Monday, April 28, 2008

A triple dipped two-togs day

The youngsters were leaving today, so we got up early to take them to the airport. Very early - 5.30. We were ready way before they were!

After we dropped them off we had plans for the rest of the day. I had an agenda. At the luau we sat next to a young couple who said that Shark's Cove on the north shore was better than Hanauma Bay. I've been to Hanauma Bay twice before, so I pricked up my ears. We went.

We drove up the centre of the island, past the Dole Plantaion, past Hali'ewa. It was still early, and there was almost nobody there. A beautiful spot:

with a big tidal pool. I clambered over the rocks and took this picture of a rock rose.

Was it safe to swim there? It looked OK to me but you never know about currents, rips, and other nasties. There were no lifeguards and Michael wasn't about to rescue me if I got into trouble. But, I was there to snorkel, so I snorkeled.

Here's proof:

I wore my Teva sandals in case of coral, and they do add a certain buoyancy. It was just glorious. Almost immediately I saw a sea turtle chomping on a rocky coral outcrop. He stopped, hung suspended in the clear water and we gazed at each other for a while, before we went our separate ways. How lucky was that? This isn't my picture, and I only saw one turtle, but this is pretty much what I saw.

There were heaps of fish, and it was terrific. I felt a bit nervous as I went out quite a long way, so I had a bit of a swim back and hugged the rocks on the way back. Apparently there are lots of underwater caves, but I was not investigating those!

On the swim back in I saw a facemask wedged on the bottom. Always the tidy one, I picked it up and brought it back to shore with me. In the picture I am carrying one and wearing one. What will I do with it? Anyone want it? It is a really good one.

After this dip we went up to Kuilima Cove. I dipped there too. It was very shallow, there was lots of nice coral, and there were a lot of fish. The most interesting thing I saw were these long tangled strands of white stuff that I think were alive. Not sure though!

We came home after a coffee and cake at Starbucks, and were weary. Had lunch. Then the water called me again and I went for a long swim at Fort de Russy beach, my regular. As I emerged from the water, a woman asked me if I had seen anything. "Yes, lots of fish," I said. "How far out do you have to go to see any?" she asked. "About a foot," I indicated. She was surprised, but it is true. All you need to do is put your face in the water and there they are.

So a three-dip two-tog day. No bikini today, though.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Practice piece

Netting is lots of fun. Quick, interesting, and a good result. At least I think it will be once I get going with some patterns.

This is my very first piece - a practice piece with no pattern to speak of. I started at the lower left corner, and there are mistakes - it is easy to pick where I went over instead of under and vice versa. By the time I got to the big square at top right the work was going pretty quickly.

This is on mesh size 3. My next attempt is going to be on mesh size 5 (smaller - the number refers to the number of meshes per inch.) Stay tuned.

Today was a retail therapy day. Michael and I walked to the Ward Centre where we got some more Illy coffee (blue, medium grind). Then back to the Ala Moana mall where we replaced the mystery tomatillos (the first two disppeared from the refrigerator) and a few other bits and pieces. A new cotton robe for me from the Japanese department store. A new vegetable steamer for the micowave. A Reyn Spooner shirt for Michael. A New York Times. That was the sum total. Alas I have been bitten by the Vinnie's bug and any item of clothing over $12 seems extortionate now. I blame my mother for that.

We were tired after our walk, so I went for a swim (in my bikini) and a sunbake (I know I am bad, but I love it) and a read. Finished Dora Damage's Journal and have started on a Hawaiian crimmie by Deborah Turrell Atkinson. So far, so good.

Tonight I am cooking in. Pork thin sliced with tomatillo jalapeno chili sauce, mashed potatoes, broccoli and asparagus.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Who needs a hair drier?

Last night we went to a luau at the Royal Hawaiian, also known as the Pink Palace. I really wanted to see a show of some sort, and we didn't want to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center - it is run by Mormons. And besides, we went to the Pink Palace for Michael's birthday and it is now a Family Tradition.

It was great. I wore the feather necklace Michael bought me 18 years ago on our first visit here. We were given leis, as you see in the photo. As you see by my Little Dutch Girl hairstyle, I have not used the hair drier for some time and this is Just How it Is after a day's swimming.

The food was "authentic" - quite good, but one wouldn't want a regular diet of Hawaiian food. Poi is best left alone. Taro chips are excellent. Lomi lomi was a bit too salty. Pulled Pork is good. Desserts were indulgent.

The show was terrific, with hula girls and fiery dancing. A good time had by all.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I blame Therese de Dillmont

When I was little I spent hours and hours poring over a copy of Therese de Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework. It is (I still have it) a very small but fat book with gold on the edges of the paper, and glossy coloured illustrations of fantastic things. There is hardanger and tatting and netting and berlin woolwork and macrame and embroidery on white materials and darning and just plain mending. Plus knitting and crochet. The plain black and white illustrations showed lovely pairs of hands with strange implements making lace and embroideries of all kinds. I was fascinated, and loved looking at it. I taught myself how to tat from that book so the instructions MUST be good.

I blame Therese for my obsessions. Do I need another craft? I already knit, tat, crochet, cross-stitch, play with beads. I have tried macrame (in the seventies.) The chapter on netting always fascinated me. When I saw this website offering kits on filet lace making, I knew I had to try it. I asked my lovely sister for one of the kits for my birthday, and she sent it to me.

I brought it with me to Honolulu, as I thought I would have the time and focus to really get moving with it (while not going to luaus or snorkelling on the reef or lying in warm sand or looking into expensive shop windows at Ala Moana Mall).

I did. First I assembled the frame, then I thumbtacked the netting to it. Then I started to practice diagramming the patterns, and finally got going with the needle and thread. It is such fun! It is quick, and effective. The book says it shrinks a lot and that this is good, because the filled meshes all pack in and fill the space really well. There is going to be more of this. Just what I needed - another craft. A worthwhile day spent in Hawaii.

More on our luau adventure later.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A vista from the Lyons Arboretum:

Some tree roots:

A flower from a very large Pride of Burma tree:

No fingerprintS - a life of crime could be mine

It is true, I appear not to have any fingerprints. Last time I came to Hawaii, two years ago, they had great trouble fingerprinting me. This time, they failed entirely. Left index finger, left thumb, right index finger, dampen them all on the little pad, rub oily nose, nothing worked. I was taken off to a room in which there might have been eight people. More than I had expected! One woman struck up a conversation. She was Australian, but her partner lived here on Kauai, and she was trying to extend her residency. I am afraid I know rather more about her than I needed to. She filled me with dread, saying that the interviews took FOREVER and that I could be here for HOURS.

Just then, my name was called. I spoke to a woman behind the counter. Did I have any food with me? Was I travelling alone? No, my husband was with me. Where was he? Waiting for me with the bags, and waiting for daughter and her man. He is a US citizen, I said. Where does he live? With me, in Australia. Do you want to move to the US? No. No plans in the future? No. OK, off you go. Phew! I waved farewell to my chatty friend, and re-joined Michael who had wrestled with all the bags.

Julie and Martin awaited us with leis, which we donned. Found the car, drove to Kalia Street and checked in. Fortunately Chatty Mark was not on the desk.

We've had a terrific day today at the Lyon Arboretum followed by Isle Knits. While the going is good, I am going to try some photos now. Our wifi connection is very dicey....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Successful connection

My laptop has proven very recalcitrant at getting connected. Having a senior moment before I left home I signed up for two weeks of dialup access. That has not proven successful at all, even though I have years of experience at that sort of thing. So I've moved on to wireless and finally beaten the laptop into submission with a credit card and a position perched on the bed. Typing like mad before it falls over!

I've swum every day. Today was my longest swim, right out to what looks from our window like a rock, but on close inspection is a kind of barnacle weed encrusted bollard. I was pleased to have finally swum around it.

Yesterday was a terrific visit to Queen Emma's Summer Palace, which was full of beautiful things, including lots of lovely wood furniture and fabulous feather capes and kahilis and such like. We found a bead shop in one of the local shops, bought some purple velvet crystals with which to make a beaded rosebud for The Wedding. Happy happy us.

The camera is working really well, and I did get the software installed for it. So I guess a few pics are in order. I think I shall publish this and then try some pics!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On our way

We left the dog, and the house. A taxi to the airport took us the most circuitous route through one-way streets in Erskineville at high speed. "We aren't in a hurry" I said. "This is the only illegal bit" said the taxi driver. It was dark and rainy. We are now in the Air New Zealand lounge awaiting our flight from Sydney Airport. I have unpacked my new camera and read some of the instructions, and the battery is charging at one of the power points. We have had a snack, it being dinner time.

The housesitter left an SMS so I am not worried about the dog any more. There was a moment in between leaving and hearing from her when I was convinced she was lying in the gutter bleeding (family joke...) and the dog was abandoned to a lonely death in the house all alone for nearly three weeks. I have a very active worry mechanism.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hawaii here we come

I am turning sixty. How can that be? Only yesterday I was eighteen...

Two years ago we went to Hawaii to celebrate Michael's sixtieth, so it instantly became a family tradition. I think that snorkelling at Waikiki in a bikini is an entirely appropriate way to spend my sixtieth birthday so that is exactly what I am going to do. Right down to the bikini. It isn't THAT brief, and I have lost ten kilos, so it won't be too awful. Most of the time I shall be face down in the water anyway.

Daughter and her man are there now, and they will pick us up from the airport. We are busy packing. Packing includes Illy coffee and Pangyong Congou tea. Those are essential. The laptop too, because I intend to blog the entire time. After our Greek holiday we realised that slides have had their day, so Michael has bought me a fabulous Canon digital camera to play with. I can't open it yet (duty free regulations) so will have something to play with when we arrive. I also have a filet net lace kit to learn a new craft with. If I like it I might have to change my blog title to knittatfiletpug. Sounds a bit like Pug Filet, which doesn't bear thinking about.

The housesitter is primed - she knows Majic, and I hope she has lots of energy. The dog walker is coming every day. As an aside, the dog walker leaves little notes every time, and these are some excerpts:

"Majic makes friends wherever he goes. He had a good game of chasing with Fromage."

"Majic was the life of the pack today. The other three dogs are a little timid so Majic was teaching them how to relax and be social. Sooo cute!"

"What a sociable, well mannered little boy he is! He took a real liking to Riley although Riley didn't pay him much attention. Soo much personality for such a little dog!"

"We didn't believe it, but Majic can outrun a Jack Russell!"

Just to get me in the mood, here is a picture of our view from one of our previous Hawaiian adventures. I am ready!

Monday, April 07, 2008

I know, I know, I haven't been here in a zillion years. There is heaps of catching up to do, but..... - Funny Pictures