Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My first knitted sweater...

Here's my first knitted sweater! Granted, I did try making it 3 times last fall and ripped it out each time. Somehow, it worked fine on this attempt. Yarn: Dark umber by Colinnette (company in Wales). Hand dyed (by them, not me).

Behind me you can see our hideous paneling, the reason we are remodeling our house.
Allen Ginsberg & Paul McCartney - Ballad of the Skeletons

My mother heard this on the radio and found the video on YouTube.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Orleans: this could be You

Concrete Countertop

Here are photos of my husband making the concrete countertops for the new kitchen. The counter is still in process, it still has to be ground down with water and a finish put on.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Pali Lookout, Oahu 2006

Here's the view we had from the Pali Lookout. My husband is at the end of the video, wearing sunglasses. (24 seconds long) The sound you hear is the wind. Be sure and notice the ocean in the not too far distance.

From Frommer's: "Although some academic scholars scoff at this, the story alleges that in 1795, Kamehameha pursued Oahu's warriors up Nuuanu to these cliffs and waged a battle in his attempt to unite the Hawaiian islands. Supposedly, the Oahu warriors were driven over the cliffs by Kamehameha's men. Some say the battle never happened, some say it happened but there were only a few men fighting, and some say thousands were forced over the cliff, plunging to their deaths. Others say at night you can still hear the cries of these long-dead warriors coming from the valley below."

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Patches The Amazing Horse

This video is worth seeing, except for the part where they feed a cheeseburger to the poor horse. I could be related to these guys.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Diamondhead #3

Ahh, the summit! Here we are on top of Diamondhead, with Waikiki beach and Honolulu in the background.

Partway up the crater. Yes, every day is gorgeous in Hawaii. And we are wearing SPF 50 sunscreen.

My mother and I have a tradition of taking our photos on the wrong side of Danger signs. This one's for you, Mom! Couldn't get all the way behind it, since it was a CLIFF!

This photo was taken inside one of the defunct, concrete "listening posts" that was placed on top of Diamondhead by the military. Yes, the water really does look that color.

Diamondhead #2

The tunnel theme continues up Diamondhead. While the majority of the trail is out in the open, there are some tunnel sections like the one below.

After the tunnels, there are stairs. The fun part was watching the many Asian ladies going up the crater in high heels and skirts.

Beautiful Hawaiian flower...

Below you can observe the crater - it's the brown rim going around. The green foliage is the bottom of the crater. If you look on the left side of the photo, you can make out a narrow strip of road with a black dot in the crater wall. That's the car tunnel we walked through. Then we walked the entire base of the crater floor to the trailhead. I don't know if those of you receiving this blog through email can enlarge the photos, but if you view the photos on the blog itself you can click on them and make them larger (enabling you to see the car tunnel).

Diamondhead Crater #1

Below photos show our approach towards Diamondhead crater on Oahu. We took the bus from Waikiki and then climbed a hill towards this tunnel. That's the rim of the blown out crater with a car tunnel going through. Pedestrians have to walk through the tunnel on a 2-lane road with tour buses. It's commonly done, and there's a bus stop right there to disgorge tourists ready to brave the road on foot.

Below is view while walking through the tunnel.

Here's what we looked like fresh off the bus. Still calm and collected (before seeing the tunnel).

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sexton boys from Simplisity and Mitch

Here is a photo of Mitch with his Hawaiian friends, brothers John and Andy Sexton. The Sextons are members of the Hawaiian band Simplisity. During high school in Bakersfield, CA, Mitch was in a band with John and Andy called Hawaiian Express.

(below) L to R: Andy Sexton, Dean Lum, John Sexton, playing at the Chart House in Waikiki

(below) Andy wails on the sax

More Manoa Falls photos

More photos from our hike to Manoa Falls on the island of Oahu.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Got tickets to see Joan Jett next month. Here's a video clip...Joan is 48 y.o. and still rocks HARD! She is my role model for rolling towards 50.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Vegan Mocha

Found this recipe on a veg website, credited to a newspaper. I expanded & modified it. Hot chocolate is my favorite winter drink, and I had been missing mochas.

This will definitely satisfy any chocolate craving.

Decadent, Adult Mocha (Cruelty Free!)

one large serving (fills a tall travel coffee mug)

1. Brew some coffee (I use decaf).

2. Mix together in a small pot:
1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
1/6 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 tsp cornstarch

3. With a fork, gradually stir in 1/4 cup water. Stir until smooth.

4. Place on stove and while continually stirring, heat to boiling.

5. As soon as it bubbles, stir in 1 cup coffee. Heat through.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Don't Sit Under Trees in Hawaii

My husband was lying on the beach under a palm tree when a palm nut blasted down and hit his eye. Luckily he was wearing sunglasses and his eye was not injured. The sunglass lens broke and the eye bridge was forced into his nose, cutting him. He bled. We moved out into the sun.

Vegan Breakfast

Here's what I fixed my husband for his birthday breakfast. French toast made with homemade French bread (batter was rice milk and garbanzo flour) and homemade tempeh "bacon". Yummy!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Everybody's Gone Surfin'

These photos were all taken on Sunset Beach, on the North Shore. The waves are much bigger than they appear in the photos. Try looking for the dots that are surfers, to get a feel for it. The waves are farther out than they appear.

In the below photo, you can also see surfers waiting for a wave on the left side of the photo. Bunch of 'em.

Below: there are 2 surfers riding...one is on the left side of the photo, one is a dot in the wave on the right side.

This guy is in the middle of that wave. Notice the front of his board is in the air.

If everybody had an ocean
Across the U. S. A.
Then everybody'd be surfin'
Like Californi-a
You'd seem 'em wearing their baggies
Huarachi sandals too
A bushy bushy blonde hairdo
Surfin' U. S. A.

You'd catch 'em surfin' at Del Mar
Ventura County line
Santa Cruz and Trestle
Australia's Narabine
All over Manhattan
And down Doheny Way

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S. A.

We'll all be planning that route
We're gonna take real soon
We're waxing down our surfboards
We can't wait for June
We'll all be gone for the summer
We're on surfari to stay
Tell the teacher we're surfin'
Surfin' U. S. A.

Haggerties and Swamies
Pacific Palisades
San Anofree and Sunset
Redondo Beach L. A.
All over La Jolla
At Waimia Bay

Everybody's gone surfin'
Surfin' U.S. A.

The Spinach Brouhaha

My husband and I have both been shaking our heads over how the news stories regarding the contaminated spinach have not indicated how a vegetable gets contaminated by E. Coli. They don't want to tell you that factory farming of animals is the culprit (due to irrigating fields with water that's contaminated).

The Sierra Club's mention of this is a breath of fresh air:

E. coli"Less than a week after the FDA lifted its ban on contaminated spinach, which lead to three confirmed deaths and hundreds of illnesses, a California lettuce grower recalled green leaf lettuce after finding irrigation water contaminated with E. coli. These E. coli incidents are serious reminders of the need to properly regulate waste. Though large farming operations are one of the most common sources of pathogens like E. coli, and the FDA is investigating livestock waste as a possible cause of the spinach contamination, the government is doing little to ensure proper handling of the contaminated livestock waste. In a meeting with environmental groups last week, the EPA said it has no plans to require any new controls on large livestock operations. "

Read about factory farming and the impact it has on your health and the environment HERE.

Heaven forbid any new controls would be put in place that might slow down the speed with which people can get their fast food hamburgers.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Contrast, Last Year's Room Photo

In contrast, here is our view from last year's hotel, CHEAPER Waikiki Circle. We didn't stay there again because their beds were worn out. Other guests also said they were having a horrible time trying to sleep. We had a more comfortable time sleeping on the beach itself one afternoon. My husband said it would have been cheaper if we had stayed here again and ordered a new bed delivered there, and just donated it to the hotel. Heh. If we go again, we plan on looking into renting a condo somewhere else on the island and cooking our own meals. Much better.

Outrigger Waikiki's "ocean view" room & Huquarium

I was very disappointed in what I believe to be our hotel's dishonest categorization of an "ocean view" room. We deliberately chose this hotel and paid more money in our search for a true ocean view room.

Below is what we saw from the room:

Once walking out onto the lanai, this is what we saw on the right:

When I hung the top of my body over the rail, I could see the view below. The lanai was so small, only one person at a time could be in the chair that angled out enough to see this. The lanai could barely fit 2 chairs and table, you had to climb over each other (literally) to get in or out. You don't see a rail in this photo because I am hanging out over it. If you look down in the photo, you can see the wonderful industrial fan right below our room. Nope, could not hear any surf. Could only hear industrial restaurant fan. My comments may seem petty if you don't know what we paid for this room. Too much.

This is the pool. The rail you see at the bottom of the photo is the rail of the upstairs restaurant, Hula's. I took this photo from my dinner table (you can even see the table touching the rail). The bottom floor restaurant, Duke's, looks out over the hot tub. At lunch, I could have handed a french fry to the people in the hot tub, they were immediately abutting the restaurant rail at my table. So, you can use the pool and hot tub if you don't mind being scenery for two very crowded, open air restaurants full of people looking at you while noshing. It's a human aquarium! I should have taken a photo of the restaurants from the pool, to give you a feeling of just how weird it is to be at the pool and have two full open air restaurants right there.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Manoa Valley, Manoa Falls

Here are some photos from our day in Manoa Valley, Oahu. Locals said they film the tv show "Lost" near the Manoa falls. Never having seen the show, I don't know if any of the scenes will be familiar to some of you....

below: Manoa falls

below: muddy, slippery hike through bamboo to the falls

below: 2 guys on the trail had captured Jackson's chameleons, a non-native species that had escaped into the environment from a pet store. The horned head indicates that this is a male.

below: Beehive ginger from the nearby arborteum run by U of HI.

below: preparing to enter the rainforest

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Day Around Chinatown Area

These photos are from a day we spent in the Chinatown area of Honolulu. Most of the day was spent towards the mountain-side area above Chinatown, in Queen Liliuokalani's Botanical Garden which contains the below waterfall, right in the middle of downtown Honolulu. You can read a short bio of the Queen at this link. She was deposed by Dole, yes, pineapple Dole, and American businessmen with rifles (according to my Frommer's guidebook).

Here are two photos of an interesting fruit I encountered in Chinatown. It's called Dragonfruit. It's an epiphytic (air plant) cactus that makes fruit. I just had to try it. The inside is soft and the texture when eaten is reminiscent of kiwi fruit. It sort of tastes like what you'd get if you crossed a kiwi with a jicama and threw in a taste of "green".

Below are photos of us at the Queen's falls.

Below is Mitch at the Ala Wai canal.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Giant Clam Info

This information is from Wikipedia. See my photos of giant clams in my Waikiki Aquarium post.

The giant clam (Tridacna gigas) or traditionally, pa’ua, is the largest living bivalve mollusc. One of a number of large clam species native to the shallow coral reefs of the South Pacific and Indian oceans, they can weigh more than 180 kilograms (400 pounds) and measure as much as 1.5 metres (5 feet) across.

Sessile in adulthood, the creature's mantle tissues act as a habitat for the symbiotic single-celled dinoflagellate algae (zooxanthellae) from which it gets its nutrition. By day, the clam spreads out its mantle tissue so that the algae receive the sunlight they need to photosynthesize.


As is often the case with uncharacteristically large species, the giant clam has been historically misunderstood. Known in times past as the killer clam or man-eating clam, reputable scientific and technical manuals once claimed that the great mollusc had caused deaths; versions of the U.S. Navy Diving Manual even gave detailed instructions for releasing oneself from its grasp by severing the adductor muscles used to close its shell.

Today, it is generally acknowledged that the giant clam is neither aggressive nor particularly dangerous; while it is certainly capable of holding one fast in its grip, the shell's closing action is actually a defensive response, and far too slow to pose any reasonable threat. No account of a human becoming trapped in this manner has ever been substantiated.

Conservation status

The IUCN lists the giant clams as vulnerable. There is concern among conservationists for the sustainability of practices among those who use the animal as a source of livelihood. The numbers in the wild have been greatly reduced by extensive overharvesting for food and the aquarium trade. On the black market, giant clam shells are sold as decorative accoutrements, and the meat, called Himejako in Japan, is prized as a delicacy.

Waikiki Aquarium

Some vegans eschew aquariums and zoos because they are keeping animals in captivity, in unnatural environments and small spaces, for human entertainment (as opposed to an animal living out its natural life as it's designed to, out in nature). I decided to check out the Waikiki Aquarium to see for myself. Although I agree the animals are captives in a small space, I am still ambivalent since this aquarium does a good job of education and it's possible it could turn on some people to helping animals and nature. A main focus at the aquarium is on coral, which are living animals, and the destruction that people wreak on the reefs.

Everything in these photos I took there is alive. Although coral looks like a plant, it is a live animal with a skeleton.

Check back later for some amazing photos I took of jellyfish and dragonfish.

Below: my favorite animal in the aquarium is this puffer fish. It is very sociable, since it is hand fed. It followed me around it's tank, trying to get attention just like a pet bird. Puffer fish have poisonous spines they stick out when threatened.

Below: a gorgeous fish called the turkey fish. It's spines are poisonous. Yes, I took these photos myself! Isn't it beautiful and amazing?

Below: I didn't notice this fish until it moved. Can you see it? This is a Nohu (devil scorpionfish) and it can inject poison if bitten or stepped on. Although it's topside is camouflaged, it's bottom side is colorful and it can open it's fins and display the colors as a warning.

Below: a giant clam! It's a live animal, not a plant.

Below: a photo of the aquarium's "reef". At bottom left is a giant clam. When they last weighed it about 6 years ago, it weighed 150 lbs. They can reach 600 lbs!

Below: a closeup of the giant clam. The plant looking skin (alive) is overlaid on top of the clam shell (skeleton). We saw a deceased giant clam shell that looked like a giant, fluted clam shell that you'd expect (underlying the skin). The clam receives nourishment not from eating, but from a process going on in it's outer covering. I'll have to go look this up, my memory is getting hazy. The exhibit also stated that it's a myth that giant clams eat divers.