JJ, the Happiest Pooch: Photo Post

Oh JJ is such a country pooch.  He’s loving it here!

bounding with the ball in his mouth, like a real dog who actually knows how to play fetch!

He’s been playing so much, and he has a friend to play with too.  Seeing him run around makes me so happy.  This has been a great move for us, yes.  But the fact that our little boy is enjoying himself so much too really makes me feel great about everything!

rocky and jj

So here’s a massive photo dump of our sweet little doggie having a blast.  I figured I was posting way too many pics as it was, so I’d at least make a separate post chock full of JJ pics.  Enjoy!

Oh, and if you notice another pooch… the chocolate lab about three times bigger than jay = his new bff, Rocky!  Rocky is Nick and Austin’s dog.  At first the two were enemies and didn’t like each other, we even had to get a muzzle for ole mean JJ because he was too snappy.  But after some sniffing and playing, they worked it out and now the two seem to be good pals, having fun running around together.  Whew!

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr


I drafted this post a couple days ago when I had some time, and I’ve since had more time to play with JJ outside.  This video is long (five minutes), but it’s of Duggs and me, playing with JJ and Rocky outside in the backyard.  It’s probably boring to everyone else, but they crack me up!!

In case the vid isn’t working, here’s the YouTube link.

I have it on Photobucket too: link, and this should embed it: http://static.photobucket.com/player.swf

Running Into Tragedy

(Warning: sad content about a fatal motor vehicle accident).

Yesterday afternoon I went for a run.  Well, more accurately, it was a jog and walk mix up, doing three minute intervals of each.  Considering how sick I’ve been over the last few months and how little exercise I’ve gotten in (I haven’t gone on a run in way too long), I’m really rather proud of myself!

red faced and sweaty close up. yikes!

happy pooch on a run

It was a sun-filled, warm afternoon.  I wanted to get an idea of where I have to run around here, what the scenery and paths are like, sideswalks vs. grass, quiet roads vs. busy streets and so on.  I used my RunKeeper app to notice the mileage and keep track of landmarks – I now have a great idea of whereabouts my half-mile and mile marks are, etc.

these will be tall vineyards one day

on south roberts road, a little ways down from our house

The pooch was happy to stretch his legs.  The worst part about me being sick and not going for runs is that the pooch doesn’t get to go jog either.  Now, he’s had a lot of chance to play lately.  At the hotel in Hawaii there was a doggie park for him, all during our trip he got to hang out with other pooches and play, and without fenced-in yards – to go potty he was taken on walks.  So it’s not like he’s all cooped up… but the pooch LOVES going for runs with me.  He was so excited he pulled on the leash the entire time, to the point that it was straining and annoying.

exploring doggie

my jayjers

a little farm access road i found to jog down and get away from traffic

While I was out I had the music pumping, I took some fun snapshots with my iPhone camera.  I was really stoked for myself, exercising again, getting some sun, checking out my new home, etc.

a fun place to run, so green and open

I was on my way back to the house, jogging my last “run” interval when I looked further down the road and I saw a ton of dirt and dust clouding up into the air.  Traffic started backing up and I could see cars swerving and zig-zagging.  Something was wrong, and I could just tell.  It seemed like an accident.  So I took off in a sprint and tore down the road.

I am so out of shape, and I’m sore today already… but when I can tell something serious has happened, that lifeguard in me just responds and I sprinted the whole way there.  I got to scene and started yelling, “I’m an RN, is anyone hurt?”

I could see one conversion van, blue with handicap decals and a wheelchair ramp, just smashed to pieces and sticking out into the road at a weird, dangerous angle.  I saw a semi truck in the opposite lane pulled over, and who appeared to be the driver, trying to direct traffic.

a photo of the accident from observer today (link below)

From what I initially gathered, one man was dead and the other was fine – no one else claimed to have been involved and no one else said they were hurt.  The deceased was pinned underneath the rear axle of the blue van, and the scene was just horrendous.

Some volunteer firefighters on the scene started calling up more guys.  They said they would need a lot of help, and I asked if I should run home to get Duggs (“my husband’s a Marine – do you need him?” – “oh yeah, go get him now!”).

So I sprinted home as fast as I could, got Duggs and we hurried back to the accident.  It all happened a country block away from Nick’s house (where we live now) and we could see the whole thing from the end of our driveway.  By the time we got back there so many professionals were on the scene and taking care of everything, they didn’t need us at all and we were told we could go home.

we were really close to the wreck

standing in the driveway, looking toward the accident scene

Now.  I did take some photos with my phone.  I was worried that people were going to try and move the car or move the man, so since I was the first one on the scene with a camera – I just started taking some photos in case things weren’t left as is (I was just trying to do anything I could to help).  No.  I will not post those photos or share them.  I’m going to delete them actually, the officer directing the scene already told me he didn’t need them (it turns out they didn’t end up moving the vehicles or the man).

I went back home and I just felt so weird.  I was so sad for the man who died and for his family.  I know accidents happen all the time, people die everyday – but it’s sad when you deal with it firsthand, so up close.  And I was all mixed up.  I had been so happy, so excited to be out on a run – and now patting myself on the back felt weird.  It felt disrespectful or inappropriate.

But life has to go on, right?

I didn’t know the man who was killed yesterday.  I’m not suffering or grieving his loss.  But I know that many are, and that’s what makes me sad.  After we got back to the house I went out back to the vineyards and jogged, walked, prayed, and just cooled down.  I aksed God to bless the man who lost his life, to comfort his family, loved ones, the other driver and everyone involved.  Other than praying, I wasn’t really sure what to do.

happy pooch, running and playing

love the views of grape country

off leash running in back of the house, sprinting up and down the grassy access road between vineyards

Today in the news I saw the story about the accident.

Turns out the man who died was a very well-known and respected former public official: John Dillenburg.

john dillenburg, rest in peace – this is a photo of him they posted on the daily observer, from 1999

He’s been serving in government since the 70s, he was in the national guard and he went to State Ranger school out here.  His whole life he’s given back to his community and the people around him.  His wife of 45 years survives him, along with his daughter and grand-daughter.

Forty-five years of marriage.  Wow.

My heart breaks for his wife, and now I ask God to bring her comfort and peace.  I just can’t imagine what she’s going through.  I wish there would have been something we could have done, some way we could have helped or saved him.  But that’s not how this played out.  The only respite is that he didn’t suffer, it all must have happened so quickly.

Here’s the link to the news story, you can read all about his service and the work he did in this part of the country.

While I am happy to have gone on a run and to have worked out, I’m just left in an interesting state of mind.  I’ll take this experience as a call to appreciate life, to recognize how fragile we are, how fleeting and delicate life can be.  Each day is a gift, and every day we encounter so many blessings.

I’m in awe of God’s beautiful creation – coming from amazing Hawaii to wester New York, which although different in scenery, is another gorgeous, green, natural place.  I love living here so far, and I’m so grateful for my life.  I’m so grateful that I felt well enough to go running yesterday, that my husband and loved ones were alive and well at the end of the day.

Even on our worst days, there is so much gratitude to fill our hearts to overflowing.  Ever since having cancer, I try to approach and value every day as so special.  But it’s easy to get caught up, it’s easy to get into a routine and come to know distraction.

smiling, again – there’s lots to smile about and even more to be so grateful for.

So while yesterday is a tragedy and it’s sad, and the whole thing horrifies me and hurts my heart, at least I can try and take away some lessons.  A wake up call, a reminder, a poignant and painful lesson about just how precious every moment is.

I know I hugged Duggs much tighter than usual last night.  And I hope everyone who’s blessed enough to have your loved ones alive and well will do the same.  Be glad for all that you do have.

As always, thanks for reading my blog. 


Fancy Photos From the Road: Camp Curtis

More photos, I know! I’ve finally uploaded the nice pics from our good camera onto the computer and put together some posts from our trip around New York last week.

I already wrote about the lovely time we had visiting my sister and her boyfriend Jared in Pottersville, NY at their rustic and luxurious lake house on Valentine Pond, Camp Curtis (check out that post, here!)… but I owe y’all the rest of the photos from that leg of the trip.

And since my sister had so much fun messing with the camera, we took a TON of pics while we were there.  With so many animals, such pretty scenery and so much going on, how could you not just snap away all day?

So here’s a whole mess of photos from the few days we were there.  Thanks for looking!

And as always (and I really do mean this), thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

HNL to JFK, Road Trip, Reunions, and So On…

We don’t live in Hawaii anymore.  It’s so crazy to realize that, but in another way – it feels like it’s been forever since I was in Hawaii.  I know it’s hardly been a week since we left, but the sounds of luau music and the taste of pineapple with li hing feel like super distant memories.  It’s weird how time can mess with you like that!

We finally left Hawaii on the evening of May 1st.  Getting all of our luggage, the pooch and ourselves to the airport was comedic at best.

the shuttle from the hotel to the airport. yeah, we literally filled the whole thing

arriving at the honolulu airport – so much stuff, yikes!

It took so long to do all the checking in and inspections that we were literally the last ones to run aboard the plane just moments before take-off.  American Airlines was actually great, they only charged us $175 for JJ – and if you’ve been following all of the controversy and price changes for animals accompaniment fare, you know this is a screaming good deal!

checking the pooch into american airlines

I was so sad to say bye to JJ.  I was so worried about my pooch being on the plane, all by himself.  He’s meek and scared of everything as it is.  I knew the poor little guy was just going to be terrified the whole time.  I slept with a blanket for a week out, so it would really smell like me.  We had his favorite pals, Hippo and Bonky in there with him, along with a new doggie bed a couple pillows he likes.

saying good bye to the pooch before we boarded the plane in hawaii

Then it was go time!

self-port in the plane lavatory, hahah. i’m shameless.

duggs and me, on the plane – good bye hawaii and hello new adventure!

We made a quick stop in LAX (and hey! Cali friends, don’t worry, we hardly had more than a few minutes to sit at the gate and then we were off again – if I ever have enough time to hang out during a layover I make sure to let folks know, and this was NOT one of those time).  Then on to JFK in New York City it was!  Jayjers seems to have done well enough, because when we picked him up in the NY airport he was his happy, excited, adorable self!

i look so tired after flying all night – but i’m super happy to be reunited with my sweet boy!

rounding up all of our crap in the jfk baggage claim

We landed in the mid-afternoon of May 2nd.  Between the flight lengths and the time change it really takes about a full day to go from Hawaii to the East Coast.  Then the nest adventure was rounding up the luggage (all zillion pieces of it… seven checked, 3 carry ons and a pooch, to be exact) and get the rental car checked out and on the road.

The first stop was Miss Alices, or Mom’s – my Mother-in-Law’s place in Long Beach, Long Island.

miss alice, outside of her home in long beach, long island, ny.

We stayed at Miss Alice’s house for three nights!  We were able to catch up with her, Matthew got to see BOTH of his brothers and we just all had an awesome time.  We got to relax, shoot the breeze, and it was just lovely all around.  MIss Alice treated us to some amazing home-cooked meals and we just lived it up, relaxing and taking it all in!

stephen, matthew’s brother holds jj

Matthew and I did some shopping (we made some awesome use out of some leftover gift cards from Christmas).

duggs driving me to the mall for some shopping!

yo, i’m at the mall. so what about it?

oh hay duggs, how does it feel to be back home?

It’s been a little colder here than we expected – but the change of pace has felt AMAZING. I love it!  We packed for a slightly warmer season, so while at the mall we did grab a couple more sweaters.  And Miss Alice gifted me some layering stuff and sweaters too.  Surprisingly, I’ve done well with the climate change and haven’t felt “cold” at all.  I’ve just really liked it!   One thing I have had to get used to – having to wear real clothes.  In Hawaii, I dressed sooooo casually, flip flops (slippahs) and sundresses all the time!  Not to mention I work from home, so I hardly get all dolled up.  In the NYC-area, it’s a different story.  You can’t go running errands looking like a slouch.  So I’ve had a fun time wearing “real” clothes.  It feels good!

A few of Matthew’s pals hosted a really sweet gathering for us and we were able to catch up with a lot of friends.  It was so rad!

duggs and me, from the night we hung out with everyone

We had a great night hanging out with everyone.  I was too busy gabbing (go figure!) to take many pics… ugh.  I promise that once we go through the real camera and upload pics, I’ll include whatever ones we have from that night.  It was a blast seeing Christian and Lauren, their little baby Griffin, Lauren’s parents were such a delight!  And then so many friends came over to say hi!  We got to see Brian and Rachel, Nick and Liz, my friend Marissa met up with us too, Christian’s brother Shawn, and then we were there – it was such a cool night!  (I really really hope I didn’t forget anyone).

To everyone who came and hung out – thank you so much!  It was so rad to see everyone.

miss alice, during the road trip out to the east end of the island

the view driving near nanny and grandparent’s house out in amagansett, long island

me and the sweet pooch on the road, loving it!

Before we went to the actual house, we stopped by the beach in Amagansett and I was able to lay eyes on the Atlantic Ocean once again.  After living in and around the Pacific the past couple years, and getting used to its warm waters and bright blue electric colors – it was nice to see my tried and true gray Atlantic.  Something about the murky and cold water just feels comforting to me, out of familiarity, out of the hours and hours I’ve spent in it and on it… as gorgeous as the Pacific is, the Atlantic will always be home to me!

the ocean!

the house in amagansett – it’s a beautiful beach home that duggs and his fam have all gathered at for years.

We spent a night with Matthew’s grandparents, his mom, his brother Johnny and his Uncle Joe all out at the beach house in Amagansett.  Uncle Joe had his lovely doggie Kola with him, and seeing Jay and Kola interact was fun and cute.  The time out at the beach house was very relaxing.  It’s so quiet out there, it was really nice.

I woke up the morning we were to head out that way with a dreadful sore throat.  I was so worried about getting everyone sick, but it’s been way too long since we’ve seen everyone.  So long as they were okay with me and my germs, I was more than happy to suck it up and make the trip anyways!

Here’s where I’m a heel: the vast majority of the picks we took were on the good camera and I haven’t even started to upload and sort through those.  The only ones I have are my random iPhone snap shots.  So I’ll have to go back and post much better pics from this trip when I have some real time to do a nice job.  On my phone, I hardly got any family pics – just some weird snaps here and there.


johnny is the biker of the fam, he looks like jax from sons of anarchy!

duggs and i got to sleep lucy and dezi style in twin beds, hehe! it was so nice and quiet there, we were able to get some great sleep.

check out this old school image of super duper hottie hubby back in the day!

Grandpa cooked us a lovely meal of salmon and rice, Nanny served a light and a delicious   key lime pie.  The whole family was able to catch up, chit chat and relax.  I know Matthew was just so happy to get to see his family – for him it had been about two years since he’d seen anyone!

The single night spent out there came and went too soon, and before I knew it we were on the road again… time to head back to Long Beach and drop off Miss Alice (my mother-in-law) and then pack up and head out to Pottersville.

Next up: a blog about our time at Camp Curtis on Valentine Pond, in Pottersville, NY.   Our road trip will continue and we’ll keep going and visiting more fam and friends.

the road trip route: JFK to long island, going all across the whole island and then back to the city, up toward and past albany and then on to buffalo! pretty sweet way to criss cross the state, huh?

As always, thanks for reading!! xoxo, hhr

Whew. What An Amazing Weekend – Women Of Hope Retreat 2012

I spent this past weekend on the North Shore with 140 of God’s LOVEliest women at my church’s 2012 women’s retreat!

the women of hope

I’m fired up, filled to overflowing, loved, happy, encouraged, humbled, grateful, and … exhausted!  Hence, this post isn’t the actual rundown post.  No, this weekend was so full of post-able pieces of wisdom, insights, joy, fun, photos, and good ideas it’s going to take me a hot minute to compile it all together.  I think I’ll actually make a few posts.

I was so honored to be on the ministry team, working at the event.  I was in charge of the tie dye event and I came up with/led some ice breakers.  I want to post about the group bonding games we did in hopes that others could take the ideas and use them for their own events (Annmarie and I co-led the ice breakers and we are oh so clever, we invented our own games for the ladies to play!!).

The ministry was amazing.  We had devotionals, testimonies, teachings, praise and worship, prayer, prayer and more prayer.  Eight women were baptized in the ocean! EIGHT! Countless women had their faith renewed, re-ignited; sins were purged, the enemy was attacked, others were forgiven.

ocean baptism - amen!

The theme of retreat was LOVE.  We are Lovely, Overcoming, Victorious, and Eternal.

I learned so much, I just feel so pumped up.  I’ve been falling off in my obedience and commitment to God, and this weekend really gave me a chance to dig in and reconnect.  I was able to lay a lot of my own junk down and serve my God, happily.

So, there is MUCH to share, much to say and much to show.  Just give me a few days to collect my thoughts (and notes – I used like seven different notebooks, so everything is all scattered and out of order)… and a series of posts will ensue!

camp mokule'ia is amazing.

If you have any requests of stuff you’d like me to talk about, lemme know.

Oh, and the location!  The location was epic.  Camp Mokule’ia is peaceful and amazing.  The new direction of the facility is to live and run the operations of the camp in a way that is most kind to the land it’s on.  Sustainable living is totally promoted with a new gray water system, aquaponics, composting, gardening, and beefed up recycling.  A hippie like me couldn’t be more excited, especially because Camp management bases all of their green-inspired efforts in Scripture!  I’ll be interviewing the owner of the Camp and giving a full explanation of all their new eco-friendly installations, what the impact has been like, the theological inspiration for the efforts, and how camped have been responding.  So rad, right!?!?

I’m excited to get cracking.  Love to all of my sisters – thank you for a wonderful weekend.

Thanks for reading! xoxo, hhr

manoa falls hike with the hubs and the pooch: hot august mud baths for all!

August 27, 2010: Manoa Falls Trail + Aihulama Trail + Pauoa Flats Trail

We went hiking this past weekend at Manoa Falls and we had a super blast!  It was so much fun.

We’ve done this trail before, and it’s becoming a favorite of our’s.  It’s very shaded and cool, muddy, and if you take the Aihulama Trail up to the Pauoa Flats Trail, you can get a workout in for sure!  We did lots of trail running, and in some parts the steepness + mud = enough or a workout.  My legs were tight/sore for a day or two afterwards.

The short hike from the parking lot to the Falls is easy, crowded, muddy, and fun.  I say it’s easy because it’s a very well set trail, that’s very public.  But, it can be slippery due to the mud.  We saw older folks with canes doing it, but that kinda worried me!  The fall and slipping potential seems high.  Otherwise, it’s an easy trail! We brought JJ, our 30-lb doggie, along for the hike and he had a great ole time. Very muddy.

The parts of the trail that go past the falls, well that’s a different story.  That’s when the difficulty level pics up!  Jumping over rocks and logs, roots and lots of mud, puddles, and steep inclines. In some places the trail gets super narrow, and it can be kinda scary (there are steep drop offs to one side).  But it’s very shaded, and the higher you go – the prettier the views are!

In an email to a friend, here’s what I had to say:

It’s a GREAT hike to do!  Very muddy, has great views, and it can be pretty challenging if you go all the way up… and you get a bit of everything: waterfalls, bamboo forests, strawberry guava trees, rainforest, zig-zags up the mountain (and eventually back down), huge tree roots, rocky paths, puddles!  And an awesome lookout at the top, with some beautiful views that peek out here and there along the way.  It’s like a sampler platter, you get a taste of everything!


Now, because I’m lazy… here’s just a big blob of pics from last Saturday of Me, Duggs, and our Pooch JJ hiking!  Notice how muddy we all got, whew:


Directions: Just use your GPS to get you to the Lyon Arboretum: 3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu http://www.hawaii.edu/lyonarboretum/

Note: You can park at the Arboretum for free, but the time we tried to do that, the people working there were total jerks to us!  You have to check into a log, they press you for a donation anyways, and they claim that there’s no dogs allowed there.  But on the Trails, you can totally have dogs.  They’re a pain.

So use your GPS to go to Lyon.  The trail head is right by there!  You’ll be on a really residential road, Manoa Road.  But stay on Manos road and go past all the houses and follow it up this hill that’s kinda twisty.  You’ll pass under this walking bridge that connects the forest to a Chinese Food restaurant (I think it’s called “Tree Top” or something like that).  Right past the restaurant is a dirt lot that usually has attendants who charge $5 for parking.  We’ve just done that every time.  It’s safe and easy.  And bonus!  They’ve recently added these awesome hoses and brushes anyone can use to get the mud off of you after your hike.  Yay!

The Trail Head is a short walk from the parking lot, it’s very easy to see and you should see lots of people coming and going anyways.  It’s a popular trail for sure!

Some info on the Trails we got from other sites:

  1. The Aihualama Trail begins at Manoa Falls, skirts the upper end of Manoa Valley, then heads steeply up to Pauoa Flats and a stunning overlook. The route passes through groves of bamboo, koa, eucalyptus and enormous banyan trees. The are great views across the valley to Waikiki and Diamond Head. From the Nuuanu Overlook at the trail ’s end are panoramic vistas overlooking the Nuuanu Valley and the rugged Koolau Mountains.  Read more at Trails.com: Aihualama Trail to Nuuanu Overlook | Honolulu Hawaii Hikes | Trails.comhttp://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailId=HGP040-013#ixzz1WdcWBoCr
  2. http://www.yelp.com/biz/manoa-falls-honolulu
  3. http://www.hawaiiweb.com/html/hiking/aihualama_trail.html
  4. http://www.yelp.com/biz/aihualama-trail-honolulu




hiking and yoga, pillbox in lanikai

Friday, April 29th, 2011 – Lanikai, O’ahu, Hawai’i – PILLBOX HIKE

warrior pose to the pacific ocean. so awesome.

Climbing and Stretching 

Carlita, Sydney and I had a super fun morning about a week ago.  We hiked the Pillbox trail overlooking Lanikai Beach and when we got to the first “pillbox,” Sydney, a new graduate from Gaia Flow Yoga in Dallas, led us in a nice yoga flow (concrete lookout buildings line this ridge and their small, white, stature have earned the trail the nickname “pillbox”).

Carly and I have been on this awesome tourist mission to stay busy while our husbands are deployed by seeing as much of the island as we can: hiking, snorkeling, swimming and exploring.   Now our friend Sydney (whose fiance is deployed with Carly’s husband) has just moved to the aina and she’s eager to explore and sight-see too.   The three of us make a great team with our easy-going personalties happily meshing.

By the way, if you’ve ever been curious to know more about these gal pals of mine that I make mention of so frequently, check out their blogs!

Back to actually talking about the Pillbox Yoga day:  We didn’t really wake up too early for this one.  We did it a little bit after the sun came up, maybe around eight in the morning or so.  The hike itself is pretty light, but still fun!   We packed our yoga mats in our backpacks so we could use our hands for the steeper parts of the hike (or just to be handsfree, because handsfree is the best).

me, getting out of the car*

sydney and carly at the trailhead

it is a little steep at the get-go

Luckily the trail wasn’t very crowded at all.  We saw a couple random people, but we didn’t have to compete for space or anything.   This hike is pretty popular for the people who live nearby- lots of folks run up the trail or walk their dogs here.  So we totally lucked out in regards to it being sparsely populated that day.  The weather was really mild as well, so being out in the morning sun felt nice, not too hot.  The whole tone was just so right.

the lanikai islands in the early morning light

super close up of me, the girls in the background climbing higher and higher

some cute friends we met on the path. if we weren't doing yoga i would have brought my pooch. aww man!

it's so amazing that we live here. like, woah!

i ❤ hawaii. this place is so beautiful.

i love the yoga mats, tie dye, waterbottles, awesome scenery... this is just soooo "us"

Once we got to the “pillbox,” we literally hoisted ourselves up there and set up shop.  I don’t think I’d ever done outdoor yoga before.  It was really fun, but there are some weird little things you don’t think about it until you go through it.  The surface we were on was flat-ish.  It had lots of slopes and divits, and it was hard to find a nice even spot to put out a mat on.  And because of the nature of yoga, if you aren’t on a flat surface – you gotta be careful not to hurt yourself.  Luckily we’re all super-not-clumsy and we were, of course, extremely safety-oriented and cautious.

Being so exposed and by the ocean, it was windy up there; we were using everything we could to hold down out mats.  And even then they tried to fly away from us a couple times.  Don’t worry- we were super fast and suffered no loss of equipment.

I’m joking about the little bumps that came up… but really, outdoor yoga is awesome.  It’s just so pure and natural and simple.  I want to keep doing it, that’s for sure.

yeah girl, get on up there

oh hay! you too, go up there!

my little backpack is on the top of the world


taking it all in. this world God made for us is just the most perfect artwork.*

me and carly. she's probably sassing me*

don't they look like the two islands?

these two islands!

Sydney is a lovely yoga instructor.  The only real class I’ve been going to this year is the one on base with the same instructor all the time – so it was nice to mix it up and do a flow in a slightly different way (because every instructor is different).

I didn’t get any pics of us actually doing our yoga practice.  I get really focused on those breathes and the poses, and stepping out to snap pics would have killed my zone.  But, afterwards, we did have some fun trying to do different poses and stretching.  And we met a random guy (Jimmy) who was running the trail and he took some pics for us.  So rad!

i don't know the name of the pose sydney's doing, but it looks hard and fancy!

my carly has mad skills

sydney teaching jimmy a new way to stretch

headstand! awesome!

sydney is stronger than she looks, huh? impressive. *

carlita is graceful *

ooh look, i can play too. my wheel. it's getting better, huh? *

being bendy *

yeah, i'm not really close on this one at all. but i'll get there. now i have another goal to work toward! *

messing around and doing the world's worst chair pose. i really am just joking around and being dumb*

We did a couple group shots and Jimmy graciously took them for us.  I like the way they came out.  I know I’m not nearly on the yogi level of Carly or Sydney, but I try and that’s all that matters:

i love everything about this *

being dorky and silly *

After we got down the mountain, we went into Kailua Town and ate at Aloha Salads.  Oh man. I love Aloha Salads.   If/when I leave here, it’s one of the top five eateries I’ll miss the most.  It’s a chain that’s only out here, they serve big salads made of local ingredients.  After being so nice to my body by hiking and stretching, it just feels good to eat something light, simple, and healthy – ya know?

oh yum


It was such an awesome morning, a really great way to just re-set my intentions of being good to myself, appreciating my surrounding, and just having fun while being active.

Oh.  The pics with the asterisks are ones I stole from Sydney’s facebook album from this day.  That’s all.  ALOHA!



I may have skipped over one teensy detail in this retelling… I slipped on the way down.  For your viewing pleasure:

graceful as always

Now it’s really the end.

north shore big wave watching

April 1st – Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii

Okay, I know I’m waaaaaay behind on posting about this – but it was such a fun day, I figured that to post it late was better than never, right?  Besides… part of the luxury of a personal blog: no deadlines!  I am my own editor.

Carly, my Hawaiian partner-in-crime, and I have been on a mission to see more of the island, be tourists, take it all in, experience as much as we can, and make every day that our husbands are deployed go by faster.   I mean, what better way to pass a deployment than exploring and playing on one of the most beautiful islands on this earth, right?   So here’s a story about another one of our fun Hawaiian days!

Big Wave Watching on the North Shore

The night of March 31st I was about to go to bed, when I saw a friend throw some pics up on FB of the hugest waves ever.  The album was all fun beach pics from the north shore that had been taken that day.  So I text my friend and find out that a late season swell was upon us, and the North Shore was getting unseasonably big waves.  (Typically in Hawaii, winter = big waves, so having 20+ feet waves in later March/early April was just weird and awesome and crazy!).   So I wake up Carly and inform her about these crazy waves coming in, and we decide that we MUST take advantage of this and get on up there.   Every time we tried to catch big set on the North Shore, we’d get there and it would be a bust; we kept going on small, blown out days.  And when I thought about it – I may never get the chance to do this again in my life (oh I hope I do, but another winter in Hawaii isn’t in the Duggan Family game plan as of now).

So, we went set our alarms for early and set off to see some big waves!

To Pipeline we go!

I picked up Carly and we had a nice early morning drive on up.  The drive from the Windward side on up to the Pipeline/Sunset Beach area is soooo beautiful.  I can’t get over how lucky we are to live here!

i'm a good driver, i swears

the view along the H-2

the colors out here are so vivid!

pretty carlita and silly me!

the pine trees on the north side of the aina make it look like the mainland, or at least a totally different place than the rest of oah'u. it really does feel like you're going up north!

After a lot of singing along to Metric (one of me and carly’s faves), and me talking Carly’s face off (I tend to do that) – we got to Pipeline! Can I just say that after hearing about a place like Pipeline my whole when I lived in Florida, it’s so surreal and crazy to get to go there and hang out.   I’m at PIPELINE!!  That’s sooo cool!

Carly, I think she's giving me a sassy face of some sort - but she's about to scope out a place for us to plant ourselves and hang out.

oh hay! i'm at the beach too!

Yeah, we’re real subtle here.  So.  We’ve arrived at Pipeline, there’s a pro-am contest going on for bodyboarding (boogie boarding) and surfing.  So we’re at one of the coolest, most serious surfing beaches in the world, on a day there’s a contest and unseasonably big waves, and we’ve shown up with cheesy grocery store boogie boards, and i’m dressed like a wacky fool (as per usual).  We’re playing it real cool at this point.

Volcom house - isn't this sooo cool? That's the Volcom house!! Ahhh!

close up!

So there was a contest going on.  We got there during the boogie boarding part of it.  It was ladies’ boogie boarding!  It wasn’t really that crazy fun to watch.  But then a few minutes after we had settled in, they announced that the shortboard heats were up next.  Yay!  We were so stoked to get to watch some rad lady surfers!

the announcer booth for the contest

one of the competitors heading out into the water

a surfer all stretching out before her heat

the posters for the day's contests

The contest we stumbled upon was the Science Hawaii Women’s Pipeline Pro.  The winner of the shortboard division, Tatiana Weston-Webb, was amazing.  She was just killin it, and watching her was so fun.  I was mesmerized by watching all of the women surf, it was just so fun and awesome.  It made me want to grab a board and paddle out… Well, it made me want to find a quiet beach with not-scary waves and paddle out there.

Here’s a page I found about the Science contest, and there’s some video. ooh! fancy!  http://pacificreader.com/?p=3156

Weird Vog and Rain

So the weather wasn’t exactly perfect, and it kept lightly raining on us!  It’s no big deal… it was just so funny.  It would be blazing hot and sunny, then some rain clouds would roll in right quick, and it would be dark and chilly, and wet.  It was also really voggy that day, and it made everything kind of blah and icky.  No me gusta vog, it’s yuck!  (In case you haven’t been dillegnetly following my blog AND you’re unfamiliar with Hawaii – I’ll fill you in: vog = the weird volcanic fog that rolls into our local atmosphere from the Big Island.  Vog is yucky.  It makes people cough and it makes the sky look poisonous).

carly hiding from the rain!

rain, rain, go away!

yeah, we're THIS cool.

 Okay, okay… The Waves! 

Finally, I’ll show y’all some wave photos.  Mind you, my whole blog is based on low-quality cell phone snap shots – so please don’t expect anything better or fancier than that from me.  Thanks!

The waves were pretty big – bigger than I’ve really seen in person probably.  But, it’s really hard to photograph them from the beach, on a cell phone camera, in a manner that gives them justice.  And a lot of the sets were average, and then every now and then a big ole set would just come in.   So yeah, enjoy:

Shark’s Cove Grill

So we decided to head down the road a lil bit and look for food.  We saw Shark’s Cove Grill, and checked it out on the ole “Urban Spoon.”  (Urban Spoon is an iphone app that uses your GPS to find places to eat near you, and has a community of users that rate and review places to eat.  The reviews tend to be very reliable!).   Urban Spoon told us the Shark’s Cove Grill was affordable and tasty… and that Urban Spoon don’t lie!

We had an insanely good meal there.  We were both talking about how we can’t wait till our husbands get home so we can take them there.  It was awesome food!

shark's cove grill = amazing

lots of chicks hang out there.

aww, meow! kitteh cat!!

Here’s there website, they have some awesome pics on here: http://www.sharkscovegrill.com/

I got some ahi skewers, it was served on rice and black beans.  And what is SO WEIRD is that Carly and I were talking about food on the beach as we were starting to get hungry, and I was whining about not having access to any Chipotle out here (no, there aren’t any Chipotle restaurants in Hawaii, gah!).   So I was saying that I just wanted some protein with some rice and beans and veggies.   When I got my plate at lunch I was just sitting there all mesmerized, thinking ask, and you shall receive! 

oh yum. i can't wait to go back!!

yeah. amazing.

Shark’s Cove

While we were enjoying our lunch, we were staring out Shark’s Cove the entire time.  It’s right across the street.  (Well, I would actually say that the aptly named Shark’s Cove Grill is across the street from Shark’s Cove).

The water was just calling our names.  So we decided to go for a little post-lunch swim.   No, we did not wait thirty minutes.  We’re totally living on the edge and we know it.

carly heading down to the water

Shark’s Cove totally looks beautiful, right?  We aren’t the only ones who think so: the place is cramjammed with tourists, tons of people bedecked in snorkel gear.  There must be some pretty stuff in the water, right?

Carly and I have traveled sans snorkel equipment on this particular day.  Or Aqua Socks.  (do Aqua Socks even exist anymore?).  It turns out, we are poorly prepared for the next segment of our day.  In fact, our time at Shark’s Cove was borderline miserable.

Those rocks are sharp, and never ending!  All we wanted to do was cool off in some refreshing water.  But in order to do this seemingly simple task, we had to pick our way across a bevy of terrifyingly sharp and slippery rocks.  That’s how rocks get you: sharp AND slippery.  So to make our way out to water deep enough to swim in, we undertook this awkard, slow trek of CAREFULLY walking from rock to rock, trying  to find smooth enough footing so not to fall on all the sharp ouchy points, or cut our feet.  It was time consuming and just… not fun.  haha!  oops!

In the next couple days after our time at Shark’s Cove, Carly and I kept finding small cuts on ourselves from those durn rocks.

Anyways, we finally made it out to the pool part of the cove, and we did have a very lovely swim.  It was super refreshing and cool, and it was a very pretty place to swim.

oh hay, step on me!

Dole Whip!

Finally, it was time to head home.  I really had a hankering for shave ice… but we didn’t want to stop in Haleiwa and wait in the huge lines.  Then I remembered, I’ve never had a Dole Whip – and Carly had promised me that we could go to Dole soon.

dole plantation

If I thought Shark’s Cove was chock full of tourists, I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!  The Dole Plantation had bus and after bus of people getting dumped off there.

Like any super tourist center, they have getting a lot of people in and out in a reasonable time down to a science.  The lines for getting treats move really fast, and we were actually in and out in maybe ten minutes.

so hard to decide!

whatcha gonna get, carly?

a pineapple flavr dole whip

And for all my Family Guy-loving friends… yeah, we kept pronouncing the whip part in a way that would make Stewey proud.  Whhhhip. 

Oh what a fun day I had with my pal Carly seeing more of the island, being tourists, and keeping ourselves busy.   We’re trying to stay busy and make the time our husbands are deployed go by faster – and what a way to do that!!  Everyday my appreciation for how amazing and beautiful this island is, grows.   And my appreciation for my good friend grows as well!

I just feel so super blessed to have the life that I do, and I hope that I’m maxing out on it and making the best of my circumstance.

makapuu point lighthouse – waimanalo

February 4, 2011 – Waimanalo

As part of our on-going quest to explore and enjoy as much of this island as possible, Carly and I decided to check out the Makapuu Point Lighthouse.   Here’s the deal: its a super pretty location, the dry rocky ledges jut right out into the bluest expanse of ocean.  Its gorgeous.  But as a hike? Its kinda miserable.

We showed up around 11:30am on a particularly sunny day.  The “hike” is a concrete road that winds up the mountside to the lighthouse, and there isn’t a spec of shade to be found.  To say it was hot is an understatement.

So we just kinda trudged along, baking in the sun, staring at the ocean all around us wishing we were swimming in it.  We did a lot of whales (winter time is “whale season” in Hawaii, and this spot is a known whale look out).  So seeing my ocean friends makes me happy, that was rad.

If anyone goes to do this hike, I totally suggest sunrise.  Its way out on the east side of the island, with ocean all around.  I have a feeling the sunrise there would be incredible.

haiku stairs (aka: “stairway to heaven”)

February 11, 2011 : Kaneohe, Hawaii “Stairway to Heaven”

Stairway is the most physically demanding, nerve-wracking, scary, and illegal hike I’ve ever done.  It was also the most awesomest.  For lack of a better word, its epic.

Its a literal metal staircase bolted into the side of the mountain on O’ahu’s windward side.  Island folklore (aka: the interwebs) explains that the stairs were built back in the day by the USCG to access a radio tower at the tippy top of the mountain.  The military use of the tower and stairs are now defunct, and thus the hike is closed to the public.  There’s a security guard who protects the entrance to the stairs, and the only way to do the hike is to show up hours before he does.

So yeah, we did.  By 5:00am we were in the woods of Kaneohe, searching for the start of the staircase.   It was pitch black, and we hiked with flashlights.  We finally hopped a fence around 5:25am, and could see the stairs a few hundred feet away.

The hike itself took us like four hours.  It’s no joke!  The climb is 2,000+ feet, and the whole thing is done on tiny metal stairs six inches apart.  There are almost 4,000 of those suckers.

We did most of the hike up in the dark.  Thank God for the flashlights.  Oh, and the gloves.  The stairs have metal railings along both sides, and we ended up using way more upper body strength than you’d think.  Day break hit as we were coming to the first couple landings.  We missed sunrise at the top by maybe about 20 minutes.  It wasn’t really a bummer though, because once the sun was out, the view from anywhere along the stairs is just incredible.

My legs, back, arms and shoulders were sore for days.  Shit, I’m still sore. Let’s not kid here.

On the way down, we could see the security guard watching us descend.  We got to the bottom and approached him, and he called out, “what have we here? Three more trespassers?”  For about five seconds I thought I was getting a ticket.  Then he started laughing and asking us how the weather at the top was.   Turns out, he’s very hip to the game.  So for anyone interested, don’t fret the legality – just GO EARLY.

The vertical faces of the climb were pretty crazy.  On the way up it was so dark, we had no idea how scary it really was.  Once we were coming down though we could actually see how exposed you are on the hike.  Its probably not a great idea for folks scared of heights.