some of my favorite things

Karen first noticed the beautiful color of this morning’s sunrise and I’m glad I didn’t miss it. The colors were stunning in the softest pastel sort of way. (And we were both surprised our phone cameras were able to capture it so accurately.)

Almost all day the island of Molakai was clear. Karen was thrilled she finally figured out windward/leeward and that you can always tell the windward side by the presence of clouds. We’re learning!

Whenever I come out of one of the back rooms and I look up and see this beauty, I’m stopped in my tracks. It happens every time, no matter how long we stay. Karen is stunning also 🙂

The view of Hoyochi Nikko from our lanai. We love that it is just 18 units. Our property manager told us 80% of the guests are return visitors, so we know many of the owners and renters. We also keep in touch with each other through Facebook. It feels like a family.

Karen keeps inventing new drinks. This year she’s blending POG and iced tea. She loves it but I haven’t tried it yet.

We have a banana tree and sometimes we get to be part of the harvest, but this year it doesn’t look like there are any. This banana tree is on the property next door.

Karen and went for our usual walk along the ocean boardwalk. After lunch, I went down to the ocean to read and try out our newly rented umbrella (which wonderfully screws into the ground and is really stable; $17/week). Karen was in the condo working on an editing job and joined me when she finished.

As we were reading, Karen noticed the palm tree pattern above us and took this photo. I love what her eyes see’s and what she does to a photo to highlight it.

One of my favorite traditions is blowing the conch shell at sunset. It reminds me to appreciate the nature and sacredness that is this place. Sunset: 6:19.

and the day ends with…

The whales are back!

More humpback activity this morning than (maybe) all of our stay last year. Never, ever, tire of scanning the ocean for them and watching in awe as they fling their giant bodies out of the water. Today there was even synchronized breaching of two whales, far apart. Times two! We feel so blessed with these front row seats.

days 3 and 4

Saturday was rainy. Many beautiful rainbows though–lots more rainbows than sunsets! But the rain is warm and a nice gentle way to live through jet lag.

Karen and I kept hearing this very loud bird call and kept walking out on the lanai to see who it was–we’d never heard such a raucous call. Finally, I saw it, got a photo, and Karen did her google magic and identified it as a Grey Francolin, a type of partridge. Originally from Africa/India, It was introduced to the mainland and Hawaii for hunting. It didn’t survive on the mainland but did fine in Hawaii. Very beautiful coloring.

Karen took this photo today off of our lanai, then used her favorite app Prisma to get this effect.. I love the photo!

Karen posted this on her Facebook page. Hawaiian State Statute … I had no idea a government would ever venture into this territory! Mahalo, Richard, for sending this our way.

Sunday, lots of sun. Whales were kind of few and far between. I need to get more serious about whale watching tomorrow.

I’m not a reader except, kind of strangely, in Hawaii. I don’t know why. Maybe it breaks up whale watching. Started “When Death Becomes Life-Notes from a Transplant Surgeon.” I head the author (Joshua D. Mezrich, MD.) interviewed on NPR and was impressed with his humanity and sense of humor. I also thought I’d like to read it to better understand the kidney transplant my granddaughter received from her mon.

day two

Our beautiful morning boardwalk ritual. The ocean, sky, the islands of Lanai and Molokai across the way, the richly colored flowers and vegetation, and fellow walkers yelling out “Go Gophers” when they see my bright gold MINNESOTA t-shirt.

After our walk, it’s time to check in with emails from the mainland. Maui is four hours earlier than Minnesota. We have been trying to find a good time to FaceTime with Harper and Gus.

After such a busy morning 🙂 we were craving lunch at one of our favorite places, Aloha Mixed Plate. Karen saw this surfboard on the wall with their old logo (our favorite, which is two iterations ago) and used Prisma to make this beautiful photo.

Karen took the picture from the surfboard and made a really cool totem for me to use.

While she was taking photos, I wait for my favorite lunch to arrive, the classic “Aloha Mixed Plate” (the most popular item on the menu): shoyu chicken, teriyaki beef, fresh fish (usually Mahi Mahi), white rice, mac salad. Karen always goes a different direction with kalua pig and cabbage. Both are called “plate lunches,” inspired by the Hawaiian-Philippino-Chinese-Japanese plantation workers shared lunches.

Sand update: it’s still gone! Hopefully it will return soon.

Karen working tri-tip magic. SOOOO good! (She has enough rub for two! Lucky me.) While grilling, we met a guy from Canada who had never heard of tri-tip but wanted to know all about it. So when Karen was slicing it up for our dinner, she sliced a piece for him and had me deliver it. Needless to say, he was thrilled–his face said it all. Spreading aloha with beef cuts!

Such a beautiful setting for dinner with your sweetheart. Which is why we almost always have dinner at the condo.

Karen was saying the palm gestures remind her of hula dancers.

Off we go! Day 1.

Yeah, good time to go!

Cooling our heels during a 4-hour layover in LAX. Interesting flight from MSP. It was so cold—how cold was it?—Boarding was delayed because the lead flight attendant was having trouble getting into work; take-off was delayed because the fuel truck wouldn’t start; there were few snacks/drinks/meals and no ice because that truck wouldn’t start; many of the “lines” in the restroom froze so those restrooms had to be closed. But we were safe and the winds with us so we arrived on time! It should also be mentioned that the pilot was masterful in preemptively calming the passengers.
Enjoying a lovely breakfast at Dukes (whales and rainbows and tradewinds, oh my!) and giving a POG toast to Scott & Richard for introducing us! And wishing they were here of course ….
One of the best things about rain!
Karen whale watching while trying to summon the will to leave to get groceries.
You know you’re in Hawaii when you can buy POG.
Yea! They have our favorite meat cut–tri tip–at Safeway! Our nephew Scott introduced us last year to this cut and we’ve been such fans ever since. Hard to find in Minnesota but we usually can get it at Everetts in Minneapolis. Karen does a dry rub on it, which makes it wonderful to grill and slice as a steak but then the leftovers make fantastic sandwiches and salads.
Personalizing the condo with Gus’s bon voyage banner…
and Harper’s sweet card.
The sands, they are ashiftin’.  Allyn, our property manager said the sand had recently been up to the top of the wall, but over a few days the direction of the waves changed and took all the sand out. The ocean today is much rougher than usual, and the winds much stronger.  The temp is 70, which the locals think is cold (right, Minnesotans?), and they are bundled up in jackets and sweaters. I had on shorts and an aloha shirt and thought it was lovely (though I guess Karen did have on a long-sleeve shirt).