Saturday, January 31, 2009

Landscape Photography at 80mph


Although I love the beauty of landscape, I don't consider myself very good at capturing the elegance of boulders, deserts, vast tropic waters, or other typical scenes one might find at a Peter Lik gallery. Especially when considering that he has trained in the field of photography for years and understands all of the delicate nuances that lighting, exposure, film speed and so on can make on the final concept. I wish I had that talent, but until then, here are some photos that I took my with a window rolled down, my husband at the wheel, driving past gorgeous formations of rocks and mountains near St. George, Utah. Oh, and as the title mentions...we never stopped to get that perfect shot...these were all taken speeding past at about 80mph!!! Maybe if I had a moment, I might get better at this?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Something's in the Air...Upstairs

Despite showing any symptoms whatsoever, both my kiddoes have developed very ugly cases of strep throat. Darby briefly on Sunday complained that her tummy hurt and described similar ailments currently afflicting Doc, his complaint being that it felt like someone was stabbing him in his back and he could feel it coming through his stomach. Yesterday, on the way home after I picked her up early from school, Darby similarly described feeling like a spear was shooting through her back and stomach. (A case of monkey hear; monkey say, right?) I assumed she simply had eaten to much candy. I can't keep her grubby paws off the sugary treats.  
Later that same day Austin mentioned that his throat was sore and asked for some cold remedy to help. That evening I began to wonder if they were both perhaps really sick despite the lack of fever, tiredness, extreme pain when swallowing, or other such telltale signs that tonsillitis or strep is present. So, I, after having strep and/or tonsillitis more times than I have fingers or toes to count on, got out my flashlight and looked down the beasts' gullets! Sure enough, swollen, red, horrible looking red balls of flesh appeared and a mother's diagnosis was made followed by a concurrence by the local physician. Antibiotics were prescribed and digested later that evening. 
That means three quarters of my family are distraught with illness right at this very moment. I, however, remain unscathed thus far and hope to remain so! Perhaps I have been out of harm's way buried deep within the caverns of our basement rifling, sorting, and assembling shelving to organize the thing called chaos that resides deep within. Whatever the case may be for MY continued good health, I'm very thankful. Hopefully they, too, will feel better very soon--and I can send them both back to school!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

SHINGLES?!!!

Yep, there is a case of shingles at my house...and not the kind that reside upon a rooftop. Poor Dennis, he, again is the afflicted soul. I would often use the word "shingles" in spite of other words to describe outrage, disgust or frustration. I think I'll have to resort to my previously crafted "buggars" instead. This was the word of choice before I viewed Lara Croft, whose character stole my voice of cursing. So BUGGARS!!!! Dennis has shingles!!!! Poor baby.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Too Late for Dream Job


My best friend sent me an e-mail the other day in which she had highlighted a job being hailed as the "best job in the world."

I went ahead and researched the position out of sheer curiosity, not to mention that it did indeed sound like it's simplistic description, and I am now debating whether or not to apply. What might happen if... I am oh so tempted to apply! ;) Although I don't think Dennis could do without me for that long or me without him. Oh, and then there are my two bundles of joy to consider, yep maybe in my next life!
I think it would be funny to apply myself and then just see what might happen! Wouldn't that make a good story! Although if I did, and perhaps even was granted an interview for the position, I would have to insist that it become a family affair and tourism should be appropriately commercialized to couples and families, and not just to single adventure seeking people.
Well it is my dream job, but a little to late. Check it out here at monster! Besides all things considered, this would just be a paid vacation, my dream job is already being fulfilled as a full-time wife and mother!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Battered and Bruised


Our trip was completely full of fabulosity and fun. (No, that's not a real word, but I'm using it anyway.) It was also not void of the occasional calamity. Unfortunately most of those ailments befell Dennis. Maybe it was having the two kids with us, maybe luck and good fortune had mishaps in store for their own amusement, maybe it is just a guy thing, whatever the case may have been; poor Dennis had the tragedy of incurring all injuries and with that the right to claim pity from the rest of us.
Upon our arrival his middle toe was finally healing after breaking it about a month ago. During our trip to Makalawena beach on Christmas Day, Dennis while holding the video, towel, camera, tried to save the small kick board as a large wave dislodged it from my grip and sent it down current.

He managed with all he was balancing not to drop anything into the drink and saved the drifting board he was then broadsided by a wave that pushed him into an outcropping of volcanic rocks and thereby breaking the toe adjacent to the somewhat healed one.

Another day we were out at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau near the Place of Refuge and Dennis set out to snorkel off the rocks aptly named two step as it is almost a neatly formed volcanic formation that resembles two steps like you might see as entry into a pool. He snorkeled for a while with no problem despite the lack of flippers and herein lay his conundrum, bare feet and volcanic rock means sliced feet. OUCH!!!!

It started healing rather quickly once we bought all of the liquid band-aid there was on the whole island.


During his night dive to see the Manta Rays. That night the surge and swells had been building off the coast due to storms to the west of the island and the resulting waves were making their presence known. His dive lasted very briefly and while he was being tossed about the rocks below, they happen to be covered in spiny sea urchins, yep, he got a little jab in the elbow.

On practically our last evening there, just when we thought he couldn't incur any more injury, we were sitting down to dine at the now infamous Tommy Bahama's and he broke his front tooth on the bread. He now needs to see a dentist to repair the very apparent chip in his front left incisor. At least he has a few friends in that department...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Toothless Grin


Crazy things happen when a dentist goes on vacation. During Austin's first dive he kept taking the regulator in and out of his mouth. He was trying to get used to how it felt to hold it between his teeth and lips. Once he felt more comfortable with it he took a giant stride into the ocean, took the regulator out of his mouth, and out popped his tooth. Eyes bulging out of their sockets he hollers "I just lost my tooth!" aimlessly looking into the waters below him that dropped to a depth of about forty feet. The dive master chuckled and replied to me, "You know, we charge extra for that..." Here is Austin post lost tooth and very happy to pose for the moment.
Then about three days before we left, Dennis, yep the dentist himself had a mishap that I will have to get to a little later... he had many mishaps that deserve their own post :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Forgot...I Won!!!!

I neglected to mention on my very first blog of our vacation that I won a contest! Whenever you fly United Airlines to Hawaii to pass some of the time, the attendants pass out fliers from Hilo Hatties (a big Hawaiian gift shop) with a coupon attached. Above that coupon is a form to fill out with your guess down to the second of what time the flight will be exactly half way to Hawaii. I've tried this before and had never come close...I've also never had a trusty calculator with me. After we were airborne the pilot came over the loud speaker to announce our flight time, speed, tail wind, and what time we took off. Accordingly I tried to determine the correct equation to formulate an estimate. I did and my calculations seemed somewhat flawed as I looked at the time. We took off at about 7:30am-ish and my guess concluded that we would reach the half-way mark at 9:15:45. That meant that we would be half way in two hours and fifteen minutes give or take. I really wasn't sure, because it seemed flawed due to the fact that it was such a short interval in my mind. However, I determined to trust my mathematics and turned in my time.
Before landing that attendants had run through all of the passengers guesses and they came over the speaker announcing that Amelia in seat 2H had guessed the time of 9:15 and 45 seconds with one of the closest half-way times they had ever seen, it was within 5 seconds of the actual time. I was amazed, dazed, shocked, and REALLY??? My math worked??? Imagine that. You want proof...
Here is my tag with the 1st place written on it and the actual time of 9:15:50! And this is what I won.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Little Rainbow

I promised to share video of Darby singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" while we were on vacation. She was a little shy but sang it to all the restaurant patron's delight! We were in the rainbow state and had already spotted many. She is a little rainbow of sunshine!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christmas Revisited...

Check out the blog post of our Christmas 4 wheeling adventure that I wasn't able to post earlier, here is the link

http://animatedmom.blogspot.com/2008/12/christmas-spent.html

that way you won't have to scroll through all the other posts, that is of course, if you don't want to... The post after reveals whether or not we made it to our destination.

Winter Wonderland

While we were enjoying our relaxing vacation in hot and sunny Hawaii, my sister and her little doll who live in southern Louisiana woke up one morning to a white winter wonderland. Key word being wonderland as it hasn't snowed in .... forever! She sent me this video of my little niece weeks ago and I was just able to view it this evening.
I love her description of how the snow feels and what it tastes like. Cheers, baby doll to a new year and your first snow!

Happy Birthday Grandmama!


This post is a tribute to my very own grandmother. Today is her eighty-sixth birthday. I'm blessed to know her as a grandparent and a friend.
She is a most intriguing personality. She spent time as a model in the 40's and 50's, maybe that's where I get my interesting fashion sense? She was a singer radio actress and worked briefly on live radio broadcasts before television came along. Her strength to carry herself through countless times of sorrow past and present shows me the insurmountable courage and grace she holds.
We have shared numerous experiences together while I visited her during my college days. All of these times are treasured memories that will never fade from mind. I miss seeing her, I miss smelling her perfume, I miss her encouraging voice, I miss her stories of her adventurous life.

Yep, that's my grandma holding a rifle used during their (she and my grandfather's) Kodiak bear expedition. They brought down the largest one to date in that time which was about 1947...didn't I mention she was incorrigible? Oh and here she is fishing! Look at the size of them
and that's no fish story!
I saw her briefly last year, but a few minutes of hellos and goodbyes are never enough time to spend with those to whom you are uniquely bonded. I could spend an eternity sharing fun, crazy, bold, and beautiful stories of my Grandmother, particularly those of the two of us together, and maybe sometime I will. But for now, I love you Grandmama. I hope that you have a wonderful birthday spent with the family I also adore and miss. Kiss them all for me.
Lovingly,
Your Granddaughter

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home Again!


Yep, we headed home yesterday Hawaiian time at about two in the afternoon. Our arrival at San Francisco International Airport was slightly later than anticipated but we gathered our belongings rather quickly and literally walked out the door to board our bus. Before we left we stayed at the Hyatt in Burlingame which runs a shuttle to and from the airport and cost the same as it would have to park in the airport lot alone.

I was able to finish most of the laundry before our return which meant all I needed to do was unpack. Ugggh! I even hate that, but less than packing, I dread that more. Dennis is already planning our next diving vacation to Curacao among others. We were diving machines this trip and all of it was wonderful! I'll have a few more stories to add from this most recent venture including the array of injuries that befell Dennis, the contest I won, and other video clips that I was unable to post during our stay there. So stay tuned!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Diving with Jack



This was our second day to dive with Jack's Diving Locker. They are a much larger outfit than Big Island Divers and there are definite pros and cons to each. If I had to choose between the two my favorite is Big Island Divers for multiple reasons, the main one being they easily make me feel like part of their ohana here on the island. Jack's was wonderful with my children and with Austin's certification process and they were able to work his requirements in during the time we would be on island.



Here I am riding the waves on the boat in sheer anticipation of the first dive of the morning. We were on the smaller of the two boats that we've experienced at Jack's and there were many, many people aboard. I personally prefer the smaller groups that I've gone out with in the past.

In any case we had a good experience with Jack's. Darby was the "co-pilot" with both captains which allowed Dennis and I to have a little more freedom to snorkel or dive as we chose.
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She was aware of her duties as co-pilot and checked often on everyone aboard the vessel and then reported back to captain Doug. As she was "working" she decided that she wasn't going to snorkel, swim, or even get wet and as all six-year-old's decisions go it was a temporary situation.


THANKS DOUG! For being so awesome with my Darby Doll!
So later during the last dive, she found the steps to the water and the warm water shower as well and made good use of them.



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I dove the first dive at "Disneyland" mooring it was a very interesting dive and I saw many interesting new fish I hadn't had a chance to see before. Dennis even got a couple of shots of me in my scuba gear on the surface after I did a stride entry into the ocean and then a short clip of me descending.










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After the first dive we all had a break on board and had sandwiches and peanut butter oreo cookies (that was a first). Austin had done great on his third dive and was getting ready for the second when he gave me a quick lesson on the buoyancy affects of a wet suit. Jan is his instructor for his course, she is in the background.


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After all that snacking everyone was ready to get back into the water, except of course, Darby. She and I decided to take a break on the bow of the boat and catch some rays. We took some snapshots of ourselves, after all it's not everyday that you find yourself on a boat in the warm Pacific Ocean moored up next to a tropical island....or do you?



FLIP!



Dennis dove the second of the two dives at Kaiwi Bay. Apparently it is abundant in fish life much more so than during my first dive, so I was a little jealous that we couldn't go together. I can't wait to go again, neither can Dennis at this point. Here he is in his gear and a short clip of him posing "hang loose" cause he doesn't know that I'm actually filming video :)







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Cat Nap




Austin, after the hours he has already spent diving, needed a little cat nap on the way to our first dive site of the day. This would be his third open water dive required for certification. He snuggled in my lap and fell asleep until we reached the mooring at Disneyland. Despite our attempts to keep him awake, we gave him a Rockstar, and he had some of Darby's Icee before we left, I guess he just required a few more minutes of slumber until he hit the water!


Come Sail with Me!

What was great about the boat trip is the fact that there have been multiple large storms off the west coast of Hawaii and the swells created are now affecting the beaches here. The swells develop into deep large waves that collide into the volcanic shoreline creating beautiful sprays that jet up over the rocky cliff sides.







Despite the wild conditions of the surface, scuba diving is still possible and very fun we dove two sites. These pictures clearly show the difference of morning and afternoon, the first picture is at about nine this morning. The last four shots were taken on our way back to harbor at about two thirty or so. The water is still incredibly blue especially as it breaks over the rocks but because of the overcast in the sky it isn't as deep a turquoise as the first picture.

Happy New Year!

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The last sunset of 2008. Hello 2009! Happy New Year to all our family and friends!