Living in Hawaii

Old Airport Beach, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii

Aloha from Hawaii

Wishing you Aloha from Hawaii! I’m writing this the night before I leave (almost 12 hours exactly-I fly out of Phoenix at 5:40 a.m., but I want to pre-schedule this post so I don’t have to worry about time zones {3 hours difference} and jet lag and taking time out of a family visit to lock myself in a room and be creative).

An unexpected visit

Last week I had nothing more to think about than a) why couldn’t I write and b) should I sign up for NaNo to force myself to write? Then my son-in-law called to see if I’d be willing to put Arizona on hold to fly to Big Island, Hawaii to babysit my grandson and granddaughter for a week or two or three. What would you say to such an offer?

It seems their regular babysitter ran into some problems and is unable to watch my grandson. (Granddaughter goes to nursery school). Enter Grandma to the rescue. Cue the trumpets and fireworks, get the parade permit signed, haul out the sweet tea and cheesecake.

Old Airport Beach, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

This chair is waiting for me.

Not my first visit

As some of you may know, we lived on Hawaii for a while. Three years, six months, and twenty-one days to be precise, but who’s counting? After visiting in 2011, “maybe we can retire there someday” morphed into “let’s quit our jobs and go”.

We first lived on Oahu, which is where Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, and Pearl Harbor are located. After a year-and-a-half, we moved to Big Island, where our daughter and family joined us in fall of 2014.

In 2016, we decided to move to the WAY less expensive state of Arizona, but we miss family (and the ocean), though our son and his family are in state. It’s hard being torn between two halves. Having a chance to return (this will be my second trip back) to the Aloha State is awesome!

Add a little drama to the night before

All packed and fresh off a Skype conversation with daughter and family, cash in hand for whatever purchases I might need, we drove to the nearest Panera for a 4:00 supper.

On the way home, stopped to wait for a light, we were rear-ended by a 87 year old senior. Information was exchanged, and I’ve filed a claim (hubby will have to handle the details while I’m away).

But, I might be a little sore on my early morning flights. Nothing a little sunshine and the sound of the ocean won’t cure, right?

See you in paradise!

Blessings and Aloha until the next post,

Cheryl

 

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#ThrowbackThursday

Today’s adventure in the Wayback Machine takes us to one of the most sacred places on Hawaii, The Kuaniloko Birth Stones State Monument. The sponsor for this post is my upcoming and returning trip next week to Hawaii. Big Island, not Oahu, but a long distance from my current home in Arizona.

Kukaniloko Birth Stones

Last week, Luke and I visited another “spot on the map”, Kukaniloko, the sacred birth stones of Oahu. We’ve since found out many locals have not visited this spot although it is one of the most sacred places in Hawaii.

For over 800 years, the ancient royals gave birth on the stones, ensuring high regard for the newborns.Click To Tweet The chiefs witnessed the birth and ceremonially cut the umbilical cord then pledged their support to the newborn.

No one else was at the spot when we arrived at the small parking area just off Route 80, directly opposite Whitmore Avenue. If we hadn’t seen the marker on our map, we would have thought we were driving into a pineapple field.  We drove past the drive and had to double back. A very worn, small King Kamehameha marker on the north side of the drive directed us in.

The parking lot was dirt, the iron-rich red soil common in the area. It had rained earlier, so we stepped carefully.

The path to the grove of eucalyptus trees that house the birthing stones is about 300 yards long. It may have been my imagination, but I swear I cold feel the echoes of labor pains as I walked it. How many royal mothers were carried over this same path, their bodies twisted in labor as their child struggled to be born?

Trade winds shook tree leaves as we walked among the stones. Small puddles of rainwater lay in the indentations carved by the feet of the birth retainers, who stood on the stones as they braced the mother.

Kukaniloko Birth Stones

A perimeter of stones circled the main area, a warning to keep out strangers.  We hardly spoke, the history of Kukaniloko pressed down on us.

Kukaniloko Birth Stones left me in awe. Few places I've visited have left me with a profound sense of awe and history. Click To Tweet

Monument Rocks, Kansas; South Point on Big Island; and Kukaniloko on Oahu. They’ve left an indelible impression.

For more information, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kukaniloko_Birth_Site

Blessings,

Cheryl

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commemorative plaque

Pearl Harbor and The USS Arizona

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, an event that hurled the United States into World War II , though it had been raging in Europe for years. 2,403 Americans died in our first encounter with the Japanese. 418,500 American military and civilians would die by the end of the war.

Most of us think of the sinking of the USS Arizona when Pearl Harbor. It is our touchstone, the most talked about tragedy of that day. 1,177 men died when a Japanese bomb hit its ammunitions magazine, sinking the ship in nine minutes.

The Arizona is the most visited memorial in the USS Arizona Memorial Park, but the park is more than one ship. On shore, a path winds past monuments, each one dedicated to a warship, destroyer, or other ship that was sunk or damaged during the war. Names of the crew who perished are engraved in granite. Monument after monument carries a grim reminder of the young men who sacrificed all for their country.

I lived on Oahu for two years. I’ve visited the memorial on more than one occasion. It’s hard to reconcile the beauty of the island and the almost perfect weather to this great loss. Perhaps this is why rainbows appear so frequently there, as a sign of respect and hope.

It’s hard not to be aware of the park. On every car trip into Honolulu from the west, one can’t help but see the golfball-shaped radar ball moored at Ford Island, a visible reminder of the events that happened on December 7, 1941 (“a date that will live in infamy). The few public parks on the shores of one of the largest natural harbors in the world are not family playgrounds, but acres of green shoreline, cast forever in the shadow of loss.

If you have a chance to visit Oahu, please take a few hours away from the glistening shores of Waikiki to visit the USS Arizona Memorial. Schedule your visit through one of the tour group such as Roberts Hawaii. It’s not Disney World, you don’t walk up and stand in line to hop a tender to the Arizona. Your group will be scheduled for a specific time. Visit the rest of the park while you wait.

The tour of the Arizona is fifteen minutes. You’re dropped off on the platform and expected to catch the next tender for shore. It’s not enough time, and there’s no rule you have to return after that period. Stay on the platform built over the sunken remains. Read the names of the men who died that day. Watch drops of oil rise to the surface from its carcass (2.3 quarts per day). Say a prayer or two. It is a very emotional, humbling experience.

USS Missouri, permanently docked at Pearl Harbor

View from the deck of the “Mighty Mo”.

 

 

The Mighty Mo

 

 

 

commemorative plaque embedded on the deck of the USS Missouri, docked in Pearl Harbor.

Surrender plaque embedded on the deck of the USS Missouri

 

Visit the USS Missouri “Mighty Mo”, the battleship permanently moored in the harbor. On its deck, the Japanese surrendered to the representative of the Allies, General Douglas MacArthur. (side note: the tables used to sign the documents was transported up from the mess hall. The company from which I retired manufactured them).

 

 

 

Wounded Warriors Flag raising ceremony on board the USS Missouri, permanently stationed in Pearl Harbor..

Wounded Warriors Flag raising ceremony on board the USS Missouri.

 

The Missouri is a living time capsule, preserved as it was in 1991 when it was decommissioned. Usually, on the upper deck, you can witness a flag raising ceremony. The day we visited, a flag was raised for the Wounded Warriors Project, a sobering reminder of what our armed services continue to sacrifice for our freedom.

 

 

 

I am proud, seventy-five years later, that America has not forgotten the events of Pearl Harbor and treats it with the reverence and honor it deserves.

Today’s ceremonies mark the first on a long list of seventy-fifth anniversaries in “the war to end all wars”. Take a moment to reflect on the greatest sacrifice man can make for his fellow man. Take a moment to thank the men and women who continue to do so.

 

National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific, near Pearl Harbor

Memorial at “Punchbowl” Cemetary

 

P.S.

National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific grave marker, near Pearl Harbor

Commemorative marker in “Punchbowl” Cemetary

If you have time, visit The National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific, aka “Punchbowl”, a cemetery nestled in the bowl of an ancient volcano, where more than 25,000 veterans are interred.

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