Archive for September 2012
Top of the 5th: “Big chopper to Cruz, and Luis … HIGH throw, over the glove of Gonzales, backed up by Ellis. And safely aboard is Rutledge. … So what a comeuppance. I mean, you just hit a home run with a man aboard. You’re feeling great, you go back out, BOOM, you throw it away. But isn’t that baseball.”
Announcing in the middle of the 5th that the Dodgers have drawn over 3,000,000 in attendance for the 26th season: “So with all of that, a bow from the waist, a roll of drums and a blare of bugles to the fans. And let’s go back to this one.”
Top of the 9th: “Rockies have left 11 men on. In fact, pretty hard to find an inning where they were retired in order, and it was only in the 6th. And yet, with all the flailing away, one run. ‘Course, these are not the mighty Rockies, these are small hills.”
Wrapping up after Dodger victory # 84, staying alive in the wild card race: “Well, we will go one game at a time, as the Dodgers win handily over a Rockies team that has now lost 97 times. That’ll do it, until tomorrow. We’ll talk to you then. We wish you all a very pleasant ‘Good Afternoon.’”
Good Afternoon, Vin, until tomorrow!
My fault, really. I had planted a “California Pepper” tree on the north slope, right by the boundary wall with our neighbor’s yard. This Peruvian native grows well in Southern California, but it has surface roots that broke the block wall.
So we had to take out the tree and replace the wall. The slope had a cotoneaster as well, which had overgrown the space. It was all a green mess. We needed to start over.
Back to bare dirt in the front, and then I hacked and hacked on the cotoneaster and another unidentified bush that we left in front of it. The slope is about 6′ wide and 35′ long. We’re doing the landscape from the front sidewalk to back beyond the front gates.
We took the slope all the way to bare dirt. Well, dirt, a “rock” covering the cable service for the neighborhood, and a light pole. There’s a cable service panel that is currently covered with dirt; it needs to be uncovered as well.
I thought the most important thing was to make sure we were putting the right plants in the right places … so we didn’t have to do this whole process again in 5 years. Like we were now doing after failing with the last planting. And the one before that.
My favorite nursery, come to find out, had taken to not labeling the plants that it sold, so I found myself adrift in a sea of green, without a clue about what was what. This really bothered me … what kind of retailer doesn’t tell you about their products?
We shopped four nurseries (see what happens when you frustrate a customer?), taking note to read what the tags said on each plant. Basic stuff, right? Home Depot’s nursery shows QR codes on their plant tags. We took pictures of plants and tags.
That all came home, and then the online searches began. Each plant was researched to make sure we knew where to plant it. We’re climate zone 10, come to find out, and so we had to buy the right plants for this area. That should be obvious, right? Not so much; nurseries always push the envelopes for the “pretty plants” that people want to try. I wanted to make sure we were planting sure bets.
The online research all went into a Word document that Velda and I reviewed as we purchased plants. We wanted a widely varied, wild-looking planting with plenty of flowers for butterflies and hummingbirds. Here’s what we bought:
- Cordyline Electric Pink
A Hula Girl Hibiscus went into a prominent position. Had to show our love of Hawaii somewhere, yes?
- Sweet Broom
- Callistemon Little John AKA Baby Bottle Brush
- Pink Breath of Heaven
- Artemisia AKA Sagebrush, Mugwort or Tarragon
- Chinese Fringe Tree
- Petite Butterflies, AKA Sweet Pea Shrub
- Stipa Grass
- Society Garlic
- Lavender Swirl® Trailing Lantana
- Wiri Blush Hebe
We did a planting plan, showing the position of each plant. Holes were dug, with each pot resting in that plant’s hole. All good? Ready to go.
While planting, we added Velda’s compost with the bagged dirt we were adding so that each plant had really great soil to grow in. We then added mulch on top of the soil … bags and bags of it. Crank up the sprinkler system (this is California, remember), and we were ready for spring and summer.
Same view, 5 months later.
These are the best places we have found to eat on Kauai. Three of the four are extremely affordable — you can easily eat for less than $15 each.
In Hawaii, that’s no small thing. Enjoy!
Love the color of the ocean seen from Kilauea Lighthouse!
Buy some fish to grill for dinner while you enjoy lunch.
Kilauea Fish Market
Best ahi wrap we’ve found. The reviews are great, too. Very difficult to find this little place; its entrance is in the back of the building, facing away from the road. Keep looking; this will be worth your time.
Have lunch there on the way to or from the Kilauea Lighthouse. The Lighthouse is described as picture postcard perfect (and that’s about all it is, in my opinion). Take that picture, and then have fun looking at the coastline laid out below you. The inlet that it overlooks is gorgeous, and the many albatross nesting on the cliffs and riding the wind currents are more than worth the trip.
This hole in the wall delight is in Kapaa. Don’t let the outer trappings dissuade you, however. This has clearly outgrown this old kitchen; check out the menu on the website! You’ll find that this little restaurant serves some of the best fresh food around.
The Ahi Nori wrap is a delight and recommended. Seating is limited; there are counters running down the alley towards the ocean with stools when they’re available. Call it rustic. Call it charming. And enjoy the food!
TCs is the best part of the Coconut MarketPlace.
Wander around the shops of Kapaa while you’re there.
Coconut MarketPlace, TC’s Island Grill
We wandered into the MarketPlace on our first visit to Kauai, and we’ve returned on every visit. The location is between Lihue and Princeville, so you’ll find it’s convenient no matter where you are and where you are going when you’re on the east shore.
The shopping center has a very typical range of shops for Hawaii, from t-shirts to luggage, from jewelry to souvenirs. After you’ve done a quick lap to see the sights, then settle in for a very informal lunch or dinner at TCs. Whether you have fish and chips or a catch of the day grilled platter, you’ll enjoy this shack that would be a diner if it was located on the mainland. Here, it’s an Island Grill!
Luau Kalamaku at the Kilohana Plantation
This is the best luau we have found. It’s currently showing on Tuesdays and Fridays, so plan accordingly.
Arrive early to tour the grounds and see the wares offered by the craftsmen. Velda needed this nose flute, though her playing hasn’t advanced much since she stopped drinking the rum punch.
The cost is currently $65 for the all-you-can-eat buffet and show. In my opinion, you don’t go to a luau for the food, you go for the show. For the ohana. You’ll eat, of course, and the food here is fine for a buffet. Try the poi (it’s required) and expect a macaroni salad. But this show was worth the price of admission.
I’ve read reviews that prefer other luaus, which is always understandable. Opinions will vary.
This luau has:
Comfortable seating in and around the performance area. The principal stage is in the middle; the main performance is in the round. A few ancillary stages bring the action even closer to the audience.
The show tells a story (loosely!) and takes the audience on a journey. It’s more than just a variety show, as some luaus tend to be. This gets big points in my book.
Nice performances from dancing to fire juggling. Very visual, very colorful, very theatrical. For me, that’s a win, win, win.
We had our 30th Anniversary dinner at Gaylord’s at Kilohana, which is also located on the Kilohana Plantation. Nice event meal. Pricey, and nice. Our problem, unfortunately, was that we ate at the restaurant on our anniversary, and that was a Tuesday evening … when the luau was happening 100 yards away. We enjoyed the meal but the drums were a bit annoying. Wish we would have known to avoid the restaurant on luau nights!
We’ve explored many other restaurants OF COURSE but none have risen to the level that I would recommend them. One of the nicest restaurants on the island is Roy’s on south shore, and we’ve yet to try it, honestly. We haven’t tried the one in LA, either. Or the one in Honolulu. Or the one in Las Vegas. Maybe someday.
Luaus are about family. Ohana.
Opaeka’a Falls is a short drive from Lihue … we saw a flock of Nene grazing nearby.
Wailua Falls is also near Lihue. Make a day of it; see them both!
We had this vision of Kauai as a rustic tropical paradise — the least developed of the major islands. It sounded like the perfect place to celebrate our 30th Anniversary.
In previous posts, you learned about our 30th Anniversary plan, which started in Honolulu and then continued onto Kauai. We spent 5 days there … again, not nearly enough time, but it was enough for us to find what we were looking for.
We’d never been there, of course, so we were relying on the recommendations of friends and guide books. We made a few mistakes: we didn’t go to any of the paid gardens (who knew that they were really, really pretty?). We didn’t go to the best luau on the island. And we didn’t find 3 of our 4 favorite restaurants (more on that later).
What did we do? We celebrated our 30 years of marriage in grand style, and found our new favorite getaway. We have since returned 3 times in 4 years. Get the picture … for people that didn’t go on vacations, we discovered a reason to do so!
So what’s on Kauai?
Waimea Canyon is gorgeous. Maybe someday I’ll shoot a picture as nice as this one! There are plenty of hiking trails and lookouts around the Canyon; explore to your heart’s content.
Waimea Canyon: The Grand Canyon of the Pacific. That’s what Mark Twain called it … and it is without question one of the best sights in the islands. On the other hand, I’ve never been able to take spectacular photos of it … so the photos shown here are from a Hawaii tourist website. The view is spectacular, but we didn’t hit the weather right to get spectacular photographs.
This sea urchin hotel is one of my favorite pictures from the south shore, on Maha’ulepu Beach.
Beaches, of course! There are all manner of beaches, but we most enjoyed visiting Poi’pu Beach on the south shore. We found a secluded spot, with no other humans visible … anywhere. We found beaches for sunsets, beaches for surfing (well, for watching surfing), and beaches for relaxing.
Good news: they will ship your purchases home, so you can freeze and then savor Kauai Coffee for many months following your visit.
Exotic foods are grown … in exotic places, naturally. We enjoyed all manner of tropical delicacies, and especially enjoyed touring the Kauai Coffee plantation. It’s a great couple of hours for a coffee connoisseur like Velda. And I tolerated it, too.
If you haven’t tried Shave Ice, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Try it with some sweet cream and tropical flavors, just sayin’.
Unique foods were also tried. After days of searching, we finally did find some malasadas to taste. And we ate shave ice for the first time in a place called Hanalei.
Love this bush growing in red dirt near a creek on the way to Waimea Canyon. I take a picture of it every visit!
You need an icy beverage and a flower in your hair while on Kauai. Check!
A rare photograph shot by Velda, at Maha’ulepu Beach. We lost our car in the 20′ tall bushes separating the beach from the sugar cane field. We still made our flight, though!
I still haven’t taken the perfect sunset photo, but I am not going to stop until I do.
To paraphrase my good friend Dennis, “Married 30 years, and those have been 25 of the best years of my life.” You can see me winking, right? Right???
According to CBS News, in the year 2010, 39.9% of persons between the ages of 25 and 34 have a college degree, and that number is slowly rising. Each year, a new graduating class is thrown into the ring to find work in a terrible job market. So what is this trend doing for society today?
A “4-year degree” at a Cal State University can cost $100,000 or more, and actually take 5 years or more to complete. The California unemployment rate was 11.2% in August 2012.
With more and more people attaining secondary degrees, the value of having higher education is declining. The market has become saturated with over-educated 20-somethings with inflated egos and useless degrees. I understand that this is quite a generalization, but is it wrong? Growing up, my parents had a set of rules regarding our education. Maintain a B average or get grounded. Go to college after high school and live at home, rent-free. But NOT going to college was not an option. In my case, I wanted to go to college the moment I started school. I had lofty goals of becoming the most educated person in my family, so my parents’ system was fine in my book! But would it work for every family?
My answer? NO.
Charter College, with 10 campuses and online options, offers short-term certificate and degree programs leading to careers as an LVN, legal assistant, accounting specialist or many others. Programs are often designed for students with fulltime jobs.
Not every person is designed to go to a 4-year university. For some reason, we’ve all been led to believe that we MUST have a university degree in order to be valuable to society, which is WRONG. I am a teacher. I understand and stress the importance of education, believe me, but too many people are focused on the wrong type of education. When we send our kids (or in my case, my students) off to school, we are neglecting a HUGE factor in their education…what they’re actually good at! Instead of brainwashing 18-year-olds about universities, we should step back and admire their skill set and their options.
California is one of few states in the US that has a very large network of community colleges. These schools are two-year institutions that serve as stepping stones to four-year universities. But they’re also so much more than that. At the local community college, you can get an Associate’s Degree, or complete a transfer studies program, or complete a certificate program in nearly every job field. These schools are PERFECT for students who don’t know what they want to do with their careers, or know they have a very specific skill set. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on a university degree, a student can complete a certificate program and start working sooner. The amount of classes is much smaller, and the cost is incredibly affordable.
I happen to know, first hand, how helpful community college can be. I knew my parents couldn’t afford to pay for my college degree, so I had to do it myself. I went to our local community college, College of the Canyons (Go Cougars!) and completed their transfer studies program. The two years I spent at CoC cost me less than $2,500. I now have a bachelor’s and a teaching credential and my student loans weren’t more than the price of a new car. If you are a parent, encourage your kids to attend community college! I happened to have wanted to go to a university, but not every person is like me. A very close friend of mine went to a two-year trade school. He got a certificate and now runs his family’s business, quite successfully!
I understand that we all want the best for our children (or students), but try and put your personal opinions aside for just a moment, and listen to your kids. Not every person is meant to be an academic. Not every person loves going to school. We don’t need a million graduates with basket-weaving degrees. Today, every job is a great job to have. I know for a fact that I can’t fix my own plumbing. I’m thankful for every plumber on the internet. I’m thankful that someone knows how my car works and can fix it when it’s broken. I’m thankful for people who aren’t afraid of blood, and can draw mine successfully. Our society needs people who can do the jobs we can’t do. We need to change our frame of mind and stop looking down on people because they’re ‘less educated’ or have ‘thankless jobs.’ We NEED these people. Our children or our students will work these jobs one day, and we should celebrate them. Most of the people that hold these jobs were trained and certified at a trade school or community college. Just because it’s not a university degree, doesn’t mean it’s not a BRILLIANT education. So please don’t write off a community college. We should celebrate every form of education, and as a teacher, I do.
After 2 years in community college, I spent another 2-1/2 years getting my Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from California State University Northridge. I then spent another year getting my California teaching certificate. My two years at community college cost less than tuition alone for one semester at CSUN.