Saturday, February 27, 2010


We were awakened by an unusual sound
As we were alerted to head for higher ground
We awaited the potential Tsunami's force
While perched on a hilltop golf course
A better refuge could not be found

The wave has come without fuss
Leaving only a memory that time will not muss
We give thanks for our fate
As we'll mark down this date
As the day the ocean almost visited us

So much for a restful Saturday... We were awakened by Tsunami Sirens at 6:00 AM and Mainland phone calls from friends and family alerting us to the potential for a Tsunami to hit the Islands around 11:30 AM local time. An 8.8 magnitude earthquake had hit 200 miles south of Santiago, Chile and generated a potential tsunami. Sixty years ago a 9.5 quake hit the same area and generated a wave that killed 1100 on Hilo, so everyone is being cautious. We decided to head to Kaleheo and parked at the community golf course with a view overlooking the ocean 947 feet above sea level. It turned into a community picnic as everyone brought out blankets and chairs and watched the horizon. We had bathroom and restaurant facilities and a great vantage point, so it was an ideal spot to "ride out the storm"

For our book club, I've been reading a “spiritual” memoir by a Eugene author, called “Rolling Around Heaven” and it seemed appropriate to sit in my sand chair facing the ocean to watch. I went up to the clubhouse for a slightly better vantage point out of the sun and worked on my blog since I figured this might generate more interest. I was tempted to pass time on the golf course but when they started landing helicopters on the first fairway, I retreated to my book. The event passed with only minor surges of a few feet on the other islands, so we headed back home around 2:00 PM so everyone could rest up from our "Waiting for the Flow" event. I had intended laundry to be my most exciting activity for Saturday and finally sudsed up around 5:00 PM. Dinner is slated to be shrimp and pork and corn with card playing in the evening. We're hopeing for uneventful slumber tonight. Stay tuned....

Friday, February 26, 2010


As we greet another active and sun-filled day
We head north to engage in frolic and play
We visit Elsie in Kapaa
Aquire Ono Burgers to gnaw
and end our visit in a land called Hanalei

We celebrated our first week on the Island by heading north again, this time to visit Elsie in Kapaa. We had a leisurley breakfast and then drove up by 11:00 to Elsie's and visited for about an hour. About 6 weeks ago she got knocked down by a car that was backing up and broke an arm and was seriously bruised and just now had recovered. She filled our truck with fresh oranges from her tree and we vowed a return visit to off-load our extra food before we leave next week. An item on our to-do list was to eat at Ono Burger at Anahola so we stopped in for lunch. The burgers were as good as advertised so we went down to Anini Beach to digest and enjoy the view. Dianna got to stick her toes in the water before we headed to the Kiluaeu Lighthouse. Eula got a ride up to the viewing area and we enjoyed some beautiful views and whale action.

We headed in to Hanalei for Doug & Sandy McMaster's Slack-Key guitar concert at 4:00 PM and enjoyed a wonderful relaxing concert. Eula won a lei in the raffle but was allergic to the flowers so she passed it on to Dianna. Doug and Sandy are trying to put togeter a Mainland tour so we offered them a place in Portland if they make the trip come to fruition. Shopping stops at Walmart, Costco, and Big Save for milk, a roasted chicken, gas and other staples preceded a late dinner. Cards and then bed – no big plans for Saturday so we can rest....

Thursday, February 25, 2010


We motored West with a skip, jump and hop
As it's time to head to the Waimea Canyon top
We dine at Shrimp Station
Arrive at our primary destination
Then aquire Hanapepe fruit at our last stop

We decide to “Entertain the Costco Way”
As we've shopped for large quantities for our stay
Our knife and fork
Were used to cut pork
And fresh biscuits were eaten without delay

Thursday dawned partly cloudy and breezy but we figured it was our best chance to get a look at Waimea Canyon as the forecast sounded indifferent later in our stay. We hadn't eaten at the Shrimp Station during the Town Celebration so we stopped in before we attempted our ascent. We're finding out Eula's not much of a fish person, so she dined on a kosher hot dog while the rest of us had shrimp. There's a reason they're not known as the Hot Dog Station.. We climbed toward the top of the Canyon and got our best accessible views at the first lookout. Eula gamely hiked up to a viewpoint but we realized the upper view would be too tough for her to negotiate. We had a brief stop at Kokee State Park and then headed back in time to shop at the Hanapepe Sunshine Market.

We returned home for a chance to fully benefit from our Costco shopping trip. Merlin pan-fried some pork chops that were so thick they needed to be sliced in half, Mary made gravy, Dianna prepared a portion of our 5 lb bag of frozen corn and I whipped up a batch of biscuits. In honor of the Olympics, I shaped these in a variety of forms ranging from hockey pucks to curling stones. Despite the looks, the taste was still medal-worthy. Played a couple of card games and then retired for the evening.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

....A Tale of a Fat-Full Trip...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale
A tale of a fat-filled trip...
That started at a tropic port
In search of a chocolate chip

The Professor & Mary Ann were the only ones on board
As they went in search of treasure inside a cacao gourd
The tastings were long and hard, at the end they were quite spent
The result of ten flights of cacao averaging 70+ percent

Endorphins started to kick in as they began to feel quite mellow
Hugs were eagerly exchanged between more than one gal and fellow
The quest was rewarded at the end of a three-hour tour
As the chocolate overload provided anti-oxidents for a 2 week cure

Once they finished the adventure of the cacao
It was time to press on for a full-body luau
Thrilled by Hawaiian,Tahatian and Maori dance
They ate plenty and left nothing to chance
As they sampled the offerings of pig,fish,and cow

Got a chance to start our day with a chocolate tour in the highlands of Kapaa. With the decline of pineapple and sugar agriculture on the island, business leaders are exploring the potential of niche crops with value added potential and cacao is one such crop. The growing climate of Kauai is well suited to cacao and vanilla, so we got to see efforts at an experimental farm in the hills of the east side about Kapaa. We joined about 2 dozen our intrid souls as we sampled various tropical fruits and honey and then learned of the process of converting raw cacao into familar chocolate servings. Thanks to Ted's expertise and chocolate tastings we've done back in Hillsdale, much of this was familar, but we some some interesting new techniques and equipment, icluding a chocolate grist mill that will grinf cocoa nibs down to a smooth paste after 24 hours of processing. We tasted 10 differnt types of dark chocolate ( containing no milk solids) with cacao concentrations of 60% -78% and rated them. Our tour guide was knowledgable and entertaining so it was definitely time well spent.

We made a Lihue Costco run and availed ourselves of the $3 Costco gourment lunch for 2 and picked up some staples for the week ahead. We got back to the condo by 2:40 and had about 90 minutes before we needed to head out for our Smith Luau. Played some cards and then all five of us headed back east to the Wailua River, the site of Smith's Fern Grotto boat trips and the Tropical Paradise, where the luau and stage show occur 3 times a week. We toured the grounds, saw the unveiling of the Kalua pig and sat done to a boutiful luau. Teriyaki Beeef, Kalua pork, sweet & sour Mahi-Mahi, chicken, and great coconut custard and coconut cake more than satisifed me. We had center seating for the hour long stage show highlighted a variety of ethic dance styles in the Islands, including an enthusiastic fire juggler. Had a perfect evening to enjoy the experience and we all returned home pleased by 10:00 PM. Tomorrow may be a trek to Waimea Canyon..

I'm having difficulty consistently and conveniently posting pictures on the blog, so we'll be mostly text until I figure this out. I have a good backlog of interesting photos to support my documentation...

Happy Birthday to Rick Seifert and Leah Rutz, two bright stars for their respective generations that, among other things, have nutured the success of the Hillsdale Farmers Market! Thanks for being- right here - right now... MTP

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's Always Sunny in Poipu-delphia

Time on the Island moves at a different pace.
The rats here are turtles and there is no race
Everything is magical, filled with surprises
Your only guarantee is that the sun always rises
And provides a fresh day to fully embrace

Schedules fade as an Island rhythm emerges
A laid-back attitude replaces those old needs and urges
Whether by food, music, or soft ocean breezes
fading sunlight or a floral aroma that pleases
Allow ebb & flow like a wave as it surges

I suppose I don't need to give a long list,
as you probably already get the gist
We're having a good time
Even if it doesn't always rhyme
Though certain details are missed.

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday were filled with those things that we enjoy so much about Hawaii, but probably seem less inspiring from a distance. We've had great sunrises and sunsets, the whale actions has been frequent, and we continue to marvel at the front row seat we have from our lanai. The weather has been about the best I can remember although we are transitioning from perfect to delightful to merely pleasant by weeks end.

Merlin and Mary were able to make it to Lihue to church on Sunday and stock up at the "general store" (Wal-Mart) before returning to lunch, some card playing, and the requisite nap option. Since we had raced around Waimea on Saturday, we figured we'd stay close to home on Sunday.

I was in charge of breakfast on Monday, so we had pancakes and sausage and then made sure we were in position for the Koloa Sunshine Market at noon. This is a cross between a typical Summer Hillsdale Farmers Market and a 5:30 AM post-Thanksgiving "Black Friday" sale with eager buyers awaiting the signal to shop. We rode the surf of shoppers and emerged 15 minutes later with our prizes of papayas, apple bananas, radishes, green beans, avocados, and other tropical bounty. Our Monday night enertainement was E Kanikapila Kakou, the free Feb-Apr music show which means "Let's Strike up the Music", and showcases Hawaiian musical talent. It's these shows in the past that we've seen everyone fro 17 year old to 100 year old ukulele whizzes and learned much about Hawaiian cultural traditions in song and dance. Hula and music from Maui was presented Monday night and was located at a new venue which took away a lot of the intimacy from the old location but made the performace accesible to more people. We didn't get home until after 10:30, so we decided to defer our plans to head up to Waimea Canyon until Thursday and let everyone sleep in.

Tuesday was quiet as we only went out at lunch to get takeout and eat down at Brennakes Beach before3 coming back to enjoy cards and reading. Merlin prepared some of the halibut he caught in Alaska this summer, so the whales weren't the only things that migrated from Alaska to Hawaii for our enjoyment. Played a variety of card games before everyone retired. Dianna & I get to go on a 3 hour tour of a Cacao Farm tomorrow and then we're all attending a Smith Luau in the late afternoon, so we'll have a full enjoyable day. Aloha until tomorrow...

Saturday, February 20, 2010


A mind like mine is a terrible thing to waste
Under the guise of keeping decorum and good taste
But by arousing my muse
I’ll fabricate some news
And endeavor to do so with much haste

This time of year there is little vacillation
As for a fortnight we abandon our vocation
The call of Hawaii does beckon
Its impact is something we reckon
Will lead to a restful vacation

Day One of S.P.A.M. 2010
Always provides things on which we depend
Sunrise, breezes, palms and a whale slap
Laughter, good food, and sunset are fodder for my rap
But will it show up in the words I have penned?...

As I was saying when I last wrote 248 days ago… thank goodness for a metaphysical GPS - the inner nudging that gets you where you need to go despite your best conscious efforts to go in a different direction. Through fits and starts and ups and downs, we have managed to make our way back to Kauai, about 50 yards east of where we started last year for another round of the S.P.A.M. Chronicles. For those who may have slept in the last year, this will be a sporadic recap of our Hawaiian adventures in the areas of Sights, Play, Activities, and Music in a mnemonic tip of the hat to Hawaii’s favorite meat by-product. Pictures and descriptions to follow…

Today’s theme is “As Seen on TV” and In a scene out of National Lampoon’s Vacation , we held our breath and crammed our luggage in the Caddy as we headed out with a new participant to our tropical party, Eula Belle Burks, Dianna’s great-aunt on her dad’s side of the family. We had the good fortune of having her and her son Barry come up from Visalia, CA join us for Thanksgiving in Portland, so we invited her to join us in February. We boarded our plane without incident but then found ourselves somewhere between “Airport 77” and “Airplane” when Eula & Mary had the misfortune of being trapped in the lavatory during a particularly violent and unexpected period of turbulence. Eula wedged herself in and hung on vowing not to get bucked off the toilet as she once was off a horse… The hopper to Lihue was much calmer and we were able to get a car with even bigger trunk and be on our way..

First priority was food, so Hamura’s Saimen Shop filled the bill and our stomachs and we arrived at our new digs just after sunset. We were staying in a different unit which we also got from and in a small world coincidence it was owned by an Aptos acquaintance of my college friends Carolyn & Rich. She ended up selling thee unit in December, but we still felt there was a nice connection. Once we walked in and saw the view from our lanai we knew we were in the right place as we overlook the point where we would hike out each morning of our stay over the last few years to view sunrise. Now we can sit on our deck and watch whales cavorting. Our attention span is now similar to the dogs’ “Squirrel” moments in the Pixar movie “UP”

Our big event for Saturday was the Waimea Town celebration which had ideal weather this year. Merlin has retired from the ukulele competition but we still in our element in the ice cream eating contest. The organizers of the event all recognized and welcomed Merlin back which reminded us again of the benefit of the warmth of communities like Hillsdale & Waimea. We returned home after sampling some of the local wares at the fund raising booths and found an electrician working on a sticky problem regarding lack of power in one of the upstairs bedrooms. When we mentioned we had just come from Waimea, he said he recognized Merlin from the TV as the local channel had been replaying last years Ukulele Contest. When we talked about the Monday night performers we had enjoyed over the years, he said his grandmother had played with Bill Tapia (who is now 102) at the Royal Hawaiian. We had a good chat and a successful outcome as electricity was flowing by dinnertime.

We raced down t o a glorious sunset and then had fish & chicken burritos with the leftovers from lunch. We watched “UP” and everyone retired after a busy day while I swept the cobwebs from my blog and posted one man’s view of Paradise circa Feb 2010…