Sunday, March 11, 2012


I return from Hawaii with a focus on health
Knowing that friendships are the true basis of wealth
I feed my mind with good thoughts
And practice all that I’ve been taught
Knowing it’s hard to accomplish this with stealth

I now enter a new stage of life.
As I needed to go under the knife
Since birth I’ve always been a pound adder
But now I’m short one gall bladder
And I’m losing weight with very little strife

But I view the rest of my body parts as essential
So I need an approach that is more reverential
Increasing the good, decreasing the bad
Is a long term diet with which I’ll be glad
And will greatly allow me to reach my potential

It’s been a full quarter of a year since I last wrote following my return from my pilgrimage to Kauai with John and Sally in early December and the passage of time has not been without highs and lows, ups and downs, doubts and insights, pleasures and pains.
I returned with the intent to gear up for the holiday season and had an overriding nesting instinct as I made efforts to cozy up my space. Deb gave me some help in organizing the kitchen and a successful acquisition of a sofa helped everything fall in place. I had the carpets cleaned and pulled Roy’s big recliner out of my office and moved the elliptic in where it’s still convenient for a workout, but no longer dominates the living room. Though I figured this would improve my in home entertainment options, I found I kept busy during the rest of December at various outings.

Had a “Boy’s Burger Night” with Ted, Rick & Frank, saw “Christmas Story” at PCS with Deb. Had dinner and saw “Sherlock Holmes” with Theresa, and saw “The Bobs” with Donna, Ted & Meg and went to a movie Meet-Up with Donna. I was able to spend the traditional Christmas Eve Soup Supper with Judy and her family, so that set a nice holiday tone. To usher out the New Year, I had a New Years Eve dinner with Donna and her son at Sasquatch before ringing in the New Year at Ted’s house. Evan had returned home from New Orleans for a brief visit earlier in the week and he celebrated the New Year at Sean’s Reeble Jar concert at the McDonald Theater in Eugene before returning Flying back to NOLA the night of the 1st, so I only got brief glimpses of him since he was in high demand.

As The New Year arrived, I felt under the weather at the end of the first week ( foreshadowing issues that were to come) and missed Meg’s 60th birthday celebration. Tom had some workshops up here so he came to town for a 2 day visit and then I headed up to Seattle during MLK weekend for a repite at the Renn Ranch. Deb came up with me since I figured she’d get along nicely with John & Sally and it appears their paths had crossed during an earlier lifetime when she lived in Seattle. She and John actually graduated from the same high school although a decade apart. The weather was not great so I was glad I had the Passat as the return trip was through fairly heavy snow. The next weekend was International Pie Day, a fundraiser for Neighborhood House, so I meet Donna for pie and learned of her secret craving for lemon meringue. I procured one of famous HillVilla Angel Pies (Lemon with Giant Meringue) for her and there may be no turning back. Started to entertain at home more as Dani came over for dinner and movies on a Friday as did Theresa on a Sunday. In between I attended the Portland Auto show which was lots of fun although I had a hard time reconciling $17,000 Fiats and $170,000 Audis. Had APCS outing and dinner at her Mercy Corp-centic pizza place with Donna and went to Rochelle’s Hawaiian Luau at PCC with Brenda and Wayne and Jeremy and Nicole and enjoyed the event. Spent a quiet Super Bowl Sunday at my place as I didn’t have much get up and go.

The second week of February was the Portland Golf Show, so I met Rick and Chieko for a full day of enjoyable browsing. I bought a nice collapsible golf cart so I can drag my clubs around once I get my golf game back. In an effort to pursue that I made my first Golfsmith lesson in Tualatin and got some good initial swing thoughts. Reeble Jar was in town at the Good Foot so I went with Deb and her niece, Rick & Chieko and Brenda and Wayne and got to hear the first set. Donna and I had brunch downtown and participated in a President’s Day Scavenger Hunt which had us running all over downtown Portland. The weather was pleasant for a hike and we tied for first so it was a fun event. Mid week I went with Deb to see what is now my all time favorite movie “Hugo”. I will definitely add it to my Blu-Ray library since it has such a sweet message. We now move in the dark period of the last two weeks which I will divided into a Before and After..


Anita and had arranged to have dinner on Sunday February 26th and since I had a Charthouse gift card Anita had given me for computer help, we decided to eat there. I had the prime rib and the famous lava cake, so I was stuffed by the end of the meal. At work the next day, I still felt full, but had lunch and then really felt uncomfortable. I made it home and tried to rest but by 7:00 I was sweating heavily and was pretty disoriented. I called Deb and asked her to call and check on me in the morning but she offered a saner option which was going to visit the ER. Got to Meridian Park by 8:00 and after all the necessary poking, prodding, scanning and X-raying, it was determined I had passed a gallstone and probably should have my gall bladder removed . They sent me home by 3:00AM to “rest” and I went on a wild and crazy ride for the next 80 hours. While not in pain, and only mildly uncomfortable I couldn’t find the “off” switch for my mind and could never actually get to sleep. My mind was filled with facts and figures, spreadsheets and logic problems that I felt I had no solve. Most people figure this is my normal state, but the non-stop nature was wearing me out. I had talked myself into a liquid diet since some soup on Wednesday bothered my stem a little, so as the week wore on I was getting more and more dehydrated. From noon on Thursday until my ride arrived at noon on Friday passed as if time had almost stopped. I was really looking forward to anything that would shut off my constant processing. I got checked in during the early afternoon and got sent off to surgery around 3:30. I had no recollection of being wheeled out but it didn’t stop me from continuing to carry on a conversation….


Waking up was like waiting for a cloudy Hawaiian sunrise. You know it’s coming but it’s hard to get a fix on the horizon. My mind gradually cleared and I got sent to my room and Rick was the first to pop in for a visit. Brenda & Wayne, Deb, and Judy checked in and then left me to doze off after a new “Grimm” episode. I had a good solid nights sleep and was rewarded with blueberry French toast for breakfast. No pain or discomfort as I got prepped to head home before noon and Brenda & Wayne deposited me at the condo and then did some grocery shopping and filled my prescription. I found it easy to nap and woke up rested on Sunday. Donna had offered to fix brunch for me and Ted did a drive-by with goodies from the Farmers Market so the 3 of us enjoyed an early afternoon of good food, great conversation, and comforting camaraderie. Donna also made Blueberry French Toast, but at a whole different level than Merdian Park and I finished it with hot chocolate topped by two of Ted’s homemade marshmallows I had been hoarding. Linda and Scott dropped some homemade chicken rice soup by in the afternoon and Sean showed up in the evening so we got to spend some good time together. Rick & Chieko visited for a bit before they went off to a SOLAS concert that I passed on to them. SOLAS was one of Dianna’s favorite groups and I had been looking forward to seeing them, but Rick and Chieko represented me well there. Sean had to head home around 11:00 PM so I got started on what I hoped would be my week long convalescence. The next week was broken into Tue-Thu-Sat slow low energy days and Mon-Wed Fri days when I felt more energized. Friday was a nice sunny 60 degree day so Deb got me out for a nice 40 minute walk in Gabriel Park and that helped my spirits. Saturday was a quiet day without much contact and I struggled Saturday night to sleep comfortably so I’m wondering how Monday’s return to work will be. I talked to John & Sally and Sally gave me a regimen of Chocolate shakes, Aloe, Experia, and Essentials that John used as he recovered from his liver cancer, so I intend to follow this in the days ahead. Where I end up from here is not yet known, but I know this will lead to better health and energy in the months and years ahead which I know will be a great blessing. I’ll make a point of having more timely recaps of my progress. The lesson so far is the gratitude I have my circle of family and friends who have been willing to help me take these fledgling steps to better health and a happier life “Thank you” doesn’t begin to express the depths of my feelings…

Saturday, December 10, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 8 - "Moon, Music & Menu"


A lunar eclipse won't happen again very soon
It's rare to have convergence of earth and the moon
A bright shining face is suddenly obscured
A lesson of life that is simply inferred
Out of darkness, light returns and we eventually attune.

There’s no better way to end a Hawaiian stay
Than to overwhelm the senses throughout the day
The surf and music set the mood
As Paradise arrived in the form of food
Thus ends a vacation of no work and all play

The alarm was set at 2:45 so we could catch the beginning of the eclipse. Unfortunately, my phone never adjusted to Hawaiian time, so it went off two hours early and after an adjustment, at the right time. The best viewing spot since the moon was overhead was from a chaise lounge near the Spa. I had the binoculars and the beginning was unobscured but clouds began to move in and we just got glimpses. The clouds parted enough so we could see full totality around 4:00 AM but not much impressive color. The irony is that Portland and Seattle probably got better views and at a more reasonable hour. Went back to bed until 8 and then breakfasted per our usual routine. Sally's son Tom was due to fly in mid-day for a week so he could ably take my place so after some burgers for lunch at Bubba's, I got dropped off and stayed back at the condo while J&S headed off for airport duty. I took a stroll around the grounds and sat out at the Point for awhile composing my thoughts and taking notes and then came back and focused on some writing and layout of my photos for my blog. When Tom arrived we gave him a chance to catch his breath and then headed up to Kapaa for a chance to hear Doug & Sandy again and pick up their just released CD "Sweet Hawaii Dreams" which is said to promote sleep. Ironically, 2620 miles away at Frog Pond Church another great Acoustic Guitar Summit was getting under way. Doug & Sandy know Mark so I thought the connection and concurrence was perfect. John and Sally wanted to do a farewell/welcome dinner at one of their favorite restaurants. The Hukilau Lanai in Kapaa and we were treated to an amazing meal. We went over the top with desserts of Lilikoi Pie and Vanilla Bean Cream Brulee to cap off a great final full day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 7 - "The Passion (Fruit) Play"

Friday arrived and the end draws near
Not just for vacation but for the whole year
Two weeks from now, Christmas and Evan arrive
Another year has passed and we're glad to survive
Surrounded by those we hold dear

Twelve months ahead with a chance to mold
Into something exciting, energized, and bold
A new year approaches with promise of hope
Of a chance to prosper and not just to cope
As we spin the straw of possibility into the experience of gold

When Dianna & Merlin arrived, it wasn't a fluke or a whim
That the whales and their tails started to playfully swim
“We're here to celebrate and not to mourn”
As you enjoy a nice sunset at Spouting Horn
A place that was quite special to her and to him.

A commemorative visit to Kauai wouldn't be complete with a visit to Hamura's for Saimen and some Lilikoi (Passion Fruit Chiffon) Pie so we headed into town for lunch and got our fill. As I partake of each of these familiar traditions now in a more solitary fashion, I can see it is helping me move in to a more accepting phase. The memories move more into the background much like Niihau on a hazy day.

A reading, writing and relaxing afternoon made the return from Lihue. I've been to organize my pictures and outline what I want to say in my blog. A big accomplishment was finishing my Limericks through Friday so my creative muse is mostly satisfied. My stream of consciousness tends to come much more easily.

We decided to end the day at Spouting Horn as the surf was up and would mean that we would have a good show. I knew this would be my penultimate destination for Dianna on this trip so I picked an appropriate spot overlook Spouting Horn while everyone was at the viewpoint. As I scattered Dianna and Merlin, two whales started to put on a show that lasted for 10 minutes with breaches and tail slapping and general whale cavorting. This is typically a slow time of the year for such antics so I assume it was just another sendoff for D&M... Another beautiful sunset was provided but clouds prevented us from watching the subsequent moonrise of the soon to be eclipsed moon. We returned to the condo and Sally used the rest of our chicken to whip up some curry chicken enhanced by some fresh shaved ginger from our Hanapepe visit yesterday. John and I had replenished our coconut ice cream supply and added a chocolate counterpoint so our dessert was doubly good. Started working on my blog entries so I almost stayed up late enough to catch the eclipse with no sleep but got a couple of hours of rest.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 6 "Sunshine & Moonlight"


A Sunshine Market on a green, grassy lawn
Isn't the Same when your sunshine is gone
Dianna & Merlin were always enthused
To sample the bounty and never refused
To find an odd fruit fruit over which they could fawn

At day's end, a comfortable moonlit walk
Allows us to stroll & pause and to gawk
At the breaking waves and the shimmering surf
That summons up gratitude for what life is worth
And leads to another appreciative talk

Thursday was always the day we would head west to Hanapepe for their afternoon Sunshine Market. Often we would detour to Salt Pond Park where we would play cards and scan the horizon for whales. We had a relazing morning in and around the resort and then headed off mid-day after fixing some sandwiches for lunch. We did stop at Salt Pond on a beautiful sunny day and got a chance to stroll a little bit although it would have been more fun if John had gotten a chance to snorkel for awhile. He's been very patient as i have lurked in the shade and barely dipped a toe in the water. I guess my Norweigian heritage is making sure I retun with my pasty complexion intact. We went over to the market and I tried to recreate the photo I had from Feb 2007 of Dianna and Merlin at the market. I realized afterward I was on the wrong side, but you still can see the play structure in the background so I'm within 50 feet of the right spot. We returned home after Sally bought a great Bird of Paradise for $5 and caught a nice sunset before finishing off our coconut shrimp. Since it was such a idilyic evening, we took a moonlight stroll over to the Hyatt and caught the tail end of their luau. The moonlight was dancing on the waves and it brought back memories of the walks we had from Makahuena to the Hyatt. One of the purposes of this trip is to re-walk along old paths with a sense of new understanding and purpose. Obviously, the journey is not over but I know I am becoming more at peace with the process.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 5 "A Day That Will Live in Infamy"


“A Day That Will Live in Infamy” is the quote
That reverberates through all that media has wrote
Reminding us of loss, sacrifice, and the quandary of war
Which never answers the the question of what war is for
Each year it is hoped we awaken more and take note

Eye of the Beholder shapes our view
Of Good or Bad, Old or New
If we hold on with sadness and regret
We never accept the lessons we need ro get
Instead find more days to enjoy and fewer to rue.

Pearl Harbor Day and the midpoint of my vacation. It was my turn to be useful, so I put together a Dutch Kekei breakfast which turned out like eating coconut cake for breakfast.

We were lounging around today so I took advantage of the Condo's BBQ and had a Burger for lunch and sat poolside and enjoyed the feast and the view. This development is much more like a resort with a lot of activities but I decided to pass on today's free ukulele lessons since I don't think they would sink in.

As dinnertime approached we decided to go out to an Italian restaurant within walking distance but wanted to catch sunset at the Point first. An intense rain shower moved in and we had to hunker down near Dianna's bush until it passed. Not wanting to push our luck, John picked us up in the car and we drove up to find the restaurant closed for a week. We figured we'd try the Beach Broiler nearby which had morphed in to Kanapali Joes, a sports bar. Despite our initial misgivings, the food was both very good and reasonably priced. I enjoyed some BBQ ribs and we all returned home happy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 4 "From the Depths to the Heights"


A visit to Waimea Canyon is always a metaphor
From the valley to the mountaintop, I know one can soar
I remember the heights of the joy we attained
Somewhat muted by the depths of despair that remain
Life is not about less but how it seeks more

Dianna, Merlin, Mary & I enjoyed this special place
Whether the sun made you sweat or rain hit in your face
The energy and spirit you gained with the view
Was something that reminded you of what you already knew
No matter the circumstance there is love, peace and grace

The weather seemed to be holding so we decided Tuesday would be our pilgrimage to Waimea Canyon. I figured this might be the most difficult part of my visit since Waimea was always such a significant part of our trip. Fueled by our usual breakfast, we headed west and made the climb up toward the Canyon .The island of Niihau which usually shimmers as a barely visible mirage stood out in bold relief which bode well for visibility at the top. We didn't stop on the way since we know how fickle the clouds can be. The view was great at the first lookout and when we reached the Kahulai Valley viewpoint the weather was perfect. I left Dianna, Merlin and Darlene at the top of the viewpoint near the Mt. Waialiale sign and was rewarded with a rainbow from the valley below. It started sprinkling as we walked away from their resting spot, but the sun returned as we headed back down the mountain. Our next destination was the Shrimp Station, a familiar feeding spot next-door to the very quiet Waimea Town celebration site. After some coconut shrimp, I walked over to the spot of many of Merlin's ukulele performances and our ice cream contests and left Dianna and Merlin at that spot.

Heading back home we stopped first at Kauai Chocolates to boost the local economy and continue research on the meaning of life and then at Kauai Coffee and finally at the new upscale development Kaualani and shopped at the natural food store and bought a roasted chicken for dinner and some breakfast options. Since Sally was buying some eggs, I got some flour and milk and since some people I had met at the Point had given my some butter and other staples since they were checking out, I decided to shop for a Hawaiian spin of Dutch Babies (Keikis..) so Coconut Syrup and cinnamon was in the mix. We had procured COSTCO sized bags of blue and yellow potatoes and green beans, so Sally put together a great meal .Watched a little TV and started a great book that John's daughter Diana has written. It's a “young adult” mystery set in Seattle and Tokyo and concerns a missing Van Gogh painting and the main character is a teenage girl who is a cartoonist, manga fan, and comic book store employee. It's very engaging with well written dialogue and lots of twists and turns. I intend to get some copies when it is published in June. I think Brad, Christina, and Sophia would enjoy it

Monday, December 5, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 3 "It's Better to Be Seen than Nerd..."


Although it may appear I only have one hat
During my vacation, I often find that
My skills as a guide, a cook, or a nerd
Often are valued more if I'm seen and not heard
As long as I don the headgear that fits the format

On Kauai, Mother Nature allows makes a big splash
As the palette of possibilities provide lots of dash
The whales appeared, the sun shone bight
The clouds disappeared and the time was just right
For us to be treated to a perfect “Green Flash”

Monday was a day to get acclimated to our surroundings. We had a nice leisurely breakfast on the lanai and eventually headed in to Lihue so J&S could get their new Apple 4s I-phones activated. I had wanted to get a patch cord so I could use my MP3 player in the car and the condo and I suggested to John that it was worth buying a wireless router so they could broadcast the signal to my netbook and their phones. With an RGB cable, we could use the LCD TV as our monitor so we could watch movies and ease the strain on our aging eyes. I gave them a tutorial on use of the I-Phone even through it was my first chance to actually play with one. I'm very impressed with SIRI, Apples personal assistant. We asked “her” what the meaning of life was and she said research points to having some to do with chocolate! I will pass this information on to Ted...

While we were out we had a COSTCO lunch date complete with hot dogs and warm chickens running around. We relaxed at home before our sunset rendezvous at Makehuana Point where we were treated to a perfect “green flash” as the sun dipped into the ocean unencumbered by clouds. I left Dianna at our favorite spot near the shelter of a giant bush that we often used as a windbreak. We came back home for a home cooked meal of COSTCO coconut shrimp, potatoes and green beans and finished the evening with coconut ice cream.