"Crotty News" Postings for:

        It's Hawaii time! We're off to visit Tracey for the first time in a couple of years. She has a new house we haven't seen yet! BIRTHDAYS: Joyce Pope on the 4th; Lucy Graham on the 6th; Tony Baroncelli on the 12th; Adrienne Wahlbrink on the13th and Alana on the 18th; ANNIVERSARIES: Tony & Janet on the 15th and Joe & Sharon on the 24th! HOLIDAYS: St Patty's Day is the 17th (OF COURSE)! The First Day of Spring is the 20th, and Daylight Savings Time begins on the 21st!! Palm Sunday is the 28th and Passover is the 30th!

    Monday - 01 March - Getting ready for trip to Hawaii. Karen will take care of the house, plants, etc. while we're gone. Bandit The Cat will have plenty of food and water (special dispensers).

    Tuesday - 02 March - I've had a sore throat for four days and a bad cold is definitely on its way: sore throat, coughing, runny nose, etc. Went to the doctor. He gave me a shot and antibiotics. It seems to be working!

    Thursday - 04 March - Yesterday got up at 4:30AM. Karen picked us up an hour later and drove us to the airport! Nice flight on small plane to Atlanta. Our direct flight from Atlanta to Honolulu was delayed for an hour and a half because the ground crew didn't know how to input loading data into their computer. Arrived after ten hour flight around 4:00PM Honolulu time. Tracey picked us up and we drove home via the H3 with gorgeous views of the Koolau Mountains! Roscoe and Molly made a fuss over us. Their tails never stopped wagging and you'd think that no one ever petted them before :-) !! Went to bed around 9:30PM and immediately dropped off to sleep :-) Today it's a bit overcast at times but the sun keeps popping out and we're walking around in shirtsleeves! Tracey and Mike's house has a wonderful design. Very open and the inside-outside flow is great! And their bedroom is spectacular with a wall of windows looking out onto the pool and the tropical trees and plants! Tracey put me to work right away. I installed a clothes pole in the guest bedroom so we could hang our clothes up :-) Walked down to Kaneohe Bay, exactly 201 steps from their driveway! Water is too choppy to go out with the kayaks today but -- soon! The medicine that the doctor gave me on Tusday seems to have done the job. I still have a light cough and all, but feel fine!

    Friday - 05 March - Tracey is letting us use her car. We drove over to Kailua to our old neighborhood. Stopped to visit with Joan Pacheco, the neighbor behind our former house on Pahumele Pl. Her eyesight has become progressively worse and she's lost a lot of weight but actually looks good! The policeman who owns our old house has renovated the place, addings bedrooms, extending the garage and put up fences along the sidewalk so he now uses all the property. He also removed all the Australian Paper Trees, hibiscus plants etc that made the place look so nice. The place is really low-maintenaance now :-) Went to Kailua Beach. It is very windy all over the island this week and the windsurfers/Kitesurfers were out in droves! I got a chance to test out the zoom lens that Tom Peterson gave me. I got a couple of spectacular shots showing the surfers with Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii's huge ocean cliffs in the background. We then drove around Lanikai, going up the streets to get a bird's eye view of the Mokes (Moku Lua Islands). Also got a few shots from one of Lanikai's beach access paths. The Chart House in Waikiki advertised our friends Dean & Dean for tonight, playing 9:30PM to 12:30AM. We got there just before 9:00PM, ordered dinner and drinks, etc. BUT -- no Dean & Dean. The web site was wrong. They only play on Sundays now. Luckily the band that did show up at 9:30PM included another old acquaintance of ours, Dwight Kanae. Turns out that he grew up with Ellsworth (another musician friend) around the corner from Tracey in Kaneohe, and he still lives there! Dwight can really play the slack key guitar so the evening was a success afterall. We even had a local girl give a hula performance, just like the "old days" when we used to gather every Friday night at Sea Life Park and the hawaiians from Waimanalo would come over and jam, while their sisters, mothers, aunties, etc. would do hula spontaneously!

    Saturday - 06 March - Tracey, Dale and I drove to the Aloha Stadium to go to the Swap Meet (Flea Market). There was only a single ring of vendor tents around the outer ring of the five-ring Stadium parking lot, probably because of the season, bad economy and lack of tourists. In the summer sometimes the entire five rings are filled with vendors. I bought a few items, including some new T-shirts, my usual purchase each year :-) We met Mike (and his stylish VW bus!) at a place called Dixies, just up the road from the Stadium. Really rustic, laid-back place with good hamburgers. Enjoyable!! Mike and I then drove to Hickam in his bus. All sorts of admiring stares from tourists and locals alike. It really is a "cool" vehicle! Mike and Tracey have the concession from the Air Force and run the Hickam Skate Park. It's in a former aircraft hangar right in the middle of the main base, a great location. Lots of military dependents etc make good use of the facility. While Mike spelled one of his employees at the office counter, I wandered around checking the facilities out and taking pictures. Mike designed, and is building, a huge 20-foot diameter "Three Quarter Pipe", a 40 foot+ long "Vert Ramp", and other skateboarding structures to his already-existing, impressive facilities. Two huge bowls that look like empty olympic sized, wooden swimming pools, plus many "Vert Ramps" of varying heights to match the skaters' skill levels, etc. Later we drove back to Kaneohe in The Bus via the H3 highway. I should have sat in the back because Mike's VW has a large rectangular opening in the roof and I would have had unobstructed views of the spectacular mountains. I did get a few quick shots from the front seat though.

    Sunday - 07 March - Dale and I drove north along the coastal roads from Kaneohe to Haleiwa, on the North Shore. From Kaneohe, past Kualoa Park (Chinaman's Hat -- Mokoli'i Island), Ka'a'awa, Hau'ula, La'ie, Kahuku to Turtle Bay Resort, that side of Oahu is called the "Windward Side". From Turtle Bay Resort to Haleiwa that coastal area is called the "North Shore". (Both of these areas extend a little further, encompassing other towns and points of interest. I'm only describing the parts we drove on today). We always stop at Kualoa Park since it has great views of a section of the Ko'olau Mountains on the Kualoa Ranch, and also great views of Chinaman's hat island. In warmer weather I like to paddle a kayak around the island. All along the coast there are gorgeous scenic views. At La'ie we drive out to the Point because it has some unusual rock formations and pretty islands. There are also a few good examples of houses built on vertical slopes. Since land is scarce (and expensive) on an island, many lots that would be unbuildable elsewhere have houses on concrete, wood or steel stilts. They cling to the side of cliffs and otherwise sharply-inclined plots of land! On to the North Shore, we arrived at Sunset Beach where the high winds had whipped up some really rough surf. A dozen or so surfers were giving us a great show (I LOVE that zoom lens, Tom !! :-) We made it to Haleiwa, stopping at Kaiaka Bay across the street from Jameson's By The Sea Restaurant, an old favorite of ours. Saw two women on surfboards doing "Stand Up Paddling", a new water sport (at least to me) that seems to be spreading around the islands. Picked up something to eat at the local McDonald's and then headed back to Kaneohe. Tonight we finally found Dean & Dean at the Chart House! It's been two years since we've been here so it was a big hug session :-) A few minutes later I noticed a Canadian couple (88 years young) sitting at the next table with a large group. We had befriended them two years ago so, once again, it was time for hugs and greetings! Everyone had a ball. The 88 year-old is a hula dancer and she pulled all the women up onto the floor to dance. I got some great pictures of Dale! The Chart House has now limited Dean & Dean to Sunday gigs only. I guess with the bad economy they are trying to see if newer, younger talent will bring more customers in.

    Monday - 08 March - Lazy day. Dale has the beginning of a cold (I probably gave it to her). So we're hanging around the house. Dale is helping Tracey do laundry (ours too) and I installed a "Doggie Door" so the dogs can go in and out without having to leave the side door open all the time. Birds would always come inside and eat the dogs' food, and of course the dogs would try to corner the birds (and did so several times -- lots of feathers all over the kitchen dining nook, not to mention body parts :-) It was cute to see Tracey train the dogs to use the door. It has a plexiglass window/door that hangs in the opening, swinging in and/or out, and the dogs had to learn to push their heads and bodies through the opening and to disregard the weight of the plexiglass. Tracey took some doggie "treats" outside and enticed them to push their way out. Then she did the reverse. Molly, the younger pup learned how to do it right away. Roscoe still isn't quite sure, since the door waps him in the face if he follows Molly too closely, so we'll have to watch to make sure he gets used to it.

    Tuesday - 09 March - Drove to Waikiki and used our Government Retiree ID cards to park close to the Outrigger Reef/Lewers Street area. Cost is something like $2.50 for the first hour and then $1.25 for each hour thereafter. Great! We walked up and down Kalakaua Street to the pier at Kuhio Beach across from Lulu's restaurant and the Zoo. Beautiful as ever, including the Monana Surfrider, Royal Hawaiian etc. Lewers Street renovations are completed. Trump has a hotel built on the demolished grounds of the old hotels across from the Outrigger Reef, and lots of new shops on Lewers Street. Alice & Charlie will be staying at the Wyndam, which renovated at least the facade of their buildings. At 6:00PM we went to the open area at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and saw Dwight Kanae and other musicians (and hula girls) perform for an hour. Excellent - and free!

    Wednesday - 10 March - lazy day around the house. Went to the Officer's Club at Kaneohe Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCBH) and met Mike Sipe, his wife Mary and two children for dinner. Mongolian BBQ one of my favorites. We used to come here often for their Mongolian!

    Thursday - 11 March - Lunch at Camp Smith with Mike Sipe. Mike is a LCDR now, and is Commandant of the Pacific Command's HQ buildings (J02HQ). The Flag Mess is one of his operations and he hosted us in a private room for lunch and then a tour of the new HQ building, which was built a few years ago directly across the street from the old HQ building where Dale and I worked. Beautiful views of Honolulu, Waikiki and especially Ford Island! Later that afternoon I drove to the Pali Lookout and took a bunch of pictures (see my photos) from the very windy Lookout itself, as well as my usual trek down the Old Pali Road to get what I think are more beautiful angles for the shots. I drove down Nuuanu Valley along the Nuuanu Pali Road and got some shots of the near-jungle vegetation alongside that road too. On the way back I drove way back into Maunawili Valley and up the hillside of the Koolaus to get some closeup shots of my favorite mountain, Mt. Olomana.

    Friday - 12 March - The sun is shining and I took advantage of it to hike up the 647 foot high Makapu'u Head trail to Makapu'u Point, above the lighthouse. We lived here for five years and the trail was "officially" closed to hikers then, and we never went there. A few years ago we noticed the State was working on a parking lot and trail upgrades, opening the trail to the public. Dale and I walked to the top and were rewarded with the most spectacular view available on this island! I'm surprised that someone doesn't take a photo and put it on postcards!! I even got some "sun" (tan) on my face today! In the evening we went to a small mexican restaurant here in Kaneohe. Very authentic, tasty food and great service. The place was packed and when we left there was a long line outside waiting for a space at one of the restaurant's few tables.

    Saturday - 13 March - Dale is out with Alana and Tracey, shopping for Alana's upcoming 14th birthday! I'm trying to edit my pictures and post them to the web site. I've posted a few of my pictures to Facebook but I have "tons" more to put on www.crottyland.com!!

    Sunday - 14 March - Well, I uploaded ALL the pictures that I've taken in Hawaii thus far! Even the ones I took today and tonight at the Honolulu Festival in downtown Waikiki, and at the Chart House with Dean & Dean. I'll be going back to Myrtle Beach next Thursday so this was my last time seeing them on this visit. Arrived back at Tracey's to find that she & Mike had purchased leather sofas and chairs for the living room. They're giving their previous living room set to Chris, Mike's son, who now has his own apartment in Honolulu's Chinatown.

    Tuesday - 16 March - Didn't do much yesterday. Stayed around the house and then drove over to Kailua to pick up Alana at a friend's house. Took her for a bite to eat at the Big City Cafe in Kailua. Alana likes their burgers. I thought the food was terrible! Today, Dale "dragged" me away from the computer and "forced" me to drive to the North Shore again. This time the weather was beautifully SUNNY! We stopped at places that we had not been to for a long time, so I got some different pictures on this excursion. First was just up the street from Tracey's house. The sun was shining on the Ko'olau Mountains so I figured I'd better get a shot while I could! Next was the He'eia State Park where they have an ancient fish pond (Loko ia O He'eia. Continuing north I shot one of Kuuloa Ranch's mountain tops from the side of the road, a few miles before Kualoa Park, and then stopped at the beaches at Ka'a'awa, Kahana, Punaluu and Hau'ula! Some of the prettiest beach and mountain scenes on the island are at Punaluu and Ka'a'awa! By the time we reached Sunset Beach the sun was brilliant and hot, and the waves were giants, pounding the beach so hard they sprewed up fountains of water and sand. High water all along the beach and the lifeguards were busy keeping people at bay. If you weren't paying attention (as so many were NOT) a wave would break and all the water would rush up the steep sand slope, encircle you and drag you into the surf!! A few surfers made their way out to the outer waves and gave us all a show. Dale set out lounge chairs while I took pix of the surfers and waves. After an hour of sunbathing we were off again. Heading ever northward we remembered that there was a Heiau (Puu O Mahuka) that overlooks Waimea Bay and Waimea Valley. Sure enough, I got some great shots in before I could hear the lifeguard at the beach way down below telling everyone that we only had a few minutes before the skies opened up with a near deluge. Yep! Heavy, heavy rain the rest of the day. We drove to Haleiwa and stopped at Jameson's for lunch on the deck. Nice day even with the rain!

    Wednesday - 17 March - St Patty's Day! Éirinn go Brách ! Waikiki always has a parade so off we went once again to sunny Waikiki. The parade wasn't as big as in other years but still worth seeing since it had lots of enthusiastic participants (see my photos). Dale and I found a great seat along the long, open-air, beach-facing counter at Lulu's, the second floor restaurant on the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu. Lulu's is right across the street from the 50-yard long concrete pier and ocean walls protecting Kuhio Beach. We watched the "wall rats" (kids) jumping off the pier into the oncoming waves -- they have to time it just right since the water is shallow. Lulu's had a group of young dancers doing Irish step dancing. They were raising money for a deaf child, especially appropriate entertainment on this day, and they were very good!

    The entire 1.5 mile stretch along Kalakaua Avenue is commonly called "Waikiki Beach" but there are actually several different beaches. In front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village the beach is man-made (1956) and is called "Kahanamoku Beach" -- named for Duke Kahanamoku, the famous surfer. Then there's Ft. DeRussy Beach in front of the Hale Koa military hotel and part of Ft. DeRussy with its U.S. Army museum. Gray's Beach is next. It's in front of the ritzy Halekulani Hotel. It's named for the small inn that was here in the early 1900's where Earl Biggers got the idea for his Charlie Chan books (the "House Without A Key" is the Halekulani's best restaurant)! Next is the Royal Moana Beach (also called Kahaloa and Ulokou Beaches) in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel. That beach ends at the Police Station. From this point on the beach is called Waikiki Center and then Kuhio. Just past the pier, between the zoo and the aquarium the beach is called Queens Surf. This is where Queen Liliuokalani's beach house used to be. Just past the Natatorium is the San Souci beach (supposedly it is also called the "Dig Me" beach because of all the bikinis :-) Dale and I stopped at the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian, hoping to see Ells (Simeona) performing but no such luck. So we parked ourselves at one of the beachfront tables (I had a few mai tais) and enjoyed the spectacular view of the beach and Diamond Head. The Royal Hawaiian was closed for many months for multi-million dollar upgrades. It still looks elegant, and the ambience is definitely worth the extra few dollars you pay for drinks etc.

    Thursday - 18 March - Oh Me; Oh My! Poor Me! Today I leave paradise and fly back to Myrtle Beach (which "ain't" a bad place either :-) Yep, dear readers, my time is up! I could have stayed with Dale (the end of the month) but I get very "antsy" about being away more than 2-3 weeks at a stretch. I have this uneasy feeling that a pipe may be leaking, or some similar situation, and my mere presence at home will now avert this disaster !! :-) So ... after loading as much clothing, gifts and souvenirs as the 50lb airline limit allowed (plus a stuffed carry-on suitcase and personal backpack (cameras, electronics, important papers, etc) I was ready and still had hours to "waste" :-) Off we went to Kailua for lunch at Maui Tacos (yum!) and more pictures of beautiful Kailua Beach. Dale dropped me off at the airport and I skimmed right through security and settled down, assuming the flight would be delayed for at least an hour or two, as per usual. Nope. Delta did a fine job and we took off on time - a direct flight from Honolulu to Atlanta. Long, but much better than arriving in LAX, dead tired, and wasting a couple of hours for the next flight!

    Friday - 19 March - Arrived in Atlanta a bit early, around 7:10AM. Did not sleep on the airplane but felt fine since my body was still on Honolulu time (1:10AM). Had an hour to take the airport train to the "D" terminal to catch my Myrtle Beach flight. The girl seated next to me asked the flight attendant if she could change seats (I probably smelled funny :-) Arrived in Myrtle Beach at 9:15AM, also earlier than scheduled, only to find that my luggage hadn't made the flight from Atlanta. Oh well. Better on the return trip than when starting the vacation! They delivered it to Caribou Trail later that evening. Karen drove me home from the airport. I checked out the house (all O.K.), fired up the computer, checked out Facebook and then downloaded all our e-mails. Had a 3-4 hour nap. The cat won't leave my side. She thinks that we abandoned her. Played on the computer and deleted some recorded TV programs from the DVR that Dale didn't need anymore. Silvana posted on Facebook that she and Brett are now married! Tomorrow will be the big wedding fiesta party at Las Cumbras Hotel in Maldonado, Uruguay! Around 12:30AM I went to bed, assuming that I'd wake up around 8:00AM or so.

    Saturday - 20 March - Imagine my surprise when I woke up at 1:30PM. Thirteen hours I slept!! Was going to go to the car show to see Chuck's Firebird in competion but this day is shot before I began :-) By the time I got dressed it was mid-afternoon. Karen called to say they were going out to dinner at Gordon Biersch with Bobby & Robin and Dave & Sharon, and I was invited. Good show! Started up the Corvette and drove to Market Common. The Vette hasn't been run more than once or twice in the last 3-4 months, so I'm sure the battery needed the "charge". It also needs to be washed and waxed - badly! I had the restaurant's beer sampler and surprised myself by picking their Czech Lager (instead of the darker Märzen) as the best tasting beer. I also ordered a full glass, of course! And HUNGRY! I ordered a pepperoni and sausage pizza and ate it all my own self! :-) Kristinn was on Facebook and at 9:44PM he mentioned they were experiencing an earthquake from a volcano erupting in Iceland. I Googled it and found that it had occurred just 24 minutes previously and a web cam was showing the eruption (they are four hours ahead of us and it's the middle of the night) as a bright glow in the distance. The volcano is under a glacier!

    Sunday - 21 March - The First Day Of Spring! It's 68 degrees outside and rainy, off and on. Our Bradford Pear tree is a huge puffball of white flowers and my forsythia plants are just starting to bloom. I planted six of them last year in the hope that they'd make nice, thick bushes for privacy and, of course, add springtime color to the yard. Was not able to get much sleep last night but woke up at 8:30AM feeling quite well anyway. Hopefully I am now acclimated to this time zone. Don & Sue Smith called. They're in town and we're going to go out somewhere to dinner. OK, now back from dinner. Originally thought about Nico's but they're closed on Sundays so I took them to the Gulf Stream Cafe in Garden City where Dale and I went for her birthday. Sue & Don liked the place!

    Tuesday - 23 March - Been working on Dale's sunroom, sanding the walls where I smeared the joint compound on the new wallboard I installed (insulation too). Whoever built the original sunroom did a terrible, sloppy job on the upper walls so I've had to fill in all the uneven areas with joint compound. The company that we use to service our HVAC systems called today and asked if they could come for the semi-annual checkup. The technician who came was very good and explained the entire system to me, and the fact that there are enough fail-safe's built into the system, even though it is old, that if something went wrong it would shut itself down before doing any harm (fire, for instance)! Great! That's much of the reason I don't like to leave the house vacant for long periods of time -- I worried about a fire or a leak etc. We'll replace the original air conditioning and heating system next year. I also had him check the brand-new system we had installed when we had the house addition built a few years ago. All OK. Paul and Dot got back from Brett's wedding (in Montevideo, Uruguay) around noon today and at 2:30PM Paul went back and picked up Brett and Silvana at Boston's Logan Airport. They are going to stay with them in Malden until they take off (Friday) for a Mediterranean Cruise as their honeymoon.

    Wednesday - Saturday - 24-27 March - I know that I was alive during these days but for the life of me I can't remember everything I did or what day I did it, and I know that you want an exact blow-by-blow account of my daily activities, don't you? :-) I do know that it took me a lot longer to finish sanding the sunroom walls that I estimated. I had to wet-sand them first and then go over them with a hand-sander. I put a tarp over the door to the kitchen to ensure no white dust getting sucked inside (unlike a few years ago when we had dust everywhere)! I made a trip to Best Buy on the 24th to purchase the tax software H&R Block At Home (it used to be called "Tax Cut"). I have made the initial entries but I really need to have uninterrupted time to get our 2009 tax return completed. On the 26th I went to Lowes and bought the wall paint for the sunroom, some potting soil for my seed plantings (when I ever get the time!) and I also rented a "Rug Doctor" machine. It took the entire day to clean the rugs in the sunroom, the hallway, two guest bedrooms and my office, so painting the sunroom will once again have to wait. The sunroom rug stains looked like they were gone but once the rug dried I could still see them, so it looks like we'll replace the rug with tiles or linoleum. The other rugs I cleaned still look good. Went to Gordon Biersch's at the Market Common for dinner with Karen & Chuck, Teri & Rick, and Sharon, Dave and Dreyan. I usually like their "Marzen" beer but on our last trip here I found their Czech Lager to taste really good so I stuck with that tonight!

    Sunday - 28 March - Well, now that I've finally painted the first coat on all the walls and window trim in Dale's sunroom it is apparent that the ceiling needs to be painted too. I also need another can of paint to give the walls a second coat, since white doesn't cover green with only a single coat :-) The cat hasn't let me out of her sight since I came back from Hawaii. Sleeps on Dale's side of the bed at night and then sleeps most of the day on my side, leaving the bed only to come and check on my whereabouts every so often.

    Monday - 29 March - Big day today! I ran out of socks and underwear. Hah! Dale, where are you when I need you? :-) I was able to use the washer and dryer all by my lonesome and now I'm back in business!! Ran into our neighbor Dave from across the street. He told me that he had sold his house to a retired couple from North Carolina and, although the real estate market hasn't been good (he had it on the market for many months), he was able to get a good price for it. Hate to lose a good neighbor like him but I think we'll keep in touch. He also surprised me with the news that he got married back on October 17th and now lives in a smaller house just down the road from us in a new development. Stopped by Joe & Sharon's lot on my way to the post office and took pictures for them. I mailed a really nice book to Tom & Sue Peterson today. It's about "IZ", Israel Kamakawiwe'ole, the hawaiian singer. It was on sale at the Honolulu airport for a very good price so I bought two of them: one for us and one for them since they are also fans of his singing. A very high-quality printing job too. Bought the paint for Dale's sunroom at Lowe's and was able to paint the entire ceiling before the fumes made me stop. I'll put the second coat of wall paint on tomorrow.

Love,     &nbs;       Regards,
Dad & Mom             Barry & Dale