Monthly Archives: June 2013

Road To Hana

We arrived home late last night from our day long trek along the road to Hana.  Today we have other activities planned, which leaves me little to no time to write a nice post about the amazing things we saw on our journey yesterday.

Therefore, I’m settling for a “photo journal” of the highlights of the long trip.  The road had more than 600 turns and 59 single lane bridges.  Parts were unpaved.  My photos DO NOT capture the true magnificence or scale of these sights.  Note to self: buy a wide-angle lens!

That said, this will give you a flavor for the beauty of this place.  If you can’t find some romance here, then you are doing something terribly wrong.

The official “Hana Highway” begins in Paia:

The rest of these photos will appear in the order we came upon them along the drive.  Enjoy!

Painted bark of the Eucalyptus Tree:

DSC_0002  Garden of Eden:


Black Sand beaches (and thrill seeking swimmers jumping off rocks):



DSC_0046DSC_0057DSC_0037  DSC_0060

For some reason I can’t get my cursor to work, so after the Black Sand beach, we saw Wailua falls, O’heo Gulch falls and natural pools, a bit of coast, and the backside of the Haleakala Volcano.

I wish these photos were better, but it gives you a feel for the trip.


Vacation Nirvana

I’m about to fall into bed on my fifth night of vacation, so this post will be short and sweet.  I’m traveling with my mother, brother, husband, and children.  We planned the trip to mark my mother’s seventieth birthday.  We all met in San Francisco before we flew to Maui.  So far, we’ve enjoyed unbelievably amazing luck, weather, and good cheer.  If you knew my family well, you’d know how rarely that trifecta happens!

In any case, I’m feeling very blessed to be surrounded by people I love, overwhelmed by the natural beauty of this part of the worldIMG_2327, and fortunate to have the opportunity to experience new and uncommon activities.  For instance, today I “snuba’d!”  Never heard of it?  Well, it’s something between snorkling and scuba diving.  You are hooked to an oxygen tank via a 30-foot-long hose (two share a tank, which floats on top of the water in a little raft).  The certification takes less than 20 minutes, and you don’t have to deal with water getting in your snorkle tube, etc.  I’ve snorkled before, but never gone scuba diving.  It took me about 90 seconds to get used to it, and then I loved it.  Trying something new always makes me feel young, and who doesn’t love to feel young again?

I don’t know if it’s the adventure, the landscape, the people, or some combination of the three that has brought me a true feeling of serenity tonight.  I hope you’ve experienced, or will experience, this kind of peace more than once in your life.  Before the real world comes crashing in to steal it away, I’m going to hit the pillow with a smile on my face.  I’d love to capture this feeling and work it into a theme for a story…but that can wait until later.

For now, let me leave you with this cloudy sunset photo of the harbor in Lahaina, Maui.  Unfortunately, my iPhone barely does it justice.IMG_2336




And So It Goes – Sunday Song

Turns out I’ve got to change the format of my Sunday Song posts.  I’d mistakenly believed that, by offering a critique/review of the lyrics, I could legally post them without violating copyright laws (under the Fair Use exemption).  Apparently I was wrong.  Although I’ve not been fined for what I’ve already done, I don’t want to knowingly violate anyone’s rights.

After some research, I’ve learned I may legally embed Vevo videos, and Fair Use should enable me to post an excerpt from lyrics.

The song I’ve selected this week is Billy Joel’s And So It Goes.  The lovely melody perfectly suits the lyrics, which are heartfelt and poetic – an exceptional love letter, if you will.  Of course, I wish I could post and dissect all of the words, but the first verse gives you a peek at the quality of the writing:

And So It Goes

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along 

The remaining verses are written in the first person point-of-view and ask the singer’s love interest not to misinterpret his quiet, cautious attitude as a lack of love, and state, despite past experience with heartbreak, he is willing to risk his heart again for this new love.  You can read the full lyrics here.

I love songs like this, which take a basic human experience and describe it with such compelling, beautiful language.  I strive to learn to say so much with so few, perfectly chosen words.  Obviously, I have a long way to go…

Now listen to the words paired with the piano (as only Joel can do):

Did you love that as much as I do?   I’m inspired to create a character from this song.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Have a great day!


Seven Fun Summer Date Ideas

Summer is officially here, so I thought I’d suggest several fresh “summer date” ideas.  We’ve been cooped up indoors for months, settling for restaurants and crowded movie theaters to provide entertainment.  *insert yawn*  Time to head outdoors.

Here are seven dates you can’t do in the winter (unless you live in the Southwest):

  • Outdoor concert/music festival
  • Drive-In or Outdoor/park movie
  • Amusement Park/local fair
  • Water Sports (rent a kayak/canoe, waterski, sail)
  • Shope at a Garage/Flea Market or Farmer’s Market
  • Play Tourist
  • Evening Bike Ride/Picnic

Of these suggestions, my strong preference is the outdoor music scene, followed by kayaking.  Then again, I’m always up for a good roller coaster!  Of course, I also like the idea of “playing tourist,” especially because I’ve yet to experience so many amazing landmarks and neighborhoods in nearby New York City.

Some of these suggestions require more advance planning and effort than others, but get off your butt and do it.  Pull up the websites of your favorite musicians and check for tour dates.  Scan the local paper for unique fairs within twenty miles from your home.  Find something you’ve never done around your hometown that tourists might enjoy and give it a try.  Pick anything, just don’t let summer pass by without going on at least one of these dates…without the kids (assuming you have them)!!16850066_s

Of course, I’m writing this on the eve before our big trip to California and Hawaii, two places where I’m sure to experience some exceptional summer activities.  I’m most excited about our plans to take the Haleakala Sunrise Tour.  I only hope my bottom isn’t too sore after the 23 mile bike ride down the side of the volcano!

What’s your favorite summer activity?


Photo Credit:  Cheyl Valle

Respecting Your Family

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you loveDon’t be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning ‘Good morning’ at total strangers. – Maya Angelou

This concept is something we discuss often in my house.  Most times, I’m lecturing my daughter about the critical or impatient tone she sometimes takes with her younger brother when he is seeking her company or approval.  She’s not intentionally cruel, but she’s not very sensitive either.  I’ve asked her, in those instances, to imagine if it were her friend asking or doing the very same thing, and then picture how she might respond to the friend.  At least she admits she would handle things differently (more kindly)…which gives me hope.11190821_s

But, as much as I’m bothered by her occasional callousness at home, I can’t pretend I, too, don’t often snap at my husband or children in a way I would never speak to a friend or acquaintance.  Worse, when I see other people verbally mistreat their kids or spouse, I cringe.  Not because I’m judging them, but because I know I’ve done the same thing.  When I’m an observer, it’s so easy to see the ugliness of such conduct, as well as the vitriolic reaction’s negative impact on the recipient.

Years ago I read a child psychology book that discussed this very thing (unfortunately I can’t recall the title or author).  It used the example of a child leaving the house without an umbrella on a rainy day, and a parent chasing after them saying something along the lines of, “What’s the matter with you?  Can’t you see it’s going to rain?  Jeez, use your head more often.”  It then suggested how said parent would handle the situation if his or her friend had left an umbrella behind, suggesting the parent might chase the friend down but merely say, “Oops, I think you’ll be needing this today!”  Same result (chasing them down to give them what they need); totally different emotional impact.

I notice I’m the worst offender of familial niceties when I am stressed out about whatever I’m juggling in my own life.   There are days when I get so behind on my to-do list, I think I might explode in frustration…and then something more happens and I do!  I assume my husband and kids know I love them (based on all I do for them each week) and, therefore, assume they’ll “put it in perspective” and forgive me.  But that’s not fair, is it?  Worse, this stuff adds up over time and, even if they do forgive me, is my unattractive behavior the lasting impression I want them to have of me?  Absolutely not.

So, my Summer 2013 Resolution is to treat my family at least as courteously as I treat my friends.  Hopefully this doesn’t mean I will now force my friends to suffer my wrath.  Maybe I should invest in a punching bag?

How about you?  Do you treat your friends better than your family?  Or, do you have tips to help a gal out?


photo credit:  Cathy Yeulet (123RF)