Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Lots of Things and Day 5 of Hawaii Five-O!!

Another huge gap in time. I feel guilty, much like I feel about writing in my journal - so much happens in life that it seems like there isn't time to record what is happening. The last month has been busy, that's for sure! Since I last posted, Cathy and Rick were here for a visit, Amy and Brad were here, too. While I didn't get to see Amy and Brad as much, it was so nice to have them stay at our house for a few hours - overnight and breakfast. I really enjoyed the week with C&R, though. Each day I was able to take Cathy to lunch, then we had a few evenings together. Having lunch together was a nice break from the day and a good chance to visit about everything. Cathy is my friend and my big sister - I won't say "older" because at this point, age is irrelevant, right?

We had Ward Conference and Stake Conference. Sarah spoke at Stake Conference and she did a wonderful job in spite of the technical difficulties with the sound system. I saw the Stake president a few days after Conference and made the connection that Sarah was my niece. He just got the biggest smile and said she "made the conference" with her handling of that situation. More than likely everyone will remember her talk, at least.

There are new babies in our family! How fitting that Sarah and Kerri both delivered on the same day. I just imagine that those 2 little cousins were plotting and planning to arrive together. Chloe knew when she was coming, so she encouraged Luke to "jump off" on the same day. I know they are both excited about the Corbett Family Reunion in July. Sweet babies - glad they are here safely. I know Kerri and Sarah are happy, too!

Work is picking up - that's all I have to say about that!

Day 5 - Hawaii Five -O: Ok, maybe everyone isn't as excited about this as I am, but I still can't believe that our trip is over! Zack has been after me to blog the last few days. So here goes...Day 5 was Sunday. All along we had planned to attend Sacrament Meeting at least. I admit the main reason I wanted to go was to hear the "Aloha" greeting and response from the congregation. I grew to love that when I lived there. After a few weeks it sounds so natural. So some of us got dressed for church and headed out. We got there early, of course, and I found myself scanning the crowd, looking for familiar faces. After a few minutes, I came to the stark realization that I needed to look at the older faces, not the 20-something faces that I was studying. Duh. A member of the bishopric introduced himself, and we struck up a conversation about who he might know, told him we were related to Lisa Taylor Wagner, and Taylor Macdonald. Then we realized that he had been at BYU-Hawaii when I was there. I didn't know him, but I knew of his wife. She was in charge of the group "Showcase Hawaii" and was very visible on campus. She was good friends with Taylor, so he had introduced me to her when I first got there. He was sure to tell me that she was a returned missionary. This introduction took place about a week before I made the "decision" to go on a mission. So she was unknowingly one of the influences in helping me with my decision. It brought back to me some of the emotion that I felt back in 1977, and as I tried to explain to Mom who she was, I couldn't help but cry a little. Her name is Esther De La Rosa. The meeting itself was interesting - a Fijiian family spoke, so their greeting was "Bula Vinaka", not Aloha. But the feeling was the same. The closing song? "God Be With You Till We Meet Again". Need I say more? We didn't stay for the other meetings, but we tried to be reverent the rest of the day. Went home, changed clothes and headed up to the Waimea Falls area to hike the trail. On the way we stopped at a Shrimp Shack (say that 5 times, really fast!), and had some really good Garlic Shrimp that was amazingly expensive. I had always wanted to stop at one of those little places, so now I can say that I've done it! The hike at Waimea was incredibly beautiful. Those who participated? Everyone except Jeff, Jeanette, Caitlin and Ross. They went to Pearl Harbor that day. The area is actually an Audobon run "park" - very well-maintained. The trail is paved, with some ups and downs, but really so beautiful. Again, after spending so many years here in Arizona, it was amazing to see so much green, and so many beautiful plants in all their varieties. Zack took some pictures that you would not believe. I keep telling him that he should make a dvd of screen savers. Huge "Birds of Paradise" - like trees! Some flowers that don't really even look like flowers. The Falls themselves, were, well, anti-climactic? But still, I guess, it was nice to see. The hike took some energy, and time has taken it's toll, so I don't really remember the rest of that day - specifically. Oh my gosh! How could I forget? It was New Years Eve! When it got dark, we all went down to the beach with chairs and set up for the fireworks that Zack had purchased. It was all very primitive - the men were building the fire, with all the skills that Boy Scouts can muster, with the wind being a huge challenge. The fireworks were mostly sparkly kind of shooting things, not really explosive. We had so much fun watching the "boys" exhibit their manliness by jumping over and walking through the sparklies. The fact that we were right near the water minimized any fire worries. At 9:00 Hawaii time (which was 12:00 Arizona time) the group sang Happy Birthday - on the beach in Hawaii, at night, with a beautiful moon, the sound of the water, the smell of the ocean, and my family around me. This was an experience that will never be re-created, but will never be forgotten, even though I almost forgot it! We didn't stay up til midnight Hawaii time, but I think we all heard the fireworks from our beds. Ahhhhh, Hawaii.....

Friday, February 02, 2007

Day #4 - Hawaii Five-O

Yellowstone Manor
So here's a huge test of my memory! I've waited a little long to post this, but I'll try to remember the details of this day:
I'm not sure what everyone else did, but Mom, Jennifer, Zack and I went to Pearl Harbor to see the USS Arizona Memorial. We left pretty early in the day to make sure we got tickets. The tickets are free, but they are limited, first come, first serve, and the lines get really long. When Becky and I lived in Hawaii in 1977 (when I was 20!), we never made the effort to see PH, even though we knew we'd hear about it from M&D. Back then, we didn't really have access to a vehicle or gas $$. Yes, we could have taken the bus, but, hey, we were young! Anyway, back to present day, I didn't really know how to get there, but I had seen signs, and figured I'm pretty good at directions. Driving back towards Honolulu was an opportunity to see some pretty amazing scenery. Being from Arizona, I'm just not used to seeing sooooo much green! Have I mentioned the humidity? It's wonderful for your skin, from your ear lobes down to your toes! Just before going through the mountain to Hono, you take a curve to the right to head to PH. Again, more beautiful vistas. Confession? Once you get down towards Pearl City, it pretty much looks like any other old town, with some industrial areas, older homes, etc. But hey, we were in Hawaii! We saw this huge football stadium - don't really see the reason for that! Except I think they use the parking lot for a Flea Market. We wandered through the military base, following signs for the Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor is, of course, the entire area. What we wanted to see is the more familiar memorial for the USS Arizona. The line was long, but we hit it at the right time, because we moved pretty quickly as the line got even longer. Our tickets were for 12:20? or so. This meant that we had a couple of hours to wait. We wandered over to the Canteen (eating area). We had time to see the submarine Bowfin, but opted out of that. Can you say claustrophobia? Zack had pizza and Mom and I had a burger. Weather was really nice. Sunny, but enought breeze to make it very comfortable. After eating, we went back to the Visitor Center and looked around through the book store and a little museum. Mom and I watched a little of a PH documentary. I think I actually learned something. Amazing! For the last little bit of our wait we went closer to the water and watched people and looked across the bay at the other ships. It was hard to imagine that a place so beautiful had been the scene of so much destruction and sorrow. Our group was finally called and we went in to see the movie, which I think we would have slept through except for the sound of the explosions recorded from the actual attack. I was impressed with the request from the Park Ranger that we each remember that this is a memorial and please keep the talking and visiting to a minimum. It is the final resting place for many. We loaded on to the ferry for the ride over. The memorial itself is perpendicular (?) to the actual ship, built over the top of it. Zack has photos on his blog. As weird as it may sound, I loved seeing the drops of oil rising to the surface. I've read somewhere that they call those drops "Tears of the Arizona". Appropriate. The crowds were very respectful. I have to say that I was very aware of the history of that spot. But the impact of seeing the names on the wall was not as great as I had anticipated. Perhaps a sad commentary on our generation, having seen the Vietnam Wall, lists of the World Trade Center victims, and other memorials/reminders of the insanity that exist in this world. We remember, but I think we are still doomed to re-live it, in one way or another.

Anyway, on the way home, we stopped at a grocery store to buy some essentials: 2 pies, Chee-tohs, sweet bread, and I'm sure there was some soda pop involved. This, of course, was to make sure we didn't starve to death on the drive up the coast to our home. That evening was a blur - don't remember. But I'm pretty sure we went to another grocery store to make sure we had essentials for the next day - Sunday. I think we played Scrabble. I won, or at least, "they" let me win.

Tomorrow? Day 5 - church, Waimea, shrimp shack. Have I said lately that we had a wonderful trip?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day #3 - Hawaii Five-O

Sorry for the delay. I've had some interesting issues trying to "blog" these last couple of days. And since I'm sure you are anxious to know more about our trip, I've been stressing about it. I also got an interesting comment on my previous blog - which disturbs me a bit. I need to see if I can delete comments...

Read Zack's blog! He has posted some pictures that will give you a good idea of what we did and where we were. He has really enjoyed the photography thing, and his writing is a wonderful compliment to the photos.

So, Day 3: This is our day at the Polynesian Cultural Center, or PCC. If you want to sound like a local, you would call it "da PCC".

We were still waking up a little early, and the PCC doesn't open until 11:00. At least, that's when the shops open. The day was a little rainy/misty. I drove over ahead of time to see if they still operated in the rain - silly question. It would be like Calgary shutting down in the snow! So we made our way over, and wandered through the gift shops and waited for our 12:15 call to get our tour guide. Initially, I thought having our own guide would be fun. His name was Gabriel, and he was so nice. But in retrospect, I think wandering on your own is a little better. I felt a little stressed trying to keep the group together, making sure we were on schedule, etc. I didn't want to feel that way, and I tried not to express it. When we walked in the front entrance and looked around, Mom asked if it looked familiar. Honestly, when Becky and I lived there we never went in the front door - we always went in the back gate. And since we were friends with the security guards, they let us in. So, the answer was no, nothing looked familiar at the front gate. There have been some rennovations since we've been there, too. I also noticed that everything seemed a little more "commercial" - like they've fine-tuned the art of merchandising. That bothered me. The presentations in the different villages were fun, and I think everyone enjoyed the day. Another one of my observations? I think the reason I had such a love for the PCC and the shows is that I knew so many of the people that were performing. I looked at the performers, staring at their faces trying to see if there was anything familiar. Then I realized my mistake: I was looking into the faces of 20-something year old people when I should have been looking at the 50 yr old faces. Jolt to the system! We got "tatoos" and learned how to weave palms leaves and ate a few Pineapple Deelights - a nummy ice cream treat, not to be confused with a "Whip". When I lived in Hawaii years ago, the Deelights were served in a fresh pineapple bowl - the actual pineapple. Now they have plastic pineapple bowls with the PCC logo. Merchandising. We do have a new set of cereal bowls, though. Unlike most people who throw those things away, we had to hoard them and take them home for future use. Jeff and Alisha performed with the Tahitian dancers - nice job- and some of us learned a hula. I know how it felt, but how it "looked" is another issue. Emma and Sadee even got the hang of the hula. We took a "canoe" ride back through the villages just in time for our luau. When we got to the end of the ride, at the other dock, I suddenly recognized that area! The last week we spent in Hawaii in 1978, we did nothing but hang out at da PCC, at that canoe landing with friends. Yes, I do have some memories after all. The luau was pretty good - see Zack's photos. They had a program, and at one point the MC asked for all couples celebrating an anniversary in December to go up on stage. Sarah and Jared's anniversary was the 28th, the day before, so they went up and danced along with the other couples. They were so cute. Sarah's little tummy kept right up with her. Jared even dipped her! Back at the table, Sadee was not a happy little girl when she realized her parents were on stage. She didn't make any noise about it, but oh my, if looks could kill - she gave her parents quite the stink eye. We had pretty good seats for the night show. By the time it started we were already at the end of a very long day, so it felt good to sit down. Sadee watched the entire show, Emma fell asleep towards the end. Again, a very good show, but there were no familiar faces. What did we do after our day was over? Back to the house and get ready for bed. I don't remember the particulars. So this was Friday. Tomorrow, Pearl Harbor.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Fellow Bloggers?

Ok, I'm blogging my fingers off, and I'm getting nothing in return! Thank you, Melinda, for your offering. Thank you, Lara, for your contribution. From what I can tell, The Tuscan and The Christensen's and Lou are MIA. Helloooooooo?

Day #2 - Hawaii Five-O

Our first full day in Hawaii! Amazingly, we all woke up really early - like 5:00 or something like that. Sarah felt jipped because by her calculation she went to bed at midnight Arizona time, but woke up at 5 Hawaii time. She was convinced she only got 5 hours sleep! We played that game a lot on the trip. "What time is it?" Anyway, those of us at the house sat around in our pajamas for a while looking out at the rain, starting to understand why everything is so green and the air so humid. We had been warned to expect rain every day, but it was still a little worrisome. Cereal, toast, yogurt, baloney-rito for breakfast. Everyone on their own. Waited for the hotel people to get there (Mom, Jennifer, Zack, Jeff, Jeanette, Ross). Planned to visit the Dole Plantation - we were all anxious for a Pineapple Whip. It's a dessert, not a weapon. Still had a fairly heavy misting of moisture during the drive which took us up/over (not sure) the northern part of the island past Turtle Bay resort, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and Haleewa. The plantation is, of course, inland. It would be difficult to have a plantation on the shoreline. The terrain was very different - even saw what looked like pine trees. We headed for the gift shop and each went our own way. Emma saw a cute little quilted purse that she wanted. So I went with her to find it. Once she picked one out, she put it on her arm. I noticed that she was picking up little things from the shelf and inspecting them very carefully. What are you doing? I asked. She looked up at me with all the rational thinking in the world and said, I need to buy some things to put in my purse. Although I understood completely how she was thinking, I took advantage of the moment to explain to her that she already had plenty of things to put in her purse. It was an opportunity for me to see down the road at a 15 year old Emma, shopping for a purse and all the essential items to go inside. It scared me a little. So we kept walking past all the little things a 4 yr old would want. Most of us went on the tram tour - which was kind of boring - and Jeff, Alisha, and Jillian went through the maze. We did enjoy the yummy pineapple whips. On the way home, we stopped in Haleewa for some lunch. Unbeknownst to us, it was traffic jam day in that little town. And with one road in and out of town, well, let's just say one could jog through town quicker than drive. We found a little eating place, ordered and ate outside, staring at the traffic jam on the main drag. Food was kinda nummy, but the atmosphere was wonderful. Did a little browsing, and then joined the other jammers on our way home. It's hard to get frustrated in a Hawaiian traffic jam - I mean, come on, you're in Hawaii! Again, the surf was beautiful! I'm ashamed to say I don't remember what we did when we got home, but I'm sure it involved shopping, eating, snorkeling and sleeping. We stayed up a little later that night, but we still wanted to get some sleep for Friday - big day at the PCC. Funny that it doesn't "open" until 11:00. Stay tuned for Day 3, and any other details that I forgot about Day 1 or 2. Hope you are enjoying this. And if you aren't, well, sorry...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Day #1: Hawaii Five-O

I don't have photos of our trip. I promise - they do exist. December 27th, 2006 - This was the plan: Leave the Yellowstone house no later than 5:40am. This required some early rising from those who live out in Johnson Ranch/Queen Creek. I was a little nervous about that especially since the day before, Jeff kept saying "be there at 6?". But much to my delight, everyone was on time/early! We had at 30 pieces of luggage to check, which included not only suitcases, but golf clubs, strollers, and portable crib. We took 3 vans to the airport, one of which was mostly luggage. Jennifer went directly to the airport from her house since she lives so close the the airport. Oh, in my obsessive organizer way, I provided colorful floral ribbon to tie on to each piece of checked luggage, which I thought would facilitate grabbing the luggage when we got there. It did help, but next time? I'll get more ribbon and make it brighter. Did I say next time? What am I thinking! Anyway, got to the airport in 20 minutes - still on schedule. Luggage was unloaded at the curb and the 3 vans drove off to the long term parking lot while the rest of us lugged the luggage into the airport - we hardly made a scene. This was an interesting exercise since we had to keep the little girls and the baby in one spot inside the airport along with a couple of "overseers" while the others carried-dragged-wheeled-kicked the luggage from outside to inside. Oh, we also had to have an outside overseer to make sure none of our luggage when to Philadelphia, or South Phoenix.

Once we got inside, each family group took their own luggage and went to stand in the line to check in. This was not the fun part of the trip. At that point, Jeff realized that his black carry-on back was not to be found. We searched each group and even called the van boys to make sure nothing was left in the vans. I could just see some screaming trip back to the house to make sure it wasn't on the sidewalk at home. Finally, the bag was located. And, by the way, it's green, not black. So the first "issue" was resolved. After about 30-45 minutes in the check-in line, we all made it upstairs. I think I was the last one. Going through Security was another line. That was when I found out that I had be specially chosen for the personal inspection. I'm sure it had to do with my birthday. I did feel special. Cleared that hurdle. On to the gate area. We had about 90 minutes to wait. Bought some breakfast and reading material. Boarded the plane with very little difficulty. We all sat in a group of 15 - 3 rows of the 3 middle seats and the 2 window seats. What a happy bunch we were! Once the plane took off, there was nothing to anticipate but 6.5 hours of flying. So now what?

Emma and Sadee checked out their backpacks to see what snacks/games/books etc had been packed. That took about 10 minutes. Movie anyone? We had the little DVD players. Emma can watch Little Mermaid in about 15 minutes - it seems that most of the movie bothers her, especially the part where the daddy yells at Ariel. She doesn't like Ursula, or any other conflict. So most of the movie is watched in FF mode. I read a little, but it made me sleepy and I can't sleep on a plane - it just makes me cranky. So I didn't read. Sadee slept a bit - Jeff slept a bit. I couldn't really see everyone, so I'm not sure what happened. But eventually we prepared for arrival! Flew really low over the ocean until the runway appeared. Gathered our things and got off the plane. We weren't quite sure where Baggage Claim was, so we were afraid to get on the tram. So we walked - couldn't be that far. Wrong. But the walk was kind of nice after so long on the plane. So we did the luggage thing in reverse. Got all the bags in one area. Then some of us went to get the rental cars. We got 4. Once everyone was loaded, with map in hand, it was every car for itself to make it to the North Shore. We decided to meet at the motel which is in the same parking lot as the Polynesian Cultural Center. The drive was beautiful - really unbelieveably beautiful. So green. And the humidity wasn't too bad. I had a few nostalgic moments as drove along the Kam Hwy hugging the coastline - remembering that sad day when Becky and I left Laie in 1978. One thing I noticed? Trees grow a lot in 30 years.

Got to the motel - checked in those 3 rooms and headed over to the rental house which we had passed on the drive in. The house is pretty much on the beach. No houses obstruct the view, with about 30 yards of lawn between the porch and the beach. First order of business for most? Get in the water with the snorkel gear. I was more concerned with the fact that the house did not have air conditioning. That first afternoon was rather warmish. So I took the floor fan into my room, and decided that if that plus the ceiling fan didn't cool things down, I was in big trouble. We went to the grocery store for the necessities of life and came back with about 10 bags of stuff - just the necessities, right? We had dinner. I think salad and roast chicken. Unpacked. We were mostly too tired to stay up really late. The last thing I did before bed was ask Jared to close the windows in the van. Good thing. It rained pretty hard during the night. This concerned me a little, but I was also pleased because it also cooled things down and brought a really nice breeze through all the open windows.

Next post? Day 2. I'll try to condense this a little more, but it's also my way of remembering most of the details. So be patient.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Can I just say, I'm usually quite aware of what is going on around me - at least, I used to think so. Let me give you a little background...

While we were in Hawaii, we had a little birthday party for me on the 1st. Actually, my feeling was that the trip itself was the party, so I didn't really feel that a "party" was necessary. We did fireworks on the beach the night before and at midnight (Arizona time) they sang Happy Birthday, so that was really fun. And then I decided that I'd go in the water on my birthday, which I did - whole other story. So one of the gifts (I think it was from Becky and Mom) was a day at the Spa, already scheduled for the 6th. Wow! An all day event! I left the house that morning at 8:20 because I had a nail appt prior to the Spa thing. My day included a mud wrap (what?), a massage, facial, lunch, pedicure, hair style, and make-up. I was done at 4:30. But prior to that I had called Becky to see if we could go out for dinner. Sarah and the girls were at the house, so Becky said to just come home and we'd figure something out.

I drove home. As soon as I got in the garage, Becky came out of the house - which is highly unusual. She told me to get out of the car, not say anything, but to close my eyes and she was going to take me down to my bedroom. I immediately tried to think of what catastrophe awaited me in my bedroom. Once we got there, she told me I had to stay there for an hour, and was I hungry? Yes, so she said she'd have a snack sent down. Caitlin brought me a banana and a glass of milk. Downed that, but I also found a candy bar in my purse that looked pretty good. So I settled in with the TV and before I know it, Ross came to get me. He caught me napping, like any normal 50 yr old! He escorted me upstairs, again with my eyes closed. Once I got into the front entry way, I opened and saw all the decorations! Oh my gosh! The family was all there. Becky took me outside to show me what was in front of the house - black balloons tied to one of the cars, signs, banners which all announced that someone was turning 50! When I came back in I saw one of our good friends, Vonnie. I thought how nice that she could come for the party. THEN, the door bell rang. I looked and in walked a couple from our old ward. This was starting to worry me. It was good to see them. Then the door bell rang again - more people from our old ward. I couldn't believe it! It's a weird feeling to think that they show up for "you". It was very touching. As I was greeting them, another couple walked up - Taylor and Kathy Macdonald, my cousins from Utah! Honestly, when I saw them, I lost it! Why does that happen? I just couldn't believe that they were there! Other friends from our current ward showed up, too! Oh my goodness! It was really fun. The decorations included enlarged photos from the past, and some from our trip. I would love to give a full decription, but that would take too long. Then another surprise - Sarah and Jared, and I'm not sure who else, put together a DVD. So so cute. There is a section that starts off with a picture of me when I was about 4 yrs old with a baby carriage. The song is "When I grow up..." - you know, the one about being a mother. I briefly wondered, what? Then the 1st shot after that was a picture of me with the Melchin girls from our trip to Hawaii in 1982. All the other pictures were of nieces, nephews, cousins, etc. So, you get the idea. Very, very touching. Becky, or someone, also asked our YW president to do a video of the YW in our ward (which they did on the Sunday I was gone) and they showed that, too. So cute. Can I just say, I am so lucky to have friends and family. I never expected this, honestly. I love doing it for others, but it's a weird feeling to be the focus. I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone involved! After the fact, I was told how long this had been planned. Invitations were sent to high school friends, mission friends, and family members. That thought alone is, well, amazing. I am filled with emotion as I think of it. Words do not describe it.

So as I said, I used to think I was aware of my surroundings. But not any more.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Aloha to Hawaii Five-O!

Just wanted to give a quick hello to all! Zack is sorting through the pix and will, no doubt, have his own narrative of the trip. I will give my own version, too. We had a wonderful time! Can't believe that it's already over. Christmas seems like it was forever ago - even while we were there we couldn't believe that Christmas had been "just a few days ago". It was another world in Hawaii - at one point, I was trying to remember our kitchen at home, and honestly, I couldn't picture it. I actually had to stop and "recall" that information. Weird. This morning as I was getting ready for work, after about 4.5 hours of sleep, I noticed that the "luggage" under my eyes did not seem so huge. I call it "luggage" because "bags" just seems too teeny for what I usually see. Anyway, my luggage seems to have shrunk a bit! So prepare yourselves - I'm going to give a day-by-day review of the trip. And hopefully I won't lose any posts!