shannon_a: (Default)
Injuries. Managed to hurt myself again. Darn it. And this time it was a recycling injury. Sigh.

I was tearing down a heavy corrugated cardboard box on Monday and I was holding it up against my chest as I did, and somehow throughout all of that I managed to spasm my muscles and bruise my sternum and/or ribs. Or something like that. It's been aching for days, especially if I do anything spectacular like breathe. The worst has been sleeping. I can't cuddle with my cat at night, because that requires lying down on that side, and I can't escape her in the morning, which I usually do by turning over. Overall, the result has been a week of poor sleep.

It's been getting better day by day, but slowly. Frustrating. 

Computers. I've laid my old MacBook Air to rest. Or, at least, I'm filing it away for use as an emergency backup if I ever need it. Sadly, of all the Macs I've bought, that was the one that seemed to have some serious manufacture problems of the sort I don't generally expect from Apple.

In the end:
  1. The "1", "q", "a", and <delete> on the keyboard often stopped working, usually just when I opened it up and especially when I had it out somewhere cold. This was apparently a well-known problem with the MacBook Airs and had to do with the keyboard circuitry contracting away from the plug.
  2. The wifi constantly cut out, but would come back if I hit the little wifi icon at the top of the screen. This was not a well-known problem. Or, at least if it was, the only suggested solutions were software, and they didn't do anything.
  3. The battery was starting to die, and though it was still getting decent time with my usually low-energy use, it was to the point where the Mac was suggesting I replace it.
  4. The 120G of hard drive space was becoming inadequate as I continued to add PDFs for my work on the next Designers & Dragons book, on the entire set of TSR & WotC books for D&D. (After 4+ years of working with DTRPG, we've almost covered the full ~1000 or so, and that's a lot of PDFs.)
Only the first two were really manufacture problems, though they were extremely annoying, but the first three probably required hundreds of dollars worth of repairs, and that still left me with inadequate hard drive space. So, after getting the OK from Kimberly, I ordered a new one instead, on Monday, pretty much as soon as Apple announced the new MacBooks.

My new computer is a 12" MacBook. It's a little smaller than my 13.3" Air was, and that's taking a little getting used to, but it's still a full-sized keyboard, and my eyes are still good enough to read the screen at an increased resolution, so I think I willl get used to it. And it's 2 pounds rather than 3 pounds, which will be notable when I'm carrying it around up hills and on long hikes.

Oh, the process of migrating was a pain though. It just wouldn't work, and I eventually came to the conclusion that it was because the Air was one version back of the MacOS software, and the migration didn't work from that to Sierra. Not that Apple documents that, but some forums seemed to confirm it. So I had to unsync my RPG PDFs from my Dropbox to have enough space to upgrade to Sierra. (That's why I hadn't previously.) Then the upgrade wouldn't work either, because it couldn't install a helper. I finally managed to get the old computer upgraded after a reboot. Then I finally managed to get the Migration going after a reboot. Shockingly the Migration with both computers set next to my wifi router only took 30 minutes or so. But it took another day and a half to resync all those D&D PDFs, off of Dropbox.

Still, new computer. Very happy because of all the annoying problems with the old one.

Not being ble to type an "a" can make rticles hrd to write.

RPGs. I've been running my Burning Wheel campaign since sometime left year. I'm enjoying creating an original campaign world in conjunction with the players and I'm enjoying slowly unravelling their story. I have some qualms that the story might be too mundane thus far and that I need to be more accepting of sea changes as the campaign goes forward. But, so far so good.

My only real issue is a pretty common one: I find the prep of adventures stressful. Usually I feel like my Friday nights before games are very rushed as I try to jam together adventure prep along with my usual writing prep. And, I also feel pressure that I prep well so that we can have fun the next day.

So this week I tried something new, based on a thread on RPGnet. I modeled my prep after a game called Agon: prep an adventure with one goal, three sub-goals, and one or more complications for each sub-goal. It's very similar to the system of three complications that I was laying out for Mouse Guard that helped me to minimize my prep time there while still producing good adventures.

I've varied this up a little. I try to introduce at least one notable locale each adventure and at least one notable NPCs, and I try to reuse one or more NPCs from past adventures. So my notes include all of that too. But still, that's less than a page for an adventure, and the actual plot-ty part of the adventure is minimized, making the prep easier and keeping options more open for the players during play.

But there's another thing in Burning Wheel: it's very player-focused. So I bit the bullet early in the week and I prepped four adventures in this style, one for each player in the game. Voila! I now have full prep done, well before Friday. And hopefully I'll be able to do the simpler prep necessary for a replacement player-oriented adventure after I run each.

Sure enough, this Friday I was unstressed. Or little stressed.

The next test was whether my slightly shorter prep was sufficient to run an exciting adventure ... and sadly I didn't get to find out. When I got to gaming on Saturday, Mary could tell that I was in low spirits due to lack of sleep (from my ribs) and due to exhaustion (from offering support for K. in a hard time). So she asked without prompting if I wanted to play board games instead, and I nearly collapsed in relief into that idea. We played 7 Wonders and Agricola. I did horribly in the first and came in second in the second, probably highlighting how worn out I was.

Vacations. And we are already making plans for Hawaii next year. My step-mom is putting together a family vacation, where she, my dad, my sister and her husband, and Kimberly and I will all spend a week together on the Big Island next year. We had a lot of fun hanging out with everyone at Melody and Jared's wedding, so I'm quite looking forward to this, and it'll also be a nice opportunity to visit a different island.

Mary has also talked about doing the same thing on a different island in 2019, maybe. If that indeed happens, then we quite amusingly will not see Kauai again until we move there in 2020.
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For years, K. and I have been back and forth about the possibility of retiring to Hawaii. But in late 2015, we decided that one way or another we were done with Berkeley.

Maybe (probably) we're just getting old and crotchety. But the kids these days, they got no respect. Actually, I think that an increasing percentage of the student body at Cal is more studious and quiet, but the ones who aren't seem to be getting louder, less respectful, and more over-privileged. Years ago, we moved out bedroom to the back of the house because of all the street noise, mostly loud, drunk kids. But for me the breaking point was some drunk kid trying to kill one of the trees that I raised from a pup.

Anywho, I've written about that all previously. The end result was that we started talking about moving somewhere that was not Berkeley. We were considering as close as Contra Costa, over the hills, and as faraway as the UK. It was going to be a stop before we considered retiring to Hawaii down the road.

But in 2016, K. and I went to Hawaii for our usual yearly vacation and visit with family, and when we got back, she said that she could imagine moving there.

So the four-year plan began.

We tentatively began to think about moving to Hawaii in 2020. Not retiring, but continuing to work from our little Pacific island. (The idea is that I'll stay with Skotos and/or Blockstream, as pretty much all my work is remote anyway.)

Why four years?

There were a bunch of factors.

One involved a planned vacation to the UK that we've since decided was too expensive in advance of an expensive move.

There were other financial reasons too. I wanted to be sure that we weren't in Hawaii for too long before our budget loosened up due to houses being paid off. So that if I did have problems with my income, or our costs were higher than expected out there, there was an end-point after which we could refigure.

And finally, I wasn't quite ready to give up the Bay Area. A few years advance gave us the time to go see and do the things we wanted to. Like this year's Mt. Diablo project.

But, we both genuinely feel like we're on the path to Kauai at this point.

I figure that my current Burning Wheel campaign is my last RPG campaign, at least here in the Bay Area, and so I'm working to make it a good one, with a four-year plan of its own.

We've stopped worrying about improving the house with things like new windows and bathrooms and are instead thinking about things-that-need-to-be-done-before-we-move. (Up in the air: do we rent the house or do we sell it and get some rental property in Hawaii that doesn't have a mortgage.)

I've actually got a few Hawaii-related things on my TODO list already, starting with getting blood tests for the cats in early 2018. Less than a year away now.

Humorously, I'm also trying to manage my book to-read list based on our Hawaii plans, which had contained about 100 books last year, many of which I planned to get from the good local libraries. I managed to drop it to 75 in 2016, and want to continue down to 65 in 2017. A couple of Bay Area detective series are the most troublesome, because I have dozens left in each, but only the next one of each is on my list.

More generally, we're now categorizing things into whether they'll happen before we leave or not. I should be able to bike to Marin before we leave (2018?) and I should be able to BART to Berryessa (2018?). But BARTing to San Jose or biking to San Francisco both disappeared over the not-for-us horizon. I similarly shrugged my shoulders at the purist progressives who got elected to the Berkeley council last year: they will probably make the horrible homeless situation in Berkeley even worse, but it's unlikely that a truly good mayor would have made it better in our last few years here.

So, Hawaii here we come. Eventually.
shannon_a: (Default)
On Monday we made our long trip home: Lihue to Kahului to Oakland.

Our trip out of Lihue was delayed by about 20 minutes, which would have been stressful as we had a short (1.5 hour) connection in Kahului, but we already knew that our flight out of Kahului was delayed by an hour, so no worries. It actually gave us enough time to sit down and eat lunch then sit down and read about 30 minutes worth of Golden Fool, our current read-aloud book.

The flight to Oakland was uneventful, though for the second flight in a row the *)(@#$@# in front of me put his seat back — and this on a flight where almost no one did. I hate those things, because then I have to put my seat back, and the result is still that I have my seat table almost jamming into my stomach and working on my computer is that much harder. Hate those things.

Lock all seat backs!

Still: 4 articles written, 1 article edited (so I could post it when I got home, for publication Tuesday morning), a full comic read (Extraordinary X-Men: Apocalypse Wars), and a book finished (The Hanging Tree).

After getting off the plane, my lower back was killing me. It only got worse on Tuesday, though it's since mostly cleared up, probably due to a steady diet of NSAIDS. I initially blamed the plane (and maybe those stupid reclinable seats), but after I wondered if it might have been the bike riding the previous day. The one other day I've had notable back problems in the last year was after I went bike riding in Kelowna. It could be that both of those bikes made me lean over more than my own bike does, and that contributed. I dunno. This time around I was also lugging around 40+ pounds of suitcase and doing the aforementioned awkward plane riding, so there were plenty of possible culprits.

(Stupid reclinable seats.)

Other than that, my health was quite good while I was in Kauai. My long-term health issues mostly disappeared (like last year), my allergies mostly disappeared (though less than usual, I still had a bit of a tickle in my throat for days).

This makes me all suspect that the health issues are mainly stress-related. I've actually long suspected that. (But other options include diet and how I work, since those both change in Hawaii too.)

I've been feeling pretty low-key since I got back from Hawaii. That's always the case. But I can already feel the stress bunching up my shoulders since my return.

My biggest stressor comes from worrying about future things that I have no (or little) control of. Will Skotos still be profitable a few years from now? Will my technical writing still be viable? Will I still have health insurance? There are always warning signs that any of these could be endangered ... and I don't know how to let go of these future possibilities. Or to judge their likelihood. Or to let the good possibilities weigh equally. (Perhaps we'll get our co-op play books to publishers, perhaps we'll get some game designs to market, perhaps we will start an RPGnet publishing arm, perhaps the insurance in Hawaii will be cheaper and better than the crap I get in California.)

My second biggest stressor comes from overwork. From having too many things pulling at my time simultaneously. I do my best to allot out individual days for individual projects, so that I can really work on them without spinning my tires and ensure that they get their fair share of time ... but it's a struggle, especially when someone grabs my time with a request for something immediately needing attention.

My third biggest stressor comes from the political world. It's probably related to the first, as there are all these horrible possibilities for the future (but I miss the good possibilities, like Trump might be locked up in jail for high treason). This was better in Hawaii, when I mostly ignored what my very political friends posted. Maybe I need to revert to that. But I also came to the realization that using FB's new :angry: emoticon was just making me angry, and that wasn't helping anyone. So, no more of that.

I'd like to be able to clear my mind and head of these things, to not think about them, to be aware of dangers but not consumed by them. It'd improve my quality of life.

And so we're back in Berkeley, and I'm almost immediately reminded of the things I don't like here. Crazy guy on the BART platform at the Coliseum. A string of broad daylight armed robberies inside Berkeley cafes. A March 4th neo-Nazi (the so-called alt-right) march that's likely to turn into another riot that the police won't control.


I just need to dislike them without constantly harping on them.
shannon_a: (Default)
At Poipu, my dad and I lose Mary. We wait for her, and when she doesn't turn up, we wander around, but don't see her on the beach. It's a huge and busy beach. Finally, we dive into the water and scope out the snorkelers, but there's still no Mary. We finally decide that she must be on the opposite side of the tumbolo (which is actually gone again, but there's still an underwater rocky division between the two beaches).

We cease worrying.

(Something I need to learn to do in life generally.)

The water is quite nice, thanks to a beautiful, warm day. There's good swimming, and I spot no less than three picasso triggerfish — although perhaps it's just one, and it's really quick on its fins.

Less wonderfully, I spot the tail of an eel rapidly disappearing into a hole in a rock. Afterward, I find all rocks at Poipu very suspicious.

(This is not the first time I've seen an eel in the relatively shallow waters of that beach.)

When we shower after the swimming, Mary magically reappears and offers to hold my towel. We'd been waiting at different places, and indeed she'd gone to swim on the opposite beach.

The other particular event of the day was McDonalds followed by church. The McDonalds is because my dad goes early to teach Sunday school. The church is fine. It's a nice community. The preacher talks about being aware of what we have in life and being thankful for it, which is a nice message if you include God or not.

And now we're mostly packed and ready to hop on an airplane in the morning. Two airplanes, actually.

And so goes another trip to Hawaii.
shannon_a: (Default)
Saturday evening, after dinner, we drive up to the Kukuiolono golf course, to walk around the entire greens. It's a beautiful walk, first through a wooded area, then around the perimeter of the course.

We also have a fun goal: we keep an eye out for lost golf balls on the way. Most are in the roughage around the perimeter. Mary is even willing to climb down into ravines to rescue a few balls. The greatest bounty comes on the far side of a particular hole, where you hit the ball over a big valley. We actually glance around the (heavily wooded) valley a bit, but most turn up just past the valley, in the roughage before the green.

By the end of the attractive evening walk I have eight balls, six white and two yellow. All told, my dad, Mary, and I have come up with 29, five of them yellow.

Kimberly will take them back to the golf course tomorrow to give away, mostly to tourists. (Locals have plenty of balls.)

Speaking of looking for balls, I'm highly amused by all the Republicans reportedly fleeing meetings with their constituents in recent days, since said constituents started figuring out that their elected representatives are conspiring to take away their health insurance as part of their Republican Death Care system.

The politician most in need of our 29 balls seems to be Mitch McConnell, who was loaded straight into a SUV on the tarmac to avoid protesters at the airport ... only to find more at his home, reading the words of Coretta Scott King.

Anywho ...

Our other big event of the day was bike riding. It rained throughout the morning, but the weather reports called for the rain fading away around noon, then the overcast dispersing over the next few hours. So after lunch we headed east to the Kauai Path.

Mary didn't join us, but my dad did, and Kimberly was able to use Mary's bike. So I was the only one who needed to rent. I did, and we then headed north up the path.

It's a beautiful path, running alongside the ocean. Kimberly and I rode it some years ago, and we greatly enjoyed it despite (perhaps in part because of) our getting soaked by a sudden rain storm. But today, the weather was indeed clearing.

The evidence of the earlier rain was still there in the form of several huge puddles, some mostly blocking the path, some deep red due to the red dirt of Kauai. I rode the deep red ones very slowly, to not splash indelible red water everywhere. Eventually we made it to trail's end. I mostly had to keep in first gear to keep my speed down so I could ride with everyone else.

As we came back we started getting very intermittent drizzle, but not much, and Kimberly commented that the ride though beautiful wasn't as much fun as when we got soaked years ago. At which time the rain started pouring down. And Kimberly started laughing. (My dad loved it less.)

When we got back to the bike store, we then travelled the south part of the trail, which we'd missed previously due to the pouring rain. (Today's rain had by then mostly stoppeagaind .)

We noticed some scruffy and dangerous looking homeless people pretty much camped out right at the bathrooms on the south side of the path, which was the only such problem I've ever seen in Kauai.

But they didn't run out into the path or anything, so we made it to the southern trailhead and back.

It was a fun ride. My dad and Mary do it most Saturdays, and probably Kimberly and I will sometimes do it when we live out here.
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Because a holiday in Hawaii is a regular occurrence, and because we hope to be moving here in a few years, we don't feel the need to fill every moment with experience. Not that we did in our first trip in 2001 either, which we thought would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

So today, after a few busy days, we mainly lazed around. We even opted not to swim because it looked too gray and windy. Instead there was much reading, some reading aloud, much talking, and some napping.

Yay, vacation.

My dad I did do a little walk around the golf course in the morning. It's a pleasant walk out around a path in the woods there, then out to a pavilion across the greenways. I'm already thinking about doing that forested walk in the mornings when I live here, after waking up and before starting work, because there's an entrance to that path about 100 feet from what will be our front door.

Being a Friday in Kauai meant that we went to the Hanapepe Art Walk in the evening. This is mainly an excuse to have some tasty food and tasty desert. Kimberly and I both got shrimp tacos from Rafael's Aloha Tacos then Tropical Banana Pie from the Right Slice. It was all great; the pies were particularly interesting because they were actually cut bananas in the pie (not as part of some custardy goulash) and there was also a lot of cinnamon. We both thought it tasted like it was prepared like apple pie, but it was bananas. We found it delicious.

And being a Hanapepe Art Walk, it started raining. Kimberly and Mary ran off to a jewelry store that she wanted to visit and my dad and I ran off to Talk Story, the westernmost book store in the US, which always has great stock.

We reunited some time afterward, none of us having purchased anything, but having enjoyed our evening.
shannon_a: (Default)
Eat, eat, eat. That's what we do in Hawaii. Breakfast at home, lunch at Snack Shack, Lappert's ice cream for a snack, then a three course meal at J.O.(2).

The three-course meal was of course the notable one. We usually go out for one fancy meal when we're here in Hawaii. This year, Mary was excited to take Kimberly out to a nice fish restaurant in Kapa`a. I'm not a fan of fish, but I gamely agreed.

Mary suggested I could get a seafood platter, which I expect to be good stuff like shrimp and crab, but it was oysters ... and a bunch of fish.

Ah well. We actually had fun sharing dishes around, so I tried a bunch of different fish and didn't get bored by any as I usually do. The seared (i.e., mostly not cooked one) was the best.

The other big event of the day was getting to see the house in the morning. This is our house that we intend to move into in a few years, currently being rented out. I hadn't seen it in about six years, and back then (many Berkeley riots, assaulted trees, and other stressors ago) we weren't really planing on moving. So this time we were considering it more carefully as a future home.

The house was a bit of a mess and all closed up, so I don't think we could appreciate it fully. It actually seemed smaller than I expected, but I think that's because it was empty last time I saw it. (In reality, it's larger than our Berkeley house). But, we could better understand the shape of all the rooms and what it viscerally felt like.

Overall, it was somewhat of a mixed blessing, seeing the house in somewhat of a state of disarray, but that might be a nice contrast when we start it afresh when we move out here.

Other than that, we also swam today and did a bit of shopping in the Poipu area. The swimming was great because we were at Lawai, which has terrific fish. I saw a really cool wrasse (I think) with iridescent blue-green coloration and a rainbow tail, but I can't find a picture of it on Google. The shopping was just hitting a favorites. Poipu is our old stomping ground from our first trip to Hawaii 16 years ago.
shannon_a: (Default)
Today, Kimberly was burned out after two busy days, so Mary and I decided to head out on our own to hike up Sleeping Giant. It's a hill out by Kapa`a that's just under 1300 feet.

Starting at a trail head to the west, we had a rapid ascent up the trail, but then the trail leveled out and if anything felt like it was going down. There was some quite beautiful terrain. A forest of pines. A path that went straight through a tunnel of twisted branches. A short walk down what looked like a creek bed. But I became pretty suspicious over the fact that we often seemed to be going down and that we were looping around the hill rather than going up.

A couple of miles later, past an outlook with a few picnic tables, we decide we were really certain that we were going down, so we turned around, and shortly after saw a sign that read .5 miles. Orienting ourself, we came to the conclusion that we'd walked about 2 miles, almost to the trail head on the east side.

So where was the top of the hill!?

Continuing back along the trail, we now saw a steady stream of quarter-mile markers (about ever quarter-mile), and I felt like we were definitely heading the right way.

Soon, some folks coming back told us the trail up to the top of the hill was at the 2 mile marker.

So, we continued along with more surety. And discovered it was now uphill all the way.

Twice, we passed people we'd seen earlier in our trip, and they were confused that we were headed in the wrong direction. We explained that we'd missed the trail up the hill.

So past the 2 mile mark was another one that said "end", and looking up from there we could barely make out a trail. Really, it looked more like two rows of perfectly aligned trees, but Mary thought it looked familiar, so up the tree boulevard went.

Soon afterward there was a more obvious path.

On the earlier trail, Mary had commented how easy the walk was, but here she said that she didn't remember this steepness. And it was steep. I've found one place that says it's an ascent of about 1000 feet in a bit over a mile from the entrance we came in. Me, I walk hills all the time, but I had to take some breaks.

Up near the top we started hitting large rocks, sometimes as high as 10 feet, that we had to climb up to continue.

And then, finally, we found some more picnics tables on a hill top. We rested there for a while!

But that wasn't the top. We now had to walk up to the chin of the Sleeping Giant. About halfway there we passed a sign that said "E d o ail!" and "go beyond this sign — please!" It had clearly been defaced and was clearly being ignored by absolutely everyone. We continued on after we climbed up one last rock we hit the chin.

The view there was absolutely breathtaking. You could see the ocean to one side and Wailua Homesteads to the other, one of the few places in Kauai where the houses really extend inland. It was also a bit acrophobia-inducing because you were sitting on a rock just several feet across and there was just drop beyond that on either side. Whew!

From there we walked along the face, which was a wider path, and eventually emerged up onto the forehead, which is a nice plateau at the top. More breathtaking views.

Then we just had to go down. It was a long way through switch back after switch back. I saw why they tired me on the way up.

Down past the tree boulevard we rejoined our old path and found it was quite a short walk to the trailhead we'd parked at. Whoops! (But, we enjoyed the whole walk!)

Lunch afterward at a Chinese restaurant in Lihue, then it was home for dinner.

After that there was Star Trek: Beyond, which had a nice plot, but even more actionitis that the other two nuStarTrek movies.

Number of falls: two (both well, well below the peak, when there was loose dirt)

Number of waterfalls: none

Number of explosions in Star Trek Beyond: one billion
shannon_a: (Default)
After breakfast and some R&R this morning, we headed out to the Moalepe Trail. Except, there was a detour to drop a check off with a handyman, and then no one knew what the trail name was. We were going to head all the way out to the highway, then back up into Kapaa via a known route, but I managed to figure out the name thanks to my Facebook albums from a few years ago.

We stopped at a bathroom in a park on the way (which I'd also sussed out from our previous travels and my handy iPhone), and were surprised to find that not only was it clean, but there were even bars of soaps there! My estimate was that a bar of soap would last in a California public bathroom for ... nope, already gone!

The trail itself was very nice. I'd walked it once before. It goes along a big green canyon, and then turns up and starts ascending into the hills by tree-covered paths. Kimberly and my dad decided to stop a bit before the end of the trail, but Mary and I continued on until we finally hit a bridge that's the "end" of the trail (and the start of another). There were even more beautiful views just past the bridge. (I could never decide if my dad and I had made it to the bridge the one time we walked this, but I definitely didn't see the big vistas on the other side.

We had lunch at Monaco's, a tasty Mexican restaurant, where I was shocked to discover I didn't have my billfold. That meant no Lactaid, but I was fortunately able to scrape the dairy sauce off my seafood tacos. (The billfold ended up being back at home, which was my top guess.)

We then needed to digest our food a bit before swimming, so we went out to Lydgate Park, and my dad walked us down to the "play bridge", on the opposite side of the park from the lagoon where our car was parked. It was the most amazing bridge ever. A huge, maze-like structure of inclines and stairs (and even a slide). Technically, it went over a little ravine, but it was obviously meant to be a fun structure in and of itself, not really a practical one.

Afterward we swam at the lagoon at Lydgate.

And that was our busy first day in Hawaii.

Need more sunscreen on my cheeks and forehead in future days. I got a bit red.

Animals seen: chickens, chicks, a mangy cat

Animals fed: chickens, chicks (sorry mangy cat!)

Mud height: mid calf
shannon_a: (Default)
So we are back in Hawaii and have settled into the folks' house.

As you might guess, that made today our travel day.

Because of the chance of rain, I opted for us to Uber in, where we usually take BART. It made the morning much simpler, and was only slightly more expensive: $22 instead of $17. I did feel like we rushed out of the house, though.

We've done the trip so many times that it scarcely phases me. I think this is our 11th trip to the islands and our 9th since my folks moved here, but I could be off by a year too many.

The trip was longer than usual. It was planned to be 6 hours in the air due to strong headwinds, and then we seemed to circle Honolulu for half-an-hour, though I couldn't be sure because the clouds were so heavy that I couldn't see anything. In any case, we landed in Honolulu at about 1.50pm, which was about 40 minutes late.

The reason for our delayed landing soon became clear because the departure and arrival boards were just dripping with blood. Everything was delayed and marked in red. At least two flights to Lihue were waiting. We have to guess that the storm and/or wind was worse before we landed.

On the bright side, our favorite lunch place now has a new balcony out over the Chinese cultural garden, which was pleasant. (Especially when compared to last year, when it was all boarded up.)

Unshockingly, our flight out of Honolulu was running about half-an-hour late, then we sat on the tarmac for quite a while. But we eventually arrived in Lihue only about an hour late. No biggie; as I said, the trip scarcely phases me any more.

Books read during the trip and at airports: Assail (~100 pages), Golden Fool (aloud in airports, ~40 pages), Rivers of London: Night Witch, Uncanny X-Men: Superior — Apocalypse Wars.

History articles written at airports and on planes: five and a half.

Sleep on planes: remarkably, as much as an hour!
shannon_a: (Default)
Everyone is standing up in the airplane at once.

Then, abruptly, the power cuts out!

Seven Hours Earlier.

I love leaving Hawaii.

Perhaps that didn't come out right.

I find that the the departure from Hawaii beautifully aligns with my schedule. I'm up at a bit before 7am, just about the same time that I'm up every Hawaiian morning, as the sun streams in the window.

There's time for me to shower, then we have a casual breakfast with the folks. Just bagels and cream cheese for me today. I don't want anything to upset my unruly systems before we get down to a day of traveling.

At 8.15 or so we leave the house. We're bright and bushy-tailed, totally unlike our experience coming to Hawaii, when we have to survive on half-a-night's sleep.

We make it from Lihue to Honolulu without problem. The puddle-jump is the most casual flight you could ever take, so it's a damned shame that it's not priced cheaply enough to really allow it to be casual anymore. (Not that that matters as a single leg of our longer trip.)

We float through the entirely familiar terminal at Honolulu, with just a brief stop at the Agricultural check point. As always I wonder if they'll complain about trail mix (or other food) from Berkeley.

There's a minor disappointment when we dine. We always have lunch at a food court over in the international terminals that overlooks a pleasant Chinese garden. Except this year all the windows to the garden are covered by plywood walls. They're apparently doing heavy construction over half the garden. The result feels a bit claustrophobic and stuffy, like the entire airport at Kahului, where we briefly stopped in 2013 due to extremely cheap tickets. It's a disappointment for the generally nice Honolulu airport though.

An hour and a half later, we're boarding our plane to Oakland, and I say to Kimberly, "This time the trip is going to be entirely uneventful."

I sit in my seat flipping between Swamp Thing and Orb Sceptre Throne. I'm finally up to "Sceptre" after eight days of reading. I vaguely sense that time is going by and I try to remember when the plane is supposed to take off, but I only really pay attention to the boarding time nowadays.

Several times I convince myself the plane is backing away from the terminal, but each time it's an optical illusion.

I believe we're supposed to leave at 1.35, so at 1.37 or so I think I should pull out my boarding pass to check.

Then the captain comes on with an apologetic tone in his voice.

This is not a good sign.

The captain explains that there are mechanical problems, and we are being shunted to another plane. I have visions of the four-hour delay that awaited passengers when Hawaiian's last plane died the previous Wednesday, which cascaded into a 3.5 hour delay for us on Thursday morning. Fortunately, we're in Honolulu, which is filled with Hawaiian airplanes.

We prepare to deplane, and then the power abruptly cuts out. I expect screams, but they don't come. Multiple people comment that it's a good thing we weren't in the air!

We march down about four gates, which is a considerable distance at Honolulu, then wait. Waiting is the main economic activity of airports.

The new plane has to be cleaned and catered before we can reboard. I'm all for both.

We reboard. Then, we nervously watch the clock on the new plane. Finally we take off.

The main problem with the flight is that it seems to be full of collicky children. There is constant screaming the full flight back. The word "constantly" is not an exaggeration. The worst is a three-year-old (or so) across from us, who seems like a feral animal. At one point he starts writhing around, kicking and hitting his mom and sister. At another point he keeps kicking the seat in front of him again and again.

Mom is often more interested in her phone and delegates six-year-old (or so) sister to take care of the wild child.

At first I think there might be something wrong with the kid, but then another of mom's six children has a total breakdown later in the trip. Mom idly mentions that they're all home-schooled, and it all clicks into place.

On our way off the plane, the pre-school teacher unlucky enough to sit in front of mom and tot confides to us that she's never seen anything like it in her twenty years of teaching.

Hawaiian has one last trick to play: we recover our suitcase and find it covered in duct tape.

At first we think the've ruined it, but it turns out they've just covered the inset handle in the bottom of the suitcase because it offended them.

We decide to take a taxi home and arrive just a few minutes shy of midnight.

The cats hover around us, anxious and perturbed, but happy we're home.

I agree.
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The first thing we spot are the red flags. One off to the right side of Kekaha Beach, then two off to the left, like they're saying they really mean it.

We don't bother grabbing our swimming gear, but we hop out of the car to look while we're here. It's the furthest west I've ever been on the island, by just a mile or so.

We advance past the picnic tables and move onto the sand. The beautiful blue water presents a marvelous vista from one horizon to the other.

Then the wind, which has been whipping around all day like a blender on high, catches the sand and starts buffeting us with it.

We turn to flee.

Seven Hours Earlier.

I've fallen into a morning routine. I breakfast. I walk with my dad in the golf course. I lunch.

Despite the walking, it's really no wonder that my clothes are feeling tight after seven days here.

In the afternoon my Dad and I plan an expedition west. Our main destination is JoJo's, where I get shave ice. As usual I get chocolate, cherry, and something else. Today the something else is vanilla, which isn't atypical. I decide I should have stuck with chocolate and cherry because the chocolate is just a minor equator between the red and blue.

It's a very delicious equator though.

While I eat, we walk around Waimea. It's perhaps the largest town-like area west of Lihue, but it's still pretty tiny. The urban center of the town seems to mainly consist of schools, churches, and restaurants.

The most exciting bit of the walk is the discovery of a secret path heading up a hill side. I bounce up it, but it just leads to a school that we then have to wearily walk around.

We eventually return to the main road and start walking back to the car on the sidewalk there.

Unfortunately, school has let out, so we have to be constantly wary of bicycle-riding kids coming up the sidewalk behind us.

I skipped swimming yesterday to have a day of mostly quiet on the trip, but I'm determined to swim on my last full day on the island. So that's our next stop, while out here on the west side of the island.

(It's really still the south side of the island, but it's just barely facing west.)

However, we've been having high winds all day, and we're not really sure if swimming will be easily possible. Our first stop is Kekaha Beach, a few miles past Waimea.

The red flags are out, which means that the lifeguards would really prefer no one be out in the water. We get sandblasted before we can even get near the waves, and so we accede to their demands.

We turn the car around and start heading south (and east). Then we hit the traffic.

Unfortunately, school has let out, so the going is very slow as students occasionally wander across the crosswalk in Waimea. Eventually we get past and can start speeding through the fields again.

Our next stop is Salt Pond Beach. Rafael's taco truck is there, and I think fondly of the tacos I've already had this trip. But I opt not to stalk them further.

Also, my clothes are tight.

I manage to cut my foot on a rock when diving into the water, which is impressive because I thought we were in pure sand.

But that's Hawaii: dig a foot, and there's rock.

It adds to my litany of wounds, typical for a trip to Hawaii. One bad mosquito bite (whose swelling has died down) and a blister between a couple of my toes. The cut is really the worse because cuts on rocks in the water can be nasty. It gets antibiotic cream when I get home, and will get even more attention when I return to Berkeley.

After that, the swimming is wonderful. Salt Pond Beach is surprisingly clear, and it offers a nice long swimming route. The end is particularly challenging because you're fighting against a current as water goes over the rocks that demarcate the south end of the beach.

While swimming, I see not one, but two Humuhumunukunukuāpua'a.

It's truly a sign that my vacation is at an end.
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After a few minutes of pretending to read the book, I lay it on my chest. It's Orb Sceptre Throne, a book in search of punctuation marks. I haven't even gotten to the Sceptre yet.

I've resisted the urge so far, trying to soak in every minute of sunshine and tropical joy on this trip, but we've scheduled today as downtime, and I can't resist any more.

I nap.

Six Hours Earlier.

The early morning is the usual. We breakfast. We walk at the golf course.

I can tell how much the FitBit has changed my patterns from the way that I make a point of walking every day. By 9pm, I'll be just shy of 11,000 steps, which has been pretty standard for the trip.

For a while, we try and make plans to visit Waimea, but we fail mainly because of JoJo's late opening time of 11.30. There seems no way to run up there, then run back to eat lunch without everything smashing into each other.

So instead, we talk for a while then eat lunch.

As my dad has said a few times: vacation is all about figuring out our next meal as soon as we finish with the last one.

The afternoon disappears into the nap. But then at 3pm we're heading out for the main event of the day: the Kauai museum and then (as my dad predicted) another meal.

The Kauai Museum is horribly organized. I bounce from wall to wall learning about things in a random order. I see some interesting paintings of a chief's son returning to Kauai, and only later learn who he is. The sorting of things between rooms is equally chaotic, other than the fact that the Asian material is upstairs.

But I'm never exactly sure why there's a whole floor of Asian artifacts in a Kauai museum.

I am the most fascinated, unsurprisingly, by the history. I want to learn more about the civil wars that formed the Kingdom of Hawaii, and I'm hoping that James Michener's book covers that. I'm always reluctant to read books that ridiculously long. Hawaii is ~1100 pages, which is even longer than Orb Sceptre Throne. However, I might make an exception for this one.

For now I just enjoy my own visions of these ancient stories played out across these islands that I've visited so often.

I'm also fascinated by a topographic map of Hawaii that shows many of the settlements and pathways of the ancient Hawaii people. I'm shocked to see they settled in all the river valleys which are largely abandoned now, as modern people instead settle on the coast. I'd love to know why. I'm equally fascinated by pathways that go straight over the mountains in the middle of Kauai, but I'm sure they're sadly gone now too.

Some of the Asian stuff I complain about is actually pretty neat too, particularly some Filipino weaponry.

I'm less fascinated by the surfing room, which is oddly enough the first thing you see when you enter the "History of Kauai" building.

My eye-rolling at the surfing room is ironic because we're eating dinner at Duke's, named after Duke Kahanamoku, who popularized surfing. It's at the Marriott in Lihue, so of course I want to look around first.

The pool is particularly fascinating because it's large and magnificent, with lots of Roman pillars, beautiful balconies, and a menagerie of stone animals vomiting into the pool.

Which is a totally appetizing thing to see before dinner.

They're just vomiting water, fortunately.

We get a table looking out over Nawiliwili Bay. It's absolutely magnificent. The beach and bay spread out before us, and beyond them are some magnificent headlands. The only restaurant we've eaten at that compares is the St. Regis on Hanalei Bay.

It's hard for the food to match that view, but it does. I have Shrimp Scampi which is extremely tasty ... but I'm glad I'm not eating something that rich on the night before we leave.

We'll have more success with JoJo's tomorrow, and that'll largely complete the Kauai checklist.
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The path downward isn't so much a path as a wall of stones that we're climbing down. Tree roots and branches clutter the way. I step over one, under another, then around a third.

I put my foot on a stone and it slides forward in the red mud until it reaches a branch on the other side. I'm afraid if I put my weight on it, physics will take over, and in the end I'll snap my ankle bone. So I pull my foot back, and try the step again. I get the same result.

The rain starts to patter down once more.

Five hours earlier.

The main topic of conversation this morning is the weather. We can all see that rain is coming down outside, but we're trying to assess whether that state of affairs will continue.

I finally offer up an analytical take on the subject: Wunderground says that each day from here until Thursday will have more rain than the last. So, irrespective of whether it's raining, today is clearly the best day to hike.

The folks are won over by my logic. We head out to the car after breakfast, minus Kimberly who will stay home and rest.

Then the rain starts to pour as we come abreast of Old Koloa Town.

It's quite illogical.

On the east shore, things have brightened up. We're much more confident about hiking once we reach the gate to the Ho'opi'i Falls hiking trail. I wait while the folks change from slippas to socks and hiking boots, then we're off.

Very quickly I make the joke, this if the forest primeval. I'm probably the only one who gets it. But it is. Ferns and fronds constantly loom over the path, creating a tunnel into a Jurassic park. It's one of my favorite places on the island.

The ground is the bright red that's typical in Kauai, but it's more troublesome than usual because it's red clay. Moreso, it's slick red clay because even if it's not raining this minute, it's clearly been raining recently. Not only do I not know my destination (because I've never walked this trail before), but I'm frequently slip-sliding away (because my sneakers just don't compare to the actual hiking boots that the folks have).

I enjoy the hike, but occasionally I let out a yelp as I suddenly slide along the slick path at a much faster speed than usual.

The first tricky spot on the hike comes when downed trees block the path here and there. I have to climb over and under them. It's particularly hard when there's really slick red clay right under a tree that I'm sliding under.

My dad suggests that someone purposefully downed the trees to block the path. This sounds crazy to me, but I give it credence on the way back when we spot several "Private Property" signs. It looks like there's some sort of struggle going on, with some private asshat trying to claim that he owns the county trail. After the fact, Googling suggests that there's some disagreement on what's private property and what's not.

I'm thankfully that we're in Kauai, not in Texas; the dispute is more likely to be solved by just ignoring the problem, not by shooting people.

The Upper Ho'opi'i Falls are nice. It's the Lower Ho'opi'i Falls that are the real treasure though — and of course these are the Falls that are now under ownership contention.

The final descent to the Lower Falls is quite treacherous. It's slick and steep. My dad opts to stay behind, but Mary and I brave it. There's now rain occasionally dropping down, and there's one part of the trek that is rocky and filled with tree branches. At the worst part, I'm not sure I can make it down without breaking an ankle. But Mary is able to offer a suggestion ... and with a hop, skip, and a jump I make it down.

When we reach the bottom of the Lower Falls there is an excess of picture taking. Me in front of the water fall. Mary in front of the waterfall. Me in front of the lagoon. Mary in front of the lagoon.

Finally we head back up to my father, who after this long pictorial lacuna no doubt suspects we've fallen to our death.

It's past noon as we trudge back up the slick red pathways. I suggest we call Kimberly to say that she should forage for herself for lunch.

Fortunately the refrigerator is full of easy foraging.

The three of instead decide to eat at the worst diner in Kauai.

I let out a louder-than-usual yelp not far from the end of our hike and manage to take a sideways slide to the ground. I catch myself on my bad shoulder, which has been mostly OK since we hit Hawaii, but it's not a smart reaction.

This adds to the mud on my jeans. The cuffs were already caked red. Now I've got red up the left side of my jeans from the cuff to the hip.

When we see the Ono Family Diner in Kapaa, I jokingly say "Oh no!" But we decide to eat there anyway.

It's a pretty standard American diner, except my salad comes with papaya seed dressing. I enjoy it, not realizing it's the only food I'm going to get for forty-five minutes.

My dad and Mary enjoy a meatloaf. We wait for their soup and more importantly my main course: a grilled chicken sandwich and french fries.

Forty five minutes later a waitress comes by to ask if we're ready for our bill.

We literally all talk at once. I say, "No, because we're still waiting for half of our meal". The waitress seems literally repelled by our vocal force. No one is yelling, but we're a bit loud.

Our waitress visits our table three times in the next several minutes. First she accusingly asks whether I've ever gotten my sandwich. (No.) Then she more contritely asks whether I've gotten my fries. (No.) Then she explains that another waitress gave my chicken sandwich to some other table, and asks if I would likely something faster to cook. (No.) She explains that it will take 10 minutes for a chicken sandwich, and I tell her to make it so.

But another waitress shows up just a minute later. She has what looks like the worst-looking chicken sandwich I've ever seen. It's brown and desiccated. "Is that a grilled chicken sandwich?" I ask in horror.

She stares intently at me for a moment, then stares at the sandwich.

She scoops it back into her hand and rushes away with the plate, like she's smuggling rum into prohibition-era Chicago. "No, it's a fish sandwich," she shouts out as she flees.

The chicken sandwich finally arrives. It's quite good.

"Worth the wait?" my dad asks. I have to say that the answer to that is no.

But the wait is a sunk cost. They would have had to serve a chocolate-covered chicken sandwich to make it worthwhile.

We swim at Lydgate afterward. Much of the water is dirty and brown, filled with tiny, tiny bits of debris from a storm two weeks ago.

It feels like there should be a metaphor here.
shannon_a: (Default)

It feels like my knees are up at my throat, and I'm praying that the person in front of me doesn't lean his seat back, else he's likely to crack my kneecaps, break my MacBook Air, or both.

Meanwhile, the guy behind me is keeping up the monologue that he's been maintaining the whole trip from Oakland to Honolulu. Every once in a while his seating partner asks a question or makes a remark, and that's enough to send him off to the races again. He acts like he knows about everything, because he answers every question she asks for five long hours.

Meanwhile his wife is sitting across the aisle from him, even with me. Earlier in the flight she acknowledges that she never sits next to him on trips, and he laughingly says she might kill him if she did, then he launches off into some discussion of the relative prices of black tea and antiquities in the Pacific Rim.

I think the statement odd, but hours later I not only understand, but also agree.

The wife is coughing throughout the entire trip. Ahead of her another woman is full-out sneezing. Neither is very good about covering their mouths, though coughing-murder-wife remembers every once in a while.

I'm always befuddled by the huge amount of sickness on flights. I'd swear it's every third passenger (and they're all sitting next to me). It's like fliers are more likely to be sick than anyone else.

Then The Atlantic published an article on how toxoplasmosis bacteria can control your mind. So that's my new theory. Cold viruses control peoples' minds and encourage them to fly on planes.

And sit next to me.


We sit in church, and the seats are much more spacious and the company is less talkative and less sickly. Big improvements all around.

The service is all about the Lord's Supper, which is basically the Eucharist, which I had no idea it was a thing in non-Catholic churches. Except it's not communion because Pastor Larry is extremely clear that the whole body-and-blood-of-Christ thing is a metaphor. He uses the word metaphor several times, and he uses it correctly. And in the back of my mind I can here the criticism of churches that would claim it was transubstantiation instead.

Before he hands out the bread and wine, Pastor Larry has a big spiel about who should take the Eucharist, and it's obvious that I should not because I'm not a believer by his definition nor am I good with a church. I am simultaneously relieved that I don't need to partake in a ceremony that makes me uncomfortable, and uncomfortable because I now feel isolated from the rest of the congregation.

Because I'm ornery that way.

Afterward, I take communion of brownies instead.

On our way out, Pastor Larry massively impresses me by asking after Kimberly's eyes, which were an issue when we last saw him, two years ago.


I buy a Pohaku T, I view Spouting Horn, I look at orchids at the Kiahuna Plantation, I am menaced by a cactus there, I swim at Poipu, I eat chocolate-and-marshmellow ice cream at Lappert's.

All of this has happened before and will happen again.


My chronic problems are on the rise again today, particularly as I shift uncomfortably throughout the church service, but also late into the evening. A darned shame, but I do my best to ignore them.
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When my dad wonders about whether the waves might have reached our towels, I tell him there's no way. We left them several feet above the water line.

But after that, as we swim back along Lawai Beach, my eyes are constantly drawn back to the shore. I finally pick out the bright orange and yellow of my towel, and it looks like the waves are nearly kissing it.

The water recedes, and there's a narrow strip of sand in front of the towels.

Then another wave thunders in.

Eight Hours Earlier.

I've been coveting those Safeway bagels since we picked them out yesterday. Finally at breakfast I get to have one. I choose the Sea Salt one.

It's delicious.

And we continue to eat our way through our vacation.

Following breakfast we get a rerun of yesterday: my dad and I go up to the golf course to hike. It's the same trail, but this time my dad points out a secret path down to the house that I hope we'll someday live in, here in Hawaii.

The path is actually quite well beaten, so perhaps it's not that secret.

But it emerges on the main street about 100 feet from the house of my dreams.

Later, when we walk out to the golf pavilion, I decide to examine the pavilion more closely. Last time I barely noticed it, because I was too entranced by the view to do so.

The construction of the pavilion isn't that attractive. It's mainly cinder blocks. But it's full of picnic tables to sit at, and it's open on three sides, with gorgeous views of the island and the sea.

I imagine leaving my house on Maka Road, walking up the secret path into the golf course, then hiking over to the pavilion. There, in my imagination, I take my laptop from my backpack and I start working on a new piece of writing. The Trade Winds are blowing through the pavilion. Every once in a while I look up at the view.

In my imagination.

As we hike back toward the car, I realize that I barely looked at the actual view, because I was too entranced by the pavilion (and my visions of tomorrow).

Our main destination for the day is a farmer's market. Kimberly and I have been convinced to attend by the promise of food trucks. So we walk with Mary a bit as she picks up this and that. And hands them to my dad to carry. But when we get to the food trucks, Kimberly and I speed off to check out the possibilities.

I settle on Rafael's Aloha Tacos, which is what I had at the Hanapepe Art Walk yesterday.

I kind of feel like I'm stalking the truck, so I pretend nonchalance when I order.

The market is at the community college, and I wanted to walk around it a bit afterward. We've seen it from the road every time we've visited, but we've never explored it before. So, we do.

It's actually not that impressive. I've seen a lot of beautiful universities, and this college instead has buildings that are utilitarian. I'm also feeling a bit out of sorts for perhaps the only time this trip thus far.

While we're there, we meet a groundkeeper. My dad and Mary seem to know every groundkeeper in Hawaii, because we also talked with one at the golf club yesterday. This one says we should check out the gazebo.

So we do, marching out across endless swards of green to do so.

It's not a gazebo at all, it's a pagoda instead.

I bet most people don't tour the community college on their vacation to Hawaii.

But more community colleges should have pagodas.

We go straight from the community college to Kilohana, which is right next door. It's an old plantation, the heart of which is a 16,000 square-foot mansion that looks like it was built the same year as our house, based on the hardware on the windows and doors. It turns out it's from about 30 years later, but maybe they get old hardware in Kauai.

It takes a while to ship things here.

Even Amazon Prime.

Today the mansion is turned into a restaurant on the ground floor, and a bunch of touristy shops in rooms throughout.

It's entirely bizarre walking into what was a bedroom and seeing them selling jewelry. But it's even more bizarre walking into the bathroom, with a toilet off to the side, and seeing more jewelry piled in the sink.

Mary is looking at the various jewelries and paintings as we walk through the house, but I get bored of those pretty quickly and am checking out the architecture instead.

It turns shopping into a spy expedition.

My dad and I finally arrive at Lawai Beach at about 3.30. I've dragged my feet about going because the whole trip through the college and the shopping mall mansion has exhausted me. I hope I'm not fighting off a cold from the plane, but I figure one more day and I'm home free.

However, I ultimately decide I'm not going to waste a scant day of tropical swimming.

We ensconce our towels safely, well above the water line, and then wade out into the water.

After my dad and I both comment on the coldness of the water, I decide that Lawai really is chillier than the other beaches on the south shore, something that I've suspected for years.

But once we get out there the cold fades away and the fish are plentiful, as always. It's the best fish beach I know of on the island.

And I see my first humuhumunukunukuāpua'a, truly marking the start of the vacation.

Our towels survive the experience.
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The picnic table is surrounded by chains. Signs on them read "Private Property". No one can sit at that table on penalty of trespassing.

Attendees of the Hanapepe Art Walk wander up and down the street with food in their hands, looking for somewhere to sit.

But the picnic table sits alone.

Eleven Hours Earlier.

I'm somewhat surprised to find light absolutely flooding our bedroom when I wake up. I can't believe I slept through that. Later I look at my FitBit records and learn that I got about seven and three-quarters of an hour of sleep while in bed for eight hours.

Back in the Bay Area, that would be nothing short of a miracle.

I've got ants in my pants, or at least a FitBit on my wrist that's spent the last ten months or so brainwashing me into moving.

So, I've already decided that I'm going to go out for a walk after breakfast, while Kimberly is getting a complementary house massage. Happily, my dad joins me.

We drive up to the golf course, because here in the real-world, as opposed to our protected little enclave in Berkeley, that's how life works: you drive to walk.

I've walked around the golf course one other time that I can remember, but we take some different routes this time. We start out going up some wooded paths that are just beautiful. I love paths that are wide, yet crowded in by trees, and this one qualifies.

Eventually we emerge out on the open green and walk out to the pavilion. We circle around it, but I'm still not particularly sure what the pavilion is. Wikipedia says it's a free-standing structure, which really isn't that helpful, because that sounds like another word for building.

However, the pavilion really isn't the point. Instead, the point is the gorgeous views you get near the pavilion, where you can look across Kalaheo Gulch toward the southern coast of the Island.

It's gorgeous.

We continue to dodge golf balls on the way back to the car.

Next up is Costco.

I discover that the increasing number of things I'm not eating — which now includes caffeine, spice, tomatoes, and alcohol — is a big pain in the butt.

We get lunch meat for the week and enough meat for dinners to last a month. Because it's Costco.

Included is a pack of five pounds or so of bacon. The folks are apparently now eating bacon and eggs every morning instead of fruit, as part of a healthier diet.

We stop by Safeway afterward to pick up some bagels as a breakfast alternative.

You can't have a vacation in Hawaii without swimming. So in the afternoon my dad and I do.

Poipu is one of my favorite beaches, ever since our first trip here in 2001.

When my dad and I swim, it always involves a lot of talking. This can be tough when waves are constantly splashing over you.

When we're at Poipu we usually end up talking about the two different sharks that my dad has seen at the beach.

Fun times.

The jailed picnic table is at our fourth and final event for the day: the evening's Hanapepe Art Walk. We go every year: Kimberly looks at jewelry, we sometimes gawk at art, then we all get food to eat.

The table was our savior last year, because it was the only dry place on yet another rainy night in Hanapepe. Apparently its owners were offended by that, because now it's fenced off. It's a mocking rebuttal to the Aloha Spirit that folks with handfuls of food walk by every single Friday.

For once it's not raining though.

We eat on a bench atop a pedestal.

I glare across the street at the table the whole time.
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The Hawaiian agent begins strumming on his uke. It's now 30 minutes since our flight was scheduled to leave, and we're still sitting around the gate.

As he starts to sing, Kimberly and I rise as one and we flee.

Three Hours Earlier.

Arriving at the Hawaiian Airlines desk, we're delighted to find there's no line. Two years running we've had horrendous problems at the Hawaiian check-in, with last year being the worse, as we waited 50 minutes while the staff checked in first class customers and gold puliani members and ignored the plebes.

But this year, we walk right up to the desk.

Apparently everything is going to go swimmingly for once.

"You know what's going on with the flight?" the Hawaiian airlines clerk asks. We of course don't.

It's been delayed three and a half hours, it turns out. A departure time of 1.15pm is listed on the board behind her, but my sleep-addled mind can't make any sense of it. Our flight was supposed to leave at 9.50am, so even with three and a half hours of delay, it should still leave before noon, shouldn't it? That blinking 1.15 makes no sense. It like it's a whole other epoch.

"I guess we should have checked before we left," Kimberly states.

I did, and I say so: "I did." Except maybe when I checked I just looked at our reservations, and it didn't note any changes there. I'm actually not sure, because the brain was even more sleep-addled at 6am this morning, while we were still at home.

Clearly the agent is expecting us to be upset, because she's looking through our records and for some reason confirming an email address. I have no idea why, but I agree that the address she gives does belong to me. She says they sent notice to that address.

Turns out they did. At 2am. It doesn't do us a lot of good when we were both in bed by midnight and out of the house by 6.10am. I did glance at my Gmail in the morning, but apparently Google thinks that last minute flight changes aren't important.

Fair enough.

No biggie, really. I would have liked some additional cuddling time with my cat who is going to miss me terribly. But with Hawaiian sending notice at 2am, we were going to be waking up at 5.40am in any case; that ship had sailed.

And their email was pretty confusing, because it said our 12.30pm flight had changed to 1.15pm. When our flight was of course at 9.50am.

But we've got plenty to do once we settle in at the gate. Books and electronic devices and comics. The airport isn't the most comfortable place to relax, but it's not the worst either.

Except for all the sobbing children.

They clearly didn't know about the flight change either.

The why behind the lateness of the flight is simple enough: the plane in from Honolulu arrived at 2am last night, which is a bit more than four hours late. Since Hawaiian apparently uses the same crew heading 'to and 'fro, they had to have their mandated hours of rest before flying again.

I'm certainly in favor of rested pilots.

Now the why of that flight behind so late is unknown. I figure they had a dead person onboard in Honolulu, because that seems to happen.

If it were United I'd think the plane had been giving away its parts. But I haven't flown United since the year they delayed us 3.5 hours or so leaving SFO.


Neither Kimberly nor I is a big fan of live music. And the Hawaiian music is a little screechy.

Fortunately we'd discussed this beforehand. This beginning of the live music is our prearranged signal. We leap to our feet to rush off to lunch, since we won't be getting into Honolulu until 7pm California time.

It's approaching 10.30am, still almost two hours before our flight is expected to start boarding, three hours before it should depart.

It's going to be a long day.
shannon_a: (Default)
A week ago a friend asked me how I was doing, emotionally, and I was able to tell him totally honestly that I was doing well. However, him asking what was making me feel good offered a more revealing answer. I told him that I'd been feeling good (jazzed even, bouncy, a little hyper) since I went off my recent blood pressure med. I hadn't realized how much it had been wearing me out and making me feel exhausted. When I stopped taking it, it was like a spring went off, bouncing me all over.

(But I do I continue to watch my blood pressure; a new drug from my specialist also offers some minor blood pressure help, so it's staying at a reasonable level, between 106/69 and 118/81 since my meds reached a new equilibrium; when I'm off that I'll go see my cardiologist again.)

A week later, the mood is not so great. It's mainly been because of my ongoing, chronic health problems. I haven't been in pain or anything, but there's a regular sense of discomfort and wrongness. And hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month that adds up. I get a bit bummed whenever I'm feeling sick or wrong, and this has been ... not quite relentless because it's not constant, but too regular.

Much of the problem is that I'm not confident we have an answer to what's going on or a solution. So there's no end in sight.

I've been logging my symptoms and my diet since my last doctor visit to see if I can turn up any correlations. Whenever I have a particularly bad day, I go back and see if I can pick up something that might have caused it. But thus far no good.

A few days ago, I tried something different. I looked at the good days when I was feeling mostly comfortable, and saw if I could come up with a correlation for that. Funny thing is, week after week Tuesday is a good day. And I tend to have lunch out on Tuesday to break up my week. The other day I tend to frequently do well is Saturday ... and I often eat out then too.

So I'm thinking now, could it be my regular lunch? It's usually the same at home: lunch meat, bread, vegetables, salad dressing as dip. It's going to be something to investigate when I get back, by varying that up. I think a week or two of either PB&J or tuna fish (instead of turkey, ham, or chicken) and chips (instead of veggies) might be enlightening.

(It could also be a physical correlation, like the walking to lunch and back changes something.)

But really I'm probably just struggling for control of something I can't control. We'll see.

I've also been stressed by the upcoming trip. Some of this is the standard: getting ready. I also try to arrange to have work to do on the plane, and I'm still struggling to get some of that lined up tonight. And because of the changes to our plans we're coming back just before taxes are due. So I had to get our taxes done in advance. And they're very high this year for a variety of reasons, so I had to free up money to pay them.

But, prep is done. Taxes are done and payment is scheduled. Meanwhile, I've got at least two things I can edit and four things I can write on the plane for my ongoing D&D histories. And I know I've got editorial work for my Michael Moorcock book.

So, I could really relax if I want. I'm about ready to.

But the being on the trip is also feeling stressful because I don't know how sickly/uncomfortable I'll feel, how much it'll impact what I'm willing to do and all that.

And I somehow managed to strain a shoulder while getting stuff ready tonight. I'll have to REMEMBER to pull that suit case with the right arm, not the left tomorrow, so I don't make it worse.

But the trip should be GREAT. Once we're there.

I need to set myself up with some mental visions of the stress and depression running off of my like water cascading about me in a waterfall.
shannon_a: (Default)
So, we were supposed to be on a plane to Hawaii today. But drug side effects called it off, alas. (We'll go later this year, no thanks to the horrible bureaucrats and naysayers at Hawaiian Airlines.)

My digestion has actually been better thanks to adjusting and increasing my set of probiotics. But I'm still achey all the time and very careful about what exercise I do. As K. said, I wouldn't be happy spending the whole vacation worried about what I ate and what I did. Meanwhile, K. has also been having some side effects of her own thanks to changing meds. So.

Certainly for the best.

The sad thing is that I was mostly ready to go. I had lunchmeat, bread, and other such food products planned to run out just before I left. A bunch of library books were all due in the week beforehand, with no new ones ordered. I was even timing the books I was reading to finish up just beforehand.

But now it's back to groceries and books as I like. I've also pulled a few things off the pile of books that was to go to Hawaii. Empire of Imagination, a biography of Gygax, I wanted to read before March, so I'm reading it now. I also decided to read the fifth and final deluxe volume of DMZ rather than save it even longer. (Both because I didn't want to wait and have everything grow more distant in my head and because it's a bigger hardcover that I'd prefer not to heft to Hawaii and back.)

I'm sure I'll have rebuilt my just-in-time schedule by the time we leave for real.

September 2017

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