Thursday, November 15, 2018

The Other Side of the Vacation

I may have mentioned that there is racial and cultural prejudice in Aloha land. I saw it slightly when I lived there as a grad student decades ago. I was poor and young and probably missed most of it because of that and because most of my time was studying or working, not beaching or shopping. But native Hawaiians like our American Indians got bypassed in much of the money and development arena of Hawaii. Today they have a much stronger voice in halting development if they think a burial area has been disturbed.  They do have an island (generous of the white man) set aside for blood Hawaiians.

There is also poverty like anywhere else.  The authorities attempt to control the beaches from squatters and homeless, but it is an ongoing battle. Hawaii does provide shelters through churches and public venues, but like the rest of the world, there are more homeless as poverty grows. The public parks closed down for a while in an effort to move homeless elsewhere, although they claimed it was for maintenance. It does seem there are fewer homeless veterans. The State is considering establishing "safe zones" where homeless can set up and be free of being forced to move elsewhere. According to one article, the islands have over 7,000 homeless people, the highest per capita in the US and most of these on Oahu.  'Lack of affordable housing, an epidemic in the use of synthetic drugs, insufficient support for the mentally and physically ill, prisoners discharged without any safety net and people coming to Hawaii with misconceptions about opportunities and then running out of money." are the reasons for the increase in homelessness.  Still, it appears that tolerance for the homeless has lessened overall.

My kids exploring a banyan tree in downtown Honolulu.

When we walked around the tree and looked up...!
The ingeniousness of sleeping and making a home in a banyan tree must mean some marketable skills!

I do not think the woman in the photo below is necessarily homeless.  She may live in on of the houses across the road, but the photo shows how difficult it is to track tents and homeless in such a moderate climate.

Many Polynesians who are not homeless are still angry that their land has been taken from them.  They become politically active and let their arguments be known.

Taken at South Point, the southernmost tip of the United States.  The sign says "Kingdom of Hawaii is still here we never left."

We wanted to see the Captain Cook monument on the Big Island which is easily accessible by boat and not so accessible by hiking down a trail.  In case you missed your history Captain Cook was so loved by the Hawaiians, they killed him.  We naively thought we would hike the 1.8 miles each way to the sheltered cove.  Do not believe the tourist articles about this hike.  Parking is a nightmare just off the highway and room for only a half dozen cars.   The trail is NOT cleared but disappears for half a mile into 7 foot dense, tall grasses that cut the arms and legs.  Wild pigs hide and protect their young in these grasses and grunt if you come near, so make noise!  If you make it through the grasses and do not get attacked by wild pigs, you come onto open terrain and the rest of the hike is in the boiling hot sun.  Bring a few gallons of water!  Clearly, the locals could care less if you go to this monument.  We actually did not complete the hike as it just got way too hot and we were low on water!  We made it a mile and a half down and rested and headed back.  There was another family that had sent someone back up (all that way) for water!  People have been rescued from this hike.

This looks like a clear trail, but it disappears as you descend with those grasses on either side closing in over you.

I do not regret attempting the hike but opted out on another strenuous hike at the end of the trip as I had done it on my honeymoon.  ;-)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pictures in Black

I was hot- a- lot of the time in Hawaii! I do not know why it seemed that way to me because I came from the Mid-Atlantic at the end of our hot summer and this should not have been such a change. I do not remember Hawaii being that hot when I lived there. I remember hating the cold air-conditioned stores and looking forward to being outside. But maybe my blood was warmer then as I was decades younger.  It was also more humid.

The volcano had stopped its bleeding before we arrived. There was no place day or night to be able to see glowing molten lava flowing to the sea. Decades ago we had hiked at night across an old lava flow using stone cairns and a flashlight over a mile to guide our way over an older lava flow to see the glowing fire in the distance.  But this time Pele had spent her energies and anger and retreated once again into sleep letting her long black hair flow across the land as the only remaining evidence of her power and passion.  We drove up to Volcano National Park to get close to the steaming crater.

The Southern end of the island is streaked with ancient and newer lava flows in most places.  Rock that is smooth like a river (pahoehoe) or coarse (aa) like broken glass can be seen when driving down the roads.  The reminder that all is temporary on this island is ever present.

Later in the day we hiked across the uneven lava and through "tangatanga" which is a common name for an invasive close growing shrub (cannot find the link); we startled herds of wild goats; and we almost became lost a few times before we found one of the larger fields of open lava where Hawaiians had carved many petroglyphs.  While standing in the hot sun on the open black rock, the thought that someone spent hours rubbing away the lava to create a pictograph of their life or a prayer for their life is humbling.

The small "pukas" or holes are where umbilical cords of newborn children were placed as an offering for long life.

This is the old Hawaii, far from the maddening crowd, but not too far from a few maddening tourists.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

In Memoriam

Since Monday is Veterans Day in the United States, this post on the Arizona Memorial and Pearl Harbor Park seem appropriate a few days early.  It would be more appropriate for Memorial Day, but it is what it is since I just visited there.  We spent over 4 hours at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Park before the hunger for lunch forced us to walk out of the park to a nearby restaurant.  I had visited this site decades ago as a poor graduate student and was a bit overwhelmed at that time before it had become so instructive.  This was a time before the lengthy audio tour by Jamie Curtis which takes you around the outside grounds and before the Road to War Museum and the Attack Museum had been built. Both museums are extensive and well done if such tragedy of man against man can be "well done".  Some say the memorial is Oahu's biggest tourist destination with 1.5 million visitors a year.  You will not regret a visit.

Once you have cleared security ( no bags allowed), you see the Tree of Life standing tall across the plaza. This was a sculpture designed by architect Alfred Preis to symbolize rebirth, renewal and a reminder that we are all interconnected.  It is near the entrance to the tour area and museums and duplicated at the far end of the actual Arizona Memorial letting light into the inside.

We could not go into the Arizona Memorial as it is sinking and needs repair.  The USS Arizona Memorial is located in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. "The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the 1,177 service members who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The 184- foot-long (56-m) memorial spans the midportion of the sunken battleship. The memorial consists of three sections: the entry and assembly rooms; a central area designed for ceremonies and general observation; and the shrine room, where the names of those killed on the USS Arizona are engraved on the marble wall. The USS Arizona Memorial is only accessible by boat, which departs from the visitor center." 

"Originally built on a landfill designed to settle 18 inches, the museum and
the visitor center has settled 30 inches in some areas, far exceeding expectations. As a result, the lower level of the facility is nearing the water table. Repeated leveling projects to maintain the facility’s support structure has created cracks in the concrete. This deterioration has allowed moisture to permeate the concrete and sometimes reach the rebar. Engineers have assessed that the deterioration must be addressed and have given the current building a five to ten-year life expectancy. The building has settled more than expected and, as a result, some support columns are close to being over-extended. The National Park Service is dedicated to keeping the USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center open and to provide a safe environment for the public. However, future planning must be done to ensure the Pearl Harbor legacy is secure for future generations."

There is a fee to get in and you can reserve tickets online to ease the long lines that are sometimes there.  It was busy during our visit, but not super crowded, and I am thankful for that.  The Arizona is still leaking oil (black tears) from her hull and the men still lie in state at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.  You get to meet the survivors through video and reprints of news stories which makes it much more meaningful.  It is a very powerful tour.

Thank you to all who serve now and who have served in the past.  We will not forget.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

What Would You Do?

Pineapple flavored we did not buy any.

Today is Election Day and much of our County is shut down for voting. I hired a carpet cleaning company (for the first time in many years as I usually do it on my own) to come clean some area rugs and a few wall-to-wall carpets and they scheduled this day! I forgot to ask the two huge black men who came if they had found time to vote. I swear one was football build and about 6.5 feet tall with lovely dreadlocks falling onto this shoulders.  They could have moved all the furniture without a sigh. They had to be Blue voters!

Anyway, this post is not about them or about how the house smells a little like a dog caught in the rain right now.

I had not slept well last night worrying about not getting the furniture moved before they arrived. I should have played the helpless gray-haired lady, because they came a half hour late and I was exhausted. Once they left I ate a quick lunch and turned on fans in the rooms to help with the drying and retreated to my bedroom where the carpets were dry and soon I felt sleepy and had drifted into a deep restful sleep.

After a half hour, the phone rang and I put the pillow over my head and ignored it. Then ten minutes later the doorbell rang. I had not closed our gate and wondered if the carpet cleaners had forgotten something so I gave up on the nap.

I opened the door to find a thin white teenage boy standing near his bike in the driveway. When I ask if I could help him he explained he was looking for some type of work (like laying sod? he suggested) so that he could make some money. His explanation was that his mother told him to get some money to get some food for the house. He worked this into the conversation a couple of times.

I am an old fart but not a soft fart and for some reason I was leery of just handing him some money. I told him it was late fall and we had no yard work to do and all the wood for the rack had been split and filled, as it had.  I asked for his name and number and he handed my a torn piece of paper onto which he had written Clyde and a phone number.  When I asked where he lived he said it was down our main road and into another, etc. about a mile from here.

I told him I would ask my husband if he had any chores to be done and bid him adieu.  Maybe he was really looking for work for food.  We are always taking fresh produce to the food pantry, although there is nothing fresh this late in the fall.  I doubt we will have something for him...and I am not sure that I feel safe in helping him.

As an addendum he did pull out a small box with a heart-shaped necklace that he said his mother would let him sell for half price.  There was a sticker with $100 in the bottom  corner.

Am I just a cynic?  What would you do?

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Experiment and a Hike

Changed a few settings to see if readers find it easier to comment. I do not know why Blogger prevented some from commenting, but that has happened to me on other blogs that I read. If this does not work, I am going to see if the browser used is the issue? I have used Google Chrome since the beginning, but will try Internet Explorer and Mozilla and maybe Bing next!! Anyway, below are photos of how I attempted to keep up with the younger ones on our two weeks in Hawaii.

Our AirBNB was close to Diamond Head, so that was the first workout we chose. It is a park with a 560-foot climb that can be done in 30 minutes if you are in shape and do not care what you see on the way up or down. The last 99 steps are straight up concrete stairs to a tunnel which lead you inside. While it is described as easy for children and golden agers, I paid my dues!! I think it was the heat and sun that were killers for me. There were also medium-sized groups of young Japanese tourists that insist on moving in sync both up and down the hill at a fairly good pace making passing hard on the narrow path. 

It costs $5 per car and $1 per person if you walk in. Parking can be tough if you arrive between the changing waves of people hiking. We only waited 5 minutes for space!

It is not so nicely paved the whole way.

Diamond Head is a volcanic crater first called Le'Ahi or Leahi for the "tuna fish brow." It was named Diamond Head by British Sailors who thought they discovered diamonds but instead found calcite crystals. It was a former volcano so we can forgive them. It was also used as a military lookout, Ft. Rutger, by the American Military. The DOD always gets the best spots first.

There are several places to stop for "vista photos" along the way.

Can you see the trail of people all the way from the left down below to the far right?

And of course, the views at the end are worth it.

It took me longer to go back down because I was stopping to take plant, vista, and bird photos since I no longer had to 'work it.'

And for some money, there is a reward at the end!!

Now, back to my experiment...feel free to test and leave a comment!!

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Vistas

There are places that you can travel to and you find your mind and heart working hard to grasp the essence of the place. It may seem crazy and crowded like Tokyo or filled with ancient ghosts like Italy or that make you question man's inhumanity like poorer places in Asia. One of the places where I have never felt I was a stranger was Hawaii. This may be due to having lived there for a year and passing through the islands many times during the years I live in the South Pacific and in Asia. But I think it is because the geography is generous to the mind and the people are generous to the heart. Yes, there is prejudice against the tourists, but you have to go deep into the bowels of Hawaii to find it.

The first day we adjusted easily to the sunshine falling during our normal night time and took the rental car around Oahu to familiar and popular places which we showed to my son and his wife. We probably bored them with tales of our youth having met there and getting graduate degrees there, but they were patient and willing to listen as they saw the jaw dropping scenery.

In the distance is the famous Diamond Head of movie and TV fame.

Then you turn to the other side of the vista.  That flat place in the middle distance of the photo above is the airport. Islands in the Pacific build their airports on coral reefs as there is little land for such a venture. Of course, now environmental issues prevent such careless construction.  Pearl Harbor is near there and to the right, but not clearly visible in this photo.  All of that precious air flowing over the ocean is so pure.  Take a deep breath.

In the photo above to the center is the distant Honolulu with the overused Waikiki Beach and the luxury hotels and the luxury shopping and the free regular evening hula show which we attended at sunset. It was not corny even though they had done it so many times before.

The next day we put the rental car in gear and headed half-way around the island for even more gorgeous vistas.

Above is the famous Hanauma Bay, a pocket beach, which has been loved to death and is now suffering the effects of that. I had one of my first dates there decades ago and it was just a small beach with about a dozen people sunning themselves and lots of lovely fish. Now there are parking lots, places to drive down and if you do not get there early enough you are turned away. Much of the coral is stressed or dead and that is so sad.

Ever-present to the North side of Oahu, behind the mountains were rain clouds that tried to make it over the scraggy tops clinging like foam. This was the beginning of the rainy season and there were heavy afternoon rains on that side of the island almost every day.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Second Day Back

It is not unusual to have a good vacation if you planned it. It is not unusual to have a bad vacation with others if you did not plan it. It is rare to have a great vacation, but this past two weeks was just that. We jointly planned the time spent, we did spend some time apart, and I have reached a mellowness in my old age that accepts not getting to see everything or do everything that is in the plans.  There are a number of reasons, which I will not go into, that this trip with son and daughter-in-law could have been difficult, but it looks like we were all good and on best behavior and parted with loving hugs and kisses.  It will be a cherished memory for me forever.  We also had the parents of the daughter-in-law along, and that was a nice event as this trip was more than special for them.  They had never traveled to the Hawaiian Islands.  We spent one week on Oahu and one week on The Big Island.

I did not take enough photos of the food, because I am not thinking of taking photos when food is put in front of me.  I am super thinking of stuffing my face!  We ate many different places, but the best eating was in the hole-in-the-wall local places.  The hotels offered good food but that was also very expensive.  We ate one night at our favorite high-end restaurant, Roys, and were greatly disappointed.  As disappointed as we had been with one of its sister restaurants here in the Mid-Atlantic.  Gotta look for a new anniversary venue, I guess.  But the freshness of the fruits and seafood were never a disappointment no matter where we ate. 

And smoothies and shave ice are the perfect treats after a hot and sweaty hike and eating outside is the best!

I am currently downloading the 1000+ photos that will give me something to play with during the cold winter days ahead.  Right now the weather outside is a perfect dry fall day and I will not want to miss that in the coming weeks.  Such a nice day that a poet could write about it.

Our return was delayed by 4 hours and thus we missed our connection in San Francisco on to the East Coast.  This means that an eight hour time on planes and in airports became 18 hours!  It seems that a computer problem prevented the air traffic controllers from tracking the majority of planes flying over the Pacific!  We were glad that they paused and then seemed to assign planes various altitudes as they left Honolulu airport.  At least I 'think' that is how the Captain explained it.  I had downloaded a couple of movies to my Kindle and was glad as the United wi-fi was also not working!!  United did give each of us a $20 voucher for food at the airport because of the delay.  $20 does not go very far if you order yogurt, fresh fruit, granola, coffee, and a pastry??  Blueberries out of San Francisco are really sweet, though.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Jet Planes

"Leaving on a jet plane and pretty sure when I will be back again. And no, I don't hate to go."  Did John Denver just roll over in his grave or was that a mild earthquake??

We are heading for a week on Oahu and a week on Hawaii (the Big Island.) We will be playing tourist as well as visiting a number of friends. As those who have visited this blog decades ago may remember I went to graduate school at the University of Hawaii as did my husband. We met there and married there and started our careers heading further East toward islands and other countries in the South Pacific.

Anyway, I am going with son and daughter-in-law and hubby this time and hope to get away from all the crappy news, pardon my French, and instead be faced with volcanos and hurricanes in the Pacific which are somehow far more rational than what is happening in the U.S.A. I am up for the challenge and promise photos upon my return...I saw a few of you yawning out there in Internet Land. I will keep it succinct.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The Group

October is a month for loading vans and trucks with banners, collapsible tables, brochures and pamphlets, giveaways, game boards, bottled water, and small plants. 

I meet up at the museum or the historic grounds with other gray beards and we pretend we can assist others with plant plans, ideas, problems, identification, and ecology and climate issues. We are right maybe 75% of the time and also give them referrals that are more authentic for accuracy. It is something old people do to help ease their retirement days and pretend they are not becoming useless. 

One of the men and his wife are recently divorced and they do not come together as a unit but move as very separate entities on opposite sides of the booth and talk to different people at different times. She is what some would say is a challenge. She has hearing issues but would also have an "in your face" personality even if she was not hard of hearing. He is a master at building and repairing and talking about his many projects. He also has an excellent grasp of soil and ecology even though he has no scientific background...he was a mechanic in the Navy for years.  This year they have moved into separate homes and she clearly has a need for conversation.

Another man, a handsome, neat as a pin in his mid 70's comes early and assists in a quiet but accurate fashion. Late in the day a nurse wheels in his wife who is in a wheelchair after a severe stroke more than a year ago. He was angry and hard to work with for many months, yelling if you moved a brochure or adjusted a display. Now he has come back to earth and adjusted to the pain in his life. His wife, a delicate lovely lady, looks bright-eyed and interested, even though she does not talk.  As I watch them in loving touching,  I know they were a really beautiful couple in their wedding photos.

The Matriarch of our group who knows thousands of scientific names of plants has limited patience with those of us who keep using common names.  Her husband passed just a little more than a year ago.  They were sailing mates around the world for many years and he was a famous physicist.  She also was angry and impatient for a while after his death.  She still has little patience for our stupidity but smiles more these days.

The Girl Scout of this particular event (and many others) is a decade younger than most of us and keeps us organized.  She belongs to several volunteer groups and seems to know many people who come by.  She lost her husband a few years ago to Alzheimer's and I think (in her 60's) she is lonely.  We, the old timers, were hoping for a matchmaking event with another naturalist in the community, but that was not meant to be.

I smile as I write this because I wonder how these folks above would describe me...and my husband...and our presence in this group.  Do you sometimes wonder how other people see you?... Or do you not care?  Or do you think you know?

Friday, October 05, 2018

Quick Follow UP

It appears that there are options in user settings for commenting using Google+ on Blogger. Maybe this is why since I have that disabled. I may try to enable and see if it still gives me my privacy...or I could create ANOTHER account on Google+ which is most annoying!

Thursday, October 04, 2018

Nefarious Stuff

I really, really, wish I could remember who it was that said they could not get into my blog.  They posted this on their blog.  Instead, when clicking on the URL they got a page where Webroot indicated there was a virus on my page!! This was just a few days ago.  Guess what?  I had the same thing happen to me yesterday when I tried to see a post I had written on my own blog. 

I scanned my PC for viruses with Webroot which is the anti-virus I use and was recommended by an IT person and nothing was found. I emailed Webroot and have not gotten a response as of yet. Luckily, I rebooted my PC and was able to get into my own blog then! Wowie!  Something is rotten in nefarious Blog Land.  I do remove the spam comments from my blogs before allowing them to post unless they comment immediately.  Webroot is not among the top ten virus packages...maybe I should ask my friend who used to work for the Secret Service technology office what virus he/she would recommend.

In another case, I have found that certain blogs I try to comment on after reading default to a Google login with my real name and since I do not use that login, I cannot comment on their blog. I will only log in with Blogger.  So, if I have not commented on your blog in months, it means I cannot log in as Tabor.

I read that 50 million users of Facebook had their identities stolen and/or could not log in.  That has not happened to me...yet.

These are certainly complicated times.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

My Ray of Hope

I try hard to be more sociable. It is not that I dislike people, but on some days I do. I have no patience for their small mindedness, their self-interest, and their righteousness. Of course, I have these same traits some days and have no room to pretend I am better. I do think I am more open-minded than some. And of course as I watched the hearings for the new nominee for the Supreme Court, I realize I am totally prejudiced. I have met this creep/type in my earlier life and my instincts tell me he is scum. I try hard to cram a logical thought and a fair approach into this and it will not fit, only pure raw emotion and hatred.  I turn off the TV.  

The "other side" tells me that all  the "little brown" immigrants are here to take their/our jobs  by accepting lower wages and then also living  off our  social welfare programs and do not see  the contradiction in their thinking.  They do not have anger for the rich white boss  that creates the situation of lower and lower pay.  And the same  "other side" tells me they knew our current candidate and Republican Sheriff when he was a cop and that he used to give young girls traffic tickets and then tell  them he would tear them up for  "favors."  They think this is amusing. 

I saw Michael Moore's movie Fahrenheit 11/9. Moore is fat, messy, and a tease. The conservatives hate his guts and some liberals are embarrassed by his tenacity. The movie is pretty typical of his prior documentaries and shows his lack of power and finesse. But it links all of this strange political culture  under a magnifying lens and he criticizes both Democrats and Republicans with only a fair and very brief nod to Bernie Saunders and a chunk of time to  the young  veteran  from West Virginia that  is running for office.  Would love to  hear or  read our last President's response to how he  was thrown  under the bus in this  documentary.

...and women continue to be insulted every single day by those old white guys in  power.

I do see a ray of hope in all  of this.  I watch the advertisements on TV  and the characters and lovers and families in them look like  the real world.  This must drive the  racists and misogynists crazy!  At least that is my ray of hope.  

Sorry, must be the meds I  am on.  I  do feel  so much better after vomiting all  this bile,  though.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


I am on a cocktail of decongestants, antihistamines, antibiotics, etc. I take them all each day wondering what all this chemistry is doing to my body's chemical balance. How do I feel.  Pretty good, actually.   I am not facing serious illness right now, just a few nagging symptoms.   I am sleeping like a baby each evening even after having an afternoon nap...drugs are wonderful. (I am also having lots of dreams of me working on shopping or room decorating or trip planning...weird.)

No one knows why I have  this nagging cough and next week it may be an x-ray that I take.  I feel pressured because in two weeks I am  leaving for  Hawaii for a trip planned months ago with my son and DIL.  I lived in Hawaii for a year and look forward to seeing old friends and showing the state to my son and DIL.  We will also visit the big island, but with my health, not going near the volcano due to the  gases.

Now I will go an read your recent posts  using my foggy brain.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Thursday, September 13, 2018

And She Turns

Florence was met with great fanfare in our neighborhood and we did not ignore that. We moved the benches from the dock where the tides have been very high for days.

We tied the plastic benches to the deck supports and cleared the deck of all the other patio furniture... which may or may not get moved back out in the coming weeks.

Hubby has been working hard in the humidity to get the widowmaker that finally came down across the path to the dock cut into firewood for this winter even though cozy wood fires seem such a long way away.

I froze several gallon jugs of water and put them in the freezer in the event we lose electricity.  I also inventoried the small freezer and we have been trying to eat as much of that as we can.  While families are hungry in this country we have an embarrassing abundance of food tucked away.

Now we see that the storm is moving south of us. We will just get some bands of heavy rains. Our soils are very wet and we may lose a tree or two, but it looks like we dodged the bullet on this one.

Stay safe, ya'll!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Superfluous or Tabor Who?

Yes, I have been absent. No, not on travel. I have been lying in bed and coughing my head off for weeks. I did not get a cold, or fever, joint aches, sinus problems. I had loss of appetite, but seemed to be eating well!  No one seems to know (or care?) what is making me cough and cough. Finally, it did morph into a virus thing in the lungs and I sounded as if I had been smoking my whole life. I could not get in to see my doctor, but saw a backup and got some meds to ease symptoms. Needless to write, I was not getting much sleep. Then a few days ago it all started to heal maybe due to the meds and helping me sleep regularly and soundly. Very slowly, I might add, the symptoms diminished.

Yes, I have an appointment with an ENT specialist, but I am not optimistic or even pessimistic that he will find a solution even if he does cram some camera object down my throat.  I am just glad to be up and walking around and on the mend.  Going shopping today for food and supplies in the event we lose electricity with this impending storm.

Anyway...just if you missed me.  If you did not, that is OK also.  I am not the center of my own attention, even.

I did a photo painting this morning for the first time in days...taken back in mid-August.