Last Two Months of Summer

Wow! Where did the time go? It’s the end of August and I still haven’t posted all that has happened in the month of July. I better start…

 Decorating the new apartment

While decorating my new apartment, Mom and I went to the Goodwill in Shoreline looking for an old mirror to do up. We ended up with a mirror along with another find I never expected. There sitting in the middle of the store was a perfect conditioned microfiber love seat for only $45.00! I ended up snatching that couch up on the spot and called Dad to come with his pickup to haul it to my apartment. I guess it was a day the gods of couches was looking down on me, or I would still be looking for a couch.

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 Mini adventures during the week

One day I decided to take a little trip to Golden Gardens to take advantage of the sunshine. I have been so use to the beaches up in North Seattle area, and so I decide to need explore more of the parks around Seattle.

On the nice sunny days during the work week I would take a 30 minute lunch run around South Lake Union park. Mostly there are other runners, walkers, bicycles, and summer campers in the park. This makes a fantastic people watching moments and you could see all the tech workers hanging out on their lunch break.

Discovery Park adventure

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For a while I have been wanting to explore more of Discovery Park. M’s apartment is just walking distance to the park, so on the hottest day in Seattle we headed to the park for some lunch and to explore a new part of the park for me. I have seen the West Point Lighthouse before, so I wanted to see a part of the old Fort Lawson and see the old buildings that are left over from when the officially closed. Being the hottest day in Seattle, poor M started melt in the heat and sun. I feel sorry for dragging him out during the hottest part of the day with not much shade to be had. I ended up getting very good shots of the old falling apart buildings of the former base.

Lab Monkey Strikes!

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Funny thing to put “I love lab monkey” on my bio safety cabinet window, only to come in the next morning to someone drawing a picture of said monkey. Science is not all seriousness. When you have an awesome team of people we just are like family playing practical jokes on each other.

First Mariner’s game with M and his friends. See post: Play Ball Boys!

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 Adventures with Megan.

When Megan is in town things become more like a non stop fun fest. This girl is a kick in the pants to be around and you never have a dull moment with her. Case in point the Happy Meals On Crack. Why did Mc-D’s decide to put a very scary happy face on the side of a children’s food box? Was someone very-or should say a team of creatives/marketing high when they came up with the idea?

Megan:” is it my hangover making this box look creepy?”

Me: ” Nope, the box is creepy.”

Megan: “Looks like it is on crack.”

Me: (putting the psychedelic glasses it came with it on it)

Me: ” More like on acid!”

Just look at the pictures. One friend on Facebook wrote “Holy cow!”  Then you have to ask why two adults be buying Happy Meals? We were hung over and tired to care about what form our food came in.  Maybe creepy faces are our punishment for thinking we are kids when we are not.

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A few days we checked out my apartment’s pool and sauna. Conclusion, decent enough to swim in, and lay beside. After sunning ourselves, we decided to head to Roy’s in Edmonds for a Mac and Jacks and a burger before she left for Pullman for one last year of college.

BBQ Galore!

August was the month of BBQ! I guess with all the great hot weather Seattle has been getting lately it was time to get serious about BBQ-ing. At work we had a total of two BBQ done of the sun deck with everyone attending. A huge success since many of the social events fail terribly. M bought a Weber BBQ a year ago and never had used it until now! Our first BBQ adventure was making hamburgers and then moved on to hotdogs. Both times turned out well, and M’s BBQ-ing is up there with how my Dad does it, so M is a keeper.  At the end of August the church I attend puts on a community BBQ called Grill and Chill. This year there was BBQ hotdogs and a lot of entertainment. The bottle rocket station was one of M’s favorite things to watch, and I am guessing if he could, he would have been up there with the kids letting them off.  After the Grill and Chill BBQ, I have eaten my last BBQ hotdog for a while.

Summer Movie Nights

Saw a few new and old movies this summer. The church puts on a free movie night in the back parking lot of the church for a family movie night. This summer it was the movie Frozen, and all snacks had the Frozen theme. I’m a sucker for Disney movies (grew up on them) and was in heaven to just to be a kid again laughing at all childish jokes. Two weekends later I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard with M and M’s friend Al. The movie was good and would say more of a guys movie then a girls one. I love to watch the Marvel Comic movies, and at that point I feel like I’m a bro-girl when I go see them with M. I would recommend seeing the movie if you like misfit superheros, but it is not really for kids since there are adult jokes that will go over any kids heads.

Oh, and the Seahawks are back to defend the Super Bowl title.

On a group lunch date I had the 12th Man sushi roll at I Love Sushi in South Lake Union. Go Seahawks!

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Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Days 12-15 (Last Days)

Updated: 12/2017

Day 12: Zip lining & Beach

Zipping through the palm tree tops! Three rides 1,200 ft! At first when I saw how far off the ground I was going to be, I started freaking out. I’m not afraid of heights, but it looked to be very scary. Now that I tried it, I will be doing it again. The morning started off with a down pour for five minutes, then cleared up long enough to take three rides down. The first two rides were with Mom , and then the last one was just me by myself. Once I got through the first one, I was fine to take the last two rides down. It was very short ride, and so I recommend getting at least more than one ride to really experience the zip line. I now can add this to my life experience list and hope to try out the one near home called Wild Life Trex near Seattle. The rest of the day was spent at the beach again just relaxing.

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zipping along

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me zipping along

Day 13: Marine Base Crazy & Last minute stuff

Another relaxing day getting last-minute stuff done before we leave for home. Took on last trip to the Marine base to do some last-minute shopping at the Exchange. When I stepped outside the store I saw a new sign that appeared in front of the doors. Apparently the new base commander is trying to keep the unmentionable people from “polluting” the base and disrespecting the military environment. So just imagine the pictures you see on People of Wal-Mart website and you have a good picture of what was posted on this sign. These were the things that are not allowed to be worn when on base. I really could see why the commander is doing this and why he doesn’t like half-naked people walking around base when not in uniform. The whole time I was on base (even Bellows had a dress code in their commons areas) I never say anyone out of uniform looking like a bum.  I just go some Hawaiian theme stuff to take back to Seattle at the Exchange.

Relaxed on base for a bit and started to see Man of Wars washed up on the beach. Remembering there was a full moon when we got to Hawaii and five days later the jelly fishes started to appear, every time we walked the beach we had to make sure to watch where we stepped or else get stung by the blue tentacles. Later that evening we all went out with my cousin one last time to a small local pizza place in Kilua.  The place was busy with locals stopping in to grab a slice of pizza or a whole pizza for dinner. The pizzas are huge at Bob’s Pizzeria, and so a whole pizza can easy be shared with five people. I had two big slices which amounted to four small slices.

Now here is a funny story in a way to share….When we went to drop off my cousin at the Marine base, we did not go through the main gate as we have in the past, but he back gate where the housing is. A huge mistake because when we pulled up and my cousin showed his ID, the guard at the gate wanted everyone’s ID. Apparently there is a huge crack down at night due to a Marine sneaking a prostitute on base a few weeks back and getting caught. Also the guard in a moment of putting his boot in his mouth made it almost clear that he thought Nana, Mom and I were prostitutes! Nana and Mom felt offended, but for me I just though “oh thanks for letting me know I look like one.” As I was stating in above paragraph, the commander of the base is really on a crack down. We did drop my cousin off at his barrack without anymore trouble from the Marine Security Force.

Day 14: Sea Turtles

Our last full day in Hawaii. We did some last-minute shopping again and packed up our bags for our afternoon flight back to Seattle. Walked the beach one last time (ok a few times). While on one of our walks we saw a group of sea turtles swimming along the beach. A half a mile down there is a little cove where the waves are strong and the turtles get stuck in. All three turtles tried their hardest to swim back out to sea, but kept getting swept back into the rocks. At one point one came very close to some kids in the water and freaked them out along with the poor turtle. I believe the three turtles did get out when the waves calmed down a bit.

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While packing for the trip home, I realized I had bought a lot of Hawaiian food. Hmm…I think I will need it when friends come over for tea and a Hawaiian short bread macadamia nut cookies.

Day 15: Going Home

Going to the airport was crazy stressful adventure. Why? Because 1) my suitcase all of sudden put on weight, 2) security check point was a mad house and I thought for sure I was going to throw my shoe at TSA (Sea-Tac has it down to a science), 3) USDA inspection line was crazy! Poor Nana had to be patted down because she set off the metal detector and her sleep machine had residue of liquid in it. Really just wanted to get on the plane and get to Seattle without anymore stuff happening. The flight was six hours as usual. The only crazy part was landing in Seattle after a huge windstorm came through. Overall, the six-hour flight went off without much stuff happening. When I left Seattle for Hawaii the temperature was 70 degrees F, when I came back it was 50 degrees F and a storm blowing through. Just shows how much the weather changes within two weeks of being gone. I still look at my phone’s weather app for Bellows to see what the weather is at the moment. I miss the warmth, but Seattle did have a wonderful summer with all the sunny hot weather we had. I can’t complain.

I really enjoyed my two-week adventure on Oahu Hawaii. I will of course return to the islands again in the near future. I think the next island to visit is Kauai or Big Island. I am glad I had the chance to see my cousin while he is stationed at K-Bay, and hope he has a great time while there.  I loved not having to do all the touristy things this time. I really got to see the island from a different perspective. I know now all the main freeways, and know which major highways lead to where. Great to stay somewhere other than Waikiki for a change. I really got to see the beauty of the island without the sky scrapers in the way. I still would love to hike up Diamond Head since I did not get the chance this time. I guess I will be making a return visit again.

Mahalo for reading about my adventure in Hawaii! Hope you enjoy Hawaii really soon.

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Disclaimer: All links are for reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive or am paid for promotion on products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day 7 (Valley of The Temple), Day 8 & Day 9

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Update: 12/2017

Confused? Looks as if I made a short trip to Japan when really this temple is in Hawaii. I came across this little known tourist attraction when researching for things to do. The temple is called Byod O-In Temple and it’s a replica of a 10th century Buddhist temple in Uij Japan. This temple is in a Memorial Park/ cemetery where all religions are represented.  For six dollars per a person (CORECTION: The Byodo-In- Temple charges $3.00 per a person now.), you can tour the grounds and take pictures. The settle is very peaceful and looks as if you are up in the mountains in Asia.

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Me ringing for good luck
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Iron Bell of good luck

Ringing the large iron bell at the temple is something to do for Buddhist believe  ring the bell is to cleanses the body, mind, heart and soul of negativity. By one gong of the bell, negativity is swept away for a long a prosperous life ahead. Buddhist use it as a way to bring good luck. Well I wanted some good luck for myself, and so I rang the bell. Black swans are supposed to be keepers of surprises and keep the negativity of spiritual world in check. Plus I have never seen Koi fish as huge as the ones living at the temple. My goodness they are huge!

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Koi and a black swan

Inside the temple is a Buddha shrine where offerings, and incense are burned. The massive Buddha statue in gold leaf dominates the room. This picture doesn’t even begin to describe how ornate the inside of the temple is. Even going bare foot out of respect was not so un natural as it would seem if this place was in a colder environment.

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Buddha shrine

Before lunch we all head back to the Marine Base to pick up some more supplies for the coming week at the Commissary. This time the place was not as much busy as the first time we came. A few months back I came across an article on how civilians are upset at how the military families have lower food prices for groceries. They called it the Ketchup-Gate. Honestly people, I don’t understand the uproar?! Meat prices are maybe dollar cheaper than civilian grocery stores, and that is for select cuts of meat. Just think of it this way, most commissaries are on military bases outside the US is places where there is no standard grocery store, or local food prices are much higher of worse rationed! Most military personnel do not get paid nearly as much as they would in the civilian world. Lower your rank, the less money you make. Also there is a 3% surcharge tacked on to the bill to keep the commissary going. So think of Safeway tacked on a 3-5% surcharge on your bill along with any food tax you had to pay. You would no like that would you?

Nana has this little saying, why not have dessert first. For most of the vacation the justification was to have dessert first, then have whatever else last. On our way back from shopping at the Marine Base, we all stopped in for an ice cream at the famous ice cream shop Dave’s. Dave’s is famous for their had made ice creams, and is ranked one of the best ice cream shops on the island of Oahu. Unfortunately they do not make the passion fruit or pineapple ice cream. But their Coconut Macadamia Nut ice cream was delicious  as ever. As you can see, there is a theme going here. I have found to like coconut and macadamia nuts mixed together in a form of a desert. How this came about is still unknown to me. After a shop for pure sugar, it was time for some surf and sand at Bellows.

IMG_0311Day eight was just relaxing on the beach and resting from a wild night with my cousin the previous night. Later after going to the Valley of the temples, I was taken to Waikiki for a night out on the town. I partied at Rum Fire Bar and danced into the wee hours of the morning at Moose’s Bar. I had to spend some a day recovering from a hang over and realizing even in my mid twenties, I just cannot go too wild anymore.

Day nine we all headed in the afternoon back into Waikiki again for our last chance at anything we wanted to do there. We walked through the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center to beat the heat. I will tell you this, the beaches in Waikiki are a lot hotter in temperature than the beaches around the island. As soon as I stepped onto the sand, I thought my feet were going to burn through my sandals after walking on a path for a few minutes, I just wanted to find some shade or a cool spot to be in. I do believe with all the concrete and buildings all around, there is more heat being generated, and while the rest of the island is cloudy, Waikiki/ Honolulu is sunny.There is no wind blowing either unless at night.

I did tour through the famous International Village Market Place before it is shut down for good. Apparently by the end of October, all the shops have to move out so developers can tear it down and build a hotel on the spot. Sad to see one of Hawaii’s old attractions being destroyed just so more profitable venture can take its place. I’m very glad to visit this iconic spot while I was here! Just sad (CORRECTION:The old International Village Market Place is no longer after the summer of 2013. As of 2016 a newer version of the International Village Market Place has been completed and the stores are more up scale then what was there before.). I wished I had bought something there just for the novelty, but after going from one store sell Hawaiian wear to another with the same stuff, I just could not being myself to do it. Nana did find something humorous among all the touristy nick nacks.

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Obama License Plate

Then back to Bellows to cool off and relax on the beach again.

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.

Oahu’s Windward Coast Vacation | Day #4 (Dole Pineapple Plantation & Hawaiian Birth Stones)

Update: 12/2017

The day  started out with a tropical storm blowing in off the Pacific Ocean. Just by looking at how the rain and wind was blowing, you may have thought a hurricane was hitting land. Seeing how stormy the waves looked as they came crashing on the shore was a sight you only read about. Breakfast was Hawaiian sweet bread with passion fruit jam and Dragon fruit sliced. You really get spoiled here in Hawaii with all the fresh fruit. Pineapples in the continental US are not as good as fresh Hawaiian pineapple right off the tree.

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Stormy weather

Originally we had planned to go to the North Shore, but looking at the weather we decided to switch days with another activity. Instead we all went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation in Wahiawa. Getting there was an adventure in itself. I believe the GPS had us going in the direction of the Waikiki instead of Wahiawa. Eventually we arrived at the plantation just as the tour buses were unloading all the tourists for the day. The store was crowed with people going nuts over anything Dole pineapple related. As always when anyone of us from my work group goes somewhere for vacation we bring back something for the group. I bought two small bags of Milk Chocolate Pineapple Crunch ($4.95) for everyone to try ( my group loved it!). I also got two beautiful hair clips (one is for Mom for Christmas), and a lovely picture of Spam Macadamia Nuts. There you have it, Spam is now a flavoring for nuts! Now for those who never had a real Dole pineapple, you need to try one when you are in Hawaii. Reason why is the pineapple is not like the ones you buy in the stores in mainland US. They are a lot sweeter and juicy.

Only in Hawaii can you get pineapple ice cream, and only at the Dole Pineapple Plantation (CORRECTION: Dole Pineapple Whip is now at Disneyland parks and at select Munchies stores. Still try it at the plantation since it is fresh from the plantation fields. Even better have it anytime you are in Hawaii!). So naturally I wanted to try what pineapple ice cream would taste like. Oh my goodness, you have to try it! There are two ways you can have it, one just the soft serve without the pineapple chunks on the side, or the second way with pineapple chucks (Dole Whip). Either way, they are both really good. I ordered the regular without the pineapple chunks ($4.50) and tried my Mom’s which had the pineapple chucks ($4.95).

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Pineapple ice cream

After an ice cream comatose, we toured the garden with all the various pineapple plants from around the world. I never realized there are many different varieties of pineapples, and each have their own destructed characteristics. I guess we are all use to the pineapples that were cultivated by Dole which is the most recognized species of pineapple around the world. While touring the garden there was several geckos (looked like the Geico Gecko, but does not talk with a Australian accent) sitting on some of the leaves enjoying himself. Geckos are all over Hawaii and there was even one sitting in the bushes at Bellows one day.

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Gecko
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Pineapple (Dole)
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Mom and I in a pineapple
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Pink Pineapple

According to the Guinness World Record book, Dole Pineapple Plantation has the largest corn maze in the world back in 2009. This the reason I had to get lost in a corn maze in Hawaii, and live to tell the tale. Plus saying you survived the maze in a tropical rain storm is even better! So Mom, Dad and I decided to do the maze as a family building exercise. The maze costs around $6.00 a person, but I had a coupon for buy one admission get one free. I was the one free since I though up this idea in the first place. Half way through the maze we all three got soaked with rain dumping from the sky. But hey, we are all from Seattle, and the rain was like taking a shower compare to back home. As people were scurrying along to get out of the rain, we all three made our way around the maze looking for the hidden symbols we had to find. The secret to the maze is, going around the outside from one end of the maze to the end, and only sweep inward when you are close to the target. With this strategy we did the maze within forty-five minutes instead of hours.

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My maze scavenger hunt card

Later we jumped back into the car and head a little bit down the road to Kukaniloko (Hawaiian Birth Stones). The site sits back off the road in a farmer’s field on North Wahiuwa Hwy 80 and Whitmore Ave where a small odd road goes off towards a field. If you are not looking for it you will miss the entrance. This place is one of a few sacrate place to the Hawaiians, and the story is when a women gave birth on the stones, her child will have high or royal status in the kingdom. The place is very peaceful place and calmness. There is a little bit of an energy coming off the stone and having sit on one, would make you think maybe my future kid will reach high status. After we viewed the site, I realized the red clay stuck to my sandals are like glue hard glue! Took a lot of elbow grease to scrub off the mud/clay off the sandals.

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Birth stones
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Nana and I sitting on birth stones

On our way to the Dole Plantation we passed through the famous Waiahae Mountain Range on the Kolekole Pass. The area around the pass looks like a scene out of the TV shows Lost, Jurassic Park, and other tropical island shows.

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Pass of no return (j/k)!

That night the full moon made spectacular appearance over the ocean. Looks like the postcard scenes you see with the full moon over Diamond Head.

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Full moon

Disclaimer: All links mentioned in this post are for further reference and are in no way affiliate links. I do not receive nor am paid for promotion of any products mentioned in this post.