderful week doing touristy things and hanging out and it was so nice that I’m still sad they had to go home. (Um… K? When are you coming back? ^_^)

As an aside, sometimes I feel like part of the Men in Black since I have to refer to my friends and relations by first letter. Hmm. Maybe I should give everyone code names? Then again, that might be too much trouble for me to remember. I’d forget who got which name and call someone the wrong thing and then be confused about who did what and… I’ll stick with the letters.

Anyway, we had guests for the week surrounding Easter and even though J had to work for all but the weekend, we had a lot of fun just going sightseeing and doing a few local things: we went whale watching, snorkeling and hiked to a waterfall; I took them to the North Shore for lunch and went to the Dole Plantation; we toured Iolani Palace, ate down in Waikiki and went to the beach. All in all, we had a good time, despite the sporadic rain we’ve had lately. There are photos online if you haven’t seen them yet. I might add a few that I borrowed from my guests, though.

That’s really about it.

Caspian, in case you’re worried, will probably be fine. He’s just got a couple of little symptoms and I’m asking around today and tomorrow for a referral to a good cat vet. The vet we’ve been using on base can’t help me with anything but basic vaccinations, but as I haven’t needed anything else until now, I don’t have a regular vet yet. It makes me thoroughly appreciate the clinic we had before we came here. They were amazing. Good vets are hard to find.