Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you. -- Carl Sandburg
There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

Miss Dirona is ready to party hardy the best way she knows how - chasing her very favorite ball!  

A new year is upon us! I can't believe 2012 is done already. Here comes 2013. Good thing I don't suffer from Triskaidekaphobia - fear of the number 13. I've embraced the opposite of superstition and have long claimed the number 13 as a lucky number just to defy the superstitions.  I also like black cats and walk under ladders all the time. Ha!  And I've never had a bit of bad luck from any of them.

So bring on 2013!

I'm trying to get my house fixed up so I can sell it.  It seems like an endless task but I keep plugging away on it.  My sister and brother-in-law talked me into going on another tropical jaunt with them at the end of January.  This time to St. Thomas.  And they prodded me to get my passport renewed.  So that is finally sent off to the State Dept.  My old one was more than 20 years expired and in my now defunct married name.  I thought it would be a big deal with showing all my paperwork but all I needed was the old passport and my birth certificate.  Apparently, they just start over under those circumstances.  At least I hope that is right.  If I'm lucky, I'll get it before we take off.  St Thomas is a US territory so all I need is proof of citizenship and my drivers license should be ok.

My dog knows what the word ball means.  I ask her to get her ball and she runs to it and brings it (not a stick or other toy), no matter how far away it is.  Smart puppy.  She is now 2 3/4 years old and just gets better as she edges towards maturity.  My two old cats are still plugging along despite their chronic renal failure.  I feed them a special raw turkey diet and it has reversed the renal numbers back into just normal.  Instead of bracing myself for their eventual demise, I now expect them to be around for a long time to come.  We are coming up on 3 years with the diet.  

So here's to another year and wishing all that it will be a good one!

♨ ♪ e d e f d ♪ ♨
♨ ♪ e d e f d ♪ ♨

December 13, 2012

Hawaii - The Big Island - Day 5-7

Waipi'o Valley in the rain
The northeast coast of the Big Island is the windward side and with the tradewinds slamming into the tallest mountain - Mauna Kea - it rains a lot.  That makes for dozens of lush steep valleys and lots of waterfalls.  We could see the inaccessible waterfalls pouring off the steep cliffs driving by but there were few stopping places.  This used to be sugar cane country but is no longer.  You can still see some sugar cane growing in places.  A lot of eucalyptus and ironwood forests have returned to the hills.  They never left the steep canyon sides.  We learned that most of the houses use rainfall catchment systems for their household water.  Here and the Kona coffee district is where most of the houses are.  The tourists like the dessicated west coast but the people who live here like the rainy areas.  I like the lushness and greenness too.

December 11, 2012

Hawaii - The Big Island - Day 3 &4 Volcano!

Eruption in Halema'uma'u crater inside Kilauea
We went to see the active volcano on our 3rd day.  Kilauea is the most recent and active volcano on the island.  For a while they thought it was a pimple on the side of Mauna Loa but have since decided it is a new volcano with it's own magma pipe.  When I first came here, I was lucky to have active hot lava oozing out of the earth near the end of the Craters road near the sea.  It was also pouring lava into the sea but I didn't see that part - just the VOG (volcanic smog) filling the sky.  There's nothing like being just inches away from hot red lava.  This time, the hot lava was in the center of the big new lava field and inaccessible.  We could see the VOG coming from and from the interior crater inside the big Kilauea crater.  It's become very active and at times has a lava lake in it now.  It pours out the VOG and the Park Service has closed half the road that goes around the caldera due to the toxic VOG.  They have cameras and an infrared camera in the museum so visitors can see what is happening.

Hawaii - The Big Island - Day 2 South Point

1801 Lava Flow from Mauna Loa - N Kona
We headed for the southern most point in the US.  We found a restaurant in Kailua-Kona for breakfast and then headed down the highway.  The north Kona coast on the western side of the island is extremely dry.  The airport is located on the westernmost point formed by the 3rd volcano, Hualalai, then the land curves back a bit before it goes due south along the Mauna Loa flanks.  As soon as you get past the west point, it starts to green up again.  Lush tropical vegetation is up a thousand feet or so above the ocean.  Here is the Kona coffee belt. A sweet spot with lots of rain on the lee side of the island part way up the slope.

December 10, 2012

Hawaii - The Big Island - Day 1

This trip has nothing to do with my van but it was fun. In late October, my brother-in-law called to ask if I would like to go to a tropical island with them in November.  My sister got a replacement ankle early this year and he said she was finally starting to be able to walk a couple blocks on it.  They hadn't had a vacation in 3 years and since we get along so well, they wanted me to come alone and I could be tour guide for them.  After a bit of thought, I decided, what the heck, why not? We decided on Hawaii since I don't have a current passport (note to self - get the paperwork and apply!).  My sister wanted to spend 7 days on the Big Island since she had never been to it.  I had 2 one day trips to it several years ago during a business trip but still hadn't managed to make it all the way around the island.