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Life Lessons

I’ve come down with a crappy cold, it seems like just yesterday I had a similar bug. But so it goes. It’s given me some time to just chill out and stop running around like a crazed weasel. The weasel-go-round has been pretty non-stop since we got back from Hawaii, and I’ve given myself precious little time to just be. Be married. Be peaceful. Be quiet. Already.

So I’ve had time to read a book that one of my friends gave me for my birthday called Eat Pray Love. This is an awesome book. If you’re in any way a spiritual seeker, or if you’re in any way a woman, this is a great book. It’s an autobiography of a year of travel and spiritual seeking, and the author is painfully honest about her own shortcomings, her frustrations and personal pain. It’s also really funny in parts, and very inspiring. So many of her obstacles remind me of my own, and of how much the universe has to teach us if we would just shut up and listen for a minute.

So that’s my New Year’s Resolution for this year. Shut up and listen. This book reminded me that we don’t find meaning or God or connectedness through ruminating about the past or imagining the future. Those activities have their place, but the most powerful and poignant experiences are found right now. So I’m going to listen more. Listen to silence. Listen to those around me. Listen to myself. Listen to my dog.

This does not mean that I plan to cure myself of my endless diarrhea of the mouth (or of the keyboard), or that I will transform from an analytical, inquisitive person into a Zen master. I have no plans to stop being me. I’m just going to listen a little harder to the world around and inside me to determine who me really is, and maybe to help her expand a bit.

Whirlwind Tour

The holidays were nice this year, if a bit hectic. In the space of two weeks, I gave my thesis presentation, turned in our paper, got engaged, went to Hawaii, got married, hosted my parents, graduated, had a birthday and Christmas and started planning our reception.


Any one of these events would be exciting (and possibly overwhelming) one at a time, but the confluence of events has made it challenging to keep my head. Still, I am surely thankful for all of these good things in my life, and we’ve gotten so many good wishes from friends and family! I am looking forward to settling into being married, graduated, and older.

Merry Holidays

What is it like trying to find a cocktail dress days before Christmas when all the over size eights are long gone? Not. Fun.

The definition of courage.

Orchids, Lava, and Waterfalls

Pretty much describes my day. We drove to Hilo on the other side of the island. It poured rain most of the way, but we braved our way though the Botanic Gardens, which came highly recommended. Armed with $2 plastic raincoats, a loaner umbrella, and bug spray, we traversed a mile or so of rainforest riddled with interesting plants and flowers. It was drippy, but fun. The pictures aren’t as good as I’d have liked, we opted to leave our excellent loaner camera safe in the dry car.

Then we headed into Hilo where we took a helicoptor tour. It was a bit of a white-knuckle ride for both of us (and a bit green-faced for me) but it was really cool to be able to see bits of the active volcano – there’s no foot access right now.

After some ginger-ale, we headed back towards Kona, but stopped at this amazing waterfall. Then it was back to the hotel for some much needed rest. zzzzzzz….

Volcanos and Black Sand

Yesterday we traveled down the coast, around the tip of the island, and into volcano country. We saw some really cool stuff. We took a short hike around a steam vent area. There are these big cracks in the earth with plants growing out of them and steam bellowing up. Very prehistoric looking, I kept expecting a T-Rex to go crashing by.

Then we looked at this HUGE crater of an inactive volcano. The area at the top of the mountain is very arid and dry (and rainy and cold), but then we drove down to where the lava tube was (a big cave created by lava) and it was warm and humid and very tropical. The lava tube was cool, and very dark.

After that, we drove all the way down the coast past a bunch of craters to an area where there are petroglyphs carved in the volcanic rock. That was really cool. Many pictures.

Then we drove home, but stopped at a black sand beach that was riddled with turtles.

Things I learned yesterday: Chocolate covered macadamia nuts are evil. EVIL. Remember to bring a swanky dive flashlight if you’re going to hike through a cave (we didn’t).

Today we’re driving north to see some waterfalls, and then taking a helicopter tour of the lava flows. Very cool. Hopefully we’ll get some good pictures.

Hawaii, continued.

The newlyweds split up this morning to pursue their own activities. David went diving. He saw some cool fish, some wacky looking lobster, and a huge freaking humpback whale. He’s doing a night dive tonight with manta rays.

I, on the other hand, pursued my love of coffee into the mountains south of our hotel.
There are hundreds of coffee plantations in that area, each one being fairly small because of the labor-intensity of harvesting coffee. I learned a whole lot about coffee, and I got very, very, very wired.

I visited Kona Joe’s coffee plantation where they grow coffee in a vinyard-style like wine. This is supposed to make the beans ripen more evenly, and produces higher yields. The coffee was really good, I had a cup of the medium roast, cafe au lait style.

Then I went to Greenwell Farms a bit further down the road. They have lots of fruit trees, and amazing coffee. I took a bunch of pictures there as well. I saw some cool wildlife – birds and colorful lizards. The scenery is beautiful just about everywhere you go.

We’re going to drive further down the coast tomorrow, and then visit the volcanoes on Weds. via some hiking and a helicopter tour. More pictures to come, watch my flickr page.


We done went and got married.
(<–click the picture for more pictures)

Aloha, peoples.

We are in Hawaii. It is freaking gorgeous here. Everything is beautiful. Rocks, trees, plants, water. Really amazing. People are also really nice, and it’s an easy trip for me to the driver on because everyone here drives like me – a very cautious Grandma. I’ve gotten confused and turned around a bunch of times, but I have yet to hear anyone honk.

The weather is pretty beautiful, though it’s been a bit stormy. Humid, upper 70s low 80s. Ideal for a nice winter getaway.

We’re staying at the Sheraton, which is pretty, but fairly lame. I always thought I’d love staying at a luxury hotel, but in fact, deep down, I am a cheap ass. It’s not luxury enough to be actually luxurious, and they charge you for EVERYTHING. The very pricey restaurant totally sucks, too. Lame.

Still, the bed is comfy, the views are great, and the staff is helpful. So can’t really complain. Except I just did.

We drove down the coast today to an historical sight where most of these pictures were taken. Some spectacular views, foliage, and wildlife.

David’s dad George* kindly lent us his amazing camera, which makes even a spaz like me look like a good photographer.

Jet lag is kicking our asses. We managed to sleep until 4 this morning, and then got hit with the tired baseball bat around 6pm, when coherent sentences stopped happening.

Check my flickr page for updates, I’ll be posting more tomorrow, most likely.

*George, consider yourself blogged.