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.

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 2 "While I Pondered for a Week, While Wearing a Lei"


As the first full day dawns we begin to accrue
A variety of experiences both familiar and new
Doug and Sandy soothes us with some slack key
After a Lighthouse visit where there is much to see
Which followed a meditation at a Temple Hindu

A McMaster Slack Key concert is especially great
We always arrive early and stay till it's late
Of course the Universe found a way
To reward Dianna with a fragrant lei
Was it coincidence or just a bit of fate?

After a restful night with the sounds of the ocean as a backdrop, I watched a partial sunrise from my room and went out to greet John and Sally. I knew oatmeal would be part of our daily rituals and I also been my regime of taking vitamins, fish oil and greens and a glass of aloe and Univera Extra and Chocolate shake along with bananas, a tentative effort with papaya and toast with the Costco Triple Cream Cheese. We had planned a full day with a visit to the Hindu Temple above Waialua and then a trek northward to the Kilauea Lighthouse and on to Hanalei for a slack key guitar concert with Doug & Sandy McMaster. The meditation experience at the temple was an amazing first time event as we sat through the chants and then the passing of various powders and liquids which we would place on our third eye. We were each given a hibiscus flower and I was the only one that received a red one, which John suggested meant a healing heart. The story of this temple is fascinating and its 45 year journey to completion is awe inspiring. This temple is the worldwide publishing headquarters of Hinduism Today which has used Apple products since the 80s to publish their magazine. The temple will be complete in 2017 when a 6 ton crystal identified in a vision in 1970. Suitably blessed, we headed north to the Lighthouse. We made a stop at Ono Burger in Anahola and were then also blessed with a gorgeous view with plenty of sun from Kilauea Point.. I left Dianna at the steps of the lighthouse and then we drove into Hanalei in time for a wonderful concert from Doug and Sandy. I bought an additional ticket for Dianna and, wouldn't you know it, her ticket won the flower lei. Doug played a slack key version of Amazing Grace in Dianna and Merlin's honor. We headed back home as dusk approached and stopped in Kapaa for a nice Thai dinner before returning home. Definitely a full first full day! After a relaxing dip in the hot tub it was off to bed with the palms swaying just outside the window.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles Day 1 "What's the Point?"


From modest beginnings 1000 days ago
This chronicle has slowly highlighted new ways to grow
Little of what has occurred was anticipated
As possibilities appear that don't just feel fated.
What was once intuition is now a new way to know.

So I return to Kauai on a solo quest
To discover my passion for what I do best
As I embark on a path to make a decision
That leads to awareness and a much clearer vision
As I practice gratitude for the ways I've been blessed

I intend to walk familiar trails
While acknowledging the trials and travails
The beauty and peace that pervades this place
Provide ample motivation to absorb and embrace
The lessons that I share as “Mike's Somewhat Tall Tales”

What follows will be a random collection of thought
That reminds to be grateful for all the events that have brought
The ups and downs, The loss and gain
And other lessons of life with some joy and some pain
For a student only learns if he's allows to be taught.


As Hawaiian Air departed to the West
We resolved to take time to document the best
Activities and reflections this trip might bring
And since in Hawaii SPAM is considered a good thing
We offer the following for you to digest

On February 17th, 2009, the above is how I began what was intended to be a light-hearted recap of our visit to Kauai with the e-mail of the S.P.A.M. Chronicles which would document the Sights, Play, Activities, and Music we would encounter during our stay. I quickly realized the intrusiveness of e-mail so I began blogging so the reader would have to volunteer to be subjected to my musings. This led to my efforts and then to my current Due to the generous invitation of John and Sally to join them at their condo next door to the place Dianna & I and her folks stayed for 4 years, I find myself in a position to walk in old footsteps with a different frame of mind. What follows for the next 9 days will help me continue down the path of understanding who and what I am becoming. As a result this iteration is now dubbed the S.P.A.M.M.I.N.G. Chronicles since I have now added Meditation, Introspection, Nutrition, and Gratitude.

As I left Caldew at 7:30 AM a thin layer of ice coated the Prius so I needed to run the defrost cycle before I headed to PDX. Parked at the office and hopped MAX and soon settled in for 5 hours of irritating my seatmate, a nice young woman from Eugene who had just moved to Oahu due to a Craigslist roommate connection and was working as a server at Duke's. After 10 times of flying to Hawaii, it was an odd sensation to be traveling alone. The welcome from Sally and John was appreciated and we headed off to the Point at Poipu. It had been 19 months since I visited the island almost everything had the feel of the familiar. I was able to get settled in a wonderful space that looked directly out to the ocean from my room and we took in our first sunset before going to a old favorite, Keiko's for dinner. I was still on Portland time so I stayed up late and thought ahead to what the next week might bring. I have begun a search for my passion and feel the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so a change of nutrition may be in order. Follow this new digest for details. Stay tuned...