This file contains one newsletter for February 2004

Tuesday 03 February 2004

Hi Everyone!

    What a GREAT month this past January was for us! On 06 January Dale and I left BWI airport in Maryland on a United Airlines flight to Los Angeles, just ahead of the extremely cold weather that decended upon Maryland for the rest of the month! We had a great four days with Susan and Dany at their place in Los Feliz, next to Hollywood (you can see the Hollywood sign from their house!). Griffith Observatory and Park are just a few streets from them, but all the entrances were closed off (we tried driving up several of them) as they are doing some upgrades. They also drove us around the Hollywood Hills, and we visited Susan's work at "Imagic", two blocks off Hollywood Boulevard. Imagic does huge graphics for the movie industry and theaters, as well as specialty work for the stars, such as their tour books, etc. They also create those full-vehicle, wrap-around graphics on metallic and glass surfaces that make buses and semi-trailers look like traveling billboards.

    Dale and I spent one afternoon walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard. Very interesting - all the "touristy sights" such as the brass stars in the sidewalks with names of movie stars. I walked into one of the camera stores, just to buy a few postcards, and walked out with a wide-angle lens for my Sony camcorder! I wanted one, but thought it would cost a few hundred dollars. I got two lenses combined into one (wide angle screws into a macro lens, for extreme close-ups) for $89. What a break! Especially since we were on our way to Hawaii, and the wide angle lens enabled me to get more of that gorgeous Hawaii scenery!

    My cousin, Warren Voss, had recently brought my Aunt Helen (Dad's sister) out to live near him in California. He moved her from Raymond, NH to a beautiful new place in Anaheim, CA. Warren gave me directions, and Dale and I drove down to visit her. She's in excellent shape, and very busy with lots of new friends. She reminds me of my mother -- a lot! Warren was sick but dropped by to say hello anyway. He's a great guy and we all had a wonderful visit. We're looking forward to coming back to L.A. and seeing them again. Perhaps the next time we can get everyone together with cousins Linda, Marie and Julie and their families too!

    On the tenth of January we jumped on a plane at LAX and flew to Honolulu. I am still kicking myself for not having my camcorder and 35mm camera ready when the plane arrived over O'ahu! We've never been sitting in a window seat on the side of the airplane facing the island during daylight hours, but this time I had an unobstructed view from the window seat. The pilot followed a relatively low and slow flight path paralleling the Windward Coast, Kailua (where we used to live), Lanikai, Waimanalo, Makapu'u, Koko Head, Hawaii Kai, Diamond Head, Waikiki and Honolulu!! I was transfixed by the view!

    Tracey and Alana met us at the airport. That evening one of Tracey's friends left O'ahu to attend a training course, and he let us use his condo -- just 7 doors from Tracey! So, there we were with our "own place" at the gated Kalia Apartments, with a 24/7 security force and gardening staff, just steps away from Hilton Hawaiian Village and Ala Moana, surrounded by exotic plants (12 foot high Bird-of-Paradise plants, for instance) and palm trees, swimming pool, etc. We can get used to that kind of living! In fact, Dale really (I mean REALLY) did NOT want to come back to Maryland!

    Tracey let us use her second car (Oooh - no car rental cost either. We're certainly living right! ;-) We drove around the island a couple of times. The North Shore had very high 30'-35' surf for over a week straight, although the highest waves came in around midnight each time so we only saw waves about 15 feet high. Still, they were big enough to keep almost everyone out of the water! On the 14th I was sitting in my dentist's chair in Kailua (yes, I save it all up for him) and O'ahu was hit with a big windstorm. The power went out while I was still in the chair but he had finished the important work and finished up with a flashlight. Dale and I then drove to Kailua Beach and Lanikai. I took some pictures of friend's former houses and some new homes being constructed. In the meanwhile, roofs were being ripped off and electrical wires were down everywhere -- blowing around like spaggetti! We didn't know just HOW high the winds were until a few days later: gusts to 94 mph!

    Many of our musician friends are still playing at the big hotels. Dean & Dean are at the Chart House (Ilikai Hotel) but changed to a 3-4 hour Friday and Saturday night schedule. Ells Simeona plays all over Waikiki. We met up with him at the Princess Kaiulani first, then at the Royal hawaiian (Mai Tai bar in the afternoon). Jerry Santos and Olomana have a Friday and Saturday gig at the Hilton Hawaiian. On Saturdays Haunani Apolonia usually joins him but she was busy with OHA business in California (she's the chairwoman now!) so we didn't get to hear them play and sing together, something we really enjoy. We met with Tom & Jo Ann Lambert and Pat McAndrew (and her mother, Grace) for one of Jerry's Saturday performances, and he had the NALU band members accompany him, so we had a doubly pleasurable evening. At the end of the evening Jerry called up a couple of hawaiian friends to hula -- two guys, and one of them was a very big man! It was just like the old days at the Sea Life Park, when a performance would change into a neighborhood hawaiian jam session with "locals" doing the hula, slack key guitars strumming, etc. Another excellent night!

    Of course we spent lots of time with Tracey and Alana! Many days we actually just "hung around" the condo, reading, resting, etc. We did get a few days when we parked ourselves right on Waikiki Beach (in front of the Shore Bird restaurant) and baked ourselves to a nice pink/red hue in the sun! I even went into the water for over an hour, just floating around, thinking of the 20-degree (and lower) temperatures back home in Maryland! Ah yes!

    Tracey has a great little office, a former bomb shelter under the Kalia apartments, that she has rigged up with phone, computers, faxes, printers, etc for her businesses. Dale and I picked up Alana after school at Waikiki Elementary School a number of times and, gazing at her playing with the extraordinary ethnic mix of local children on the school grounds (snuggled directly under the towering sides of Diamond Head), I couldn't help but wonder at how life has been so good to us! Traveling to, much less living in, such exotic spots around the world was certainly not something we expected as we grew up.

    As our nineteen day island stay came to an end (Too short! Sell the house! Move back to Hawaii!!), we met old friend Beverly Brousseau at her Ilikai condo. Bev is teaching at Kamehameha Schools while on-island. As you all know, I LOVE to play with computers, and Bev's computer needed a lot of work. After playing with it for a few hours we got the battery and electrical plugs straightened out, the computer settings fixed, and AOL loaded and operational (one of those two month free trials)! Then we linked her to her existing account, so she can now send and receive e-mail from her condo, using her existing (home) e-mail address.

    I'm sure that I've forgotten to mention half of what we did while on-island, but suffice to say that we had a very enjoyable time. So much so that we will seriously consider the purchase of an Oahu condo after we sell our Woodbine home.

Aloha !!
Dad & Mom/Barry & Dale