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The Feel of Silence

June 30, 2016

I got a cortisone shot today. Based on my experience last time, a little over a year ago, I was not expecting much, except a lot of unwelcome pain. This is my most unfavorite kind of pain: lying in a compromised position, unable to move, having something nasty injected into an already untouchably tender spot, experiencing an increasingly mounting pain, not being able to escape it, and not sure when it’s going to end. If ever.

I remember last time just hating it.

I wasn’t entirely sure the cortisone had any positive effect either, and wasn’t keen on going through all of that again to see if maybe it’d work better this time.

But for some reason, I decided to try.

It’s too early to know if it worked better/differently. Check back in a couple weeks. But I can report that the shot part was nothing like the experience the first time. It’s a bit shocking when the needle goes in, but the awful part this time lasted only a few seconds. I was kind of surprised (and a little embarrassed at my built up fear). And then, best of all, a river of numbing lidocaine (or a lidocaine-like solution) brought this remarkable sense of nothingness to an area that’s been just a relentless, nagging pain for months and months. You feel like you can take your first deep breath after what has felt like a million years of tentative, anxiety-tinged breathing. It’s just amazing.

I don’t think I’ll be quite as wimpy the next time I might need a cortisone shot.

No photos. Though I was tempted.

 

 

 

Richard’s Underpass

June 29, 2016

People in Davis get this…

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It’s a whole bunch of traffic choked through a small, two-lane opening under the railroad overpass at Richard’s Boulevard… the grand entrance to Downtown Davis, California.

It’s a messy mess of a road, impacted at most times of the day. But maybe we love it?

A majority of citizens, including me, voted to maintain that two-lane road way back in I-don’t-know-what-year. I think it was called Measure E back then. Huge revamping of the under-crossing and surrounding area, but voted down because it threatened the character of downtown Davis. We citizens, including me, again voted down, just last month, an infill project (Nishi, Measure A) that would have, among other things, allocated a million or so bucks to improve this under-crossing.  I’m having a bit of voter’s remorse on that one… but that’s another story.

Don’t know what’s ever going to become of this under-crossing. But I was amused today, as I sat, waiting, for this huge car-carrying 18-wheeler, to negotiate its way through the 13 foot, 6 inch tunnel. We all waited. It was sort of touch and go. He did finally make it with inches to spare.

 

Summer Devils Revisited

June 28, 2016

I have not a single photo, nor memory of what happened on Monday, June 27. A resettling day, not doubt, post vacation. My list that day was long and unremarkable… finish unpacking, laundry, organize house, clean out emails, settle up with Bairs/Comingores, make flight reservations to LA, back blog Hawaii…and so much more.

Today, however, was fun.

Attended my first summer baseball game. Marched right into the press box and sat down with these guys… this summer’s scorekeepers: Korlyn and Rick (with a fraction of Tyler behind).

No worries about hits or errors. No worries about player substitutions. No worries about nuthin. Just enjoyed the game and tried not to cry.

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I believe they won, but I’ve already forgotten!  And.. there were a few kids I did not know. What is that? Are you telling me baseball just keeps rolling along, even without us?

I have a hunch of lot of Davis life is going to be like this. I also suspect there are wisdoms in there to be had.

 

Make Up Celebrations

June 26, 2016

Ah, Sunday, back in Davis.

Reunited with Jim, we could properly fete his fatherhood.  We’d missed Father’s Day, due to being in Hawaii, so celebrated this day–a week later. We gave him a card, some Hawaii stuff and our eternal gratefulness for a job so very well done (though not over!).

He loved the replica of the survey monument from Haleakala–a Christmas ornament–and looked askance at the beeeeautiful Hawaiian shirt we picked out, because, damn, it’s just way too big. Will have to have it altered. I’ve got a plan.

And then, we got to celebrate Peter’s birthday at Janet’s. She served up her usual great dinner and..

…cake:

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Here are the boys… friends since Fall of 2004 when they met and played together on the Blue Flames soccer team–Peter’s one and only team sport venture outside of baseball. One season. One bonk on the head. That was that.

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Man, did we connect as families. I remember sitting on the grass at Community Park with Paul and Janet after one of our first games (while the boys ran around). I think our conversation lasted about two hours. Maybe more. A thousand things to talk about.

And it has continued just like that for twelve years, and counting, through several vacations (Southwest roadtrip, Northwest roadtrip, Kauai, numerous trips to Yosemite), countless Saturday nights, New Years Eves, some Christmas Eves, birthdays, baseball. Friends still, even through divorce. Fantastic that the boys not only stayed friends, but followed a remarkably similar path through their baseball careers–little league, district teams, travel teams (all different teams because of the difference in their ages), and finally together–both POs–on the Davis High School varsity team.

Seeds sown on the Blue Flames.

I have a million pictures of them on birthdays through the years… here’s one in 2009.. posing with a birthday bat. Probably one Paul suggested, probably a score on eBay.

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Here’s probably our most memorable Peter-birthday celebration, the cake in face in Glenwood Springs Colorado, 2007. Would he like it or hate it?  I wasn’t sure. We gave the waitress the go-ahead, she did the deed, and … he loved it.

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A most memorable moment.

And because I’m in that part of of the photo archive and can’t resist, a couple more shots from that trip–good times with the Bolle Boys:

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(Airport shots, returning home following 2007 roadtrip…)

And life marches on.

 

 

Aloha and Mahalo

June 25, 2016

It’s leave Hawaii day. I think the transition from a tropical island vacation to summertime Central Valley is one of the more jarring ones. You go from verdant, moist, soft, nurturing, and mildly pleasant, to brown, dry, brittle, harsh, and brutally hot. From dewy to dusty. From Hawaiian time to California time, in every imaginable way.

I always just gasp inside. The transition requires a few deep breaths.

However, it’s home. And of course has its own lovelinesses. I know this.

And nice that the return included a rejoining of our teeny family.

Just a few shots on the day:

Driving from the round peninsula of West Maui, to the inbetween landmass where the Kahalui airport is, you get a nice look across the water to the summit of Haleakala… look for land peaking out through those clouds…

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We drove to the airport with Darlene and Jacob and scattered, because we were on different flights. In various of the check in lines and agricultural check points, we saw Denise, John and Helena. They were flying with Yali, Aaron, Kelsey, Daniel and Carolyn, who we didn’t see. Jordan and Reed had departed earlier.  Felt like the reverse of the Big Chill.

Bye bye everyone. Mahalo for everything.

Peter, in the window seat, snapped a couple parting shots for me … so here’s one of those, fuzzy but unmistakably Hawaii:

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And otherwise, we did a lot of this.

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Of note, while in the Honolulu airport, with a couple of hours to pass, we had a leisurely lunch and a [hugely satisfying for me] debrief of some of Peter’s impressions of Hawaii and the experience of celebrating graduation with these four friends. It was so absorbing, we nearly missed our connecting flight to Sacramento. We were the last aboard, laughing and shaking our heads down the jetway.

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday, Honey

June 24, 2016

Today is Peter’s 18th birthday.

Big day for me, big day for Jim… even though we’re not in the same state and can’t give each other a big high five. But mostly it’s a big day for Peter. Our adult.

And because we’re all spread out, we’re not giving the occasion its due fanfare…but we will, soon as we can.

In the beautiful, tropical, sunsplashed meantime… Peter and I have our last day in Maui-he with his friends, and me with Darlene. So.. here goes:

Recall…we’d arrived at our new place, the Maui Kai, in the dark of night.. and didn’t know quite what we were dealing with. Well, after a night spent on our 9th floor lanai…

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(heaven)

…I opened my eyes to this:

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The daylight version of last night’s view goes something like this:

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And looking just a bit further down the beach…

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I observed that our place sort of functions as a convenient turnaround point for all the Ka’anapali beach walkers, from Black Rock north. As you get to our place, you hit the first outcropping of rocks. I noted that most walk or jog to the Maui Kai, maybe touch the railing for the stairs, then turn around and head back south. It’s a solid one-mile stretch.

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This is our place as viewed from the beach. At high tide, the water laps at (noisily) and covers most of the rocks, and larger waves splash right over the wall.  Looking down from our lanai, you feel like you’re looking right over the top of the surf.

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Every single room has a West-facing lanai (pretty neat). And from ours, I watched people jog up, touch that railing, then turn around and jog back south.

In fact, deciding it was going to be a beach and snorkeling day, we easily walked to the beach in front of the Westin (the boys’ place), known as Kahekili, which was only half a mile away. Here’s Darlene setting out. Black Rock is the prominent point a mile beyond.

I’m tellin’ ya.

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We came, we beached, we snorkeled. Here was that view:

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Didn’t need to play with the photo, but c’mon, you’re tiring of all these beach shots, right?

After a couple hours, we went in search of sustenance. On our way, we came across this fellow also seeking sustenance.. in the form of yummy lizards:

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Excellent hunter with a well-honed technique. He’d pace slowly along this row of vegetation, very intent of purpose. He’d then, quicker than quick, lunge into the brush and come out as quickly with a lizard in his beak. Then he’d shimmy and wiggle and gulp it down in a single lumpy swallow. Over and over. We watched him go into the bush, let’s say, ten times, and emerged 6-7 of those times with a catch. Here is one such morsel making its way down his gullet.

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Is that incredible? There had to be 6-7 squirmers in the stomach part.

(Hawaiian buddy Chuck says this common bird–a cattle egret–is a transplant, like most birds in the islands).

I liked our choice of cuisine far better: Duke’s… about two-thirds of the way between the Westin Resort and the Maui Kai.

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Where we had some of this…

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…and some of this…

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(^ That’s nachos with pulled pork, which we ordered along with some ahi poke and crab & macadamia nut wontons.)

And then we had to swim again, because. So, it was back out to the beach…

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..to plunk ourselves under a shade-giving palm.

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Wet, sandy, sated. The view, as reflected in my sunglasses, Moloka’i in distance:

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After a just too, too much fun in the sun, we headed back. This is the only turtle I saw on this trip:

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We had only a short walk back, but this time the tide was higher, so had to time things carefully… lest we get wet. 

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Had some wine and setting sun on the lanai:

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THEN, it was time to take Peter out for his birthday!!

The kind gentleman at the Maui Kai front desk helped me wrap a gift.. that is, we put the Haleakala souvenir tee shirt I bought yesterday in a mailing envelope and he provided me with a set of highlighters to use for decorating the package. Made do.

I picked Peter up and we hightailed down to Lahaina.

Same sunset, an hour later!  And note fancy package.

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We dropped into Fleetwood’s on Front Street to see if they had room for two. They did, but it’d be an hour, so we wandered around Lahaina, spending some time at the Banyan Tree:

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Fleetwood’s was a good choice for an 18 year old.. lively, good rock music, rooftop setting with killer views, and the food.

We ordered a dinner for two… their signature Beef Wellington, prawns, scallops and lobster tail, plus potatoes and veggies. All fantastic.

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Jim had given me a card for Peter to open on his 18th birthday. He opened it while we waited for dinner to arrive. He got so choked up reading it, he opted not to read the one I gave him. Said he couldn’t take two at once.

It was a lot of emotion wrapped up in that moment. For him, he was no doubt missing Jim on the occasion of his birthday. This trip was a buddy vacation, for sure, but it was also a celebration of graduation and a hurrah (not the last) before transitioning to college.  I think what probably got him in that moment were Jim’s words. They were simple, but powerful, and nailed the sentiment a kid at this stage in life most wants to hear, even if he doesn’t know it: that your parents love you, that they are proud of whom you’ve become, and that they have confidence in your future.

It made for a wonderful final evening.

It’s just hard to even process the happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maui Up and Down

June 23, 2016

Darlene and I still couldn’t entice any of the boys to join us on any part of our ongoing island exploration tour, but we were delighted when Carolyn agreed to tag along for an Upcountry adventure, specifically driving to the top of Haleakala, Maui’s big, fancy volcano (in its non-eruptive phase).

Volcano day!

We did give some consideration to getting there in time to see its famed sunrise, but decided to save that one for another time. Making it on time to see the event, given sixty four miles and a two-hour drive, seemed a stretch.

So, we collected Carolyn at her place at the reasonable time of 9:00am and headed out.

First stop, Makawao.

First stop in Makawao: the Komoda Store and Bakery–one hundred years old this year!

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Yali recommended we swing by and get some of their famous donuts. Not a hard sell. We bought a bunch and headed across the street to a cafe where we could get some coffee…

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Guava malasadas, donut sticks, glazed donuts, a turnovery thing… got them all and others besides.  We also got a bunch of sticks to-go and a pack of their famous butter rolls, which we saw people line up for and grab by the dozens, and dozens. A very popular item!

Makawao was appealing… had both a hippie vibe and a cowboy vibe (lots of horses in the area). There were numerous tiny stores, boutiques and galleries to explore, alluring nooks, crannies and alleyways, and chickens, chickens everywhere, which we weren’t supposed to feed.

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But no time for shopping; we had a volcano to ascend. We began the long, winding road up, with she who is most susceptible to car sickness–me–behind the wheel. Did I mention, we were going from sea level to 10,000′?  From the tropics to the mountains in just a couple of hours!

(Fun fact: Haleakala is one of our National Parks, which felt surprisingly comforting and familiar. Like, of course we’d go. We love our National Parks!)

Our first hint that it might be cold at the summit was at the entrance–misty, windy, chilly–and when we got out at the first Visitor’s Center to change clothes. So novel!

And actually, the entire mountain was completely socked in. Almost from the get go, it was so foggy we couldn’t see anything.  Not even trees, not even cows, not even lavender fields. We’d heard there was typically a ring of clouds that circled the middle part of the mountain,  like a donut, and that once we passed through it, the skies above would be clear and the view spectacular, but that was not our experience. Yet.

The view at the summit Visitor Center looked like this:

 

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Nada to see.

We hung out and pestered the rangers, looked at giant maps, browsed through books, and walked around in the cold fog anyway. I managed to take lots of photos that showed nothing.

Like, us at the summit sign. That outfit of mine… every single piece of clothing I had that had sleeves.. four or five layers of padded goodness. Temps were in the high 40s, low 50s. Sometimes it snows up there.

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Here’s a nice graphic:

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We also learned about Maui Silversword, a rare plant, considered endangered, but, through careful monitoring and protection, has became a successful conservation story. They say it only grows on the summit of Haleakala (though, in fact, there are some at the highest elevations of Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island). Silverswords live for about 10 to 50 years as a low, round bush. At the end of their life, they send up a flowering stalk that can grow over 6 feet tall within a few weeks, and produce up to 600 flower heads. Then they die.
We saw a bunch of these! Here’s the plant…

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Here’s the flower…

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It’s part of the sunflower family, worth reading about.

Anyway, we waited and waited… among others who were waiting and waiting…

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I just love this picture. Today’s tourists.

After spending about an hour up there with our fingers crossed, we finally got some clearing…

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This a shot down into “the valley,” technically not a crater, but people call it that anyway. The valley walls are steep, the tallest rising about 2600′ above the floor. You can hike and camp in there, walk along ridges, etc. Seems like a wealth of stuff to do on a return trip. The little mountain-ettes in the so-called valley are actually all cinder cones.

Meanwhile, if you look behind you while on this peak, or anywhere beyond the valley, you see sweeping views of Maui below, as well as the vast Pacific Ocean beyond and other Hawaiian islands in the distance. We caught some of this between the clouds. As we drove down, and the clouds really started to clear, we got a much better sense of the both the terrain and the views:

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(That’s a view of West Maui with the island of Moloka’i in the background.)

We decided to return to Makawao for some coffee, at a different cafe (Carolyn is a San Francisco barista and was doing a little research). Tried Sip Me… and had both a fabulous cup of coffee and a super wonderful cheese bun.. reminiscent of Brazilian Pao de Queijo. It was a very hip place (this was a painting on the wall).

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We three decided to forgo the group sushi outing back in West Maui and visit instead the south part of the island… the environs of Kihei and Wailea… we knew there was good food to be had there… and we were going to find it.

We had fair success with various phone apps and web searches, and even made ourselves some reservations at what seemed a popular South Maui foodie destination. But checking in with my friend Judy, who owns a condo in that part of Maui and who knows her restaurants, was even more successful. She and her husband were traveling in Alaska, but a series of texts proved very productive, and she redirected us to a place called Monkeypod–a new and happening place in the Wailea area. We were able to get in, but had some time to kill. She suggested a beach to explore in the meantime, so we did that…

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Not too shabs.

Monkeypod is gaining a reputation for its menu, innovation and cocktails (Judy said best Mai Tai on the island.) (And by the way, Mai Tais did not originate in Hawaii.)

This review said:

Monkeypod has quickly become one of Maui’s most popular dining destinations.

Their fusion menu is diverse, blending many cultural flavors and local ingredients in a fresh new way […] and with the best homemade cream pies on Maui, it is obvious that Monkeypod knows what they’re doing.

Without a doubt, Monkeypod Kitchen in Wailea has one of the best lunch and dinner menus in Hawaii. What makes their menu so unique is their twist on traditional and modern lunch classics with a fusion of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.

All of the above. How can you miss with handcrafted dishes made using socially conscious ingredients?
We got Mai Tais.. which delivered on Judy’s promise.

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And the three of us split three of their regional fish entrees. It was an extremely worthwhile venture, would recommend it highly and can’t wait to go back.

And that was our day. We dropped Carolyn back at her place and headed off to our new condo. I’d only been able to get five nights at the Kuleana Airbnb unit (frowny face! we hated to leave), so were hoping against hope that our new place–the Maui Kai–was going to be as fulfilling.

It was .. different. A ten story high rise, with a bit of a funky lobby, and very much a this-needs-an-update feel about it… but first looks are a little deceiving.

First of all, there was a warm welcome to the day’s guests (weird, but kind of nice):

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Our room was on the 9th floor. It was a rickety ride up to a hallway that was somewhat long in the tooth. The place itself, however, seemed way more than adequate–actually pretty great–and looking over the balcony provided this dramatic nighttime view:

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The waves, crashing on the rocks below, were thunderous.

It was late. It was Darlene’s turn to have the bed, so I set up the lounge chair on lanai with a pillow and blanket (blanket unnecessary).. and settled in.

Photos tomorrow.