The Budding Botheration Of Climate Change

I went on a walk today with my oldest son and my youngest dog. I’ve been on a quest to get our puppy as much exercise as possible because he’s a really good dog when he’s tired. And long walks outside are totally feasible in the winter in Denver because it’s not unusual for us to have a spate of 30 degree days followed by an equal portion of 50-60 degree days. During those warm periods, I love to get outside, and this has been even more true in the time of Covid when any opportunity to get out safely in the world brings me joy.

But while walking today, I noticed an unwelcome sight. The cottonwood trees are beginning to bud. It’s mid January, and this is not good. We had an exceptionally warm December and didn’t receive our first snow until midway through the month, which is about two months later than we used to see our first snow of the winter. Colorado and many western states are reliant on heavy winter snows in the mountains for fresh water. We are not seeing snow levels here like we used to. Colorado had seasons when I was growing up. We’d have a cold winter with some warm days, followed by a snowy spring that eventually gave way to a warm but not ridiculously hot summer, which led into a temperate fall that was inevitably cut short by an early winter snow. More recently, we have joked (sadly) that Colorado has two seasons: winter and fire. But now I even see our winters abating.

I’ve never been a climate change denier. The scientific evidence Al Gore presented in the first Inconvenient Truth film made sense to me, and the second film 11 years later simply backed up everything he reported in the first film. I’ve accepted what the scientists have said and what the climate continues to demonstrate. We are in a bad place. Warmer, drier summers mean more drought and fires. Warmer, drier winters mean less water for crops in the spring and summer. Warmer weather means mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses are likely to increase. And when plants bud early and insects appear sooner because of warmer temperatures, migratory birds become imperiled because they may arrive in the spring to find they are too late for their food. We’ve seen droughts and wildfires on the rise. We’ve also witnessed storms growing worse, flooding happening more often, and unprecedented heat waves occurring in areas that are temperate (I’m looking at you, Seattle and Portland). I’m not sure why we aren’t all freaking out about this, but I assume it’s like the fabled frog boiling experiment. Because the changes have been amortized, they are easier to ignore as one-off situations. But as these storms, fires, floods, droughts, and heat waves become more common, your head has to be buried deeply in the sand to miss their message.

One area I’ve been working on in my life is accepting the unwelcome changes that are an inevitable part of life. The Buddhists call this practice “groundlessness” or “impermanence.” It simply means working to accept that everything is fluid and nothing is constant, and it’s our human desire to expect that we can settle into and keep things comfortable and changeless that causes us pain. So, I accept that climate change is real. I accept that Colorado’s climate will never again be what it was in my childhood. I accept that the warmer, drier winters will likely mean water restrictions and rationing in the years to come. I accept that having smokey summers will be the norm. I accept that ski seasons will continue to shorten until there isn’t even enough snow to ski on anymore. I can accept all this, but it makes me sad. Sad we didn’t think this would happen despite the overwhelming scientific evidence. Sad that we are too comfortable and complacent in our lives to make the sacrifices necessary to prevent this. Sad that trees are budding in January instead of April or May. Sad there is nothing much to be done to change this unless 90% of our world’s population suddenly become Greta Thunberg clones and begin demanding more from our governments and leaders.

What I know about life, though, is that adapting to change and accepting it diminishes suffering. So, I will continue to enjoy my warm, winter walks with our dog and ignore the trees budding in January because I will take the good where I can find it.

The Trouble With Time Is That It’s Too Easy To Waste

It’s not that we have little time, but more that we waste a good deal of it.” ~Seneca

I have wasted a ton of time since the pandemic began. I can’t even begin to calculate how much time. If you checked my Nintendo DS, you could probably find a record of how much time I spent playing Animal Crossing during lockdown (okay, and beyond). It would be a gargantuan number of hours. Add to that the time I spent on TikTok or researching travel I could not undertake or playing Archery in my text threads with my sisters or reading tweets, well, it’s embarrassing. I know that my misuse of time stemmed, at least initially, from the overwhelm of being in lockdown and uncertain about what was going to happen with the pandemic. But, once things relaxed a bit, did I get back on track with living my life? No. I did not. The ups and downs of “do we mask” and “can we trust the vaccines” and “why am I wearing a mask when so many people aren’t” and “how far do I have to travel to get a vaccine” and “what do you mean cloth masks aren’t effective enough” and “will there even be room at a hospital if I have a stroke or something” made me want to check out. So, I did. I continued to bury my head in nonsense.

But then we went to Hawaii for Christmas, and I put my phone down more often and lived. I sat in the sun on warm, black lava rocks, and watched the waves roll in shades of turquoise. I walked among swiss-cheese rocks and looked for shells both teeming with life and devoid of it. I woke up to the sunrise ten out of eleven mornings there. I felt the sand between my toes, smelled plumeria blossoms, and tasted fresh, Kona-grown coffee. It felt good to be alive again.

I missed living.

So today I spent some quality time with our puppy because he makes me laugh every day. I savored my food and appreciated it. I went to my meditation meeting and listened intently to what the other participants said about their practices. I worked hard to be present all day.

Maybe it was my Hawaiian holiday. Maybe it was watching Don’t Look Up. I’m not sure what has brought me to this place, but I have definitely been more present so far in 2022. I’m tired of wasting time and then being frustrated that I didn’t do all the things I wanted to do. I know what I want for this year, so I am setting an intention to show up for my life and the people in it. I’m going to spend some time this week figuring out what that looks like and how I think I can best accomplish it. And then I am going to get busy living again. It’s not a New Year’s Resolution. It’s a Life Revolution.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Shell Shock: The Crustacean Calamity

Shells without feet waiting for a clean and polish

We got home yesterday afternoon and, being the Type A person I am, I immediately dove into the process of unpacking, doing laundry, and getting settled at home again. This was an even bigger task than usual because we had celebrated Christmas by unwrapping gifts the night before we left for Hawaii, which meant there was an even bigger mess left behind than usual. Sigh. I don’t like chaos in my house. I find it counterproductive to my intention to live a more peaceful, mindful life. It’s difficult for me to feel at peace when I look around a cluttered, dirty house.

While we were in Hawaii, I would wander along the lava rocks on the beach outside our rental home and look for shells that had been beached and discarded. I would collect nice looking shells of that variety, ones on dry land rather than in the tidal pools because I know the tidal pools are teaming with sea snails and hermit crabs, and sometimes live cowries too. To be careful, though, when I would collect the shells, I made a habit of drying them on the lava rock wall by the pool or on the counter in the bathroom. The shells needed to be dried before packing, and I figured this would allow time for any sea life living in the shells that had somehow managed to escape my notice to make a break for it. And it did happen. One day I brought the few shells I had found to our bathroom, removed them from my pocket, walked into the other room, and a little while later heard something make a sound in the bathroom. I returned to find a hermit crab in the sink. Apparently that shell’s owner objected to being collected. I took him back to the beach and set him into a tide pool. He was free.

At any rate, as I was unpacking my suitcase yesterday, I found the shells I brought home in a Ziploc bag and set them out on my bathroom counter. I had plans to sterilize and polish them, but that process could not begin until I had the house settled again. While I was busy unpacking my toiletries and putting some towels away, out of the corner of my eye I saw one shell moving across the counter. Dammit. I had a stowaway. Despite my best efforts to ensure I didn’t transport any live creatures from the Hawaiian tropical climate to cold, semi-arid, high altitude Colorado, one of the shells held a tiny hermit crab who had refused to let his presence be known on the bathroom counter in Hawaii.

The little guy had lived through a day on the counter and another twelve hours in a plastic bag inside a suitcase, only to arrive 3300 miles away from its origins and 1030 miles from the nearest ocean. I momentarily considered setting up an aquarium setting for him before coming to my senses. Colorado is no place for a tiny, salty hermit crab. I had to dispatch him. I hated to do it (and I will not disclose the methodology of such actions here because I am still wracked with guilt), but it had to be done. And, no, I don’t really want to talk about it.

I’ve spent a bit of time since then beating myself up for being a murderer. Finally, though, I decided I had to forgive myself. I did not mean to bring him here. I didn’t set out to harm anything. I tried to leave my shells time enough to walk away if they were inhabited. I also realize I am likely not the first human to err in this fashion. And on multiple occasions while looking for shells on dry land in Hawaii, I found hermit crabs who were stranded away from the ocean (seemingly miles away if you consider how small they are and how far the tide had carried them from their point of origin) and picked them up and returned them to tidal pools, thereby saving their lives. Sometimes, life is messy. I am a person who has rescued snakes, voles, mice, rabbits, and even salamanders from window wells. I need to cut myself some slack on this one life. I try to be a good steward on this planet, but being good does not mean being perfect.

Next time I go to Hawaii and collect shells, though, I am going to stop the collection process two days prior to my departure to give any accidental sea life ample time to escape my evil clutches.

Hawaii: The Big Island – January 2, 2022

If there is a word that could encapsulate the dread that hung in the air for Steve, Joe, and I (Luke isn’t a big beach guy) on this last day, I would use it. But there isn’t one. We had been doing our best to distance ourselves mentally from the notion that we would actually have to say goodbye to the rental home that had begun to feel like our actual home, board a plane for the long trip back to Denver, and say goodbye to Hawaii for who knows how long. The time had come to face reality, though. So we did our best to live in the moment and soak up every last bit of Hawaii peace.

While I sat on the lanai outside the master bedroom working on the blog post about New Year’s Day, Steve and Joe went for one last snorkel at tiny Keiki Beach.

Around 11, we decided to head up to Waikoloa Village for lunch, a last walk on Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-Bay), and some shopping. Steve, the boys, and I had started our trip here on December 23rd, so it seemed fitting that we would finish it here as well. We brought the rest of the family along this time for lunch at the Lava Lava Beach Club. Yes. It’s pricey. You’re paying resort prices in Hawaii, so it’s to be expected. But the view. Damn. How often do you get to sit seaside and watch sea turtles? Plus, the drinks are amazing and the food is quite tasty too. And the atmosphere is fun. So you pay a lot, but you get a lot.

We tried to dawdle at lunch to soak it all in, but the restaurant has a two-hour-per-table limit, and they are quick with the service to ensure that time table is honored. So, we bid farewell to this lovely spot, hit a few stores and a gas station, and headed back to pack. Boo. Once we had done most of the abysmal work of packing up to leave a place we did not want to leave, we headed back to the ocean behind the house to soak in every last second we could before emptying the fridge, doing a final sweep for personal items, and locking up for the last time.

With our final sunset in the books, we headed for the airport. We would be returning the same way we came, Kona to LAX, LAX to Denver via overnight flights. As luck would have it, I was unable to sleep. Not the case for my traveling companions. I think I was just too full of gratitude for the entire vacation. Every time I go to Hawaii, I struggle on the re-entry to normal life. It is nice to be home, but it takes me a week before I feel like I belong in Denver again.

Two of my favorite traveling companions

While my family slept, I helped myself to the on-board wifi and searched for homes for a potential next trip to Hawaii. No. We don’t have anything we’re planning, at least not yet. But it sure is fun to dream about a return trip, and it helps ease some of the pain of leaving when you make yourself believe you will be back. I’m grateful for every minute I get to spend in Hawaii. I would head back tomorrow if I could. Okay. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe next week. I could use a little rest in my own bed first.

Aloha, Hawaii. Mahalo for the memories. E ho’i makou!

Hawaii: The Big Island – January 1, 2022

Blue as far as the eye can see

After a week of mostly cloudy skies with periods of sunshine, this day began with a clear, bright, perfect blue sky. Being an internal optimist (like a Sour Patch Kid, I am sweet on the inside and sour on the outside), I believe that this blue sky day on the first day of 2022 portends good things for this new year. Hope I didn’t just jinx it. See? Sweet and sour at the same time.

My sister-in-law, Karen, booked us an outrigger trip for an hour this morning. We lucked out with the flawless weather and applied copious amounts of zinc oxide sunscreen. We started our trip off the sandy shore at the Marriott’s King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. We met our guide, Jeff, and began the experience by pulling the outrigger to the water. I lucked out because I got to be the official photographer for this. That wooden boat is heavy, even on wheels!!

The sea had a moderate swell, but outriggers are made for this so it was no issue with seven of us paddling. The ride was smoother and easier than I imagined, and the views of the island from the water made the effort worth it. We paused a few times, just drifting on the ocean, so Jeff could tell us a bit of the history of this area. We learned that Hualalai, the dormant volcano visible from Kona’s shores, means “head in the clouds,” which has been true for the majority of our time here. I told the boys that from now on when one of us is in another place mentally I shall say we are “hualalai.”

While we were taking a paddle break at one point, we heard a mammal surface nearby. Looking around, we saw a couple dolphins and were lucky enough to see them curiously check us out by swimming underneath the boat. How cool is that?

There is a dolphin there swimming off…they are fast and hard to capture in a photo

After our outrigger trip, we returned to the house for some steak and eggs before heading out to do a little souvenir shopping in Kona town. Luke was craving shave ice. I hadn’t had any yet on this trip, so it seemed like a good idea. I got lilikoi (passion fruit) flavor because that is my absolute favorite and something I don’t often get to enjoy in Colorado. Somehow I convinced the boys to play along for this little photo op. I think Joe was representing a brain freeze with his expression here.

Trinkets obtained, we headed back to the house to order some takeout Thai food and enjoy our most colorful sunset here yet. It’s like the universe aligned everything just for us on this New Year’s Day. With our trip coming to a rapid conclusion, the reality of our imminent departure hit Joe and I like a wave hitting the lava rock shoreline. He and I are the most committed to this state, the ones who would be most likely to have to be dragged kicking and screaming onto a flight back to cold, snowy Colorado later. I am trying to be zen about our exodus, but I am struggling. Time to engage my mindfulness skills, stay in the moment, and mourn the exit when I board the plane in 12 hours.

Seriously, Hawaii? Why you make it so hard to leave?

Hawaii: The Big Island – Nighttime Manta Ray Snorkel

When we planned our ten-day trip here, we knew this vacation was to be more about sticking near our rental and relaxing than our usual whirlwind of non-stop sightseeing activity. It was one of the reasons that we reserved a home right on the ocean near a small, snorkeling beach. The goal this time around was to unplug and simply be human beings rather than humans doing.

The one activity I found early on, however, that I knew immediately I wanted to experience was a nighttime opportunity to be in the water with the harmless and huge manta rays that call this area home. After some time spent coaxing and cajoling my reluctant family members into giving this activity a try (I understood their apprehension about getting into the ocean in the dark but was willing to overlook that fear myself), I found a family-run excursion outfit that runs small-group tours to spend time with these gentle, filter feeders. I booked the four of us with Hawaii Island and Ocean Tours in a 10:20 pm time slot, and on December 30th, we drove down the Kona coast to Keauhou Bay to meet our group.

The way it works is you are given a shortie wet suit and snorkel gear and a boat takes you on a short (on this night, 1 minute) boat ride to a shallow spot on the bay (we were in about 40 feet of water) where you meet your guide. The guide, in a full wet suit and fins, is holding on to what is essentially a surfboard with handles. Underneath the surfboard is a panel of lights. The lights draw the plankton in the water, and the plankton, in turn, draw these gentle creatures to come feed on an easy meal right by you. When I say “right by you,” I mean they occasionally brush you as they feed. The guide told us they normally have between one to three manta rays feeding underneath the board. We lucked out, though, as we were told there were ten of them feeding in the area.

Manta rays are usually solitary creatures, but the lure of a plentiful and easy meal brings them together. We hopped off the rubber sides of the boat into the water, swam over to the board and grabbed onto the handles on the side, stuck our faces in the water, and immediately saw mantas swimming up to feed. They feed in giant upward circles under the board. Starting at the sea floor, they swim up, skim their filter-feeding mouths along the bottom side of the lit board, and head back down to repeat the cycle. It was nuts. These rays, out in the open ocean, can grow to 29 feet across. These were about 12 feet across, which was plenty big enough for us. The most important rule of these excursions is you are not allowed to reach out and touch the mantas. Period. They try to avoid touching you, but I was bumped and rubbed against by them a couple times just the same. Manta rays feed for approximately 20 hours a day to consume the calories they need to thrive. It’s fascinating.

We remained in the water for approximately 30 minutes, watching the rays feed non-stop. We had rented a GoPro from the company, so Steve was able to catch some footage of the experience. The video below will shed some light (pun intended) on this experience. The video looks a little surreal because of the type of lights used to draw the plankton, but you will see how close they come and what their feeding process looks like in this environment. The light spots on the video are the plankton.

If you ever find yourself on the Big Island, don’t miss this if you have any experience with swimming and snorkeling. Most of us were a little nervous about getting into the sea after dark, but we needn’t have been. It was amazing and something I would definitely like to experience again.

Life is short, my friends. Don’t miss an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and learn more about what happens on this amazing rock in space.

Hawaii: Big Island – December 30, 2021

Today was the most mellow day we have had yet on this vacation. Honestly, aside from taking some time to swim and snorkel in the keiki pond near our rental, photograph flowers, hunt for shells, and watch the sea for dolphins and whales, the most energetic thing we did happened at 10:20 pm when we got in the ocean to watch manta rays feed. That will require a separate post, which I will get to as soon as we manage to downloaded the photos from the GoPro we rented for the experience. Still, it was an amazing day for wildlife and nature viewing and photography.

It has been overcast here for days, but luckily we have managed to escape most of the rain we feared would literally dampen our trip. While we may not come back tan, we are definitely warm, rested, and unwound, which makes this entire trip worth every second of missed clear, sunny skies.

Next up: Manta Rays!

Hawaii: The Big Island – December 29, 2021

Steve and I took our first ever helicopter trip over Kauai in 2013. In 2016, we brought the boys along as we overflew Maui. Today we took the boys along again for a scenic flight over a fair portion of the Big Island. We started at the Kona Airport and then flew over the coffee-planted slopes of the Hualalai volcano, then between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa towards Kilauea to the crater, where we were able to glimpse some of the recently restarted lava flow. We then continued towards the windward side of the island and viewied the ocean and the steep valleys on the northwest side of the island. Then we headed back over the expansive cattle ranches towards the western side of the island with its lava beaches and resort-dotted coastline. Today’s trip included our first ever mid-flight landing on the top of a deep valley. If flying and motion sickness aren’t an issue for you and you ever have the opportunity to fly via helicopter, you should, especially if you find yourself in Hawaii. There are many parts of these islands that are only visible via helicopter, and you miss so much of the islands if you don’t fly over them. They are a spectacle from the air. A Hawaiian helicopter flight is a great item to tack onto your bucket list. It’s spendy, but worth saving for. If you come all the way out into the Pacific, don’t leave anything on the table.

Here is my photo dump from our helicopter trip, courtesy of my trusty old iPhone 11 Pro. Not the best photos, but you get the idea.

Hubby got the copilot seat since he has the best camera equipment
View of Mauna Kea (13,803′ in elevation) with her snow

In 2018, there was a huge change to Kilauea. A new eruption of the volcano changed the island. The summit area of the park was altered by tens of thousands of earthquakes, one of which dropped a portion of the ring road, which you can see in this photo. The caldera collapsed and the crater grew from 280 feet deep to about 1,600 feet deep and the diameter more than doubled. Kilauea remains one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Our pilot told us that if the lava stops moving for 5 seconds, it hardens into rock. Kind of fascinating to realize the cooling can can happen that quickly.

Closer view of Mauna Kea
Joe and Luke eyeing the view off towards Hilo on the island’s rainier, greener windward side

It was an overcast day, so I can’t even imagine how the contrasts in the greens and blues might have appeared with more sunshine.

The windows on the Bell 407 helicopter offer amazing floor to ceiling views
Helicopter landing atop cliff with an imperceptible touchdown

Photo Op 1
At the edge of this grass is a drop off, so we stayed well back because we wanted to finish our vacation
Paradise Helicopters built a nice, safe platform for viewing the coast below, though
Happy cattle on the slopes around an old cinder cone

Mauna Kea Resort and Mauna Kea (Kauna’oa) Beach

We spent the rest of our day relaxing at home before having some family portraits taken and enjoying some wonderful Thai Beef at home for dinner. So sad there are only four days left for us to enjoy this warm, peaceful life. We haven’t even left and I am already anxious to return.

Hawaii: The Big Island – December 28, 2021

Today was a day of the unexpected from start to finish. It began with my waking up early and deciding once again to go see if I could catch a pretty sunrise. I had my doubts because the forecast was for an overcast day with heavy clouds. Steve and I were the only ones out at 6:40 a.m., though, and were treated to this stunning Hawaiian greeting.

We had a ten a.m. departure time for a drive to the Hilo side of the island, so I decided to shower and grab a quick breakfast. While I was sitting at the outdoor table eating, our oldest announced there was a surprise visitor in the saltwater pool. A crab had found its way up the beach and decided that this pool might be a better option for him. Joe went on a mission to remove the visitor and eventually manage to coax it from the water in the pool onto the skimmer net. Once he acquired his target, Joe walked him down the rocks to a safe spot near the water where the crab was allowed to crawl back to whence he came.

Probably a little crabby about the forced relocation

With that excitement behind us, we departed for the windward side of the island, seven of us in a Dodge Grand Caravan. The drive was fascinating. This island is huge by comparison to the others. We learned the other day that this island is large enough to hold all the other islands and still have Big Island left over. Being accustomed to Kauai and Maui, driving around this island can feel daunting. There are 8 climate zones on this island, so a drive will take you through a lot of varied sights. We started with our tour guide, Joe, telling us about the different types of lava rock here, pahoehoe and aa (pronounced: paw-hoey-hoey and ah-ah, respectively). The first type has a smooth, billowy appearance, like a black cloud, and the second is very rough and rubbly. As we headed mauka (towards the mountain), the landscape changed. More greenery appeared before we hit an area of grasslands before we later hit a section with trees and flowers before we hit more of a forested area before we then began heading down again into more bushes and flowers. The Big Island is a good place to get a feel for all that Hawaii has to offer on her many islands.

I knew the house where we would find our relatives was remote, but honestly I was not prepared for the last stretch of road, which was single lane, slippery mud, with a river crossing. Yes. All of this in a front wheel drive Dodge Caravan. There was one point when we were pointed downhill towards a rocky river crossing and a couple expletives entered my head. Somehow, though, the Dodge managed it (just barely) and we arrived at our destination. We were not prepared for what we saw.

The rain on this side of the island means everything grows here. I mean everything. They had papayas, coconuts, bananas, pineapples, oranges, meyer lemons, and collard greens (among other things) growing. The flowers were stunning. The grass was lush. This girl from a semi-arid state was in awe. We got to sample organic bananas cut straight from the branch. I’m not a big fan of bananas, but if I could eat these every day I would.

The cousins live in a self-sustaining home, with solar power, rainwater collection, and propane taking care of most of their needs. They have chickens and are preparing to get some goats for milk and cheese. Their neighbors own cattle. They talked about how they barter for items they need, trading their produce and eggs for items other neighbors have. This world could not be any more different than my life in affluent suburban Colorado, where our organic produce comes from Whole Foods (and they may get some of it from here). For lunch, they laid out for us a table filled with locally sourced and homemade foods. There was gluten free banana bread made with coconut flour, some homemade rustic bread with homemade jam, fresh papaya and rambutan, and some assorted cheeses and sausage. They had also prepared freshly squeezed lemonade. I could almost get the appeal of this type of living, but then decided I don’t want to have to wait for a rushing river to recede after a rain to access my home after a 4-wheel drive trip into town. The kind of prefer a river-free, easy trip to the store and the post office.

Rambutan fruit, homemade banana bread, and sausage for lunch

After enjoying our meal and catching up for a bit, we returned to Kona, passing more climate zones on the way back. This island is something else entirely. Not gonna lie…it’s kind of hard not to like it.

We ended the day at our lovely rental home with some take out food from a popular restaurant and a relaxing, still evening on the lanai. At this point, I’m finding myself torn between here and Maui as a place to land permanently someday. There is something about Hawaii that feels like home to me. I’m not sure how a Colorado girl finds this as her alternate place, but here I am. If not the mountains, then the laid back, healthy-minded, nature-oriented, sea-based life of Hawaii is my dream.

Hawaii: The Big Island – December 27, 2021

Even in paradise on vacation, there are days when you have to face reality and do the things. This was that sort of day.

I started the day with a leisurely morning jaunt outside to relish the sunrise and the uninhabited beach. Most people will tell you they prefer sunset. I’m a sunrise gal, myself. Maybe it’s the quiet morning. Maybe it’s the effort it takes to be present for a sunrise. Maybe it’s the promise that lies ahead in a fresh day. Or maybe it’s just that I like to be contrary to popular opinion. Anyway, it’s the sunrise that captures my attention.

After sunrise, it was time to attend to chores. I washed and folded clothes and towels, cleaned up the kitchen, made our bed, and fed the feral kitties that have chosen this as their home.

hey kitteh kitteh

After that, Steve and I had shopping to do since it was our turn to prepare dinner. We picked up some opah (moonfish) at the seafood market, and then hit the store for groceries before making our way home. I thought I would sit in the sun for a bit and as I was about to make my way to the beach, I was slapped in the face with a harsh reminder that there really is no escaping reality, not even in paradise. I’m not sure what makes people visiting a beach decide they need to bring the American flag and a f*** Joe Biden message along to make a statement, but I could have done without it. Not because I begrudge anyone their First Amendment right to express themselves freely, but because I was hoping that I could escape partisan political bullshit while on vacation. Luckily, there is a reminder off the front lanai to find inner peace. So I decided to go there instead.

A little while later we were treated to an entire pod of dolphins swimming ahead of a boat. I didn’t have my phone on me, so I missed the photo moment. But a little while later they headed back and I was able to capture (from a considerable distance) this tiny bit of dolphin proof.

For dinner, we prepared fish tacos. I made a fresh pineapple salsa while Steve grilled the fish. We served the tacos alongside some white rice, black beans, and a green salad with sundried tomato dressing. After dinner, I sat in the spa while Steve and the boys alternated between swimming in the pool and warming up in the spa. Their antics made my heart happy.

It was a chill day at the house, but one we needed to get caught up and ready for the last days of our visit. Our next days will be more active with trips to other parts of the island, a helicopter tour, some long overdue professional family photos, and a swim with the manta rays. Stay tuned.