Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Beach Relaxation

This morning we went in to work early and got busy. I worked on some screens for the Student Ratings management site we will be building. Then I did some reading for American Heritage. Tonya and I went and met with one of the guys that we used to work with us at the CTL who moved here with his family. We wanted to talk to him about a program that he is using for his online classes and then we were talking with him about his plans for where he sees the program here going. It was interesting to talk to him and to see the work they are doing here. He invited us to go to the devotional today where the student body presidency spoke today. It was really good. I was impressed by their talks.

We went back to work and I read more for American Heritage and then I wrote some discussion questions for the lecture tomorrow. I hope he will use them. It always takes me so long to write decent questions. Then when I do, and he doesn't use them, I feel bad. Oh well. It does me good to read the articles and to think about them and the most important messages from them. I am learning a lot about politics and government, so that is good for me.

After I finished, we talked to one of the guys in Provo that we work with to discuss our projects and how to continue working on them. Then Tonya and I went out to the beach here in La'ie. It isn't a very big beach, but it was nice and quiet. There weren't very many people there. We found a tree swing that had about a five-foot seat, so we sat there and watched the waves come in and just talked and laughed. Then we started walking to the next town to get some exercise. We almost got there and Tom came and picked us up so we could go eat at our favorite restaurant - Surfin' Tacos. Mmmmmm Good!

Monday, November 29, 2010


This morning we got up early and went out running around the campus circle. It was a nice morning to run. There is only a small difference in temperature between early morning and daytime. It is really amazing to me. Then we got ready for work and were there by 6:00. We got busy and started working. Part way through the morning, Paul from the Testing Center came in and asked when we wanted to go to the Polynesian Cultural Center. We told him whenever he thought would be better. He said that the rest of the week was going to be rainy, so they got our tickets for today. So we worked until noon and then came home and changed into our comfy clothes and walked over to the PCC, which is right next door. Throughout the day we can hear the drums and activities, we are that close.

What an awesome place! They have six different villages set up, one from each of the main island groups. In each of them they have shows and then activities for people to try. They do dances and then they will teach you to dance too. They also teach ukelele lessons and how to make bracelets and leis. We went to see most of the shows in the different villages. In some off time we looked at the shops and watched the canoe parade with dancers from the different countries. What an amazing feat to teach everyone the dances and to make sure everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there. They also got us tickets to the luau and night show, so we went to the luau next. We ate rice and Kalua pork, fish, taro rolls, salad, pineapple, and coconut cake. I thought it was delicious! Then Tonya and I came back to get our sweatshirts for the night show. We went back over and watched Ha: The Breath of Life. Amazing! I think that a word that comes to mind, but it is hard to really explain it. It is the story of life and death, and overcoming challenges. It is all done through dance and music from each of the different islands. The last act was the fire knife dancers. Wow! They were awesome! So talented! So fun to watch! I am so grateful we got to go. I enjoyed it so much. With our tickets, we can go back again. We didn't get to do everything, so I hope one if the days I can go back again to see some more of the stuff in there. It is just such a fun place.

When we got out, I was grateful that I didn't have to drive anywhere. Traffic was busy! It was nice to just walk back to our cozy little apartment. What a fun day!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday in Hawaii

Today was a relaxing Sunday. We got up early and went to church at 8:00. There is a ward that meets in the Stake Center here on campus, so we went there and had a really good Sacrament meeting. There has been a really strong focus on the temple in part because of the dedication, so it was nice to be able to reflect on the temple more too. I'm excited to do a session here.

After church we came back and changed into walking around clothes and drove down by Pearl Harbor and back up the west side of O'ahu. We stopped at one of the nastiest bathrooms I think I have ever seen in all of my life. Just thinking about it gives me shivers...Yucky! But when you have to go, you have to go.

Then we walked out to Ka'ena point which is a point where the north and the west sides of the island come together. It used to be a railroad track out there, but then they quit using the train, so now it is just a trail out to the point. It was a nice walk and it was breezy, so I didn't come back completely drenched with sweat like I usually do from walking anywhere we go. As we got up the path, we went by the albatross nesting grounds. We saw a lot of albatross out nesting on these holes in the ground. In some of the ones that didn't have birds sitting on them, we saw young albatrosses. They were really pretty birds. Out on the point there are supposed to be some seals too, but we didn't see any today. Then we walked back. It was a nice relaxing walk along the shore - above the coast, but where we could see the waves coming into the shore all the way. I really am amazed by the ocean and the power of it. It was really neat.

On the way back, we went through Mililani and North Shore and we saw a few big waves coming in. This evening they weren't a strong as they sometimes are.

I was going to write about one other experience that happened, but I keep forgetting to write about it most of the time, but I am really grateful for the experience. When we were walking into La'ie Falls, I was sweating so much that the sweat was running into my eyes and my eyes started burning. Finally I decided to pop out one of my contacts so I could rinse it off. I popped it out and rinsed it out with water and then I dropped it. I looked and looked, but couldn't find it. Tom looked too, but couldn't find it either.

Tonya had gone ahead of us a little bit. Finally, I told Tom to go ahead and I would look just a little bit more and then catch up. After he left, I said a little prayer and kept looking. The turnoff for the falls was just up ahead a little bit so Tonya and Tom came back. Right as they did, I found it. I licked it off and put it back in my eye and was able to continue on. I was so grateful for that simple answer to my prayers that day. I really didn't know if I would be able to find it or not, but there it was. The angels really do watch out for us and help us along.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Relaxing Day

Today was a good day too. When we got up this morning the wind was blowing and it was raining. Tonya had made a reservation for her and her friend to do a shark dive where they lower people down in a cage to look at the sharks. They take you out in a little boat about 3 miles into the ocean where the sharks feed and they lower people down in the cage and let them see the sharks swimming around. I didn't really want to do it because it just didn't seem like that much fun to me. I can go to the aquarium and look at the sharks and feel a little bit better about everything. It was something she had wanted to do for a long time. I would have gone out in the boat with them, but it cost the same amount to just go out on the boat. I decided I'd like to use my money some other way. When they got out in the boat, the waves were crashing against the boat and it was really rough. Poor Tonya got seasick out there. I was glad I didn't go out with them.

So while they went out there, I took a little nap in the car and then I walked out to the Haleiwa Beach and walked along the coast. I was watching the waves come crashing in. Then I noticed there were some sea turtles right there. I could see their heads pop up mostly and then I saw their flippers come up too and their shells. There must have been five or so out there. It was interesting to see them floating up and down with the waves.

Then we went back into Haleiwa and got a strawberry shaved ice with condensed milk on it. It was a tasty treat. It probably would have tasted better if it had been later in the day when it was hotter outside. We went to the beach and I read there for a little bit, but there was a breeze blowing and the sun kept going behind a cloud. Finally we left and came back to our place we are staying.

Tonya had taken some Dramamine, so she was a little queasy still and really sleepy. I was tired too, so we took naps. Then I read some and looked up places to visit on Oahu. Then we decided to go for a walk, but it was fairly late in the afternoon by then and the hike was a little boring, so we came back and ate at Surfin Tacos (again). We like it there. And for every 10 meals you order there, you get one free. It was another beautiful day in Hawaii. When I look at the weather at home, I'm glad to be here. It feels pretty nice!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Today was a really good day too. We were off work again today so this morning we went driving towards the Honolulu side of the island. On the way, we stopped at Pali Lookout. When we went on the walk to the Pali waterfall, there is a place at the top where the wind is supposed to be really, really strong, but when we were there, it was just a tiny little breeze. We decided to stop by on our way. It was so crazy! The wind was really, really strong. It really was so funny.

Then we went on and drove to Manoa Falls. Right outside of the park, there is Lyon Arboretum, which for me is a little easier of a walk because it is not quite as slick or steep and there are fewer people. We went in again (Tonya and I went last week) and I really enjoyed it so much. The flowers and plants are just amazing!

After we came out, we went over to the beach. I really wanted to go see the Waikiki aquarium, so I went over to it while Tonya and Tom swam. I really enjoyed the aquarium a lot. The displays were interesting and I learned a lot about coral and the sea life around Hawai'i and the other islands in the Pacific.

Then we wandered around Waikiki where they have everything for tourists. The shops are pretty expensive, but it was fun to be out there. We ate at P. F. Changs and it was really good food. Then all down the Waikiki strip there was a Christmas parade. We watched it as we walked back to our car. Unfortunately, we were going about the same pace as a marching band and the Shriners, so that is pretty much all we heard and saw in the parade.

It was a fun day! A little bit relaxing! It felt good. Really, my Friday wasn't very black. Mostly colorful and warm!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was a day to be thankful! I have had a chance to think about all of the blessings I have. There are so many things to be thankful for! Today was definitely not a typical Thanksgiving. First of all, it was really warm and no forecast for snow! We got up early (actually I slept in a little bit). Then we decided what we were going to do today. We went for a hike up a trail for a ways. It was a little steeper than the kind of hike that I enjoy. It was along a ridge. I didn't go terribly far, but it was fine. Then we went back to the car. We started driving along the coast around to the Makapu'u Lighthouse. Before we got there though, there were a couple of scenic lookouts. The wind was blowing really hard out over the water. Really, the ocean amazes me! Where we were, the waves were blowing every which way. There is some real power in those waves! They kept coming in and crashing along the reef and it was just so interesting to watch!

Then we went around the coast some more and stopped and climbed up a trail to a lighthouse. We wanted to walk down to the lighthouse, but we weren't able to go down there. So we just looked at it from the top. I'm not sure why I have such an interest in lighthouses, but I just think they are fascinating!

Then we went over to Hanauma Bay. This is a bay that was formed by volcanoes long ago and then filled in with water. There is a lot of coral and a lot of fish in it. Now it is a place where a lot of people go snorkeling and swimming because there is a little beach by it. It is also a preserve and an education area by University of Hawaii. There were still quite a few waves out there, but most of them broke out on the ledge and we stayed on the side were it was pretty shallow. I haven't been swimming for a really long time. I think the last time I went swimming was before my mission, so I have a little fear of water. Anyway, I just decided I had to try. I have had a bunch of people tell me that it is so beautiful and interesting and that I would probably like it, but I was still scared. I had bought a snorkel mask and breathing tube the other day, so I decided I'd better get myself to use them. I went out there and it was still really windy like the rest of the day. But I put my face down and it's a whole new world under the water. I felt like the Little Mermaid under the sea. As long as I had a good seal on my mask, I could stay floating quite awhile. It was interesting because when you are out there, you lose track of where you are and the direction you are going. And the fish are amazing. It freaked me out a little bit when they would come over by me. They are big fish! It was just so interesting to me! I never thought I would like snorkeling or feel comfortable in the water like that, but it was really neat. I think I'd like to try again.

After we finished everything, we were looking for a place to get some food. We stopped at Zippy's and got takeout. I got some mahi mahi fish and rice and macaroni salad. It tasted pretty good. I was pretty hungry tonight! It wasn't a typical Thanksgiving dinner, but it was good. I hope all of you had a good Thanksgiving day too, with many blessings! Thank you to all of you for all that you are! I love you!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Turtle Bay

Today was another good day. We were busy trying to make sure that everything was ready to start Student Ratings for campus today. We sent out the email to faculty to tell them to remind their students and then we sent out the email to the students to tell them to take the student ratings. Then we made sure that the system was working. This afternoon after we made sure it was, we left campus and went to Turtle Bay. There is an inlet where the reef breaks up the big waves so people can swim in it. The water was a little bit cold. It was a really pretty day today.

All day we got messages in email and by phone that BYU campus was closing at 3:00 today and that everything would be closed tomorrow because of severe winter weather. It might be kind of fun to stay home snuggled up by the fire with everything closed! But I guess I kind of like the weather we're having here. It is pretty nice, I have to say.

After swimming and sitting on the beach, I got buried in the sand... I must say I had sand all down my swimsuit. Sand is good for exfoliating! Now my skin feels smooth as a baby's bottom. Haha!

Tomorrow all of the power at the CTL in Provo will be down, so I am not sure how much work we will be able to do. I know that Tom has some meetings, so we will still go in early and work until 12 or 1 probably working on some of the projects that don't require us to connect to the CTL. Anyway, it should be an interesting long weekend. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you are not all stranded in the snow. I will be taking some lovely pictures of the beach and the sunset. Actually, I kinda would like to be inside watching the snow come down. As long as I wouldn't have to get out in it!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Temple Dedication, Pali, and La'ie Falls

Yesterday was the dedication of the La'ie Hawaii temple. They had closed for about 2 years while they rebuilt parts of it. President Monson, President Eyring, Elder Cook, and Elder Walker of the Seventy spoke during the session of the dedication we went to. It was neat to hear them talk about the people that sacrificed so much and lived so faithfully. It sounds like the other sessions were different than the 9:00.

After the dedication, we went for a walk to a waterfall. It was so beautiful and so peaceful.

Today we went into work early and got a lot done. Then we went for a walk that is close to BYU-Hawaii. It took about three hours to do. It was an interesting one because all along the trail, the scenery changed completely. We went from lush green to pine tree-type trees, to nothing. to other types of trees, to the waterfall. It was a really pretty hike. Every time we go to a different place, it is completely different terrain. It really was amazing.

We have eaten at a little restaurant here in La'ie. There aren't too many restaurants around here. One day I will probably try out the Hukilau Cafe too. It's a local restaurant that has local food, or so I hear. We'll have to see!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Lyon Arboretum, Diamond Head, and Plantation Village

Yesterday we worked early in the morning and then left. Tom wasn't feeling well, so Tonya and I went to the Lyon Arboretum. An arboretum has a lot of different kinds of trees and plants. We walked around the different paths where we were able to see all kinds of different trees. We walked up to a waterfall. It was such a peaceful afternoon.

Then we came back and went and got Mexican food at Surfin' Tacos. It actually was really yummy.

This morning we got up and went to Diamond Head. Diamond Head is a crater that is just off Waikiki beach. So when you hike up to the top, you can look down across all of the beach and the city of Honolulu.

Here we are going up.

You can start to see the sweat on my shirt. I came back pretty wet. It isn't a very long hike. The trail is well worn. You go up a little bit and then there are some stairs. And then you're at the top where you can look over the whole city.

Look at that sweat. Everywhere I go here, I sweat! It looks like I must be tired too... Haha! You can see the ocean and the beach and then the city of Honolulu in the background.

Coming back, there was a Farmer's market in the parking lot. We got some freshly made ginger, basil, and lime water. It was so refreshing and good! It really hit the spot!

After we finished, we went on up the coast and we went to the Hawaii Plantation Village. This was a sugar cane plantation. They took us through the different houses of different cultural groups who came in to work on the plantation. There were Chinese, Koreans, Filipinos, Puerto Ricans, Japanese, and I can't remember who else. But we went through the houses and they talked about how these groups had come in and what a difficult life it was for them, but how they couldn't leave because they were slaves. Then they talked about how the different groups became part of the culture of Hawaii as they stayed here. I really liked this!

These are taro plants that they use to make poi and I can't remember what they do with the leaves and stalks.

These are the fish ponds. The fish were little tiny things. You can see the houses in the background that belonged to the different groups.

Here we are at the end!
We came back to BYU-H and all of the parking lots are filled with many people here. Right now we are watching the Cultural Celebration going with the temple dedication. Tomorrow will be the rededication of the La'ie temple. I'm excited we will get to be here. It is interesting because the Hawaii temple was one of the first few that were built in the Church. I am excited to be able to go!

Photo Catch up

Here is the beach at Turtle Bay. We mostly played on the sand and a little on the shore.
Here was a cool tree that we were able to sit on for another photo opportunity.

You can't really capture the green color that is really here. Everything is green. It really is amazing!

Here we are out in the rocks along the coast line.

This is the start of the Lyon Arboretum. It is right outside of Manoa Falls that we went to, but we can't get the pictures off Tonya's camera because it is on another card in her camera and we don't have the cord to connect it. The arboretum captures some of the beauty.

Here is some bamboo.

Just some pretty flowers and once again, the green.

At the top was a waterfall.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Day 5 - Work and Manoa Falls

Today we started early - 5:00 a.m. We went in extra early so we could leave a little bit earlier today. I spent most of my time this morning verifying the student lists. So I had the list of students in every one of the classes offered here at BYU-H and a list of students that were loaded into the Student Ratings program and I matched them and made sure they were correct. I didn't check every single class, but I did check a bunch of them. After I finished that, I worked on some screenshots for the Exam Builder that we are designing for Provo's campus. We are trying to keep our projects running in Provo as well as doing the work we need to do here in Hawaii.

When we got to a good stopping point about 1:00, we left and changed clothes and hiked up to Manoa Falls. It was so beautiful! Really, it was one of the most beautiful places I have seen. There were so many tropical trees and plants and it was just amazing! It was a short hike, but really, really pretty. And there were all kinds of different plants and trees, palms, bamboo, some really big trees, and vines and flowers. I guess I kind of liked it up there. I will say though, that I probably haven't sweat that much anywhere else. It's about 1 1/2 miles into and back out of the falls, and my face was dripping with sweat. My shirt and pants were soaked. I looked really good! Haha! And my hair. Wow was I beautiful! Haha!

When we got back, we went by Costco and then we went to eat at a Thai restaurant. I had some fried rice and it tasted really good tonight. I like Thai food because it isn't too heavy.

W thought I would get the pictures off Tonya's camera, but I'm not sure where her camera card is and she fell asleep. I'll have to get it from her when she is awake. I think I will probably go get ready for bed too. 4:00 a.m. comes pretty early!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 4 - Work and Turtle Bay

Today was just another day in Paradise. We went in to work early again and had a good day. I went through and checked the data to verify that we pulled in the correct information. Then I started going through the list of students to make sure we pulled everyone into their classes correctly. I also went over and had a visit with Mark Wolfersberger. I worked with Mark at the ELC when I was there. He is one of the coordinators over the English Language Institute here. It was fun to catch up with him.

This afternoon, we went to Turtle Bay, which is a resort area. This is where Tom is staying. They have lots of trails and a beach there, so we went to check it out. We went out and saw the beach and looked at the waves. They were so big! We played in the sand some and had a good time. Then we were going to go swim in the pools in the nice resort area, but we were told we couldn't because we weren't staying at the fancy hotel part. So we didn't swim today. We just came back to our apartment and ate dinner and I worked a little more this evening. It was a good day. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures today either...I'll get some though soon!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 3 - Work and Waikiki

Today was a good day too. We got up early and were in the office by 6:00 a.m. I worked on making a list of things that needed to be changed on our Learning Outcomes website to send to the programmer. I'm sure he was thrilled to get 7 pages of things that have to be changed on the website to make it work better. :) Then we had a conference call back at the CTL with Jeff about our Exam Builder. After lunch, I worked on iClicker questions for American Heritage. Today it was interesting. It was about the Great Depression and the policies FDR put into place in the New Deal. As soon as I finished that, we came back, changed clothes, and went to Diamond Head.

Diamond Head is a crater where you can hike up and then look over all of Waikiki. You could almost compare it to hiking up S mountain, only not quite as high, I think. When we got to the trail head, we found out the trail was closed for maintenance and that it is only open from 6am to 12 noon. We'll have to go back another day.

We went around to Waikiki and put on our swimming suits and went for a little swim. Lori, thanks for letting me borrow your swim shorts. I really liked them a lot! I went in the water for awhile. I decided I'm not much of a water person. I think it is okay. I'd much rather walk along the beach and look around. I like the beach, I'm just not a huge fan of being out in the water and having the waves come crashing into you. I really like looking more.

We changed back into our clothes and went to a little Indian restaurant near the beach. I have had better food in other places, but it was okay. It was a little spicier than I like it, but I ate some daal (lentils) and we had some vegetable masala.

It's about a 40 minute drive from the Honolulu side of the island back around to the La'ie side. In a lot of ways, I think I like this side better. Honolulu is just a big city to me. What is it they say, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of a girl. :)

Anyway, it was a good day. I'll download pictures probably tomorrow from Tonya's camera and then I'll post a few pictures of our adventures then. Until then, Aloha!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Day 2 - Work and Dole

Today we started to work. We got up early again and we went to the Administration Building where we are going to do our work and met with the directors and got to work. Mostly today I worked on writing information about the Exam Builder that we are starting to work on now. It’s only in the design phase (on paper) so we still have a lot to do on it. Then I was able to get online and so I created some images to input into the Learning Outcomes program that we are going to install while we are here.

About 4:00 we left, came back to our place and changed and we drove up to North Shore. We first went to the Dole Pineapple Plantation and saw where they grow fields and fields of pineapples. It was interesting to see how they are just little plants. It also takes a long time (18 months) to grow a pineapple and you can only get 3 pineapples in the life of a plant. The third one comes at about 45 months. No wonder pineapple is a little expensive. As we drove around the coast, we were able to see the waves crashing along the shore. This time of year the waves are between 10-20 feet high. No surfing for me! (Even one of the guys we work with won’t surf them and he surfs a lot.)

This is pineapple frozen yogurt with fresh pineapple in it. It was pretty tasty!

Hooray for Hula Pineapple woman!

Then we went to eat dinner at a little Thai restaurant. Unfortunately it was not good. I guess we will have to find something better tomorrow.

Aloha! From Hawaii

The CTL where I work has been developing web-based applications to improve teaching and learning on campus. (We hope they are doing something like that.)

My roommate and the programmer at the CTL were asked to go to Hawaii to install these programs on the BYU Hawaii campus. A few weeks ago, our supervisor called me into his office and said they needed to send one more person to Hawaii to be able to do the work that they needed to do and asked if I would go. So I talked to family about Thanksgiving and my other supervisor and said “Yes!”

We left an oncoming snowstorm last Saturday to come here. The flight was really good (quite smooth, actually.) The pilot kept coming on saying the planes ahead of us were reporting really strong turbulent, but by the time we got there, they had dissipated. We arrived in the afternoon and it was nice and sunny and warm. We picked up the rental car and went to Costco to pick up some food to keep in our room while we are here. We went to a little Thai restaurant and ate and it tasted really good. I think we were all hungry!

Then we drove up the coast from Honolulu around the island past Kaneohe to La’ie. The drive was beautiful. It is just so green and there are flowering trees everywhere! It’s a little bit misty and humid, but just so beautiful. Tonya and I are staying in the VIP housing on campus – Hale 5. It’s a nice apartment with a nice living room with couches and a big-screen TV. It has a kitchen with stove, oven, microwave, refrigerator, etc., two bedrooms and a bathroom. It’s really perfect.

One of the men that Tom and Tonya have worked with before went and bought us some apples, grapes, water, pineapple, cookies, etc. for while we are here. It was really sweet of him. He also got leis for Tonya and me, which are absolutely beautiful. They are so full and they smell so good!

We were so tired the first day!

Sunday we woke up really early (jet lag) and read a little and tried to plan out the things we want to see and do while we are here. Then we went to church in the Stake Center here on campus and then we went to Pearl Harbor. On the way to church we stopped to take some pictures of us on campus. Then it started to rain, so we looked good to start and then got rained on. So much for doing the hair!

Pearl Harbor was a good experience. They have made a movie talking about the events leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and the ships that were here. Then we got on a boat and went across the harbor to the USS Arizona Memorial. There was an almost sacred feeling there. Then we went over to the USS Missouri and toured the battleship, climbing up on the decks and looking at the guns and everything on it. Finally we went into the USS Bowfin, a submarine. It took some ingenuity and skill to build it and to design it to work just right. It was interesting to learn about it.

Here we are on the boat going out to the Arizona. You could still smell and see the oil coming up from the ship. It really was amazing.