Tag: beach

Valencia, Spain Day 2 and 3

spain beach day 2Day 2 and 3 have come and gone here in Valencia and they can be defined by one word- BEACH!!! I’m sure some people would be up in arms at my missing out on cultural attractions and historical landmarks but aside from seeing my sister the reason I came on this vacation is to go to the beach. (Today we should be getting more of those cultural attractions). It’s also been so hot that all I really want to do is be at the beach.

Day 2 we went to a beach called Pinedo Beach.  It is close to where I went on day 1 but a little more crowded. I’d like to find that beach from the first day because I think it was still the nicest I have been to yet.

This time Anna and Steve were able to join me at the beach and we had a great time together. These beaches are different than what you get in Hawaii- more of a commercial feel but it is still beautiful and tons of fun!

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When we got home Anna made Italian food, we talked and then crashed! I still haven’t adjusted to the time zone change yet and have fallen asleep very early each night I’ve been here.  That’s probably why it is 6 am and I am writing this post right now. I am also finding it a bit hard to sleep with the heat. It’s just tough to deal with being hot all the time.

I have started to get more sun despite my best attempts. I think it just goes with the territory when you are the beach a lot. Everyone gets a little pink.

sunburnThe next day was Sunday so I went to church on my own.  That was an interesting experience attending sacrament meeting without understanding a single word that was spoken.

church in spainThen I ducked into some little shops which was really fun to interact with the local Spanish people.  So far I haven’t had any real Spanish food yet but everything I’ve had has been delicious. There is a pastry shop close to my sisters that was a lot of fun to try the various treats.

spain treatsWe were all so overheated we decided to go to the beach again but this time went to Playa de la Patacoma. This is a very crowded beach but it had nice big waves that were very fun to play with.

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I almost wished I’d had a surfboard but it was fun to use my safe swimmer and ride the waves a little bit. I think you can see in these videos how strong the waves were.  It was great!

We were all pretty tired out from the strong waves and 3 days of sun but it was still a wonderful time.

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After the beach I started to notice I had been bitten by something in the ocean. This of course concerned me especially with how purple it appeared.  I didn’t want it to have some kind of venom that would really hurt me.

biteBut Anna and I went to a pharmacy and got some gel with antihistamine and pain relief qualities. It has already helped a lot.

spain day 3Between the bite and having more than a little bit of redness from the sun we may not do a beach day today. I think it is good to give your body one day to heal and then be ready for the next day! Like I said we are going to the market today and that should be very fun.

I hope you all have a Happy 4th of July holiday and we will be celebrating America one way or another here in Spain!

Tampa Trip Day 3-5

So I am back in Utah and I think you can tell it was a great trip because I only found time to post once very quickly.  I was having too much fun!

Day 3-

This was Sunday and Kim had gotten us tickets to a Rays/Red Sox game.  It was nice to have one day away from the beach (only one) and we rooted for Boston.  There was even a fight! 😉

Play ball
Play ball
The fight! Cleared the benches
The fight! Cleared the benches
Always like a good hot dog
Always like a good hot dog
Kim, the red sox fan at the game.  I became adopted sox fan for the day!
Kim, the red sox fan at the game. I became adopted sox fan for the day!

When we were driving home it started to rain, thunder, lightning and hail.  You can see it in the trip video below.  For the next 3 days it rained but always on our way back to the house, so it was perfect timing!

Each night we got home around 5 and we ate dinner and watched a movie.  We viewed Frozen, Tangled, Emperors New Groove and Return to Me!  So fun.

We also had a ton of laughs over a Mormon romance novel I brought with me that was pretty bad. See description below.

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Yes, he smelled like rootbeer…So romantic.  It was very funny.

So, there were a lot of laughs and also some heart to hearts.  Kim and I had been friends in high school but she wasn’t one of my best friends.  After 17 years of not seeing each other and being from different parts of the country, religions, and everything else I wondered if we would have anything in common, but we had lots.  It turns out we had both been through similar career struggles.  We had had bosses that made us nuts and anxieties to deal with as working women.  We both shared dating struggles and being single.  We both had lots of memories and had a similar sense of humor.  We both love New York and love the beach.

It certainly is another reason to be grateful for facebook.  Kim and I had reconnected during the election because we are both fiscal conservatives and needed some political venting (she lived in NY at the time).  We would chat on fb and I had inquired about staying with her in New York some time.  Then she told me she had moved to Tampa.  Being the nice person she is she invited me to stay there and being the bold, without boundaries person I am I said ‘let’s do it!’.  Most people would probably shrug off an offer like that as being polite but I just had a feeling to go for it.

So many times in my life I have been benefited by not worrying about being polite or following some idea of normal behavior and this is certainly one of them.  I’m glad I didn’t worry about what someone’s ulterior motives might have been and took her at her word.  I think we are both glad and it will be the first of many such visits.

Day 4 and 5-

Monday and Tuesday were pretty simple- beach, beach, beach, beach.  All together we went to Madeira, Passe de Grille, Honeymoon Island and Fort De Soto.  Passe de Grille was my favorite because of the closeness of the beach to the parking and the cute little town.

beach18 beach14 beach13 beach12 beach10 beach9 beach8 beach7 beach6I feel blessed.  Blessed to have seen God’s beautiful oceanic creations and even more blessed to have made what I know will be a life-long friend.

At least to me vacations should remind you of why you work everyday and how perfect before starting a new job to remember the potential for happiness that lies in my heart.  It’s a good day to be Rachel Wagner my friends.  A new job, new opportunities, beautiful memories, great friends and a happy heart.

I’ve done my fair share of complaining on this blog and I want to let you all know that never have I been happier than this moment right now. 🙂

This video is a little bumpy so I don’t know if you will enjoy it but it shows how beautiful a trip it was and how much joy it brought me.

Tampa Day 1 and 2

Hello from Florida!  (Almost said Aloha but wrong beach!).

I don’t have long to write this morning but I just wanted to say hello and let you know I am having a great time in good old Florida.  Getting here took me 2 days and was miserable but it was all worth it for the beautiful beaches!  The sand is white, the water is turquoise and warm as bathtub water.  The company has been great and I’ve just had a blast!

I will include more details in my next post but this should give you some flavor.  Hope you all have a Happy Memorial Day weekend.  🙂

beach day1c day1b day1a day1

A Nonworking Vacation

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Wednesday this week I am going on vacation!!!! Like a real vacation.

I am not exaggerating when I say I haven’t been on a real vacation since Japan in 2005.

I realize I’ve been a lot of places during those years including Hawaii three times but each time I was working at least at a minimum level.

Anytime I see my folks I end up working because my Dad is my boss. I’ve usually brought some checks with me, written wires, checked emails the whole nine yards.

My problem is letting things go that only I can do.  I never have had a sub or back up so if it needed to be done I had to do it.  That is hard to let go.  One time my boss told me ‘get off the phone and enjoy Hawaii!’.

It’s a problem many Americans are having.  See article

But not this time! My work responsibilities for Poler are minimal and can be done by other people while I’m gone.  My roommate is kind enough to get the mail and make deposits.  My supervisor and Dad are taking over wires and checks so that’s taken care of.  And as far as my new job goes it hasn’t started yet so no worries on that front!

2 of my Hawaii trips I was actually working and going to school so that was interesting.  My first trip I tried to get people to fill in for me but it was a disaster and I had to do an entire team project in 3 days or fail the class (sigh…).

Last year I got pretty close to real vacation in the trip to Disneyland but I still did some work and I will probably still check my email on this trip out of habit more than anything else (plus it goes to my phone so kind of hard to not check it)

Anyway, I’m very excited to be taking a true vacation and to a place I know very little about.  I never thought about going to Tampa or traveling to Florida but my high school friend Kim was kind enough to invite me and probably to her surprise I accepted.

She’s taking time off from her job and has purchased tickets to baseball games and other activities.  Thursday we are going to Harry Potter World in Orlando!

Mostly I am greatly looking forward to the ocean.  I love the ocean.  The first time I went to Hawaii was one of the toughest times of my life.  I was so unhappy and I went to the North Shore and called my Dad the day I was to leave and cried my eyes out.

It had been so beautiful and going back to the cubicle dungeon of my life seemed to much.  I can’t even tell you how many times I have been sad and thought of my beloved North Shore and felt happy again (I even have it featured in artwork above my bed and in my office).

I love the sound of the beach.  I love swimming in the beach. I love reading and then swimming and then reading.  I love wearing floppy hats and big sunglasses soaking up the sun and hearing the wish-wash of the tide.  It is heaven.  Last year I got to spend one day in Seal Beach, CA and realized that was the truly happiest place on earth not Disneyland!

I also hope to just relax, maybe go to a movie or two, watch the Survivor finale, go to good restaurants and have a great trip!

How fortunate I am to be in this position to take a trip.  I am so grateful for my friend for having me and to have the resources to travel.  I am also grateful that I planned the trip, accepted the invite and am making the effort to go.  It was such perfect planning right before starting my new job.  I could never have known it would work out that way but it worked out great!

I’m so excited to have a non-working vacation and hopefully I come back to you more tan than burned and full of great stories of my trip.  I will update the blog while I’m away but there will be a gap in videos.

If any of you have been to Tampa and have some suggestions let me know.

To travel!!

TAMPA mural

Beach Day!!!

So if you hadn’t gotten the idea yet, I love the beach.  I love the sound of the waves.  I love laying out in the sun reading.  I love swimming in the ocean.  It’s just so great.  Nature’s amusement park if you will.  I miss the beach greatly when I am away for it and haven’t seen it since 2011.

Today I got to go to the beach!!  We went to Seal Beach in California, which was a new beach for me but great.  It’s crowded but beautiful, with a huge pier and lots of parking.  I was just so happy to be back in the water and away from the ‘walking vacation’.

seal beach

The day started great.  We left the hotel and headed to Seal Beach to first meet up with one of my twitter friends Samantha Ferraro.  She is a food blogger and we started talking because of a mutual love of cooking and Julia Child.  The first time we tweeted she asked the question-

twitter

I thought it was funny that anyone would be deciding to make tomato cobbler and orange curd.  After that we kept in touch and she asked for some advice in preparing for a triathlon and we chatted about the open water swimming part.  She lives in Seal Beach so it was too convenient not to meet up, so that’s what we did for lunch.

We ate tacos and chatted and had a lovely time.  I told her to come out to Utah and I can show her around.  It would be fun to cook together sometime.  You can read her food blog at http://littleferrarokitchen.com/

My second tweet up.  Both have been great!
My second tweet up. Both have been great!

It’s so neat the way we can connect with others so easily, have a positive impact and make friends with people we would never come in contact other ways.  I especially love twitter for this.  It is so nice to have a forum to share with likeminded individuals that share common interests.

So after our lunch Maddie, Mom and I went to the beach and spent the rest of the afternoon playing.  I got out my safe swimmer and swam for about 20 minutes.  The current was really strong or I could have gone longer.  It was so much fun!

open water beach beach girls beach2

It was just so peaceful and fun. I could have stayed there forever.  Sadly we had to leave to get back to my folks house and the long trip to Northern California started.  My Mom drove the whole way which I was very grateful for and we had good conversation, so it all turned out well.

Favorite day of the trip- beach day- followed closely by the massage.  So great!

 

Family Reunion Folsom Lake

So yesterday started the Richards family reunion and you could say I had fun…Spent whole day at the lake.  I swam, and swam and swam.  Probably a mile and a half.  I felt very strong which was exciting because I am trying to decide whether to do the 5 k again at Deer Creek and this made me lean towards the 5k (right now I’m signed up for mile swim).

It was really fun.

Here are some photos of the day.   (The next few posts are mostly photos so please indulge).

I SURF!!!!

this wasn't my board. Mine was huge but it was awesome!!

Today was one of the best days of my life!!  It all started yesterday when my friends and I were talking about how we wanted to finish the trip.  We spoke about taking surfing lessons but were a bit trepidations about how we’d do and it was expensive.  As I mentioned in my post ‘Too Fat For List’ learning to surf is something I’ve always wanted to do.  Its like walking on water which who doesn’t want to do that?

I have also always felt like I wasn’t in shape enough to do it because of the upper body strength required. Even now after all the training of the last year and a half I was was nervous.  It is scary to attempt to complete such a big goal. After all, what if I fail?  There is something devastating about such a notion.

Anyway, we decided to go ahead and give it a try.  (This makes 3 new experiences I had this trip- I saw dolphins, hiked through the Waimea state forest and swam in the waterfall, and went surfing! So great!).  We arrived at Surf N’ Sea at 10 am and got put with our instructor, Karen.

My instructor Karen. She was so great.

We are so lucky to have gotten her.  She was patient, kind and an experienced teacher.  When we first got to the beach my surf board was too small to hold my body up.  This was very discouraging and made me feel fat.  I had told Karen about my weight loss and my surfing goal and she seemed personally invested in making everything right.

In fact, she told me that I ‘would ride the waves today’ and that she wouldn’t let herself see me fail.  (I must admit that I got a little emotional when I failed.  It was pretty discouraging).  She told me to show up at 2:00 pm and she would have a bigger board for me to try.  She even insisted saying she’d track me down if I didn’t show up!

After my roommates surfed for a 2+ hours we went to lunch and I came back at 2. The new board was huge (really a paddle board) and it made all the difference.  I immediately dove in and paddled my way to the waves (with the help of my teacher!). I was able to catch 4 or 5 sets of waves.  I never stood up completely but I got pretty close.  It was so exciting!!

 

you can't really tell but I am the first dot to the left!

I held on to the wave for  while and just being able to get back up on the board again was a huge accomplishment.  There is no way I could have done that the last time I came to Hawaii, let alone doing it 4 or 5 times!  I couldn’t believe how much fun it was.  It is a great sport because you don’t have to be perfect to have a good time.

I really can’t believe I actually did it!  It made me feel like all the hard work of the last year and half has been worth it.  I am so grateful to Karen for giving me over 2 hours of her time just for me.  She didn’t have to do that but she joined the ranks of people who believe in me more than I believe in myself.  I think it is remarkable that she gave so much to someone she doesn’t know- and she did it so willingly.  I hope I am that free with my time and willing to serve others.

I am also grateful to my roommates for pushing me to surf.  It was so great!  I can’t wait until my next trip to Hawaii when I can get out on the waves again- anyone want to come with.  Taking applications now? What a glorious trip it has been.  There will definitely be a tear or two on my face tomorrow as I board my flight.  The trips always go too fast but what a memorable one it is.

Hawaii Photos

Well friends I am having a great time here on Oahu!  Today was the best day so far.  In the morning my roommates went to hike Diamondhead which is a giant crater and a bit beyond my exercise stamina, so instead I went to the beach close to the house.  It was fantastic!  (And yes I went by myself which I have no problem doing at all.  I live alone for goodness sakes so why would I have issues going to the beach alone yet some people seem shocked by this behavior?)

The waves were the perfect strength and I swam until my arms ached and then I read and soaked up sun.  (One of the many great things about swimming in the ocean is you can swim forever and hardly move a meter!  Its like a giant endless swimming pool!) When the girls got home we went to the Hawaii temple and did a session which was peaceful and thought-provoking as usual.  When we got home we ate a delicious healthy dinner and had ice cream while watching 500 Days of Summer– one of my favorites.

It really might be the best day of my life.  Aside from getting caught in a dozy of a rain storm it was practically perfect in every way.  (The rain and clouds actually kept it cooler than normal and so it had its positive side!).

I think  my body likes Hawaii.  Since I got here my blood sugar levels have been better than ever.  Today it was down to 75 and I felt great!  That is the lowest it has ever been since I started testing in February.  Amazing.

It all makes me wonder if I will ever have the guts to really move here.  If it wasn’t so far away from family and my job I’d move here in a second but those are big factors…I would love it though.  I know people say ‘Its not the same to live where you vacation’ and I get that but I am convinced I would love it.  Just the continual sun would do me good.  Hmmm…I can fantasize and maybe someday I will do it?  Maybe once I get healthy I’ll be ready to conquer new challenges and places?  We will see.

Anyway, I am having a great trip and am very happy.  Here are a few photos of the vacation so far!  Enjoy! (I know its tedious to look at other people’s vacation photos but if people can post a million photos of their kids on blogs, I can post a few of my vacation! 🙂

I will keep updating throughout the trip.  Take care! (Btw I did go with people!  All these photos just happen to be of only me!)

Love this photo

In front of the Dole plantation

Today at the beach
There were 8 sea turtles at the beach by the house. The most I've ever seen!
pretty sailboat picture I took today. I am trying to learn more about photography bc everyone else in my family is great.
the Hawaii temple
A rainbow connection

Gift From the Sea

Over the weekend I must admit to feeling a little depressed.  It’s hard to explain exactly why.  It may have been the new injections, the surgery date or that I didn’t feel great and was simply exhausted, wrung out in every way- emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually.  I was perhaps also a little bummed out at having to move my DC trip to September and I’m sure being alone over the Easter holiday didn’t help.  Who knows?  Sometimes I feel down for no reason at all, not very often, but it does happen.

Needing some comfort and inspiration I turned to a little book I had not read in at least 10 years, A Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh.  It was the perfect book for me to read at that moment and I devoured it!  (It’s not long- 127 pages.  Its more of a collection of essays than a book)  In the book Anne shares her contemplations after a vacation at the ocean.

Looking at a hermit crab leaving his shell Anne says “He ran away, and left me his shell.  It was once a protection to him.  I turn the shell in my hand, gazing into the wide open door from which he made his exit.  Had it become an encumbrance?  Why did he run away? Did he hope to find a better home, a better mode of living?  I too have run away, I realize, I have shed the shell of my life, for these few weeks of vacation.”

What a glorious thing such shedding is!  I feel the same way when I go to Hawaii.  Its sounds cheesy but the mere sound of the waves makes my problems float away and the brightness of the sun makes life feel alive, reborn.

Anne goes on to analyze her life, “I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.  I want, in fact- to borrow the language of the saints- to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”

What a grand goal!  Of course, life becomes very complicated and busy.  Anne says “the life I have chosen as a wife and mother entrains a whole caravan of complications…This is not the life of simplicity but the life of multiplicity that the wise men warn us of.  It leads not to unification but to fragmentation.  It does not bring grace; it destroys the soul.  And this is not only true of my life,  I am forced to conclude; it is the life of millions of women in America.”

What is Anne’s solution to such a challenging problem? Well she compares each phase in life to different types of shells found at the beach:

1.  The Channeled Whelk- the abandoned home of a hermit crab.  “Blurred with moss, knobby with barnacles, its shape is hardly recognizable anymore.  Surely, it had shape once.  It has a shape still in my mind.  What is the shape of my life? The shape of my life today starts with a family…I have also a craft, writing, and therefore work I want to pursue.  The shape of my life is determined by many other things: my background and childhood, my mind and its education, my conscience and its pressures, my heart and its desires.”

She goes on to talk about the difficulties of balancing all these shapes.  “Simplification of outward life is not enough.  It is merely the outside.  But I am starting with the outside.  I am looking at the outside of a shell, the outside of my life- the shell.  The complete answer is not to be found on the outside, in an outward mode of living.  This is only a technique, a road to grace. The final answer, I know, is always inside.  But the outside can give a clue, can help us find the answer.”

2. Moon Shell- “This is a snail-shell, round, full and glossy as a horse-chestnut.  Comfortable and compact…”  With the moon shell Anne talks about the importance of solitude and being comfortable in one’s skin.  “No man is an island, said John Donne.  I feel we are all islands- in a common sea. We are all, in the last analysis, alone.  And this basic state of solitude is not something we have any choice about.  We are solitary.  We may delude ourselves and act as though this were not so.  That is all.”

Anne goes on to talk about the crowding in on solitude from modern life.  “Women, who used to complain of loneliness, need never be alone anymore.  We can do our housework with soap-opera heroes at our side.  Even day dreaming was more creative than this; it demanded something of oneself and it fed the inner life. Now, instead of planting our solitude with our own dream blossoms we choke the space with continuous music, chatter and companionship to which we do not even listen.  It is simply there to fill a vacuum…We must learn to be alone. ”

3. Double Sunrise- This shell was a gift from a friend. “Each side, like the wing of a butterfly, is marked with the same pattern; translucent white except for three rosy rays that fan out from the golden hinge binding the two together.  I hold two sunrises between my thumb and finger.”  Anne goes on to talk about the purity of the gift and what she calls the ‘pure relationship’.

“Every relationship seems simple at its start.  The simplicity of love, or friendliness, the mutuality of first sympathy seems, at its initial appearance- even if merely in exciting conversation across a dinner table- to be a self-enclosed world.  Two people listening to each other, two shells meeting each other, making one world between them.  There are no others in the perfect unity of that instant…”

The she goes on to say ‘how swiftly, how inevitably the perfect unity is invaded; the relationship changes’.   However, if we look we can find glimpses of the ‘pure relationship’ all around us.  Anne also recommends for couples temporary returns ‘to the pure relationship.’  She says our children need these glimpses also “Does each child not secretly long for the pure relationship he once had with the mother when he was ‘the baby’? And if we were able to put into practice this belief and spend more time with each child alone- would he not only gain in security and strength but also learn an important first lesson in his adult relationship?”

4. The Oyster Shell- Naturally we demand relationships that are more than the passions of a the purest moments.  This brings Anne to the oyster shell. “Each is fitted and formed by its own life and struggle to survive…Sprawling and uneven it has the irregularity of something rowing.  It looks rather like the house of a big family, pushing out one addition after another to hold its teeming life…It is untidy, spread out in all directions, heavily encrusted with accumulations and in its living state- this one is empty and cast up by the sea- firmly imbedded on its rock”

The oyster shell symbolizes the middle years of marriage (or I related it to the middle years of life). It is here that ‘many bonds, many strands, of different textures and strength, form making up a web that is taut and firm.  The web is fashioned of love.  Yes, but many kinds of love: romantic first, then a slow-growing devotion, and playing through these a constantly rippling companionship”.

As a single girl I must say- that is the dream.  ‘a constantly rippling companionship’.  I love it!

5. Argonata-  “These are in the beach-world certain rare creatures, who are not fastened to their shell at all.  It is actually a cradle for the young, held in the arms of the mother argonaut who floats within to the surface, where the eggs hatch and the young swim away.  Then the mother argonaut leaves her shell and starts another life.”

With this shell Anne contemplates on the second half of life when children have left the shell.  Anne says ‘ I believe after the oyster bed, an opportunity for the best relationship of all: not a limited, mutually exclusive one, like the sunrise shell; and not a functional, dependent one, as in the oyster bed; but the meeting of two whole fully developed persons.”

You may find it odd that I would be so moved by more talk of marriage but with so many evils fighting relationships- pornography, addiction, infidelity, workaholism- it is comforting to read of the potential for complete relationships.  Sometimes I am prone to be a bit cynical about love but in reading Anne’s words I thought of the relationships I do have and how they have grown.  My relationship with my parents, siblings, friends and myself have all changed and are changing each day.  How comforting to know that even more potential love is possible as relationships grow.

Anne says “The joy of such a pattern is not only the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment.” She then asks “What makes us hesitate and stumble?  It is fear, I think, that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moments or clutch greedily toward the next.  Fear destroys ‘the winged life.’ But how to exorcise it?  It can only be exorcised by its opposite, love.  When the heart is flooded with love there is no room for fear, for doubt, for hesitation.”

I know this was a super long post but I felt so inspired by Gift from the Sea and  I wanted to share it with those I love.  Like Anne when I think of the ocean I am filled with light and peace. I think this is because the ‘sea recedes and returns eternally’.  I believe I am a part of creating eternal relationships, whether it be with a family member or a friend- or someday something more.  What we do now has more significance then we realize and Anne’s words helped me remember all of my current challenges are part of my great collection of shells, which eventually will be vibrant, beautiful and eternal.

I hope I have done the book justice.  It moved me and felt like a big hug from my Heavenly Father.  I loved it.  Have any of you read it?  What did you think?

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My Hawaiian Fantasy

Of Hawaii, Mark Twain said

“When you are in that blessed retreat, you are safe from the turmoil of life; you drowse your days away in a long deep dream of peace; the past is a forgotten thing, the present is heaven, the future you leave to take care of itself. You are in the center of the Pacific Ocean; you are two thousand miles from any continent; you are millions of miles from the world; as far as you can see, on any hand, the crested billows wall the horizon, and beyond this barrier the wide universe is but a foreign land to you, and barren of interest”

As everyone knows I love Hawaii. For years I wondered why my cousins made such a big deal about Hawaii and then in 2007 I went and was totally hooked.  There are literally two things I don’t like about Hawaii- cockroaches and the heat/humidity.  Both a small price to pay for tropical paradise.

For my entire life Grabber has owned a time-share of sorts on the Northern Shore of Oahu, Hawaii.  (For the life of me I will never understand how it took me so long to get to the island! I blame my parents.  What were they thinking?) It is near a small town called Haleiwa.  The house itself is actually two homes- one called the Grabber house, and one called the Cottage.  As the name suggests the house has more space where the cottage gets the view and the screened in porch.  The lot sits in front of a rocky section of beach with amazing views and adjacent to another beach known for sea turtles.

the rocky beach outside the house
the house

Haleiwa is also 18 minutes to Laie, Hawaii home of BYUH and the Polynesian Cultural Center.  This is an amazing cultural park where you can learn all about the native music, dances and food.  Definitely worth the money. Even closer to the house there are a lot of fun places to eat in Haleiwa including the Grass Skirt Grill, Cafe Haleiwa and the Dole Plantation. I could spend my entire trip in Haleiwa and Laie and be perfectly content.

At the PCC getting inked!
matsimotos shaved ice. So good after a long day at the beach

It almost goes without saying how much I love the beaches in Hawaii.  I love the beach anywhere but especially in Hawaii.  On the good beaches the sand is soft, the breeze is light and the views spectacular.  I can’t think of a better day then setting up my beach chair, reading a good but silly book (there are particular types of books for reading on the beach- I will have to do a post on that some day) and soaking in the sun (sunscreen on!).  My favorite beaches are the ones with soft sand and deep enough water to really swim in.  I will go until my arms are about to fall off.  I sometimes have to be reminded to take a break.  I know everyone says this but I honestly could go to the beach every day and not tire of it.  Its the best!

it just doesn't get better than this

 

Stef and I at hanauma bay after a long day snorkeling. Excuse the frizzy hair! Stef is coming with me again this year. I love her!

Now you may find it odd for me to be posting about Hawaii now when I am not planning on another visit for nearly 6 months.  Perhaps it is strange  but what you may not understand is I literally think about Hawaii almost every day.  I think most posts would be about Hawaii if I let it. I have a fantasy of moving there some day and starting my own smoothie and bookstore (to sell all good books for reading on the beach!).  I promise you this- I will find a way to retire there.  It’s happening so get ready!  Also, it’s snowing like crazy here in Utah…Oh, to be back at my island home…. Maybe I will get lucky and meet someone from Hawaii and he’ll swoop me off and we’ll live there forever….Wow.  Better control myself!

Anyway, I love Hawaii.  The first time I went was one of the worst years of my life and I think Hawaii saved me.  It made me happy when little else could.  It is my happy place. I hope that all of you get to enjoy it some day.

My upcoming trip in June should be even more fun because I will be trim and in shape!  Can’t wait.  My goal is to take surfing lessons.  Even if I stink at it I want to try.  Aloha!

happiness