Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Tsunami That Wasn't

All is well. The tsunami was 10 inches tall.

We had hours of warning that it was coming. People all over the world were praying about this massive tidal wave which was going to cause great destruction and loss of life.

I saw one of the tsunami experts on TV and he said they would be scratching their heads over this one for a long time. He really couldn't understand why it was so much smaller than they had originally thought. He mentioned that he hoped once the data was in from all the sensors they would get more information on "what happened out there" to make it decrease in size while on it's way across the ocean.

They will never believe it. No oceanic sensors can measure prayer and miracles.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We were awakened this morning by the air raid sirens. It was 6:00 A.M. and my first thought was, "One of these days those things are going to go off in a real emergency, and no one is going to pay any attention because they test them so often."

Then the phone rang.

It was my mother, and her first words were, "Did the sirens wake you up, or did I?"

My second thought of the morning was, "Are there sirens going off on the East Coast too?" How else could she know about the sirens?

Turns out there is a tsunami heading toward us.

We hopped up and turned on the news. We knew immediately that we are not in the danger zone. We are too far inland for any wave to come this far. Our main concern is loss of power. When the power goes out on an island, there are no other states nearby from which to pull power until the problem is fixed.

Fortunately, I try to be prepared for this sort of thing. I have a shelf of canned goods and non-perishable items in our pantry which will keep us supplied for a number of days without power. Also, as a little extra blessing from God, I had just been to Costco earlier this week and purchased toilet paper and paper towels, I had just filled up the car with gas yesterday, Kerry just pulled out some cash yesterday, and we have a nearly full propane tank on the grill.

The only thing we don't have backed up is water. I scrubbed the tub first thing this morning so we can fill it up before the tsunami hits (in two hours). That can be dishwashing and cleaning water. Kerry and I then headed out to the commissary in hopes that it had opened early.

It had. And many other people had already shown up also. We couldn't get a buggy (that's a shopping cart to some of you) to save our lives so Kerry and I split up. He went for batteries, I went for produce. There was no water to be had. I jumped in the express line with my arms full. We needed more, but I couldn't hold anything else with no buggy. I had left my phone in the car and couldn't call Kerry to tell him where I was, I just had to hope he would pass by me at some point. A very nice man in front of me got me a tinfoil turkey roasting pan for me to put my groceries in so I wouldn't drop them, and then he loaned me his cell phone so I could call Kerry. When Kerry found me in line, he had managed to procure bottled water. Then he saved our place in line while I gathered a few more items. My watch stopped while we were there, then the nose guard fell off my glasses which stopped all traffic around me for a few minutes while we searched for it. This just didn't seem to bode well.

Thank God for the military community. Although the commissary was packed to the gills, everyone was (mostly) well-behaved, calm, and helpful. We heard that people were panicking and fighting at Wal-mart.

A lady who gave up and decided to leave gave me and Kerry her buggy. Then we were really able to get a few more items. A lady with a baby passed by us and mentioned that they were out of water and the man in line behind me gave her a pack of his water bottles.

Kerry got a call that he had to go in to work, so he left me to man the buggy and walked home to get his uniform and head in.

I was in line for an hour and a half. The line snaked up and down five aisles. When I finally got to the registers I breathed, "It's up here!"

A man near me had a pack of Nutter Butter cookies in his buggy. "Oh, I wish I had thought to get cookies!" I said.

He gave them to me.

I tried not to take them, but he insisted. Now I have delicious cookies too!

When we arrived at the commissary this morning, there was no line to get in. When I left the commissary, there was a line of people waiting just to get in the door. It was a loooooooong line. Thank heavens we went early.

Please pray for the safety of the people on the island, especially the homeless population. Many of them live right on the beach.

And pray for the safety of our military and citizens who may be involved in a disaster relief mission before the day is out!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Reef and Ray Adventure

We went on another oh, so cool field trip with our homeschool group!

It was at the Ihilani JW Marriott - a beautiful hotel here on Oahu. They have an activity called the "Reef and Ray Adventure".

There are some interesting sculptures on the grounds which the girls enjoyed.
After an informational talk about all the types of fish found in the waters around the hotel, we were taken to an area where we were allowed to step down into the water. There was a low rock wall separating us from a larger area of water.

We were each given a handful of fish heads.............

..... which we then tossed to the hammerhead sharks on the other side of the wall. That was very cool.
But even cooler than that was when we got to feed the sting rays! They actually set up baby gates in the water. The rays, clearly knowing what was coming, would flatten themselves up against the gate, and we would push squid through the openings right into their mouths!

We fed several smaller rays first, then we went into deeper water and fed the really big ones.

We could even reach right over the gate and pet them. They felt like wet velvet - very soft and plush. They'd suck that squid right out of your fingers with a big wet, "Schlurp!!" I jumped sky high the first few times. Although I've never heard of anyone losing their fingers to a sting ray, I didn't want to be the world's first.

Then we went to a "petting zoo" where we got to hold a cool type of sea cucumber. I'd never seen one like this before. Usually they are more cucumbery shaped (imagine that). But this one was long and skinny and if you lifted it out of the water it flattened like wet tissue paper.

We also held some very cool starfish..........

Whenever we set them down, they would start to crawl away.

We also got to hold sea urchins and sea shells with real critters in them.

*I am not being compensated for telling you that this is a very cool activity to do if you are ever in Hawaii.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just The Facts Ma'am

I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing.

I was mainly glad they didn't take anything incredibly valuable. Had they gotten my credit cards or ID, I would have completely freaked out. I took my wallet and phone with me on the hike. I never leave them behind. My friend Kim had left her purse in my car, but fortunately she had put it in the back and draped a towel over it. The thieves didn't see it. They also didn't take Ben's ipod which was sitting right there between the two front seats. Ben said that was a shame because it has mostly Christian music on it and they clearly needed to hear it.

I had read an article a couple of months back about how thieves will steal a GPS, then push the "Go Home" button and head straight to your house. They know you will be tied up with the police for an hour and they've got time to clean you out there too. Fortunately, after I read the article, I changed the home address in my GPS to a nearby gas station. Ben was really hoping they would have headed to our house anyway and would have been greeted by our dogs. I was just relieved to know they wouldn't have been able to find us using our GPS.

Six other cars in the parking lot had also been broken into. There was a good bit of shattered glass on the ground. I had to fill out a report stating exactly what I had done from the moment we arrived at the park until I arrived back at my van and discovered it had been mauled. The police officer even advised me to write, "I did not give anyone permission to touch my vehicle, enter my vehicle, damage my vehicle, or take anything from my vehicle." He said he's seen slick lawyers get criminals out of trouble by saying the guy had permission to take something from the car.

He also advised me to write on the bottom of the report, "I am willing to prosecute."

I underlined the word "willing" twice.

Whales and Crime

Today, we went on a field trip with our co-op to Makapu'u Point on the southeastern tip of the island.

Whales pass by about this time of year and Makapu'u Point is a great place from which to spot them.

The view is amazing. I wish my pictures could do it justice. The blues and greens of the water don't begin to show up in pictures the way they look in real life.

There is the most adorable lighthouse you ever saw in your life up there! I always think of lighthouses as being tall, skinny buildings but this one is only 46-feet tall. It has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the United States and it is just precious!

There were tons of cacti on the trail to the top. People actually carve their names in them. The hike up is relatively easy. It's paved the entire way and there are a number of places where you can stop to look for whales.

We spotted a number of whale spouts on our way up. That's when the whale blows air out of it's blowhole and causes a "spout" of condensation to shoot up into the air. You always thought it was spouting up water didn't you? It's not. The air warms up in the whales lungs and when it blows the air out into the cool air, it forms water vapor.

It's a bit windy up there.

On our way back down the trail, we saw a mother whale and her baby briefly break the surface. No, I did not get any pictures. Every time we spotted something it was gone faster than we could get our cameras up.

When we finally got back to the parking lot..........

we discovered someone had smashed in the window of our new van and stolen our GPS.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

I Couldn't Find The Remote Today

I finally made Rigger get off the futon and yep, he'd been lying on the remote and had actually changed the channel.

It was unfortunately under his rear end....

.........and had some poop on it.

So if you're ever visiting and you wonder why we are watching Japanese soap operas....'s because I can never change the channel again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lieutenant Dan!

You know Gary Sinse.

You've seen him as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump.

You've seen him as astronaut Ken Mattingly in Apollo 13.

You've seen him as the bad cop who kidnapped Mel Gibson's son in Ransom.

But do you know who Gary Sinise really is?

Me either.

But I'll tell you a few things I do know about him.

He is an avid supporter of our military. He visited Bagram while Kerry was there last year. How many celebrities do you know of who visit war zones just to show the troops they are appreciated and not forgotten?

He's been married to the same woman since 1981. Since one year of marriage in Hollywood is equal to seven years in the rest of the world, that's like being married for two-hundred and three years!

He plays bass guitar in a band called "The Lieutenant Dan Band". This band performs on military bases all over the world. They perform for USO's and other charities.

And they gave a free concert here on Saturday night.

We almost didn't go. Ben and Emily had other plans already and the weather was looking like rain. But, oh, it was so worth it!

We ran into another family from our church there and all our girls danced and danced.

The band played a great mix of oldies, country, pop, rock, alternative, and some songs which are probably popular now, but I had never heard of them. They were still good songs though! I'm just not up on the latest music these days.

Kerry and Katie even worked in a father/daughter dance.

I tried to get up close to the stage to get some pictures, but there were a lot of people packed up around the stage, and I just couldn't get close enough for my little po-dunk camera to focus properly.

I wish Ben and Emily could have been there. They had an amazing violinist (fiddler) who played "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" which is the song that made Ben start taking violin (fiddle) lessons. More on that later.

In the mean time, THANK YOU to Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band for supporting our military!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Dinner Cruise

Kerry and I decided to treat ourselves to a dinner cruise. We decided a sunset cruise off the shores of Waikiki would be a glorious memory we could cherish in our memories one day when we are old(er).

Boy, were we disappointed. We thought it was going to be "The Love Boat" but it was really closer to "The Posidon Adventure".

I'm not mentioning the name of the cruise we chose because I don't want to get sued, but the lady at the travel agency assured us that it was "the best". I'd hate to think what was sub-par to this.

{stage whisper} But if you are coming to Hawaii, and you want to go on a dinner cruise, contact me, and I'll tell you who it was.

The decor was "70's Buffet Steakhouse". We didn't want to pay extra for a window seat, so we sat at one end of a table while a young couple on their honeymoon sat by the window. They had paid extra to watch the sunset while they ate. The groom was very upset to find that the sun would be setting in front of the boat and no one could see it from any window. He was quite unhappy and let our server know it.

I tried to make conversation with them while Kerry was in the restroom. That's how I found out they were on their honeymoon. They were here from Saudi Arabia. When Kerry came back to the table I mouthed silently at him "They. Are. From. Saudi. Arabia." He mouthed back at me, "Don't. Tell. Them. Where. I. Just. Spent. The. Last. Year." They were looking out their window at the non-sunset and didn't notice us talking.

The food was buffet-style, and frankly just okay. Nothing special. Food that sits in those big metal heating thingies just is rarely phenomenal.

Our waiter brought us our drinks, and then we never saw him again. Kerry drank all of his drink, finished mine, and then was reduced to eating the ice cubes before he got up, took our glasses back to the galley and forced someone to refill them. We still didn't see the waiter again. Maybe he fell overboard.

Okay now, the sunset was phenomenal. We had to go out on deck to watch it, leaving our food and drinks on the table, but it was really pretty.

This was what what made it all worthwhile.

And once the sun had set the city lights were also a beautiful, beautiful sight.

The sea was really rough that night though. They warned us at the beginning of the cruise that they may have to turn back early because it was so choppy.

I went to the bathroom at one point in the evening and there was some poor lady laying in her husband's lap right outside the ladies room. She was horribly sea sick. She had a coat pulled up over her head and he was rubbing her arm. That must be awful to be so sick and know there is nothing you can do about it for hours. I felt terrible for her.

Just so you can see, take a look at this video. Don't pay attention to the dancers - watch the lights of the coastline in the window behind the dancers.

Kudos to the dancers for not losing their balance.

Now, just for fun, (and so you will know why we spent so much time out on the deck watching the sunset and the coastline) turn your sound up, click the "play" button and close your eyes and listen to the singer. She must be related to someone who runs that enterprise, because there is no way she auditioned and had someone say, "That is the best audition we've seen! You're hired!" Simon Cowell would have jumped overboard if he'd been there.