Saturday, December 30, 2006

Pearl Harbor

Today I have decided to focus on the day we visited Pearl Harbor...

December 7th was the 65th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Last year when we were in Hawaii, they really didn't do much for Pearl Harbor day. This year was quite a bit different. As I said before, there were a lot of Pearl Harbor Survivors around. They felt like this was going to be the last chance they had to come back. There was a ceremony at the memorial where Tom Brockaw spoke. They also announced that they are going to begin remodeling the memorial.

The Arizona Memorial is one of the only things in Hawaii that's free. You sometimes stand in a long line to get into the building. (I say sometimes because this last time there were hardly any people so that was nice.) Then, when you get in the building, they give you a ticket with a number on it. You have to wait until they call your number, which can sometimes be a long time. In our case, it wasn't. Then, you go and watch a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbor. It's really well done and makes me cry every time. After the movie, you take a boat out to the actual memorial. You're only out there about 12 minutes, but that's usually enough. It's a moving experience. If you're ever in Hawaii, we definitely recommend it.

I wanted a picture of the sign talking about the 65th anniversary, and I'm trying to get more people in pictures, so... I don't know why he wouldn't face the camera. Sometimes he's a little bit silly. Anyway, we went a few days after the 7th, so we didn't get to see all the ceremonies and stuff, but we still saw all the stuff around.

This is taken from the boat going out to the memorial. The architect for the memorial said that it is bowed in the middle to show the sadness of that day, but tall at the ends to show our strength.

Just under 1,200 people died on the USS Arizona that day. Around 900 are still in the boat, so the memorial is also a cemetary. We also learned that those who survived can choose to have their ashes intured with their "fallen comrades." Having never been in a war or a battle like that, it kind of surprises me that so many have.

On the other side of Ford Island, which is actually a military base and where Brent had his class, there is the USS Utah Memorial. I really hadn't heard about this. It's not that big of a memorial, but it's there. To get there, you have to be able to get on base, which is probably why so few people go there.

I took this picture off the Arizona Memorial page. It's from December 7, 1941. The capsized boat in the middle is the USS Utah.

And, this is what's left today. I am not really good at remembering important dates or history facts, but I am good at stories. I have also found that I'm good at remembering things when I see them myself. It makes it real to me.

Ok, enough of that bummer post. It was a good day and a lot of fun! Here's a joke...

What are two men with no arms and no legs on the wall named?

Kurt and Rod

Hee hee hee!


Friday, December 29, 2006

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing we Christmas Time

I'm just going to get started with the pictures and go from there. (Don't you love the new template?? I do. It's very Northwesty! Especially the fog lately.)

On Tuesday we introduced John to Matsumoto's Shave Ice in Haleiwa, North Shore. How to describe shave ice? (Notice, there is no 'd', it is "shave ice") I would say it's like a snow cone, but that would be like compairing a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse steak to a McDonald's hamburger. They shave ice off a big block then they put on whatever topping your would like. It's kind of like snow. There is a way to order it as well. You walk up to the cashier. You tell them how many you would like, what sizes you would like, whether you would like beans or ice cream, then the flavor. You may be asking yourself, beans? We also asked ourselves this. You can get beans in the bottom of your shave ice. I don't know what kind of beans they are. Laura was brave and got beans in hers. What we learned from that was that the beans are just weird, and we don't get it. The ice cream is good, but it takes up precious shave ice area, so I wouldn't recommend it. (Brent would disagree with me on that, but I'm typing it, so I get to say whatever I want.) I would also recommend spending the 25 cents and buying a holder. Many a sad shave ice eater has cried when most of their shave ice landed on the ground instead of in their mouth. Brent likes the Hawaiian (coconut, pineapple and banana flavors) and I like the lilikoi which is passion fruit. Whenever you are in Oahu, go to the North Shore and stand in the LONG line of Japanese tourists and locals a like and get a Matsumoto Shave Ice. They also have cute shirts for purchase.

This is the only flower picture I'm going to put on. I once again took a MILLION pictures of flowers, but this one is my all time favorite. Isn't it a beautiful color? Can you just imagine the card this is going to make?? I can. :) For those of you who aren't plant ladies like myself...this is a hibiscus. They are ALL OVER Hawaii. And, come summer, there are going to be a few in our yard as well. Not this pretty, but...

Ok, I have now decided that these are no longer going to be in any order, just as I want to put them. I love Brent in this hat. He looks so great! Don't you think? Like a real adventurer.

This was in the lobby of one of the 3 hotels we stayed in. This one is called the Prince Kuhio and it's in Waikiki. The house is made out of wood, but then they stuck gingerbread all over it. It made everything smell very good. Plus that big tree in the background is a REAL tree. Last year we were curious how much a real tree costs in a place that doesn't have any evergreen trees. Well, a normal one that would be about $40 here was $100 there. So, this tree was probably at least $1000. That's just a guess, but I bet we're pretty close. That's just a little bit nutty, if you ask me.

Now seems like as good of time as any to tell the wonderful story of where we stayed while in Hawaii. When Brent got his orders, there was only hotel reservations from Dec 3-7th. The travel department said they would work on it and let us know where else we're going to stay. So, on Monday, Brent and John called the travel people and they said that we needed to start looking for someplace to stay because they couldn't find anything. What? That's their job. It turns out that this week was the worse possible one for us to be in Hawaii. There was the U2 concert at Aloha Stadium (which Brent is still REALLY sad that he missed), the 65th anniversary of Pearl Harbor (there were a TON of Pearl Harbor survivors there because they felt like this was their last chance), and the Honolulu Marathon. So, we start calling hotels. John gets us rooms at the Prince Kuhio for 11th-16th. I find rooms at the Ohana Beachcomber, which is also in Waikiki, for 7th-9th. So, all we have to find are the 9th and the 10th. We start calling all the hotels in the yellow pages. There were NO ROOMS AVAILABE ON OAHU FOR THOSE TWO NIGHTS. I will repeat that - NO ROOMS!! We called everywhere. I got really tired of having people laugh at me. I mean, that's kind of rude, don't you think?

I have a couple favorite moments from the hunt for hotel rooms. The first one is when Brent called somewhere, I really don't remember where, and the guy on the phone said, "We have 2 rooms available in Lahaina for those nights." So, I'm reading over his shoulder as he's writing this down and I'm thinking...Lahaina is in Maui. Yep, that's right, they were trying to get us to stay on a completely different Island. If you're going to work at a reservation place, don't you think you should know how to read a map?

My second favorite is when I called another hotel chain. (Again, I can't remember where I called.) I asked the gentleman to check if they had any rooms available on Oahu for the nights we were looking for. He said, "Well, there has to be at least on room available...hmmm...ummm...well, there's aren't! What's going on there?"

And, now my ABSOLUTE favorite! I called a place in Waikiki and asked if they had any rooms available. (Oh, Brent and John had gotten us a couple of rooms at the Navy Inn on base for the night of the 10th, so we were now just looking for the 9th.) He said, they did have two rooms available for the 9th, but they only rented for 7 nights at a time and the rest of the week was all booked up. So, when I asked why we couldn't just stay that one night, since they were open he said, "It's like if you make a cake and someone only wants to buy a piece instead of the whole thing." At this point I was so frustrated with him and the whole situation that I just hung up. That is the STUPIDEST argument ever! The reason we only want to buy a "piece of cake" is because someone else has already bought the rest of the cake. What a dork. I wish I could remember what hotel that was so I could tell you never to stay there.

So, finally the travel people come through and find us 2 nights (9th and 10th) at the BOQ (Bachelor Officer Quarters). We were a little worried about the bachelor part, but it turned out to be a really nice place. The only bad part was that they gave us a key and we go to the room and there is already a family in there. Great. But, it all worked out.

Here's the summary...we spent 4 nights in the Prince Kuhio, 2 in the Ohana Beachcomber, 2 in the BOQ and 5 back in the Prince Kuhio. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? It sure was!

The Prince Kuhio is a good place to stay. I like the pool a lot. It was decently warm and there was hardly ever anyone there. The rooms were nice. Not great. They are remodeling right now, so they'll probably be nicer soon. It's close to the beach and lots of good restaurants. It's also right by a bus stop, which is nice.

The Ohana Beachcomber was a CRAPPY PLACE!!! The elevators took FOREVER to get there. I had to do laundry and the dryers were only 24 minutes for $1.50. (Nothing was dry) The pool was dumb and closed at really early...I think like 6pm. All in all, not the best place to stay! Especially for the money. It was the most expensive place we stayed.

The BOQ was the nicest place we stayed. The only drawback was that it was on base and I hate having to go through a check point to get somewhere. There was cable and a DVD player in each room. It was nice!! You have to be enlisted or on orders to stay there, but it was very nice.

This is from the Dole Plantation. I think it's a funny picture. John is holding the baby pineapple because it was so cute, I guess?? We went to the Dole Plantation just before Laura left so we could all get Dole Whips, which are the best pineapple sherbert concoctions ever!!

John is also of the opinion that people should be in pictures. I am not always of that opinion, but...that could be because there are only two of us and Brent starts to whine if he's in too many pictures.

You may remember these figurines from last year. It was fun to see them again. Santa Claus and Tutu Mele. I think Brent looks cute in this picture. And, you might not be able to tell, but my hair looks AWESOME!! It curled so nicely!!! I love it when that happens and on my birthday too!

This is the Christmas tree from downtown Honolulu. We think this one is much prettier than last year's. Last year the theme was bears. This year it was musical instruments. Much nicer!

Well, I was just going to keep putting pictures on until it made me stop and it's not stopping me, so I think I'm going to stop now. Tune in next time for more pictures.

I'm going to leave you with a great joke...
What did Batman say to Robin just before they got in the car?
"Robin, get in the car."



Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hawaii - Part 1

Hello everyone! The long awaited Hawaii pictures are beginning to come to life! We have been having such a great Christmas and the rest of the week that we just haven't been able to get things done at home...more on that in coming posts. But first...Hawaii.
I have decided to start at the very beginning, since that's a very good place to start.

Since we had been to Hawaii before, we became John and Laura's tour guides, which was fine with us. It made us look smart. (Oh, does everyone know...Brent works with John and they are in our ward. Brent and John were in "class" together, so Laura and I got to come and play.) So, one of the first places we took John (since Laura didn't come until Wednesday) was the East side of the Island. We think that the coastline on this side is some of the prettiest there is!

So, the other day we were showing these pictures to Ryan and he said when he saw this one, "Can you see Thomas Jefferson too?" Sure enough, we can....can you?

I personally think it looks more like George Washington, but it is kind of weird, don't you think?

When we were there last year, someone got washed off this point because they were too close to the water. The take home message is that you should RESPECT THE OCEAN!! It is much stronger than you. No picture is worth it!!! I'll get off my soap box now.
I'm sitting here in my cold basement with my little heater meer inches away from me thinking about how nice it was to be able to wear flip-flops in the winter. 85 degrees and sunny isn't horrible when you're cold.
Tomorrow I may go crazy and just post all day and get this done. Then again, maybe I won't!
See ya!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Catch Up

I thought I'd put on some pictures that aren't about Hawaii and catch up with what's been going on in Washington...

First, the snow. As you probably know, it snowed quite a bit for here the week after Thanksgiving. These are the best pictures I have. It really only snowed maybe 4" here, but you are reminded how many hills there are when they are all icy. (The pictures are of our back deck)

This next picture is suppose to be of the snow. It was actual real snow, not the wet rain we normally get here. You can really see the snow flakes in the regular size picture, but I don't know if you can see them too well in this one. Sorry...

Now for the wind storm last week...The power was out for about 36 hours at our house. We really didn't have to throw that much away...all the milk products and stuff that was close to being dead anyway. We were lucky. There are still about 80,000 people without power right now. They are saying that some of them won't have power until after Christmas. Whole substations were destroyed in this storm. We really lucked out. Our house was protected...along with our friends. There are trees down all over the place, but - knock on wood - none on our street. Here's a picture of our branch on our roof that I was worried about. Nothing to worry about...

Now how to get it down without falling off the roof...

And, finally, I had to show you how nice our door looks with the Christmas wreath...

That's so cute!!

Hawaii pictures are coming...we're getting them organized and getting the ones from our friends who where there too. Keep checking back!

Friday, December 15, 2006

What does Mother Nature have against the Northwest this Winter?

Apparently, we had too nice of a summer, if a little warm. We just wanted to let you all know, while we still can, that there was a HUGE wind storm that went blasting through Port Orchard Thursday night. Court says that she has never heard wind howl that loud. The power in Port Orchard has been out since Thursday night. (There is some indication that it is back on now, but we don't know for sure yet.) Our house has a "branch, not too big with no damage" on the roof. Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to not be worried about that until after we see it. As far as we know, all of our friends are ok. We think that Ryan and Marcela are ok too since it says on the Internet that Silverdale didn't lose power. We haven't talked to them yet though. Our Stake President is predicting that the power is going to be out for at least a couple of days for most of the Stake. So, we may not be able to write for a few days.

There were 70 mile an hour winds on Thursday. They shut down basically all the bridges in Western Washington - Hood Canal, Tacoma Narrows, and all the Seattle ones. At the airport, the tower lost power and a 3'x6' window was blown out. It also was suppose to rain 8", but I haven't heard if it really did.

We will let you all know how we are. Luckily, since we were coming here, there wasn't much in our fridge, but the freezer is another story. Sad days, but what can you do? At least our garbage can is empty and garbage day is Monday.


The following is a news report off the web on the storm, just in case you're interested.

SEATTLE - The worst windstorm in more than a decade tore through the Pacific Northwest, leaving more than a million people without power Friday and killing at least six.
Winds gusted to a record 69 mph about 1 a.m. at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, breaking the old mark of 65 mph set in 1993. Winds were clocked at 90 mph near Westport on the coast.
Power was knocked out at one of the airport's concourses until late Friday morning. Dozens of flights were canceled, including all American Airlines service through the morning hours. Flights were also canceled at Portland International Airport in Oregon, and Amtrak canceled service between Seattle and Portland after downed trees and mudslides blocked the tracks.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer went unpublished for the first time since a 1936 labor strike, because electricity was knocked out at its printing press, managing editor David McCumber said. The Seattle Times, which shares the press, had only about 13,000 copies available Friday morning. Late Friday, a Times' spokeswoman said Saturday editions of both papers would be printed and delivered.
Seattle public schools were closed Friday, as were numerous smaller school systems and The Evergreen State College in Olympia.
A 41-year-old Seattle woman died Thursday after she became trapped in her basement while it flooded. Neighbors had called for help after they heard screaming.
A 28-year-old man was killed while he slept when the top of a tree snapped off and crashed into his home in a trailer park in McCleary, 18 miles west of Olympia.
Elsewhere in Washington, two people died in traffic accidents involving windblown trees.
And on the Oregon coast, an elderly couple died in a house fire caused by candles they were using during a power outage.
A family of six was sickened by carbon monoxide from a generator set up in a garage after the storm knocked out power, police said Friday. Four children and two adults were hospitalized. Three of the children were listed in critical condition late Friday, while the other child and parents were in good condition.
Puget Sound Energy, Washington's largest private utility, had 700,000 customers without power on Friday. Some won't have their lights back on for days, spokesman Roger Thompson said.
In Oregon, about 350,000 customers lost power, and repairs to restore all of them could stretch into next week, utility officials said.
The Oregon Department of Transportation closed three major highways crossing the Cascade Range because of fallen trees or downed power lines.
The Evergreen Point floating bridge, which links Seattle and its eastern suburbs, was closed early Friday for minor repairs, but reopened before the evening commute. The Hood Canal floating bridge, which links Washington's Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge were reopened early Friday after being closed Thursday evening because of heavy winds.
It was the most intense storm to hit the region since the Inauguration Day storm of Jan. 20, 1993, which killed five people and caused about $130 million in damage, said Clifford F. Mass, a University of Washington atmospheric sciences professor.

Well, Maybe It's Not COMPLETELY Paradise

Sometimes you just need to get stuff off your chest, right? Well, this is going to be one of those blogs, so if you would rather don't have to read it. I just need to complain.

We bought my tickets to Hawaii from Hawaiian Airlines on the Tuesday before we left, so not a long time. Well, just after that, I get this email that says my flight on Sunday has been changed from the 8a to the 9a flight. No worries. I called to make sure everything was ok and they said that yes, I was confirmed on the 9a flight. They had bought a bunch of planes from Delta that they thought would be in working order, but turned out to need a lot of work, so they have had to cancel some flights. No worries. I was assured that everything was ok.

So, here I am in paradise wondering what time my flight is, because, since you're in paradise, you don't really pay that much attention. I get on the Hawaiian Airlines page and it tells me that my flight is at 1:10p, not 1:30 that I thought it was, and that I am flying through Maui with a 2 hour layover. HUH??? So, I'm annoyed, right? I call Hawaiian and say, basically, "What's up with this?" They say, that the flight I was on was cancelled so this was the only other way I could get back to Seattle. They also said that there are no direct flights to Seattle. So, my 5-1/2 flight has now turned into an 8 hour journey. And there is nothing they can do about it. I hate flying in the first place, now the idea of having to be stuck in airports and planes that much longer makes me mad. AND the part that makes me the MOST angry is that they didn't tell me. True, 15 minutes AFTER I got off the phone with the Hawaiian Airline people I got a email telling me about the change, but ... when I called, they hadn't told me.

Believe me, I'm going to complain!! It just makes me mad. If that was the only flight they had had, I wouldn't have bought the ticket, but now I'm stuck. It just makes me mad!!!!!!

So, there's my complaining....boring as it may be.

The rest of the trip has been FANTASTIC. We really have had a great time! I'm just not looking forward to tomorrow. I must sound like a whiner. Sorry. I just needed to complain.

Just wait for the cool blogs. They'll be coming soon! We took a lot of fun pictures and have some fun stories.