The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion

The Energizer Cowboys who kept things humming at the reunion
These kids know how to have fun!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Back on the Sea Again

Oct. 8 I can’t sleep tonight; images from the Angles and Demon’s movie must be waking me up! (Actually I discovered, when Steve got up, that I had set my alarm clock one hour back, instead of one hour forward, so it is 6:00 AM instead of 4 AM. That makes me feel better! Hated to waste that good sleep time by being awake!) The movie was a very intense and well done. This is one case where I liked the movie better than the book. I didn’t like all the gory death scenes in the book.

The show was projected on the gigantic screen outside, so we were sitting on lounge chairs, and the waiters bought us popcorn, pizza, cookies and milk—how cushy is that! Ron Howard was the director and the scene from the Vatican were amazing. I’m sure The Catholic Church didn’t allow filming there, so everything must have been constructed replicas, which were amazing.  It was a little windy, so we had jackets to keep warm.

New friends we met and dined with often.
Robert & Diane Widdison on our right have relatives in SJC
We are on the long voyage home now. I think 7-10 days is enough vacation for me; I’m starting to feel like a real bum, and am ready to get home and do something useful for the world. Yesterday we went to the ship’s book group of The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. There were only 4 of us there, but we had a good discussion. The assistant tour director led the discussion, but he wasn’t a family man, so I don’t think the book had much meaning for him. However, for those in the Church who recognize the importance of families and generational connections, it is especially meaningful, as we know the eternal nature of families and the importance of passing on a legacy of values and character, and optimism. I hope you will all read this book.

Afterwards we played Trivia with about 100 people. A lady from the book discussion and her mother-in-law helped form our little team. We got 19 out of 20 right. We would have gotten all of them, but couldn’t understand the Welsh accent of the MC (who was also the book discussion leader). He was asking for a synonym of “awes” meaning to cross water. We tried to get him to spell it, but he wouldn’t…What he was trying to say in “real English” was oars. If we had been able to translate, we would have gotten the word paddle!
One of the theaters on board
We’ve finally been able to rouse some interest with our group in playing games, and have met at 10 AM the past few mornings and have taught them about 4 card games. We also learned one called Thirty-one. The only problem is that the tables are so small, that we’ve had to change the game of “Nines” down to “Sixes” but it is played the same way. Yesterday as we were leaving I spotted another group playing the same game, but they call it “Dumb Luck” which is a better name for it!
Our tour leader Len Geertsen with Marilyn and JT Beech from St. Anthony

Attended a Latin a musical called “Caliente” two nights ago—getting us ready for Ensenada, I guess. It was very energetic and fun. Earlier this week they had a Luau at 10:30 PM. We stayed for awhile, but it was a little rainy and we left after a quick nibble at the buffet table. This could qualify for one of Dante’s Inferno punishments, with piles of food surrounding people who are trying to overcome food addictions! Dad has done pretty good on food control and is walking about 3 miles each morning. I’ve been a slacker, but did get up yesterday and resumed my regime. It’s only 65 degrees right now, so I’m going to wait for another hour or so to go out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Kaua'i and Mau'i visits

A visit to one of the few privately owed Macademian farms

Missionaries established this home in 1823

Largest Banyan tree in the United States
Oct 5. We’re at the last island Mau’i. Where we landed is the setting for Mitchner’s book Hawaii. Lahaina is the little town where the first protestant missionaries came in 1823, and many of those early buildings are still there. It was very interesting seeing what parts of the true story he had used.
This is all part of the same original tree

Planted in 1873, to commemorate 50 years anniversary
of  Missionaries in  Lahaina

Besides  the historic walking tour, we did some shopping. In the early afternoon went on the Atlantis, submarine trip. It was quite interesting. We went about 100+ feet down, and saw thousands of fish, 3 sharks, and scuba divers along the coral reef.

The shortcut to the chapel
Oct. 4—Kauai--Len , our group chaperone, Steve and I caught the Hilo Hattie’s shuttle, and made our way to an LDS chapel which was only about 3 blocks away from the drop off point --where we were able to listen to the final session of Sunday conference.

 It started here at 10 AM. The talks were very encouraging and uplifting, like a light in the darkness. We heard that night that a new temple has been announced for Brigham City. Two couples in our group were very happy about that, as the Ogden temple has parking space problems, and this will eliminate that pressure.
Church in Hawaii, complete with walking shoes.

In the afternoon we walked over to the beach so I finally got some sand and water on my feet and legs. I’m re-reading The Last Lecture, so that was uplifting too to read on the sand. Steve wandered around and took pictures. I figured this was probably going to be my last chance to actually get in the water, and I didn’t want to miss it.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hilo and Honalulu Oct 1-2

Beautiful beaches on every island.

Friday Oct. 1: We had a very pleasant day on “the big Island of Hawai’i. We docked at Hilo in the morning, and by 8:30 we were off on a tour of the “windward” side of the island.
Our tour guide was very personable with lots of interesting stories, about the island. 

I didn’t realize it, but there aren’t snakes or other predators in Hawai’i…so it’s not quite so dangerous if you get lost in the jungles..just lava tunnels to fall into and volcanoes that might erupt. The mongooses (mongeese?) have kept the snakes at bay, but not the rats and mice because they aren’t nocturnal (a word CJ once told us when he was about 2 years old!) So they don’t have the same sleep patterns. We also learned a little about how to pronounce the language, which only has 13 letters in their alphabet, and some things about their culture and history. 

On the way to see the Akaka Falls

 We got to walk through a jungle wonderland in order to see beautiful waterfall.  I was expecting to see strange animals at every corner, but it was just pure vegetation.

The biological gardens at Hilo were one of my favorite places to visit.  They were amazing, with brushes, trees, and flowers of all kinds beautifully landscaped.  We had a soft drizzle most of the time we were there, but were in carts, so it wasn't a problem.
Orchids at Nani Mau gardens

We also visited a macadamenian plant, which had cute quilts.  
I'm "nuttier" about quilts than nuts!

Kona Coffee Bean plantation
Saw this on the way to the Blue Hawaii filming area.

Botantical Gardens of Nani Mau in Hilo

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hawai'i All Hands On Deck

Post #2 We’ve had to change our watches three times so far, and Dad keeps getting up earlier and earlier as a result. I think he left at 5:30 to go walk Wed. morning. I only got in 8000+ steps today and yesterday, but am so thankful I’m not seasick any more. We’ve attended a couple of lectures about the islands, as well as about whales, marine life, language, Hawai’ian foods, etc. Dad ate snails and frog legs for supper tonight. My most exotic thing has been to try sushi and cold apple soup.

We haven’t been able to talk any of our group into joining us to play games this trip. All the wives say their husbands don’t like to play games, so I guess I’m lucky to have one who does. Tonight we played 5 Crowns by ourselves.

I spent most of the day glued to Dan Brown’s Lost Symbols. Finished it Thurs. morning. It was surprising how many of the ideas – especially in the final chapters of the book, parallel LDS beliefs. Usually people are criticizing us because we believe that man is as God once was, and as God is, man may become. Brown also espouses the idea of intelligence and spirit given to us by God, that we’re created in his image and can become like him. Nice surprising ideas coming from a popular writer, since I had expected him to attack the Mormon-Mason connection.

We’re re-reading The Last Lecture, which will be a book discussion on the return trip. I highly recommend it for all those with children still in their jurisdiction and care. Lots of good ideas.

The Widdison’s in our group celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary today. She is a 3 year survivor of cancer. Another lady at our table is a 5 year survivor. Have also made friends with a couple from St. Anthony Idaho..the Beeches. They are farmers, but she worked at the Rexburg hospital for 52 years.

It has been quite hot out on the decks of the ship in the afternoons. There are 3 big pools, and several smaller ones, which we have yet to try.

Hawaii here we come

Bon Voyage Sept. 27: We're off on a great adventure to Hawaii. Theron delivered us to the SLC airport, and we flew out on Delta at 8:30 for LA. The Princess Cruise line had reps there to pick us up almost immediately, and we had very little down time at the airport. However, we couldn’t board the ship until 12:30, so they took all the cruisers to the Sheraton Hotel where we filled out our boarding papers, and had some refreshments.
Sunday when we left, the San Pedro Harbor the rocking of the boat wasn’t bad as the water was still. We met most of the other nine couples going with Brent Judd, and enjoyed a good musical welcome at the ship's evening program.

Day Two took a decided turn to dampen my ardor, as I suffered surprisingly from vertigo, and my usually steady feet make me look like a drunken sailor—or maybe a tilting tailor. I was pretty content to stay in bed, sleeping and reading most of Monday, though I did put in an appearance briefly on the promenade deck, and at lunch and dinner. By evening Steve was coming down with a sore throat, so he didn’t go to the “Words and Music” musical tribute to composers: Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein, and others.

As usual, the cruise ship meals are great motivation for getting up in the morning, but I am trying hard to avoid things that are disgustingly delicious, carbo-laden, having no redeeming value to a recovering sugar addict. We eat at the fancy dining room in the evening with others from our group, but get to pick and choose for the other two meals. Steve & I have been walking each morning so we don't get too carried away with our luxurious life style!

I’m missing my soft comfy bed, and have to do extra stretches to get moving each morning, as this bed is none too comfortable, though Steve says he likes it.

The Golden Princess is making her first trip to Hawaii this season, and is filled to capacity. They were the #1 cruise ship last year, and one of the biggest with 2600 passengers. With the staff of over 1100, it probably has as many people as the berg of Blanding aboard! There are many people from England aboard, and the staff comes from Australia, Philippines, Hawaii, and many other countries, so there are accents galore, which makes it fun as we become acquainted.

As of yet we haven't found anyone who likes to play cards, though often the wife would join us if the stogy husbands would. Maybe today! I did play in a ping-pong tournament, and didn't fall down, which is often quite a feat when you're back-handing a flying missile. It was fun!