Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Stuff Happens"

So..., this morning I arose bright and early...well, actually it wasn't very bright because it was about an hour before sunrise, in order to get to my assigned school for work today. It was up toward the north shore and I had the pleasure of driving up the windward coast. Of course, this route goes through all the little towns that dot the coast through which the speed limit averages 35 mph and sometimes reaches a breath-taking 45 mph (be still, my heart), so it's fairly slow going.

As the sun began to rise, I remembered how beautiful the drive along this road can be, and I was really glad I was assigned to this school. However, as the minutes ticked by, (at a seemingly alarming speed, I might add) I began to get anxious that I wouldn't arrive on time. Sure enough, I got lost. Good grief--how does someone get lost when there's only one road, with an occasional left turn? That's a good question and to answer it I can only say that I can manage to get lost no matter what.

In the process of looking for the road onto which I should turn, I happily chanced upon the Hukilau Cafe. You know, the Cafe made immortal by the movie, "50 First Dates". The Cafe in which Henry first saw and fell in love with Lucy, the Cafe in which Lucy made her waffle houses every day, the Cafe which was only feet from the ocean and had the kind of personality that would attract a country girl like me on a regular basis.

Well, let me tell you that the "real" Hukilau Cafe looks nothing like the movie version. However, it gets rave reviews online, and eating there is on my "to-do-before-I-return-to-NY" list.

So back to my job. I finally found the school about 5 minutes late and immediately called the head photographer on the job. She quickly answered only to tell me that she just found out the job was canceled. I was about speechless, and you know that's saying something for me!

I made the executive decision to make lemonade out of those lemons. On the way home, I stopped at various beaches to take photos (I had cleverly packed my slr in my bag before I left the house this morning), and thoroughly enjoyed myself in spite of the overcast and extremely windy conditions.

Below is a flower in my host's yard that I photographed yesterday.

When I was nearing the house I stopped at a store and found this license plate on a vehicle in the parking lot. Just icing on the cake, or should I say, sugar in the lemonade?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Living In a Basket Ball Court

You might be thinking that the title is a typo. Living in a basket ball court??? Did I mean, living near, next to, close by, on top of a basket ball court? Nooooo, I really meant what I said. Living in a basket ball court.

Isn't there a movie about someone living in an airport? Tom Hanks, right? Well, this is even more interesting, because it isn't temporary. It's permanent.

So here's the deal. I had to relocate my living arrangements for about 10 days because my hosts had an invasion by relatives from the mainland. Another family from church kindly invited me to stay with them, so I packed my bag and hit the road, always ready for the next new adventure. My hostess gave me only a wee bit of info about her house. Second floor is "so many square feet of open loft". Okay, I thought, this should be interesting.

When I arrived, it took me a few seconds to process what I was seeing. A basket ball hoop! A wood floor with a goal line! O MY GOSH!!, you live in a basket ball court. Maybe only a half court, but a real bb court, nonetheless.

As the reality of it hit me, I began looking around. Sure enough, there was the scoreboard. And right below it, to the left, a bank of lockers. This was getting more and more interesting.

And to top it all off, there was the water fountain still attached to the wall.

"This is what it looked like when we bought the place", my hostess told me. She went on to explain that it had, indeed, been used as a half court bb court. When the original owners decided to sell, the first new owner converted it into a home, using the entire bb court as the upstairs of the home. It now contains the kitchen and the living room, along with several other living spaces based on my hostess' eclectic decorating style.

This home is on the windward side of the island. Much rain creates a green and lush environment , and when looking out the windows there is a real feeling of being in a tropical forest in old Hawaii.

This other house is the only one that is so close, as it belongs to the original owner of the bb court. Looking past the two structures you can see the Pali Overlook. When on the overlook, the view out across the bay is spectacular, that is, if you can defy the winds and stand upright long enough to see the view. Hopefully, before I return to my original abode, I'll be able to get a similar shot with blue sky. Stay tuned.

As one would expect in a home this large, there is at least one large wall on which they project movies. (no little 15 inch screen for this family) On two occasions we've watched movies--in my opinion it rivals any theater experience I've had.

But wait!!! What's one of the best things about going to a theater to see a flick? The popcorn, right? Well, they have that one covered too. They have their own popcorn machine. My hostess made popcorn one night and words cannot express how wonderful it was. Movie theater popcorn, move over...make room for the good stuff !

So if you're ever in Hawaii and you want to to out to see a movie, let me know. I'll put you in touch with my friend, and if you're lucky she'll invite you over. She might even make some popcorn for you. You'll never think about a movie theater the same way again.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Trip to the Big Island

A few days ago I was assigned to go to the Big Island for another job. Six of us, altogether, boarded the plane one afternoon. Again, my point-and-shoot saved the day. While waiting for take-off and trying not to fall asleep, I practiced taking stealth photos. Holding it up in the air and pointing it toward the seat behind me, I snapped a few shots and amazingly got some decent images of two of my co-workers diligently working out details on the job ahead of us.

Even now they don't know I got these shots, but they will as soon as I get them printed and make a collage with them.

After we finished the job the next day, we had enough time to do a little sightseeing, which was nice because I haven't had the chance to get to the Big Island on my own this year. The first place we stopped is one of the black-sand beaches. I've heard so much about it and was glad we went there. All I can say now is, "been there, done that" and don't have to do it again. Interesting, but that's about it.

Then we headed over to Volcano Park. This image below shows one of the craters with some small volcano action in the far back. There are walking trails along the rims on each side, and I saw people walking right through the center of the crater toward the opening way back. I don't know how far they could actually go, but it would have been interesting to take the walk if we had had time.

A closer view of the volcanic steam spewing from the eruption.

We continued on through the park to the end of the road. From this point you can hike another three miles to the edge of the island. At that point, the lava pours into the ocean and from what I've been told, if you hike out there at night you can see the glow of the lava. During daylight it's too far away to see it.

It was a "hard day's work", but a great day's sightseeing. God created the most amazing world, and it was a blessing to be able to see some more of it first hand.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hike

Today we went for a hike. To Kaena Point. If you remember, two years ago I did the same hike with another person. Started at 10 am, one bottle of water, one orange, and no idea of how long and hot the hike would be. 2 1/2 miles each way--85 degrees and no shade. So picture this, it was high noon when we started our two hour hike back. About 4 1/2 hours after we began, we arrived back at our car, not feeling very happy or energetic. It wasn't pretty.

Oh, the scenery was pretty, but that was about it. We didn't prepare very well and about halfway into the hike, we knew it.

Anyway, today Britt, Betty and I did the hike. Much better prepared, we ate before we left, we got started earlier, we hydrated ahead of time, we had plenty of water with us, and it was cooler and a little cloudy.

And, OH, MY, GOSH, everything was better! The ocean was beautiful, it was cool and a breeze was blowing. Almost right away we came upon some tide pools, one of which contained a beautiful fish floundering around in about two inches of water. Taking pity on it, I scooped it into a plastic bag and handed it off to Betty, who then let it loose back in the ocean. Good deed for the day. Check.

So we continued walking along, enjoying the scenery and taking photos.

At the far end of the trail, there is a sanctuary for the albatross that nest and lay their eggs there. We began seeing them flying around, guarding nests, and even courting. It was very cool to watch.

This young bird was sitting by itself right at the edge of the path and didn't seem too concerned when I approached to take it's picture.

Then at the very end, the most western tip of the island, we were treated to the sight of, not one, but three, basking monk seals. It was awesome. They just laid on the rocks, sometimes watching us watch them, sometimes moving, sometimes just being still. Whenever I've seen them on the beach where I volunteer for turtle duty, there's a red rope so you can't get anywhere near to them. So this was a real treat because I was right there, with no zany turtle guardian telling me to stay away, stay very far away.

S0 after a brief rest and snack break, we headed back to the car. It seemed like a very long way, and being pretty much out of condition, I, as well as my friends, were beat by the time we saw the parking lot. So to console ourselves, we headed over to Haleiwa for a burger, and then the icing on the cake, or more like the "ice in the cup" a Shave Ice.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention--along the path I saw a couple approaching from the opposite direction. Being from NY and being in the habit of greeting other hikers when on a trail, I said "hi" as we passed each other. When my friend, Betty, caught up with me, she told me that the guy is the actor who plays John Locke on Lost. But she mentioned it way too late to get a picture--so this part of the story is kind of like the one about the "fish that got away". You just have to believe me.

It was a great day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

License Plate Heaven

We went to Tumecula yesterday. There's an Old Towne section there, and we planned on walking around to take in the sights. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by the Car Show that was in progress.

Now, I'm not a car buff, but I do enjoy seeing them at shows and taking pictures of them, especially the details. So we spent some time doing that. It was a nice afternoon, although it was right on the verge of being too cool, but I survived.

Take a guess at the plate. I was able to photograph quite a few unique plates to add to my collection of "funky license plate" photos.

After we ate, I spent a little while longer walking around town. I didn't have my tripod, but I was able to stabilize the camera on a railing in order to get this image.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Just a Walk On the Beach

I'm working on another person's computer. It surprises me how comfortable I've become with my own computer, and how awkward I feel when navigating or typing on different equipment. I become all thumbs on the keyboard, and it seems like I can't find anything I want on the desktop--and it's not just because the icons might be in different places, or the keyboard isn't the same style. That's part of it. It's mainly because it's different. There must be some psychological reason. Maybe I'm the only one that feels this way... It's weird!

Anyway, yesterday Scott's girlfriend and I spent the afternoon running some errands and then we headed over to the beach. There weren't any people in the water, and there were only a few hardy souls on the sand--it was plain chilly (I won't go as far as saying "frigid", but...). Great weather for taking a power walk on the beach though. We didn't power walk, but we saw some who were. (I had more images to post, but for some reason I'm not able to--if I can later, I'll add them to the next post)

The following image is of the back yard of my hostess' home. So inviting.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

A New Beach

Yesterday we had plans to go snorkeling. When we woke up, it was raining and when it stopped raining it remained cloudy, so no snorkeling for us. Sigh.

I had to work a sports job in the afternoon not too far from a beach I've never been to. When the job was done, I headed over to the beach. Not too exciting, but definitely a place I'm going to keep in mind. It's close by and word is that it's never too crowded. But it has a great view of Diamond Head and Honolulu. Even though it was sunny where I was on the beach (where was the sun in the morning when I wanted to snorkel???), it was gray and hazy in the Honolulu area, so the photos are less than stellar.

Still, it was a nice respite on the beach and it was fun watching the kids playing.

If you click on the image below, you can see Honolulu off in the distance.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Alone Time

We went to a little-occupied beach. It's really beautiful, and when I asked if it was always like this, the answer was, "it gets a little more crowded on the weekends, but not much".

So nice!

PS--as I was getting ready to upload the images for this post, I noticed that as of my last post--I had posted 500 times. Whew. Seems like a lot, but I know there are bloggers that have posted a lot more than 500, but it still seems like a good number to me.