Monday, February 27, 2017


Grandma is always complaining that while I take a lot of pictures very few contain people. You know those kids from Japan who run around with their selfie sticks and they or a friend is in every picture. Not me.

I thought I would give it a try. This is Preston. I asked if he would pose and he was a very willing subject. I thought the smile was a little weird.

There you are grandma. A picture of a person.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Gnome Nodding or Nodding Gnome

Preston and I, the two sickies, were sitting in the shade of a picnic shelter while the others boogie boarded and did the other things you do in the surf. The was the first day out of the condo for me.

We were playing and analyzing the best strategies for Hangman when I noted this strange formation on a nearby tree. BTW - we were using the magnetic pieces version and not the free form paper version. Obviously, we decided if you are allowed to add toes and fingers you should never get hung.

"Preston, do you see that funny thing on that tree", I asked.

"Yes, it looks like a person", Preston replied.

So, we decided to take a picture and get the right angle to emphasize the human form. We agreed this was acceptable and I did not want to spend more time experimenting in the sun so we retreated back to the shade.

I posted the result to Instagram with the title Gnome Nodding. Then I starting thinking was Gnome Nodding grammatically correct or should it be Nodding Gnome. I went with Gnome Nodding because this seemed to be the way artwork is titled. Maybe this is what they call artistic license.

Time is up, step away from condo

Time is up, step away from your condo. This was supposed to be the end of our time in Hawaii. Actually, the end was supposed to be Friday, but we rented the condo through Saturday and just did not read the fine details on the plane tickets.

The contractual expectations were explicit - meet certain cleaning requirements and leave the condo by 10. Time ran out, Cindy backed away from working on the kitchen, and we were gone.

As things go, we are still here and health is improving. I spent a little time in the sun (more accurately outside) and my try a short walk today.

Friday, February 24, 2017


You may have wondered what happened to the travel blog. There was no end to the Kauai trip. No home again post. We are actually still here with about half of the crew leaving at 3:30 this morning. We decided to extend for a couple of days. The explanation follows.

The short version of the study is I got shingles and have been pretty much condo bound for the last week. I did consider adding a selfie and the picture of my face would certainly have generated some attention but I decided not to scare the little kids (other than those who were here). I probably could have left this morning, but this would be the first day I would have wanted to take on the day-long process of getting back to Minnesota. The problem began last Friday. I have a bad dental issue I am to have addressed on Mar. 6 and so I assumed this is what it was. The problem continued to get more serious on Saturday and now it seemed more an ear problem. Probably an ear or maybe a sinus infection. I considered going to urgent care but thought I could make it to Monday.

Monday turned out to be Presidents' Day, but we were able to find a clinic that was open. Amazingly, I was able to see a doc within an hour or so. The Doc went with the ear infection. Cleaned our the ear and gave me a prescription for antibiotic ear drops. He also wanted me to get a blood test to rule out some "vein following" infection that was a low probability, but would be a threat to the vision in my right eye. The temple and eye socket were sore and so he wanted to rule out this possibility. The lab was not open so I would have to come back the next day.

The ear did feel a little better, but everything else was getting much worse. There was a band of pain running up the side of my face, past my eye, and ending on top of my head. The band was puffy and very sore, but that was it. It was very difficult to sleep and I started to run a fever. I was able to diagnose my own problem. I knew it was shingles. Thank you Terry Bradshaw (actually Cindy had the shingles on another of our trips years ago so she might have also figured it out). The key was the docs mention of the disease threatening the eye and following a vein I was to be tested to rule out. It was a disease following a nerve.

The second visit to the doc did not go as easily as the first. I think it was four hours before I could get in to see a nurse practitioner. I told the nurse I had the shingles and said she thought so as well. A few of the bumps symptomatic of shingles were just starting to show. I was given two drugs - one to attack the disease and the second to deaden the nerves. Cindy also bought some homeopathic salve that was to make me feel better. They are big on healthy additions to medical care here and Cindy was trying to make me feel better. Two days of misery and finally relief.

Listen to Terry. If you are an old person, get the shot.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Kauai Nice

Kauai does not have a lot of roads, but those that exist are heavily used. It is common to experience traffic jams that may stretch for miles. The one-lane bridges contribute to the backups. Lots of cars, one-line bridges, and no signals of any kind. You are pretty much on your own.

Getting across one-road bridges under such conditions depends on a convention - let a few cars go and then it is your turn. The number is not clearly specified, but somehow it seems to work. The one thing you don't want to do is hesitate. A break in the action and it automatically becomes the other side's turn. Once in a while, someone will join the end of the line late even though there is a break and follow anyway. This is clearly a violation of protocol. There is very little honking when this happens. Throwing up a "shaka" is kind of an apology, but should not be overused.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


Yesterday's outing was to the Chocolate Plantation to learn about cacao and tropical fruits. The tour guide, farm worker, repurposed California real estate salesperson holds a cacao pod in the second picture. The ice cream cone looking half shows the gelatinous covering containing the cacao beans.

The co-owner welcomed the guests and was the first I have heard describe such experiences as agritourism. I realized I have been on several agritourism outings. On this trip alone, I have visited the largest coffee plantation and a kind of hippy, mixed crop chocolate "plantation". 

As things go with me, I began to think about employment, technology and the economy. I can provide several examples now of the small and large scale efforts to generate "needed" goods. The farmers' market and the supermarket, the hand-picked Kona coffee and the largest coffee farm, shrimp fisherman and shrimp farmers, the hand pollinated cacao grower (tropical fruit grower, agritourism host, recording study operator, t-shirt seller) and large-scale chocolate. The small-scale operators have a story - the wild shrimp harvesters tout the health benefits of shrimp not raised in captivity and kept healthy with chemicals, the farmers' market produce growers use pretty much the same argument and the add the short shelf life of their produce limiting the practicality of shipping, and there is always the argument of keeping people employed and willing to tell the story of their products (for a price). Still, there is always that issue of money. Who can afford the merchandise from the small-scale farmers, fishermen, and hand-crafters? The touted benefits of many of the products are questioned by the scientists. Acai is no better for you than other fruits. Supposedly, the big chocolate makers take the cocoa butter out and replace it with another artificial product before selling chocolate because the cocoa butter is worth more than the chocolate. The spin - it is good farming has not become a political topic or Fox would be all over it.

I still like Snicker bars and I understand much of this is because of the sugar and perhaps some other ingredients. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Whale Tail

Yesterday was our whale watch. We saw plenty of whales and some breaches, but nothing up close. Taking photos of whales is pretty tough. It is a big ocean and locating an image when using a long lens takes a little longer. This is the best picture I had that was close. It does not take long for a whale to roll and dive, but you have about a second to get on the creature and get it in focus. The last thing you see is the tail and then it is gone for a while. I will add this to my collection of whale tails.

The trip back was probably the roughest water I have been on. I don't get nausea, but I have not spent enough time on heave seas to know when I should be anxious..

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Dirt shirts

If possible, it seems better to return to the location of an earlier adventure because you do pick some new things each time. Last time I was in Hawaii, I bought a dirt shirt. I learned that the color came from the red dirt that is everywhere here. I did share this knowledge with others and explained that it was a clever way to add color to plain white Ts in an environmentally friendly way.

This time I learned a little more and purchased a couple more shirts. I heard the dirt shirt story using the app Shaka Guide. I wanted to check out the story, but found no Wikipedia entry. Who knew Wikipedia did not contain all knowledge. I did verify the story elsewhere

The story goes that there was a category 4 hurricane that struck the Hawaiian islands in the early 1990s - hurricane Iniki. I really do not remember this hurricane or the damage that it did. Evidently, a t-shirt shop was pretty much wiped out by water damage, but the owner salvaged the soiled shirts and sold them as dirt shirts. Like the chicken, the dirt shirt became a staple of Hawaiian culture.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

End of the road - Waimea Valley Overlook

The Waimea Valley is considered the Grand Canyon of the Pacific and I have to admit it is spectacular. I have many photos of the Grand Canyon, but it is just big and not green.

This is the view from the end of the road canyon overlook. I admit that there is not much to see. The cool stuff is hidden by cloud cover beyond these bushes. I do have images from overlooks on the way to the top.  Not as spectacular, but more visible. I will add some of these later, but I wanted to let anyone interested that we did make it to the end of the road.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Surf photo

This may be my favorite surf photo so far. Surf here can be dangerous and Cindy said the surf on the day I took this image was much lower than when she had visited the same spot the previous day.