Friday, July 20, 2012



b and i just went away to maui for awhile. w and s stayed in the home area and got to spend time with their aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma. all-in-all, we each had a good time. below are some of the highlights of our time in maui.

the snorkeling was really nice. we saw more coral than i've ever seen before. we saw a lot of fish and a lot of turtles. in one day's outing, we saw about 7 different green turtles. we also saw an eel each time we went out (my favorite was the snowflake eel). i'll post some pictures of the snorkeling once we have the underwater film developed. the picture above shows honolua bay in the background. we always had a good time there. our other favorite spot was called five graves (you walked past a little cemetary on the way to the entrance to the ocean).

b getting the poi out of the bag for us.

we ate a lot of poi while we were there. we like to eat it with milk and sugar--we know that's not the traditional way, but it's a tasty way when you don't have kalua pork to make it go down. we even brought a bag back with us and ate it last night for dinner.

fresh fruit
we bought (and found/picked from trees) quite a bit of fresh fruit. we ate several really good pineapples, had a few guavas, a mango, some apple bananas, and a lot of passion fruit (called lilikoi there). it was all good, but we became especially fond of the passion fruit. one night we each ate about 7 passion fruits, and they were good. we even had some that tasted just like paw paws, which was a delightful surprise. we've never tasted anything (other than a paw paw) that tasted just like a paw paw.

we tried longans for the first time; they taste a lot like rambutans and leeches. then, the wierdest fruit we tried was a noni. we found one on the ground below a noni tree and smelled it (we were told it smelled/tasted like a pungent cheese) and then proceeded to try a little. it was true that it smelled and tasted like a pungent cheese, which in our opinions isn't a bad thing. that bad thing, though, was that noni's have antiseptic properties so our mouths felt a bit weird for awhile.
b smelling that pungent cheese noni.

n eating a passion fruit.

b eating a longan. me holding the bough of longans.
a group of apple bananas and passion fruits.

the luauwe decided to go to a luau when we could get some cheap tickets ($19/ticket rather than $110/ticket). we had to agree to go to a time share presentation to get the discounted price, but we felt like it was worth it (and it was: the time share presentation only took about an hour--they quickly decided we weren't their kind of people and they weren't our kind of business). so the luau was fun. we got to eat lots of great hawaiian food (kalua pork with poi, mahi mahi, some really good purple sweet potatos, coconut pudding, etc) and we got to watch some good hula and other polynesian-style dancing. there was also fire dancing at the end, which was really amazing.

showing off the pig just pulled out from the imu.

maori dancing (that was our favorite).

the fire dancing. the guy who did this was really good.

buddhist festival
when we were driving through paia, we saw a buddhist temple that looked really festive--so we pulled over to check it out. it turned out they were having their annual obon festival (a festival that honors their past loved ones in the belief that those who have passed help them with their harvest). we decided to stay and attend the festivities.

it started with a more serious religious service inside their temple. there was a sermon, gong/drum playing, chanting, and then everyone got to come up and light some incense in honor of a loved one who has passed. unfortunately, i was really tired, and i fell asleep for awhile during the sermon. b told me it dealt with the idea that nothing is really ours, and we don't need to feel possessive about "things" in our lives.
the inside of the temple. the table in the front is where the incense was.

after the service, we stepped outside and found there were a lot of people there. in the service, it had been a small group of people, mostly old japanese hawaiians. but outside, it was crawling with people. we got in line and bought some chow fun, mango pie (a slice), and a piece of spam musubi. it was all new to us and tasty. then the japanese-style drumming started (called taiko). that was neat. there were some really great arrangements and pieces they played on these big drums (made from old wine barrels).

once the music was over, the dancing started. the leader of the mission announced that the first 100 in the inner circle would receive a free towel. we weren't sure what any of this meant, but we decided to give it a try. who can pass up a free towel? anyway, we made it in the inner circle with our towels and saw that the thing to do was tie them around our necks. they started playing (i assume) traditional japanese songs and the dancing in the inner circle commenced. of course, b and i had no idea what we were doing, but there were plenty of folks dressed up in traditional japanese attire that did know what they were doing. so we just watched them and tried to follow along. it was fun, but after 4 songs we decided to bow out and leave the inner circle. that dancing was going to go on for another 1.5 hours, and we didn't think we could last that long.

b eating his part of the spam musabi. it was salty but good.

the second taiko group playing under the paper lanterns. the paper lanterns were a very interesting part of the whole event. it was so windy the entire time that the little paper hanging from the end was constantly flapping. with all of the paper lanterns, that made quite a bit of noise. but, as b said, that just added to ambiance.

the mission is set right on the ocean--it's right behind the building. and there was a cemetary right off to the side too. it was a very pretty setting. 

me dancing in the inner circle.

the inner circle after we left.

our good buddy, the gecko
almost every time we returned to or left from our condo, a little gecko was outside our door. b said geckos only like to be out at night, but we saw this one a lot in the daytime too. he was a cute little guy, and i always got excited as we approached the doorway to see if he'd be there. lucky for us, he almost always was.

haleakala national park

us near the "crater."

be with the two peaks of hawaii in the bacground.

we wih the two peaks in the background. being up at the top here was the only time b wore his jacket.
we drove up to haleakala national park one day and explored around up there a little bit. we saw some nenes (an endangered hawaiian goose) and enjoyed the view from the top. all the way at 10,000 feet we could see the two highest points on the island of hawaii. it was a nice respite from the heat up there too--we got in to about 57 degree weather.

the pig
as we were driving down from haleakala, we got a bit lost and stopped at a convenience store that had a truck with several dogs penned up in the back. on top of their pens was this dead boar. very interesting indeed.

iao state park
a taro patch. this area of the island used to be very significant to the hawaiians who lived on the island. it's easy to see why: there's lots of fresh water and it's cooler.

a nice shot b took when he went down to the river. wai means fresh water in hawaiian, and you can see that word used a lot in names of towns. the town closest to the park is wailuku.

me next to some ginger. it's not native to hawaii, but it very striking. we learned that the pineapple people of hawaii sent georgia o'keefe to hawaii to paint some pictures of how beautiful it is (especially of how nice pineapples look), but she ended up painting other things she liked, like a crab and ginger. eventually, she gave them the picture they wanted, but i thought that was funny.

sunday morning we drove up to iao state park. it was a bit drizzly and cooler when we arrived, which was really nice. hawaii was very hot and humid during the day. we explored the area, finding taro patches, enjoying the scenery, and not seeing any birds (unfortunately). it was beautiful there. b said if we moved to maui that he'd want to live close to the park.

after the state park, we saw another park that honored hawaii's immigrants. they had a section of the park that celebrated the korean, chinese, japanese, portuguese, filipino, and us american immigrants. it was an interesting little park that we enjoyed looking at.

 b in the japanese pond area.
b walking around the chinese koi pond.
n and b in the korean part of the park. i especially like that picture of b.

church and sunday dinner
we happened to meet a lot of church members on our trip. one day while we were in lahaina, we met a really neat woman named iuni who was mormon. she is tongan and mentioned that she and her family went to a tongan ward. we had planned on going to the english-speaking ward while we were there, but in thinking about iuni and our fascination with nearly all things polynesian, we decided to go to the later tongan ward. and it was such a great experience. i had never attended church when i absolutely couldn't understand the language. i know spanish well enough to do pretty well in spanish-speaking wards, but tongan is a different ball game. there was a translator, who actually turned out to be iuni, which made it possible for us to follow what happened in sacrament meeting (there was also a talk in english). then we went to an english sunday school class. we were 2 of the 4 class attendees. the lesson was interesting--the teacher put an interesting spin on things. then in rs, for me, there was a translator. it was a really neat lesson on missionary work. for b, he went with an english group.

one of the fun things for us, was that we were able to sing the hymns in tongan. the vowels in tongan and hawaiian are pronounced the same ways as they are in spanish. so we could easily and happily sing along and not have any idea what exactly we were saying.

we both really loved attending church there. it was very clear that they were a group of people who loved the gospel and wanted to share it with their neighbors.

during church, iuni's husband, one, invited us over for dinner that night. after his meetings, we followed him and his family to their house in kahului. one and iuni and their family (they only had two kids still at home: ofa and moroni) were amazing, absolutely amazing. i've never met people like them before. they were both so fired up about the gospel and had such strong testimonies. they told us some of the most amazing stories i've ever heard, and iuni told us more about all of the geneology work her father did on the polynesian people. they were also exceptionally kind and hospitable. iuni made a delicious dinner (curry soup, terriyaki chicken, cassava, fresh mango and pineapple--and there was more), but it was really talking to them that was the best part. i hope that we get to meet up with them again someday.

east side of the island
on our penultimate day, we went over to the east side of the island. we got up early and headed out on the road since we knew it was going to be a long, crazy drive. and it was. the first part was fine, but then you got into the two-lane road that very frequently turned in to a one-lane road. there were extreme drop-offs to the side at times, and there were some blind curves. generally, we could only go about 20 mph. to my relief, though, b was the driver on this trip. i think i would have had a massive headache from trying to concentrate to hard on the road if i'd been driving. for as crazy as the road was, though, the scenery was amazing. it was lush with dense green growth. there were lots of waterfalls and dramatic views of the ocean.

after about 3 hours of driving we got to the most southern part of haleakala national park and went on a 4 mile hike up to a 400 foot waterfall. we were extremely hot at parts of the hike, but it was a really neat hike. the views were beautiful, and the waterfall at the end was really nice. during the hike, i had a 12 inch worm friend wrap itself around my ankle. of course it wasn't a big deal, but brian got so disgusted by it that it freaked me out some. he got it off me (since at that point i thought maybe it was poisonous), and we looked at it for awhile. it was gross, and if we'd known at the time that it was non-native, we would have killed it. but who can know such things?

during the hike we went through a bamboo forest (which, again, isn't native) that was cool temperature wise and neat to walk through.

after we finished the hike we walked along the oheo gulch pools, which on regular days are open for swimming. these are pools of fresh water that run down into the ocean. the ocean is too rough to swim in there, but the pools are generally open. swimming was closed the day we were there due to the rainy weather, but we hadn't really been planning on going in anyway. the water, unfrotunately, has that type of bacteria that if ingested or comes in via a wound can cause flu-like symptoms and in extreme cases death. needless to say, we weren't too interested in dealing with either of those outcomes.

me in the bamboo grove along the way to the waterfall.

the two of us at the waterfall.

the nonis in the jars are fermented. we found thse along our way to hana. you could pay $1 to drink the fermented noni. i wonder it it would have tasted like really pungent cheese.

brian next to some huge coconuts.

the fresh water meeting the ocean at the oheo gulch.

the pools leading down to the ocean.

after we left the park, we headed to the black sand beach just north of hana. when we got there it was raining, but it was so beautiful. the back sand, rugged lava rocks, blue and white ocean, gray sky, and bright green plant life was so amazing. it was enough to make me think i should try to paint it someday. we looked at the beach and then the blow hole before b decided he wanted to go swimming. i got in my suit too, but didn't swim in the rough waves. b put on his goggles there and happily swam around. this was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
i love how the water turned bright white.
a nice three-shot montage of b having fun with black rocks/sand.

me in the cave right next to the black sand beach. the white area is an opening to the ocean. i know that the water couldn't really come in and sweep me out to sea, but i have to admit i was nervous having my back to it!the waves crashing up on the lave rocks surrounding the beach. the water was rough the day we were there.

this shot is near the blow holes and doesn't do the landscape justice. it was so beautiful, and the green of the plants was so vibrant.

it's now late, and i'm tired of writing. if i think of additional things that need to be mentioned, i'll have to add another post later. we had a great time in maui and would enjoy going back some day with w and s.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

seeing the family

my brother, kyle, and his wife amy and their son jackson are in town now. me and the kiddos spent the day with them yesterday. i snapped a few pictures of the day.

it's always good to see your siblings when you haven't seen them for a long time. thanks for spending the day with us, kaipo. thanks for grilling the chicken for us, amy. thanks for having those amazing molasses cookies, mom. thanks for being super cute and perfect, jackson. and, of course, thanks for playing well together and with jackson willie and sierra!

4th of july

that morning, we woke up and got ready to go fishing. once we were ready, we crossed the street to go to our neighbors' annual 4th of july breakfast, which is always fun. the kids enjoyed running around with the other neighborhood kids, and b and i relaxed over pancakes, sausage, and eggs.

when we had eaten enough, we headed out towards thistle to try fishing in a place we tried in may. we didn't catch a lot of fish, but william got 2, and brian got 1. all three of which were cutthroat. the water level was really low--so we (brian and i) were feeling pretty sure we wouldn't catch anything, but then william said he saw some we stopped, and he threw in his line once and then caught a fish. he threw it in again and then caught another one. the water was so low that there weren't many pools to fish, and the fish got scared easily, but we were impressed that william pulled out two in that first spot.

after fishing, we came home, cleaned up, and got ready for a bbq. we had over b's sister and her family, my brother and his family, and my mom. we had grilled burgers, corn on the cob, pasta salad, chips, watermelon, cherries, plums, grapes--i think that's it. it was really good. brian cooked the burgers (and even singed his hair to prove it), and they were lovely. i love a good hamburger. by the time we finished eating, it was around 6:20, and we realized we needed to get our rears in gear. we skipped having dessert, and we (me, brian, william, sierra, and my mom) got to work making our homemade beach boys shirts for the concert. the pictures do a good job capturing them. we then threw on our shirts and headed over to the stadium for the concert.

this is a super cute one of willie. i like how he has no neck! 

i love this picture of sierra--she's so excited.

b standing by his pawpaws!

it was really hot on the 4th--so even though we didn't get into our seats until about 7:40, we were super hot! the show was all fine, but obviously the highlight for me and brian was the beach boys. the kids really enjoyed hearing them too (and they enjoyed the fireworks a lot too). the beach boys played more songs than we had thought they would, which was nice. below is the list of songs we hoped they'd play, the ones we hoped they wouldn't play, and the ones we figured they would play.

the songs we hoped they'd play
heroes and villians
good vibrations
in my room
be true to your school
i'm waiting for the day
don't talk (put your head on my shoulder)
hang on to your ego
don't back down
blue hawaii
wild honey

the songs we hoped they wouldn't play
california girls

the songs we figured they'd play
i get around
salt lake city
surfin' usa
help me, rhonda
barbara ann
wouldn't it be nice
that's why god made the radio
good vibrations
california girls

here is the actual list of songs they played. you'll see that they played both of the song we hoped they wouldn't play (although those songs were also on the list of ones we figured they'd play--so it wasn't surprising), and that we had guessed correctly most of the songs they did play. of course, we knew they wouldn't play hang on to your ego, i'm waiting for the day, and don't talk (put your head on my shoulders), but really we knew they wouldn't play those songs--they're all great songs from pet sounds, but they're not the "classics" from pet sounds.

1. let's get together and do it again
2. catch a wave
3. surfin' safari
4. surfer girl
5. don't worry baby
6. little deuce coup
7. i get around
8. be true to your school
9. that's why god made the radio
10. god only knows
11. sloop john b.
12. wouldn't it be nice
13. california girls
14. good vibrations
15. kokomo
16. help me, rhonda
17. barbara ann
18. surfin' usa
19. fun, fun, fun

that's brian on the big screen.

that's brian on the big screen too--a little closer this time.

that's the other brian singing along!

willie and b dancing.

the girls having fun.

sierra dancing to the surfin' usa (her favorite song).

the blazing pyrotechnics they had during the fireworks.

brian and i both agreed that good vibrations was the highlight. it was also interesting to realize that mike love saw himself as the "face" of the band. clearly i'm biased, but i thought it was too bad that brian wasn't more in the front. we did get to hear him sing (and he sounded good), but it's obviously not because of mike love that the beach boys are the beach boys. but at least brian wilson was there.

it was an exciting show--definitely one that we'll never forget!