September 2007

This day was driving exploration day for the southern part of the island. We left early in the morning for snorkeling, having learned that dolphins do their thing in the morning hours. Sea turtles mosey along the water all day long.

Well, we didn’t see any dolphins, but one spot we hit for snorkeling nicknamed “Two Steps” was unbelievable. I practically stepped on a large yellow tang with my fins as I lowered myself into the water off a rocky shelf. Instantly, we were over a coral reef with colorful and beautiful fish were everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE. Each time a wave lifted, visible fish were in the raised cross-section of ocean. I was struck by all the life and coral forests underneath the surface, and all the many fish living together, swimming lazily about, pecking at hidden things in the crevices, being very kind to us intruders into their world. I even watched two fish “fight,” which I learned later was a cleaner wrasse pecking the parasites and dead scales off a yellow tang in a symbiotic relationship. Going farther out into the ocean, the coral stopped and we found ourselves swimming over a sandy ocean bottom. Suddenly, a surprise for the visitors of the water: on the white sand underneath, written by placement of cement bricks, was the word “ALOHA.” As we swam along, the water sometimes got “wrinkly” and blurry, and at times got very cold currents that chilled me to the bone. Turned out there was a fresh water spring that feeds into the ocean somewhere, and the mixing of the fresh and salt water was what created the wavy rippling effect, and possibly the temperature change. After getting out (I got a little seasick), I mentioned to Mr. W that I needed to pee. He said, “You didn’t pee while you were in the water?”
I looked up at him. “No! There’s all this fish and life down there, I’m not peeing on them!”
“They pee on you all day long,” he said. I held my breath and visited the Port-o-Potty, which I figured would be really clean if people thought like Mr. W. “OR they could just be full of shit.” Great. (He was right.)

After the morning was spent exploring beaches, we spent the afternoon and evening visiting Kailua-Kona Town on foot again, taking photos.

Many of the shops weren’t open when we visited it the day before, due to the early morning hour. On this day, a cruiseship had come in, so all the shops and streets were abuzz with excitement. We walked into a jewelry store, wandered around a bit, Mr. W said he didn’t care to look at jewelry and walked out. I followed him, since the store clerk was helping a couple of cruisers anyway and was busy. We later passed by that jewelry store’s side window on the way back down the street, and I casually looked over, saw a pretty purple gemstone ring, then looked a foot to the left of that and saw two rings, both with a purplish-gray tint. I stepped up to the window and lowered my height up and down, seeing the rings from two different angles. The color changed to a greenish-gray. “Oh my gosh, I think that’s Alexandrite!” I exclaimed and Mr. W walked back to me and looked. So of course we had to go back in, especially since Mr. W figured that if there was Alexandrite in the window, there had to be Alexandrite in a display.
The store clerk came by as we were searching the displays. “Is that Alexandrite out there?” Mr. W pointed.
“Indeed, it is,” the clerk Ron said as he unlocked the window and took out the smaller of the two rings. It was perfect; a half carat or so of natural, not simulated, Alexandrite from Russia, of amazing clarity and quality. No clouds, feathers or inclusions could I see with my eyes, and the color change was so distinct that it went from a red (red!) in indoor incandescent lighting to an emerald green in direct sunlight. My simulated Alexandrite isn’t even of this quality, and the clerk noted how rare this stone is in general, and how unheard of a natural one of this color-change quality in this size is in new jewelry. The best natural Alexandrite I’d seen barely goes from a light purple to something slightly blue-green, with cracks all through the tiny stone. Also, this band is slender, feminine 18K white gold, the center Alexandrite is emerald-cut and safely set in a Bezel-setting, accented on either side by clusters of 3 diamonds, and the band itself has diamonds running halfway down the sides. It was everything I’ve ever wanted, more than I’d ever hoped to find, thousands more than I could afford, but half the price of the engagement ring. It was The Ring, the one Mr. W was looking for to propose with but could not find. He knew it, too. I put it on my finger. “And it fits, too!” Mr. W said incredulously. The clerk engaged in a great conversation with us about his background as a science teacher and gemologist, which he’d come to the Island 25 years ago to do after a near-death experience in which a gunshot wound ripped out most of his carotid artery and bled him to death. I should call it a death experience, but what he experienced as he died, after he died, and upon his return to his body hours later, reinforced everything I believe in. That sideways glance into the store window, catching the ring unexpectedly, was no coincidence. He gave us a CD of some music he composed on his piano after his experience, we chatted some more about how his scientific anti-religion family disowned him, his epiphanies about life and death, and I decided I could not turn away this ring. So he brought it back out from the window and we talked shop. He gave me the 10% local discount, couldn’t go down lower as the store’s policy was to never discount their stuff, but he can legally avoid having to charge me sales tax as he was mailing me the ring out-of-state, so I saved another 8% right there. The plan is to go back home and call him with my credit card information (funny story: I unwittingly brought along an expired credit card on the trip, duh) and he’ll mail the ring to me next week. I’ll just not spend any money on gas or food or anything at all for the next few months to pay for it.
I was happy the rest of the day, looking forward to my future jewelry. I glowed in the dark all through our dinner at a nice tatami-style Japanese restaurant in town. The hunt for my birthstone is finally over.

The walk through town back to our hotel was also highly romantic.

** WARNING ** Men, don’t read this.

Reading photo captions by resting mouse pointer on photos is MANDATORY. 🙂

Mr. W and I got up early on Saturday morning, before the crack of dawn (the 3-hour time difference will do that to ya), and explored the very quaint beach town of Kailua-Kona on foot.

We drank organic Kona coffee grown locally, ate local ice cream, watched the waves crash over the rocks, looked for sea turtles, bought a ton of fruit at the local Farmer’s Market, which we brought back and stashed in our room’s refrigerator.

Bananas were $1 a bunch, unusual red furry lychees 30 for $3, large Butter avocados 3 for $2, sweet papayas 7 for $1. For $7 we got a week’s worth of fruit. Oh, and also, we went and purchased some supplies at the local WalMart. =P

Then we went back to the hotel and got ready to attend “Wilco” (Mike) and Christi’s wedding. The wedding resort Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel in a town called Puako an hour north of us is a cross between a ritzy palace and a maze. It has its own golf course. Rooms cost $400+ a night, that’s all I need to say about it.

On the drive up, we observed “Hawaiian graffiti” along both sides of the highway; names, initials, little messages “written” by placing white coral rocks against the black lava stone landscape.

I freaked out excitedly when I saw this one.

It was Mike and Christi’s wedding theme, “Better Together,” and it was HUGE. Mr. W u-turned, pulled over and stood on the hood of the rental car to take the photos. We would find out later that one of the wedding guests actually did the graffiti to surprise the couple. Damn. Wish we would’ve thought of that.

Mike and Christi found a Hawaiian Catholic priest who performed the ceremony for them in the warm easy manner that Hawaiians have, sharing a bit of local lore in between the Bible passage readings.

The ceremony itself was similarly hybrid, held outdoors at the resort’s private beach as the sun slowly dipped toward the watery horizon.

Mike and Christi did not want to bore their guests with a long ceremony — after a couple of songs, a lei-ing ritual between the couple and their family and a symbolic sand-pouring ritual between Mike and Christi similar to the Catholic unity candle lighting…

…the two became officially bettered together and made out in front of their friends and family.

After the ceremony, the guests were directed to a nearby private cliff off the lawn of the resort, where we were served delicious catered hors d’oveures and drinks.

I don’t know why, but I was the only female called out to toast Mike with a tequila shot.

By that time I’d already had a rum & coke and a surprisingly strong Mai Tai on practically an empty stomach. (I had the Farmer’s Market fruit for lunch.) And the shot was very generous. It took two huge gulps to down it. I was a little concerned at this point that I’d be drunk for the first time in my life, and it didn’t help that Mr. W was going around announcing, “She claims she’s never been drunk before. Do you believe that?!” and all the declaration did was make people look at me with an evil “Hmmm” glint in their eye. Because, as it was explained to me by more than one guy, it was now a challenge to get me drunk. Strangely, though, the tequila cleared up my head and coordination. I almost engaged in a jujitsu battle with Greg (who was responsible for my tequila shot) before I reminded him, after lining up with him, that I’d thrown our friend Jimmy, and all of a sudden he remembered seeing that and backed off. (We wouldn’t have REALLY sparred anyway. I think.)

Dinner reception was in a private hall inside the resort.

I was happy that the couple didn’t do the cheesy wedding games that I’d come to dread (“We’re gonna blindfold the groom, then I’m gonna call up volunteers. The groom has to feel each volunteer’s hand/nose with one finger, and determine which one is his new wife. Meanwhile, we’ll be really sneaky and hide a male guest in the lineup of women, so the audience can have a big laugh at the groom’s expense!”). Mr. W and I left during the dancing, but at that point there wasn’t even a bouquet toss or garter throw. THAT is admirable. I’m going to cut that out of my wedding, too. I really enjoyed all the class and goofy details of the wedding like the single delivered pizza Christi ordered for Mike (his one expressed dinner desire when they were planning the menu)…

…and the extra giant Boston Crème Donut cake in addition to the standard wedding cake with a clay cake topper which Christi hand-made…

which details personalized the wedding more than even their wedding favor did, which was a deck of cards with their wedding theme logo and names printed as the deck design (cuz, you know, all their guests had a long flight home with nothing else to do).

An unexpected highlight of the wedding was meeting Dardy for the first time. I’d been wanting to meet this guy for a long time, ever since I randomly dropped in on his blog some years ago through Mike’s blog, and then had to email college roommie Diana to ask whether this guy was for real or if it were a gag blog. Diana reassured me it’s a friend of hers and Mike’s. I did not expect him to be so cool, despite the few emails we’d exchanged over the past couple of years. Mr. W said that he wished we had more time to hang out with him, as Dardy flew back to his Northern California home the morning after the wedding.

Congratulations to Mike & Christi. How can you look at them and not smile?

After my very first American train ride from a station 10 miles from home to Los Angeles, then hopping on a free shuttle from the train station to Los Angeles International Airport two miles away, Mr. W and I had an uneventful and smooth arrival to the airport. Cost: $1.75 each. Time in transit: 45 minutes (30 mins by train, 15 by shuttle). Had we driven, it would’ve cost $100 to park near the airport, plus gas, plus easily a 2 hour drive in traffic. I wouldn’t do it by myself, as when we got to the slummier parts of LA, I felt a need to turn my ring downward into my palm. Some of the train riders, dressed in gang-banger gear talking loudly to their homies in slang that I haven’t yet learned through Gizoogle, made me uncomfortable. Aside from that, it was a great experience.
The flight was uneventful as well. A German guy sat to my left, Mr. W to my right. The German guy awoke groggily when the flight attendant inquired as to his beverage selection, and he replied in confused mixed English and German, “Orange juice, bitte.” After flipping through the Skymall magazine, I spent the remainder of the 5 ½ hour flight unconscious. I didn’t see a need to be awake as American Airlines, despite the hefty cost of the tickets and despite the flight being at dinnertime, did not find it necessary to give us any solid food. Instead, miniature bags of chips were available for purchase for $1.00 and cold sandwiches were a steal at $5.00 each. I thought back to our China flights, which saw to it that all passengers received a hot meal, no matter the duration of the flight. We got to our destination in the very flat, rustic looking airport at the Big Island of Hawai’i, Mr. W shuttled off to get our rental car as I stayed behind waiting for our luggage, he came back to pick me up and off we went to our Kona hotel.
Our room’s great. It’s on the fourth floor, has a balcony overlooking both mountain and ocean, and has two full-size beds. That’s cool with me, means the room’s bigger. The hotel itself (Kona Seaside) is a block north of Ali’i Drive (which means “royalty”), the main drag full of night life and shopping that runs alongside the beach. You literally have waves crashing up against the low wall made of indigenous volcanic rock as you stroll on the sidewalk.

As always, rest mouse pointer on photos for captions.

I’m BAAAAAaaaack! And a whole new nice shade of toasty brown, too! Well, except for the portions covered by bikini fabric which look like they belong on a different person.

Mr. W ended up bringing his laptop, so altho there was no internet access, I did manage to pre-blog daily accounts of the trip, and once I merge those with photos, I’ll for once have posts about my vacation as opposed to just posts PROMISING posts that don’t come to fruition. I’m well aware I still owe the last couple days of Cancun 2005 and the entirety of China 2007. =P

…I know where it went. It was STOLEN!

I was up at 7:30a and wrote a list of things to do today on my day off before our flight takes off to the Big Island of Hawaii tonite at 7:10p. I thought I was doing REALLY WELL, too, and remarkably ahead of schedule. The to-do list looks like this:

1.) pack (just makeup, sunglasses left to pack)
2.) pay bills
3.) gym
4.) buy wedding card/hit up ATM
5.) as time permits, a professional pedicure across the street from the gym/ATM
6.) tidy up house

So Mr. W told his son to come by my house at 3p to give us a ride, and then said that he (Mr. W) will be at my house at 3-ish as well. It was 10:30a when I started paying the bills that would become due when I’m gone, having finished packing (except for the makeup, which I’ll still have to use after the gym, so I’ll pack it then). Scribble on the checks, scribble on the register, peel-n-stick the stamp, peel-n-stick the address label, lick the envelope, ingest what some overpaid researchers have discovered is half a calorie per envelope seal licked, on to the next one. I was a productive methodical machine! And waaaay ahead of the 3pm schedule!

And then the cell phone rang. By “rang,” I mean that Mariah Carey crooned “Oh, you’ll always be a part of me, ooh I’m part of you indefinitely, boy don’t you know you can’t escape me, ooh darling, cuz you’ll always be my baby!” which would be a creepy stalker anthem if it weren’t so upbeat and if I weren’t already engaged to the caller. Mr. W asked me what I was doing. I happily reported how ahead-of-schedule I am. He asked me what’s next on my agenda. I told him I was going to drop off my bills at the post office, go withdraw money from the bank, buy the wedding card (okay, so THAT I big-time procrastinated), then hit the gym, all of which things were within one square mile of each other. He said he got the afternoon off and will meet me at the gym at noon to work out, then we’ll go eat and he’ll come back with me to my place to wait for his son.

Wait. Did I just hear that I got THREE HOURS shaved off my preparation time???

ACK! It’s less than 10 minutes to noon! I gotta GO! Now all of a sudden I’m LATE and I was SUPER DUPER EARLY just an hour ago!!

Got this via email, and I think it’s a nice reminder…

Heavenly Father, help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts You give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

Working for God on earth doesn’t pay much……but His retirement plan is out of this world!

Just for kicks, and for Hump Day HaHas, and for giggles and shits, here are the first 2 paragraphs of my last post as translated by Gizoogle.

Pizzost # 1378
Two thugz contacted me yesterday ta nudge me ta pizzy (one was very gentle, tha crazy ass nigga was kind of a brizzay `bout it), so okay, I’ll just sit on tha blog here n see whiznat nigga falls F-R-to-tha-izzom mah finga.

Speak’n of fall’n wanna be gangsta I did a 45 minute H-I-Double-Lizzy run yesterday at lunch fo` mah workout. I Hadn’t run in a long time, n it surprised me thizzat I was hustla out of breath, n mah brain neva bitched ta me `bout how awful tha run was n tried ta bargain wit me fo` cutt’n tha run short with the S-N-double-O-P. My only limit was tizzle ta help you tap dat ass. Howeva, tha fizzirst half-mile ta mizzy of tha 4-mile run was painful on mah stomach n abdomen, coz all tha thick steppin’ around made mah skin ache cuz its a G thang. I wished fo` a fitted bodysuit. I wished fo` a jog bra fo` mah entire body fo yo bitch ass. (There, That’s some TMI fo` everyone who wants ta tell me I’m not fiznat.) How do those seriously obese thugz on “The Biggest Loser” do it? I enjoy tizzle show, BTW. I find tha participants’ weekly 15-lb weight loss mackin’ in tha same impossible wistful way thizzat I aspire ta live like Shot Calla Teresa . Throw yo guns in the motherfuckin air.

Crap, I’m revealing too much emotion to my jurors. Straight face, Cindy. Straight face. mmrrrrpphh

Two people contacted me yesterday to nudge me to post (one was very gentle, the other was kind of a brat about it), so okay, I’ll just sit on the blog here and see what blubber falls from my fingers.

Speaking of falling blubber, I did a 45 minute hilly run yesterday at lunch for my workout. I hadn’t run in a long time, and it surprised me that I was never out of breath, and my brain never bitched to me about how awful the run was and tried to bargain with me for cutting the run short. My only limit was time. However, the first half-mile to mile of the 4-mile run was painful on my stomach and abdomen, because all the fat bouncing around made my skin ache. I wished for a fitted bodysuit. I wished for a jog bra for my entire body. (There, that’s some TMI for everyone who wants to tell me I’m not fat.) How do those seriously obese people on “The Biggest Loser” do it? I enjoy that show, BTW. I find the participants’ weekly 15-lb weight loss inspiring, in the same impossible wistful way that I aspire to live like Mother Teresa.

Gee. I sound cranky. I wonder why that is. Maybe it’s due to the awful nightmare I had this morning that brought to light all the worst qualities of who I am and played it out in a dream about going to China with Mr. W. Poor Mr. W. I suck. I don’t know whether he hasn’t realized it yet, or whether he’s realized it and loves me anyway. Sucker!

Speaking of Mr. W and trips, this Friday evening we are leaving on a flight to the Big Island of Hawaii to attend “Wilco”‘s destination wedding. I took care of the flight, accommodations and rental car as a 2-year anniversary present for Mr. W. He’s definitely the most expensive wedding date I’ve ever bought, snicker.

Speaking of wedding dates, there isn’t one for us, yet. People keep asking, I keep replying “9 years.” It’s gotten so that Mr. W automatically replies “9 years” as well. Over the weekend when Mr. W and I were visiting my parents, they talked about all the wedding venues being booked up for 8-8-08 (8 in Cantonese, a Chinese dialect, is the phonetic equivalent to the word for “to prosper,” so many Chinese people want things with 8s in them for good monetary luck. House numbers, phone numbers, social security numbers, dates.), similar to how there were a ton of American people who thought they were brilliantly original for aiming for 7-7-07, lucky number 7. My dad brought up that if couples wanted luck for their wedding, they really ought to aim for 9-9-09, because 9 in Chinese is the phonetic equivalent to longevity. We don’t want to get divorced, or have our spouse die early on us, do we? I’m all for aiming for 9-9-09, because it gives me leave to procastinate more.

It’s no secret that I am a huge “Friends” fan. I scheduled my life around their episodes, and despite owning the entire 10-year show on DVD (thanks, Mr. W!), I caught every episode of the re-runs I could when it aired on TV. That means that for the longest time up until recently, I was in front of the TV at 7p and 11p weekdays. I’d sometimes watch “Everybody Loves Raymond” as it leads into “Friends” if I was before the TV early, and would watch “Will and Grace” after “Friends.” I’d fall asleep to that lineup late at night. When “Sex and the City” started running at 11p pushing “Friends” back half an hour, I was ticked because it made me wait a half hour longer and stay up later.

This week, however, something shifted in TV Land. “Friends” at or around 7p disappeared, and the 11:30p episode got pushed back to past midnight. In their place are two episodes of “Two and a Half Men,” starring Charlie Sheen. I’ve always enjoyed the show whenever I happened upon it, but it’s a rare occasion for some reason and I don’t know when or where it airs. Despite my feeling disloyal to “Friends”, I can’t think of a better replacement, and I found myself for the past few days and nights staying up just to watch “Two and a Half Men,” which makes me laugh out loud in a way that “Friends” no longer can, having made myself immune by inadvertently memorizing all the characters’ lines from frequent overwatch. I call it Bland Overwatch of Reruns dEsensitivity Disease, or B.O.R.E.D.

Charlie Sheen’s character “Charlie” is a womanizing bachelor who lives alone at a Spanish-style house overlooking the ocean in Malibu which he affords by writing commercial jingles, but he secretly has a warm heart which he’ll deny to the death. The series begin when he takes in his geeky overly conservative younger chiropractor brother when the brother got a divorce. The brother’s son visits on weekends and the stuff that comes out of the kid’s mouth is irreverent and very boy-like. The show is witty and funny and the best part is that Mr. W, who has a tendency of talking through every show and movie he watches as he tries to predict the upcoming plot and lines, has been wrong on every prediction. HA!

Next Page »