Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The rainbow goddess

I think Iris was the goddess of the rainbow?  LG and I took a tour of a local Iris grower's display gardens and my head is just crammed with color!  Between beards and falls and cups and veining and edgings, Irises have enough color options to make the poor old goddess cross-eyed!  I post some eye-candy just for the fun of it.  (I do love digital cameras which allow you to take a gazillion photos and throw away the .99 gazillion that would have been a gross waste of film.)

The display gardens were planted with more than irises, and whoever laid them out had an eye for design.  These huge pink poppies want to be calendar girls!

And the vivid pink of this peony amidst the navy blue iris just took my breath away.  I am SO glad our yard is shady, because I wanted to buy them all and would have gone stark staring crazy trying to decide which to get. (some of the new ones are $65 a corm- or bulb - or whatever they grow from.) But irises like lots and lots of sun.  They bloom in the spring with the glory of a lovely high-school cheerleader who marries and gets pregnant right after graduation.  Then the bloom fades, and the rest of the year is all spiky leaves and dark roots, and fading into the background.  And they get fussy, needing extra support and lots of maintenance, so I'm just as glad I can't have any.

And I'm delighted that other people love and pamper them.  They are such a treat for the eyes!

Then there are the names!  A bi-colored one called,"Toucan Tango!"  A little brown and yellow one called "Bumblebee."  Evidently iris growers constantly seek to develop a black iris and this garden held sable petaled beauties named  after every piece of music you can think of with black in the title."Paint it Black","Black Magic," "After Midnight, . . ."

In fact, this grower names a lot of their irises with music titles.  It might be fun to do a musical tour of the garden sometime.  Can you sing this iris? "When the Deep Purple falls, over sleepy garden walls . . ."  This is an expedition that we should make an annual event.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

alternate lives

Sorry I've been absent.  I have a new Diane Gabaldon audio book and I have just  gotten lost in it!  It's historical romance with a time-travel twist so the heroine, a nurse during WWII, goes back to 18th century Scotlandand falls in love with a handsome, dashing, well-educated Scot.  Lots of good history, with the people fleshed out and memorable. (Bonnie Prince Charlie is charming and  endearing, but not smart enough to take good advice.)  Lots of hot sex.  Lots of trying to save lives without antibiotics.  It makes me SO grateful to live here and now.

Our weekend was low-key. The most exciting thing we did was to try a Volkswalk that was going on in our neighborhood.  We took a 5K route and found it surprisingly enjoyable, so we joined the organization and look forward to more of the same. It's just too easy to sit around the house and fall into the computer.  We need to get our old bones out and moving.

Unlike the rest of the US, our weekend was cool and damp.  I think the high for the whole weekend was 63 degrees.  We had a couple of rip-snorting thunderstorms sweep through at night, and one toad-strangler that washed over us on Saturday.  Sunday, we went to the farmer's market and got fresh radishes, carrots, goat cheese and hummus.  We considered buying and trying some Yak from the exotic meats ranch, but decided to wait a bit longer.  They also raise elk, emu, ostrich and bison.   Maybe an exotic barbecue this summer?  We could play, "Guess what you're eating."  Would you come?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Get all the details

On Monday, a friend went in for oral surgery.  Right before they put him under, they found out that his ride wouldn't be there until an hour after he was done. He had figured he would just hang out and sleep, seeing as how he would be sedated anyhow.

The crucial detail was that they didn't have anyplace to let him sleep, and no staff to keep an eye on him.  Nor would they just let him go when he was done.  He needed "Adult supervision."  Instead, he got me.

I filled a hot water bottle (I always feel so damn cold after surgery) wrapped it in a big towel, grabbed an icepack and my knitting, and got to the dentist's just as they were getting ready to release him.  The drugs made him sort of drunk.  I can see that with some people, this could be a big problem.  But my friend showed no inclination to fight, sing, drive a forklift or use power tools.  He just lay back in the reclining passenger seat of my car, hugged his hot water bottle, let me tuck the big towel up under his chin, and smiling, fell asleep.  When his wife arrived, two hours later, he was starting to wake up and feel the pain. By then the icepack had thawed completely, so it was useless.

So, if you, or someone you know is getting oral surgery,
1. Plan on going straight home.
2. Put the hot water in a thermos and fill the water bottle when it's needed.
3. Put the icepack in an ice chest to keep it cold till needed.
4. Do not let the patient drive a forklift.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to make hazelnut rum balls.

1. Go to Bob's Red Mill and buy a bag of fresh ground hazelnut meal.

2.Go to the liquor store and buy a quart of your favorite local rum.

3.Go to the grocery store and buy a box of Nabisco "Nilla wafers.

4. Put on your favorite cookie makin' apron.
5. Go to the linen cupboard handpick out a strong, sturdy pillowcase.

6. Pour the 'Nilla wafers into the pillowcase, grasp the neck of this bag between your two hands and whack the shit out of those fragile little bastards. Smack it agains the counter, the refrigerator, the chair backs, and anyone fool enough to stick their head in to see what's going on.  When you get weary, take a long neck beer bottle (empty it first) and pound the crap out of cookies until they are reduced to fine crumbs.  (Yes, you could make fine crumbs by carefully crushing each cookie under a rolling pin, but where's the fun in that?)

7. Take two cups of chocolate chips - What do you mean you didn't know you needed chocolate chips?  What kind of cook are you that you don't just keep a big bag of chocolate chips in your cupboard because you KNOW you'll need them?  Very well. I'll just sit here and sip some rum while you go borrow some chocolate chips from the neighbors.  And none of that chocolate-flavored crap either.

8. And get a quarter cup of corn syrup, while you're at it.

9. OK.  Dump the chocolate chips, one cup sugar, and the corn syrup into a glass bowl and nuke on high for 60 seconds.

10. Stir in one cup rum. Why did I tell you to get a quart if all you use is one cup?  Well, aren't you just the precious little innocent?  If you can't figure out what to do with the rest of a quart of rum, I could always take it off your hands for you.

11.  Hmpf.  Well just BE that way, then! blend in three cups of hazelnut meal and two cups of cookie crumbs.

12.  Allow to cool, then roll into little bite-sized balls.  Roll them in more hazelnut meal if you feel fancy.

13. Seal in an airtight tin and allow to ripen for at least a week.

14. Invite me over to sample and make sure you did it right.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Another scarf

 Some more of Teresa Ruch's hand-dyed bamboo got knitted into scarf.  Aren't those colors luscious?  Garter stitch on size 1 needles, but since it was done in mitered squares, it didn't seem like any work at all.  CO 30, place marker, co 30 more.  Knit all rows, decreasing one stitch every time you slip the marker. When you are down to one stitch, pick up 30 stitches along the side of the work just finished, place marker, and cast on 30 more, and knit another square.  I did four squares in a row, and finished with a half square, 30 stitches on a side.  You make it a half square by decreasing  the first  stitch of every row as well as the first stitch after you slip the marker.

Go back to the start of the squares, cast on 30 stitches, place marker, then pick up 30 along the side of the first square.  There are any number of ways to confuse yourself on this.  Just sit quietly for a minute and see what you have already done, then carry on.  YOu want to make another row of squares on top of the row you have already made, with the miters slanting in the same direction.

Or heck, look up the directions for mitered squares somewhere.  I'm sure someone else can explain it better.  If it really doesn't make sense to knit them together, just knit individual squares and sew them together.

I picked up two stitches in each stitch along the edge and knitted a two inch ruffle, butI don't know if it ought  to have a ruffle.  What do you think?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

photos from various sources

In Vancouver we found a delightful store called Dressew that carried costume supplies and an immense stock of fabrics.  DH looks only a bit nervous. I could have gone quite, quite mad with creativity, but would have had to carry all my booty on my back for about a mile.  I didn't buy a thing, but I made lots of notes.
Manhole covers in Vancouver have more than common artistry.  Transforming tadpoles.

Hawaiian gecko awaiting a passing insect.

One of the stewards on board has an artistic bent.  After carefully smoothing the carpet nap in one direction with the vacuum, he used his finger to draw and caption a message to the folks on his floor.  "How was your dinner?"
Cashmere and bamboo scarf knitted on the train and during lifeboat drill.
Baby surprise jacket  knitted on the cruise to and through Hawaii.

And yet another baby surprise jacket knitted on the train ride back, and in the ensuing week.  There's a bamboo scarf almost finished, too.
From the bird walk:  This is a big dead tree that has been worked over by woodpeckers.  But, this particular apartment has been sublet by a tree frog.  I wouldn't have seen him if he hadn't flicked a foot as I walked by.  I'm delighted to have been able to get such a good photo with my cell phone!
A small turtle basking very close to the bridge.  Ah, reptilian bliss.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

bird walk

LG took me birding today and I had a marvelous time!  I still need that book of Little Brown Birds for Dummies, but in the meantime, LG is getting me a great start.  We went to a wildlife refuge a few miles from here and strolled through the spring sunshine, feeling the fresh breezes and listening to the busy, busy life going on around us.  We saw warblers and flickers and a cinnamon teal and bitterns and bassoons and oboes and a log shingled with pond turtles basking in the sun.  We wandered into the middle of a shouting match between several bullfrogs.  It took us over an hour to walk almost two miles.  I love the pace of birding.  Take a few steps, stop, listen, look, look harder, then look through the binoculars.  Repeat as necessary. I am now in a sort of stunned, sensory overload state.  It's surprising how many blinders and baffles I use to get through the day.  There is SO much I don't see, hear, smell,feel.  When I take the screens down and let it all in, it feels rather like a boot to the head.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

cake fail and tea-party report

I was making Carrot cake from scratch, which is usually a guaranteed win, but I found I was out of vegetable oil.  We have lots of olive oil.  That works just the same, doesn't it?

NO!  Olive oli is not an acceptable substitute for vegetable oil in a cake.  It baked up beautifully.  It looked soo pretty!  It tasted like olive oil and then like more olive oil and finished with a heavy flavor of olive oil.  So, quick as a bunny, I dug out a butter cake recipe and added coconut and crushed pineapple and the last of the grated carrot, and stuck it in the oven.  That should work, shouldn't it?

 Nope.  Maybe if I had made cupcakes. But as twas, the cake separated as it came out of the pan.  The flavor is wonderful,but the presentation is seriously ratty. Everyone was very kind and polite and tried some  and ate everything they took, but no one felt obliged to say  it looked nice.

I fixed tea and Kona coffee and, since it's the warmest day of the year so far, I served cucumber water which went over very well.
 On the top plate are passionfruit macarons.  Second plate is gingersnaps, and on the bottom plate are DH's own recipe for Hawaiian  Chicken Waldorf salad - He used the meat from two roasted chicken thighs, 6 oz of chopped macadamia nuts, a small can of pineapple tidbits (we already had a can of chunks and a can of crushed.  I didn't see why he had to get the tidbits, but he was right.  Texturally, it was perfect) and 1/4 C Best Foods mayonnaise.  I put it on King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread rolls, and everyone just ate them up!

I put down a white table cloth, then spread a sarong over it.  Lots of tropical color.  Glass plates to let the color show through, and bright, solid-colored teacups to co-ordinate.  And a few Walmart leis scattered about because they were festive.
And for the fruit, I made honeydew melon balls with mint.  Sweet, refreshing, and no cal.  DH lost four pounds on the trip.  I found them, and they brought friends with them.  Back on Weight Watchers.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More vacation photos

 Bucky enjoyed riding around and looking at everything.  I think he has been over-stimulated though, since he hasn't had much to say lately.  Either that, or he is mad at me for eating lamb chops.
The ship has any number of these decorative urns and similar objects d'art sitting around, begging to be posed with.  This is one of the gorgeous formals DH bought me for Christmas.  I no longer have the flawless, creamy shoulders of youth, but everyone on board is at least as old as I am and no one can see well enough to critique the crepey skin and age spots.

Every girl needs a RED dress.
You've heard of "Hello Kitty" surely.  We have "Aloha Kitty" with a lei and an attitude.  "Hang loose, you fockah!"

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Wednesday morning

This is the season when a friend sings a minor and morose dirge- like song called, "The rhododendrons are in bloom." among other things, he laments   "Soon the air will fill with pollen.  Then your nose and eyes will be swollen."  These hardy Himilayan transplants have settled in quite happily along with their little cousins the azaleas, and if you have any tendency to allergies, these babies will sock it to you.  But no one can deny the vivid, vibrant beauty of their blooms. A well-groomed azalea hedge will establish a wall of fuchsia beside your front porch, and the Rhododendron test gardens in our neighborhood have gone mad with every color you can imagine. For Mother's Day, the gardens will be inundated by good adult children bringing mom out for a treat.  Right after the brunch buffet at the local all-you-can-eat gustatorium. And I know that's sure where I want to go on the one day a month I see my kids. If I had kids which I don't and it's just as well.  I would be a pain in the butt as a mom.  Seriously.  My kids would rather live on the street than move back in with me.  Heck, even the cats are always trying to get away.

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


So one of the fun things I did was to buy a brick of fabric squares at the Aloha Bowl Flea Market.  The people who make Hawaiian shirts have realized that they can sell their scraps with just a little trimming.  These are 400 6"squares for $16.  I finally opened the brick today and sorted them out.  Some of these are only one or two squares of a certain print, and others (evidently the better selling prints for shirts) have 20 or 30 squares.  These are going to make some wonderful Hot Tropics quilts.  And I'm thinking, maybe aprons?  Am I the only woman still alive in America who wears aprons?  These could make some wildly festive aprons.

Patchwork tea-cozies?  DH had a friend that loves loud tropical prints and wears a size xxxxx shirt.  Maybe a patchwork shirt?
On the left side here are some tropical fat quarters I got for a black, white and red patchwork.  I feel quite giddy with the possibilities.

In the meantime, I am still not quite back into real life yet.  The transition between vacation and retirement is sort of difficult to identify.  We're unpacked, Mt. Washmore has been scaled, the cats have forgiven us, and the five AM alarm is less of a shock every morning.  Knitting will happen here on Saturday.  I can't decide between pineapple upside down cake, or carrot cake with pineapple and coconut.  Ginger cookies, melon balls, chicken salad with pineapple and macadamias on King's Hawaiian sweet bread, something chocolate. Tea.  Maybe mango lemonade.  It's supposed to be warm here this weekend.  Come on down!

Sunday, May 06, 2012


 We had a marvelous dinner in the Canneletto restaurant onboard.  They charge $10 extra, but then they give you all the wine you want for free so it evens out. And with dessert, they bring you a plate of cotton candy!
 I love the cotton candy!  It makes me laugh.  I'm not going to run out and buy some, but it makes such a fun surprise!
Here is the beautiful silk coat DH bought me in Lahaina.  I  totally love it!
And here I am dressed for the last formal night I'm wearing my flower hatband as a coronet because DH makes me feel like the queen of love and beauty.

And now we are onboard the Amtrack, wending out way home.  The cruise to and from Hawaii was predominantly geriatric.  Saturday, most of them dis-embarked and an entirely different group came aboard for the one-night cruise to Seattle.There were at least three bachelorette parties with brides to be wearing wedding veils.  One had a flamingo-pink tiara with sequins and the message, "It's all about ME!"  Another had a sweetly draped  white coronet set with little flamingo-pink penises.  I wonder where I could get some of these?

 It was fascinating to see what some people thought was appropriate dress for dinner.  One young lady showed up in a black mini- dress that did not quite reach the seat of her chair when she sat.  This was worn with beat-up knee-high black engineer boots and unshaven bare legs.  One of the bachelorette parties pulled out their prom dresses for one more go around.  The giggle quotient in their vicinity was extreme.  Several young men had to be turned away when they tried to enter the dining room in flip-flops, shorts, and tank tops.  NOT "smart casual"

The moon was glorious last night: big and bright and so close.  I woke when it shone through the window, then I woke at 5 and watched it set.  But now, riding along on the rocking Amtrack, I'm nodding, nodding off.  ZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday, May 05, 2012

From Vancouver:  May fifth?  
Ship time has somehow dissolved away.  Oh sigh!  We get one more night on board because we are disembarking in Seattle, but those leisurely, idylic days at sea are over.  They are leisurely for us.  The staff and crew are working their butts off!! I, meanwhile, have been drifting along in a zen state, being in the present, and refusing to think about the Monday when we have to wake at 5, and return to reality.  No one will be  picking up my clothes, cleaning my bathroom, bringing me tea and toast in bed, preparing gourmet lunches and dinners.  I will have to make my own bed, wash my own dishes, and start in on that post-vacation Mount Washmore.
But not yet.  Today I have free and fast internet at Starbucks and I will drink any number of $4 cups of tea while catching up on blogs and facebook and and all those interesting e-mails that have accumulated.
One of the specialty restaurants on board has a chef from LeCirque in NewYork, and we decided to try the specialties.  The restaurant is on deck two, so there is less movement than higher decks, but it was a particularly rough night and we were shaken around quite a bit.  The thing that surprised me the most was the occasional huge boom when the ship and the waves came together.  The window sometimes was splashed with wind-blown spray, and we were a good three stories above water level.  The food?  I was so taken with the weather, and feeling sorry for the crew who have to sleep down where the waves were pounding that I didn’t give things my full attention.  Lessee.  We started with an amuse’ bouche (spelling?) of foi gras mousse on cranberry chutney. Just a mouthful of yummyness to start the evening.  And then?  All these excellent, exotic meals are starting to blend together in the memory. Was this when I had the tiny scallops ceviche for an appetizer? Or was the pear and blue-cheese salad?  As an intrigue, did I have the chilled yogurt and honydew soup, or was it the grilled vegetable tower?  Main course?  I had a fillet mignon that was perfectly blue-rare (seared on the outside, still cool inside -just the way I like it!!)but which night was that? No, I had the  grilled lamb chops! And I asked to take the bones back to the room with me because i didn’t want to gnaw them like a brute in front of everyone.  The waiter thought I was joking, and Kyle had to emphasize that I really did want to take the bones back to the room and gnaw the crispy bits off.  They packed the bones up in a nice piece of foil, and I had lamb-bones with my tea and toast the next morning.  Oh God it was good! It was crisp and salty and savory bliss, with delicious meaty chunks where a lady couldn’t possibly get to them with a knife and fork.  And it was true lamb, not just young mutton. Nom, nom nom!  I was greasy and grinning before we even got to breakfast.
We have met the nicest people on this cruise.  But, as someone had pointed out, very few people can get three weeks off from work, so just about every passenger is unemployed (retired)  And there are over 300 wheelchairs, walkers and electric carts on board.  The gym has mostly crew and entertainers, with a few determinedly fit seniors.  Sometimes, the place is completely empty.  On Carnival, you have to wait in line even when the wind is blowing a  hurricane and the waves bounce you right off the treadmill.  (Heh, like I ever used the gym equipment.  I just peek in there on my way to the steam room.)
Out by the swimming pool, the retractable ceiling has been sealed for the past four days.  Some people have pretty much taken up residence there, grabbing the same lounge chair every day.  One gal settles down in her swimsuit, then completely covers up with multiple towels, even over her face, and sleeps all day. There are times when I want to poke her, just to see if she’s still alive.  Other folks settle in with Kindle or Nook in hand, the steward keeps them supplied with refills of the drink of the day, and they could ask for nothing more.
I happened to be passing the pool area one day when the crew was doing a safety demonstration.  They showed us the proper way to put on our life jackets (can’t do that too many times.  Passengers are stupid!) and then how to jump into the water wearing it. (Cross your legs and hold your nose with both hands.) They introduced the medics.  One crew member dressed up in fire-fighting gear and demonstrated a fire extinguisher.  As a grand finale, they put a small, practice life raft in the pool (It was packed in something like a white fifty gallon drum) and pulled the cord.  It popped open, and hissing, it grew. Huge and implacable it expanded and blossomed. It filled the entire swimming pool and the crew had to twitch it up so it could swell over the edges.  Then a structure began to rise from the bowl of the raft.  The raft was black, the shelter was orange, and this miniature practice raft had room for eleven people to relax in relative comfort.  They showed us the beacon light and the mayday transponder and how everything works automatically so even if you get a raft without a trained crew member in it, you are still safer than you would be on the freeways of LA.  The full-sized rafts hold 150 people and are there just in case something completely unforseen happens to the lifeboats.  They are very belt-and-suspenders about passenger safety on Holland America!

Another token of this is the hand sanitizer dispensers beside every door into a place where you might eat something.  The rubbing of hands is the typical salute to our onboard dining. Everyone enters doing ritualistic washing motions. 
One thing that constantly amazes me is the perpetual good humor of the stewards and staff on board. Every one I have seen has greeted me with a genuine smile and cheery hello.  How do they do it?  There is not one sourpuss on board. Except for the passengers. You know, some people just will not be pleased.  Jesus doing backflips wouldn’t get a smile out of them. The ice is too cold, the water is too wet and why can’t anyone make toast the way they like it? Bitch, bitch, bitch, and still the staff greets every one of us with a sunny smile.  I want to give them hugs and cookies!

The last few days of the cruise have been smooth and sunny. We even got a look at that moon last night. Wow!  No city lights to distract, and the scattered clouds just glowed.  It was way cool.  

So, tomorrow we disembark and head for home.  Sigh.  It's been good.  It's been damn good.  I am glad to have lived long enough to have enjoyed it!

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Headed home

Honolulu was fantastic.  We got off the ship and started asking people with Starbucks cups where the closest cafe was.  Everyone was very friendly and kind if not precisely accurate.  But we kept asking and quickly zeroed in on it.  I settled in for hours to catch up with blogs and facebook.  Kyle went walkabout through from Chinatown to the Iolani Palace.  We both had a splendid time.  Then we made our way to Walmart and stocked up on Hawaiian souveniers Walmart has the best prices in the islands for macadamia nuts, coffee and Aloha shirts.    Our niece, Lisa picked us up there  and she and her husband, Drew, joined us for lunch at the Aloha Tower.
  Then we separated for naps and change of clothes, and they picked us up again for a sunset dinner.  We waited for them where the busses drop off and pick up their passengers.  We were beside the ocean, and looking over the wall, you could see dozens of tropical fish running wild.  Bright yellow ones were bobbing up and down with the waves, eating the green stuff growing on the wall.  Silver and black ones about a 8 inches long swirled across the bottom.  And a couple of Moorish Idols - like extra fancy yellow, silver and black angelfish, danced their own fishy waltz as we watched. 
 Along came a middle-aged Asian gentleman in white shirt and slacks, with a fish pole and some bait.  He would bait his hook, drop it into the bay, and the fish would swarm it. He would jerk it up, and the hook would be empty.  Over and over he did this until I was ready to ask him if it wouldn’t be easier just to throw the bait directly into the water and not bother with the pole.  But Lisa and Drew arrived just then, so off we went, leaving the fellow to his odd hobby.
We had a dinner at the Beach House Restaurant at the Ala Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach.  Oh my God it was legendary! We got there a bit early and had a drink in the bar. It turns out there was some big naval function there as well, with handsome young and not so young men and women in uniform, with dates.  The female officers were escorted by young men in various uniforms (the marine dress uniform is SOO  manly!) Many of the male officers had civilian dates.  One young lady was -- well, we guessed she was rented by the hour.  She was curvy and bleached blonde and packed into a strapless black mini dress that left nothing, honestly, NOTHING to the imagination.   She was wearing no underpanties and she waxed her cat.  She was painted like a tropical fish and her hair was artfully dyed, teased and sprayed into a sophisticated version of a tumbleweed.  When she jiggled by, every man in the room followed her progress like she was an electro-magnet and their eyes were steel ball bearings.  They young man with her was torn between strutting like a stud, and being decently embarrassed by her flagrant display.  His attitude was kind of, “She’s flagrant and cheap and don’t you wish she was with you, but I’ve got her tonight!”
 Our table was by the window.  The ocean was turquoise, the sand was like sugar. The sun slowly set, gilding the surfers and the wavetops.  Newlyweds strolled hand in hand along the most romantic beach in the world and kissed tenderly under the palm trees.  The food was marvelous.  The service was splendid. We had a magnificent time!
The next day, Kyle and I got up and took a cab to the flea market at the Aloha Bowl.  Visualize a football stadium floating in in a sea of parking lot.  Now, imagine that football stadium is surrounded by tents and vendors or home-made goods, factory seconds of t-shirts, Muumuus,and get-ups for the grand-kids, local foods(Dried squid rings anyone? How about a cold, fresh coconut?  The wrinkled brown gentleman will whack offthe top with his wicked machete, stick a straw in it, and hand it to you with a brilliant, kind smile, undimmed by the missing teeth.)  Kyle is addicted to the high-quality t-shirts he can find here - long-sleeved heavy duty shirts are four for $20 here, and you can get short-sleeved shirts seven for $20 if you haggle a bit.  We walked most of the way around the stadium with full backpacks.  It was about 80 degrees, and we were drinking water steadily.  Sweat was running down my face, but once you start, you have to finish because it’s a circle and there’s only one way out.  He found some awesome little paring knives.  I found a flowered hatband.  He found black Hawaiian sea salt.  I found a very pretty rayon wrap skirt.  Then I found a place that was selling packets of pre-cut Hawaiian fabrics. Kyle was a hero and carried my purchases from there.  Bucky sat half out of the side pocket of my knapsack and watched everything with great amazement but never said a word.  He seems overcome with sensory stimulation and just lies around smiling.
We got back to the ship, unloaded our packs, changed into dry clothes since we had sweated through everything we were wearing, then headed off to the Ala Moana Shopping Center to find a place to repair my broken watchband.  Good old Sears was the solution!  By then, I was feeling kind of weak and achey.  Kyle fed me a coke, which sort of helped.  Lisa picked us up there again, (She had to work half a day on saturday.  Her chiropractor boss offers Saturday care because he realizes that most people have to work during the week.)  
We picked up Drew, and they took us to lunch at Lulu’s , across the street from the zoo and across the other street from Waikiki.  Great hamburgers, and I drank pints of icewater.  Drew suggested that we stroll a bit. The main street was closed for a celebration - the “Spam Jam!”  It was a fund-raiser by local restaurants to help feed unemployed citizens.  Gourmet chefs devised  exotic spam-centric menus and sold the recipes.  Spam snacks were available for those daring or demented enough to try them.  Kyle bought a can of spam-flavored macadamia nuts.  I think it’s a crummy thing to do to a perfectly good nut.  Before we knew it, we were near the International Market Place, and I know that there area swarm of pearl-in-the-oyster stands there, so I begged their indulgence and bought an oyster.  The folks at the stands usually feel conflicted about me as a customer, because I raise a great loud hullabaloo about my pearl, and draw in lots more interested customers, but then I don’t let them sell me the jewelry to mount the pearl.  They make their money on the settings, not on the pearls.  Still, I usually draw in two or three interested customers to see what I’m whooping a squealing about, so they don’t mind too much. Kyle indulged me with three more oysters, one selected by Lisa, one by Drew, and one by Kyle himself.  Drew selected an oyster with a big white pearl, Kyle chose one with a beautiful irridescent luster, and Lisa found me a medium-sized silver pearl. Then Lisa and Drew stepped into an ABC store to get some water, so I succumbed to the lure of yet another stall (there are at least five of these stalls within30 feet of the entrance) and picked a fat, dark-shelled oyster that held two smallish black pearls with a lucious purple luster.  I am such a sucker for pearls!!
We went back to the car, and Drew drove us up to a lookout point high above the city. It was breathtaking!  We could see from Diamondhead to Pearl Harbor.  The University of Hawaii was spread out at our feet and the school mascot, the rainbow, played peek-a-boo as showers swept down from the cloud-covered heights.  WE went up one way, along a series of switchbacks that left me a bit giddy, and came down another road that had enough hairpin turns stacked one above the next that a long snack would have broken his back trying to navigate it.  Meeting another car on that road would have been a religious experience because if two cars tried to take those turns at the same time, someone was bound to meet God.
We wanted to enjoy one final dinner together, but I started to fade and had to ask to be taken back to the ship.  Again with the achey muscles, the weakness, the light-headed feeling.  And chills. By the time I got to the room, My teeth were chattering and I was shuddering with shivers.  The air temp was about 72 F.  I crawled into a hot bath while Kyle went to find something to eat.  When he got back, I crawled into bed and all the lights went out.  I may have moved during the night, but I’m not sure.
The next morning in Kauai, I slept in while Kyle got himself up and out had breakfast,  and walked around the dockside shops.  He finally rolled me out, got me dressed and brushed, and took me to a local Mexican restaurant for lunch.  Dayamn it was tasty!  Then we put on our swim suits and water shoes,grabbed our tickets and towels, and headed out for our only excursion of the whole trip. We were tubing da ditch!
Kauai used to be a huge producer of sugar cane, and the cane plantation owners went to some lengths to irrigate more and more acres.  Some engineeringly minded fellow back in the 1800s brought in crews of  Asian immigrants to dig tunnels through the volcanic basalt to carry water from one side of the mountain to another.  The local kids realized that it was a cool and exciting thing to ride inner tubes down the ditches and through the tunnels, and tubing da ditch was started.  As tourists, we were fitted out with helmets with headlamps, heavy duty gloves, and truck-tire sized inner tubes.  We were bussed up the wettest mountain on earth (400 inches of rain in an average year.  As much as 700 inches in a wet year) through the fields and forests to the private property where we would be tubing.  Through locked gates along rutted dirt roads until we came to our destination.  The water was cool, but no shock to those of us who are used to rivers filled with glacier melt.  The guides were kind, organized and wonderfully cheerful considering that they had made the same trip thousands of times before.  The water was about three feet deep, so no fear of drowning, and drifting along in the mild air under the lush trees overhead and the conversation of a dozen birds playing above the rippling stream was idyllic!  Then we got to the first tunnel.  Lights on!  We were swept, one at a time, into the narrow tunnel mouth.  You could see the pick marks where the laborers had carved away the rock. Every sound echoed and resonated.  The cruise director was with our group and she began singing.  She has a magnificent voice.  It was - transcendent.  There was Iron pyrite in the rock so if you looked overhead, the ceiling was all shiny with gold and silvery flakes scattered like glitter.  The water was so clear you could see the rocks on the bottom.  And you were cradled in your inner tube like Moses in his basket.  Then, you emerged from the dark into the light like an infant new-born.  
And we went through three more tunnels after that, with lazy driftings in between.  I would do it again in a minute!  If I had felt more energetic, it could have been a frolicsome time, with splashing and horseplay and raucous laughter, but I still felt a bit off my game and was just taking it easy.  And easy it was!
When we finally had to get out, our guides assisted us out of the water and over to the vans holding our towels.  Then they drove us to a beautiful little picnic area with bathrooms and changing rooms, treated us to chips, cookies and bottles of water, then  tried to get us back in the vans to return to the ship.  
“It doesn’t matter if we’re late,” I assured the guides.  “We have the cruise director. They won’t leave without her.”  We got back in plenty of time.  The guard at the gangway counted us and called to his buddy, “Only twenty four more still out.”
We have been getting tea and toast in the room at 6AM.  As I was filling out the order card, and still feeling not quite the thing, I suddenly thought, “Potassium!”  I had sweated so hard the previous day, and taken in only pure water, and I realized that the salty chips had tasted SO GOOD at the picnic stop.  So I ordered a banana and two glasses of orange juice to go with my tea and toast.  It did the trick.  The aches and the drifty head went away.  I was ready for anything!  It was the first of five days at sea, and things are a lot rougher out in the North Pacific than they are between the islands.  Kyle took his Meclazine and slept till noon,got up for lunch, then went back to sleep until 4 when we got dressed for a formal night dinner.  I was wearing the beautiful silk coat he had gotten me in Lahaina, and wanted to get a picture of it, but the photographer didn’t understand, so we wound up not buying those photos.  Kyle doesn’t know yet, but we may do a fashion parade for photos before we pack everything up.  There’s a great spot for photos just a few steps away beside the elevators. Roxie with Grecian Urn in all her pretty new formals.
The next night we had reservations at the Pinnacle Grill, so I dressed up again, with my flower hatband worn like a crown.  I felt like the queen of love and beauty!
Tonight is another formal dinner.  I am having such fun playing dress-up!  I am getting lots of chances to wear my pearls and it makes me no end of happy.
These days at sea are a sort of life out of time.  No work.  No schedules.  No reference points.  We are in the center of a wide blue circle, rocking gently (or not so gently sometimes) and nothing changes for days on end.  I love it, but I can see how it would make some people crazy.  The cruise director has lots of fun things organized all day long,so if you just can’t deal with unstructured time, you can go from the cooking demonstration to the art auction to the book group discussing the book Molokai, to a rousing Bingo session, with frequent breaks for food.  The Hawaiian guide gives lectures on the history and culture of the islands.  There are bridge classes and tournaments.  The casino is open, as are the shops, (just in case you didn’t buy enough stuff while you were ashore.) The spa offers a selection of pampering treatments, the salon can get you buffed and puffed and lacquered in eleven different fashion colors, or you can sit beside the pool with a drink and observe humanity in all its rich and varied glory.  The only fly in this balm is that the satellite reception out here is pretty much non-existent, so internet connections do not connect.  That’s why I have to save all this up until I can find a window to upload.  Pictures are out of the question, but text can squirt through the brief connections as they become available.  So here I am, somewhere in the Pacific, fat and happy and still blissed out.