Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Worm

I got off to a slow start, reading wise, this year but I am almost on track for my 12 books per year goal.

I finally finished Fight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver.  I had started it in August and I liked it, I just haven’t been in a reading mood for a while.  Barbara Kingsolver is my favourite author and while it wasn’t my favourite book by her, I enjoyed it.  It is about climate change and shifting migration patterns of Monarch butterflies but it is a novel and a  story about a woman who is a mother and lives in a small town and is unhappy with her life but doesn’t know how to change it.

I borrowed a Kindle from work and read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak on the flight to and from Maui.  I got through all but 12% while flying and I am pretty sure if Alice had slept one wink on the plane ride back, I would have finished it all.  I really want to see the movie now, but I am not sure how it is not going to be completely depressing unless they change major plot points.  It is narrated by Death about a little girl who lives with her foster parents in Germany during WWII.  I don’t know if I have read another book from the German perspective of the War.  Great book for people who love books and think they are special. 

I have been reading a site called the Bloggess for a bit more than a year now and I have seen her book at Chapters and online so I thought I would pick it up.  Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson.  I finished it in a day and I was laughing out loud at so many parts.  The parts about her childhood and her crazy taxidermist father were so funny, I was reading them aloud to Andrew.   Her list of the 11 reasons why her childhood was more messed up than anyone else’s was one of the funniest things I have ever read.

So now, if I finish one by in 9 days, I will officially be on track for my self imposed reading goal for 2014 that has absolutely no consequences if I don’t meet it, other than I like ticking things off lists and I won’t get the satisfaction of ticking off books read.

Friday, April 18, 2014


I've been sick for the past week now. I was all ready to drag myself to work last Friday, got showered, dressed and out the door but when I was lined up in Safeway buying cough syrup and throat lozenges, my plans fell apart. I have no sick days left for this year, in fact, I was already borrowing them from next year.  This is why I was going to drag myself in on Friday but in line, I could barely stand up and I had the urge to puke over everything.  So I then spent the next 5 days feverish in bed, only getting out to go have Strep Throat confirmed by the doctor on Monday.  There was a very important once per year meeting on Wednesday that I organize and involves 10 other people and is time sensitive so even though I still felt terrible, I toughed it out.  Yesterday and today, my throat is feeling better but I think I am either suffering allergies or have caugh a cold on top of everything because I still feel terrible. 

Feeling terrible wasn't going to stop us from decorating Easter eggs though. Alice and I had fun this morning, using the shaving cream method of egg dying. You spray foamy shaving cream in a pan, then drop food colouring drops in and swirl with chopsticks; then you put an egg in and roll it around a bit.  The egg is now covered on foam and we put them in an empty drink holder to let them set for 10 minutes.  When you wipe off the foam, a nice swirly, mottled egg is left. Some of ours swirlled better than others but I think they turned out well. 

I didn't hard boil them before hand because 12 hard boiled eggs is a lot for our family to go through in time. So I will just use them as needed. I am thinking of making a pavlova but I am not sure if I am up to making much. I have to get better some time. 

Thursday, April 03, 2014

You Can't Handle the Tooth

I think we have all acclimatized back to our normal routine now that we are back home. Except Alice, who is still sleeping in until 7:30 when she gets dragged out of bed to go to daycare.  I'm sure that will conveniently end by Saturday morning when she'll probably wake up at 5am. 

As we were sitting in the airport in Maui, waiting to board our flight, my problem tooth broke. It's the same tooth that breaks every year so I wasn't too traumatized by it. It is a bit ahead of schedule, it usually breaks in the summer. This is probably because at this point it's mostly the tooth equivalent of Bondo.  Luckily my dentist had a spot open on Tuesday, so it is already fixed. I've promised him I'll save up and actually get a proper crown in 2015.  My biggest problem is that the temporary fix is free on my dental plan and that really takes away the motivation to spend $750 on a tooth that I should have had pulled out in 2011. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tweet tweet

Wednesday was my birding day. I drove up to Hosmer Grove at the bottom of Haleakala National Park, which is still 7000 ft elevation.  I forgot this when I went up some stone stairs quickly and then held my breathe to take a picture of a bird. It took a while after that to stop the spinning feeling and catch my breath again.  There was also another point in the path where I was looking up and the path dropped down and down I went in a bank of mud. Luckily my camera landed on top of me and the old damage was muddy clothes and a bruised arm.  I did see 3 endemic Hawaiian birds, the I'iwi, the Apapane and the Amakihi.  I tried to find another Nene but had no luck. I did see a far away Pueo, which is a Hawaiian short eared owl. So that was cool. 

It was Andrews final night in Hawaii so Mum looked after the kids and we had an amazing meal at the 5 Palms restaurant. We had remembered it from the last time we were in Maui, 9 years ago, and it lived up to the memory.  I wish someone in Vancouver knew how to do what they do with prime rib. 

On Thirsday, we dropped Andrew off at the Airport, picked up Mum and drove up to Lahina to window shop, play in the Banyan tree and have a pirate lunch.  Sacha sober the afternoon doing cannon balls into the pool with two new buddies. 

There was also a forced sunset appreciation imposed upon the children. It was beautiful. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Holy Hana

We were up early this morning and out the door. We don't sit around much while on vacation.  We hopped in the jeep and headed off to Hana. It took a bit of convincing to persuade the kids that the drive was the activity, not the town we were driving to.  

Our first stop was the bamboo forest at mile marker 6.5. It was a slight debacle. It was wet and muddy and we were all wearing flip flops or crocs. We walked about 100 yards into the forest and the path dropped down over rocks. Had it been dry and we had on proper footwear, I would have taken the kids down to explore further but since we didn't want to end our journey on the first stop with a broken ankle, we climbed out and back to the car. 

Next up was the snack shack at mile marker 17. Even though it was only 9:30am, we got an ice cream to share and I was able to get a couple of bird photos. 

We pressed on to mile marker 31 where we turned off to go see Kahanu Botanical garden and Pi'ilanihale Heiau, which is the largest Temple in Hawaii.  It was on a huge grounds and the kids ran like crazy over the lawns.  The temple was pretty amazing and they had stones that had been used to sharpen blades and crush food that had big smooth worn divots. The garden also probably has the nicest bathrooms on the highway. A huge step up from the port-o-johns at other stops. 

Finally we made it to Hana and went for a swim at the black sand beach. It was beautiful but black sand seems dirtier than the white sand when Alice is covered in it from head to toe.  We had lunch at a BBQ truck called Bruddah Hutt. It is famous for how good the BBQ is and a tour bus pulled in just before us and just after us so we got our order and had a picnic down the road at Koki Beach.  

After lunch, we hit the road again on to the Seven Sacred Pools in the Haleakala National Park.  It was a bit tricky actually getting across the rocks and into one of the pools but it was lovely once you were in. I swam under a waterfall twice, because it doesn't count if Sacha didn't see you do it the first time. 

After our dip, we headed home around the backside of the mountain. This was actually the reason why I rented the jeep for this trip, rather than a car because cars aren't allowed to take that road.  It was beautiful. We drove the jungly, windy, bumpy, partially unpaved road and then it opened up into ranch country. You could see the wind waking rippling waves in the grasses.  Amber waves of grain. Except, I don't think it was actual grain, just long grass.  It really was amazing. 

I have a bunch of photos on my camera but none on my phone so I will have to post some later. I did see a Great Frigatebird which is a new addition to my life list and is uncommon to see for someone in North America.  It wasn't even in my ibird app.  They do seem to breed on Maui so part of my internet research seems to contradict the other but I'll take the new bird. 

Take 5

I always seem to be a day behind with updating. Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the day we got to bring Sacha home forever. Also known as Gotcha Day, also known in our family as Family Day.  We always get the kids a little toy and talk about why this is like our family's birthday. It was a quick talk yesterday. Yah, yah, yah, where's the present was the response. I'll keep doing it in case he cares one day. 

We spent the morning as many tourists do here in Maui, playing golf.  We got there right as it opened which was good because we had the whole course to ourselves and because we were a bit of a gong show. Alice would pick up her ball and place it where ever she wanted.  She also acted as a secondary obstacle in all the holes and would often try to hit anyone's ball that came close to her. Sacha did better and even got a hole in one on hole #11. I got one too, on hole #1.  We finished 18 holes, took a lunch break and did another 18 holes (there were 2 courses). 

I have no idea why Sacha chose to wear his raincoat all morning.  It wasn't raining and it wasn't cold. We told him about 10 times to take it off. 

After golf, we went over to Mums place and swam in her pool. Sacha learned to use a snorkel and mask but it was too rough to snorkel at the beach. So he learned to boogie board instead. Alice and I jumped over waves together. 

We all went to dinner at a place called Coconuts, which was really good. Andrew and I both had tacos, fish and chicken respectively. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sandy Feet

Yesterday was pretty rainy and we checked out a farmers-craft market in the morning. I think the whole thing was too much sensory overload for Sacha because he was being really snarky for no reason. So he and Andrew headed back to the condo for some down time and Alice, Mum, Susan and I had a girl's  day at the mall and then out to lunch. 

In the afternoon we took a drive back to La Perrouse bay, stopping off at some beaches along the way and dodging rain clouds. 

Taken by Sacha. 

This morning we drove out north of Kapalua to a blow hole and then back to Kanapalii to the Whaler Museum.  Sacha had been desperate to check it out since he learned of its existence. It was interesting but very small. We might check out the sugar museum another day. 

We had lunch at a really fun restaurant, the Hula Grill. The tables were outside on sand and we all got umbrella drinks. Alice's meal came with pineapple chunks which she dipped in ketchup and gobbled up. 

After lunch, we headed over to Mum's place and swam in the pool. We found a closet full of snorkel gear here and with a bit of practice in the pool, Sacha can snorkel.  We headed down to the beach but it was too rough to test out the new techniques but we jumped in the waves and Sacha and Andrew boogie boarded. Mum built sand castles that Alice stomped on like Godzilla.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rise and Shine

Yesterday morning we were out the door at 5am and headed up to Haleakala for sunrise. We bundled up the kids in long pants and sweatshirts but it was still chilly.  It was beautiful at the top. We saw the sun rise over the clouds while the park ranger sang a Hawaiian prayer song. Alice was not impressed. It wasn't THAT cold. I think the children need to toughen up. When we drove over to the summit from the crater, Alice wouldn't even get out of the car. So we left her there to take more pictures, Sacha even took a couple of us with my camera. 

On the way up, we were in a bit of a hurry to beat the sunrise, but I saw Nene and Chukars. On the way down, we stopped for photos but I couldn't find the Nene again. I did spot a Ring Necked Pheasant and got a pacific golden plover pic.  I am hoping to head back to Hosmer Grove tomorrow to go birding properly and a pic of a Nene. 

Rain is kind of crazy here on Maui. It's so patchy. It was clear on top of the valcano and we could see it was sunny down at the beach but on the drive down we hit a down pour. Thank goodness it had warmed up a bit and the kids thought it was hilarious having a shower in the car. There are no sides on this jeep and it appears that the canvas roof is more for show than cover.   

Sacha is only annoyed here because he didn't want his picture taken. The driver behind us thought it was funny too. 

Our big morning adventure was done by 8:30am and we meet up with Mum and had a swim at her pool, which is much nicer than ours. Ours is more like a swimming hole. Then we headed down to the beach and jumped over some waves and headed back to her place for lunch on the balcony.