Reunited with Taffy

Tuesday, 30 Aug 2005 | Pets, Travel

Toni and I picked up Taffy today from the pet boarding kennel. She did very well, but did suffer a little separation anxiety. Toni and I missed her so much while we were gone on vacation. It was nice to spend the day with Taffy. She was delighted to come home. I love how she sits in the crook of my arm and it was wonderful to experience that again. She's the best dog ever. :D

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Safely Home from Hawaii

Monday, 29 Aug 2005 | Family, Travel

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Toni, Erin, my dad and I are safely back home in Southern California after our 16-day trip to Honolulu, Hawaii. We had a marvelous time and Hawaii is so beautiful, but it's great to be home. I love to travel, but I love coming home as well.

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Diamond Head

Saturday, 27 Aug 2005 | Travel

Erin and I got up early to take a hike to the top of Diamond Head this morning. We left the hotel in time to arrive at the parking lot at the base when it opened at 6:00 am. There was a $5 fee per car for parking.

My friend Roxane had told me to bring a flashlight because there is a tunnel and stairs along the way up that are pitch dark. I was happy to find out in advance to our hike that electric lights had been installed. I decided to not take my camera because the climb could be tiring and I knew the humidity tended to drain me. I was a little disappointed to not have pictures from the top, but I think it was the right choice nonetheless.

Erin had no difficulty hiking to the top, but I had to ask her to stop so I could rest for a moment several times on the way up. The beginning of the walk is a nicely paved sidewalk at a slight incline. It turns into a rock paved trail next. The trail is nice, but the surface is uneven, so care should be taken to not stumble. Later, the trail turns into a long, steep series of steps, an inclined path through a tunnel and a spiral staircase. There is one point near the top where the passage is very low, requiring one to duck down to pass through. There are metal handrails installed along the entire trail except the gently sloped sidewalk portion at the beginning.

At the very top, you go around a bend and you've reached the observation area. The multi-level observation area affords striking views in all directions with a particularly stunning view of Waikiki. You can see Pearl Harbor and the Punch Bowl in the distance. You can also see a breathtaking view of the Diamond Head Lighthouse against an ocean backdrop.

I recommend the hike to the top of Diamond Head for the exercise and the views. It's well worth the time, effort and parking fee to enjoy the bird's eye view of Oahu. I recommend going very early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.

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Hanauma Bay

Friday, 26 Aug 2005 | Travel

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We visited the Hanuama Bay Nature Preserve today. I had rented snorkel gear for Erin and Toni at Snorkel Bob's. I didn't get snorkel gear for myself because I wanted to keep my dad company, take pictures and I am not a very good swimmer. We arrived around 7:30 am so we could beat the crowd and the water is clearer for viewing fish.

We all took the tram down the hill to the beach. Erin and Toni went in the water to snorkel. They went out for two sessions and saw Parrot fish, Tangs and came right up next to a Honu, of which I was envious because I've become quite fond of Sea Turtles since my last visit to Oahu last summer. I was happy that they had a wonderful snorkeling.

While Toni and Erin were in the ocean, I took pictures, which is no surprise, and kept my dad company. After a while, we took the tram up to get a snack and refreshments while they finished snorkeling.

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USS Arizona Memorial

Thursday, 25 Aug 2005 | Travel

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Today we went to see the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. We got there at 6:00 am so we could get in line near the front. One of the few survivers of the USS Arizona greeted us as we entered the building. I was touched by his warm persona. We were fortunate enough to get on the first boat to the memorial. It was a sobering experience to say the least. I was suprised to see oil still rising from the wreckage of the USS Arizona still submerged under the familiar white memorial.

Toni and Erin listened to the guided tour headsets and enjoyed the extra information. I bought my dad a very neat solid brass commemerative coin at the gift shop. It was packaged in a a handsome velvet jewelry box, encased in plastic with a certificate of authenticity. My dad really liked the coin and that made me very happy.

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Paradise Cove Luau

Tuesday, 23 Aug 2005 | Travel

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The Paradise Cove Luau was our destination this evening. We boarded the bus from Waikiki to Kapolei at the Hilton Hawaiian Village next door to the Hale Koa at 4:15 pm. They were the large Roberts Hawaii tour buses with the rabbit and 70's style lettering on them. I was in heaven because I was finally cool in the air conditioned bus, although the rest of our party was cold. I seem to have a hard time with humidity. It seems to drain me a lot.

We arrived at Paradise Cove about an hour later. Our tour guide was an Asian gentleman who goes by the name Number 9 and we were told repeatedly that our bus was bus Number 10. He was very friendly and humorous, speaking over the loudspeaker for a good portion of the ride to the luau.

The first thing we did was get a lei. The guys got Kukui Nut Leis and the gals got Fresh Flower Leis, but my dad asked for a flower lei and Erin asked me to switch leis for the evening. Then we posed for pictures taken with a Hawaiian girl and guy. Our package included a picture for each guest. Then we each received a complimentary Mai Tai and were shown to our reserved seats at the dinner table. We were located in the front near the stage.

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Once we got settled, we went to check out the activities included in the experience. We all got temporary tattoos, drawn by the same man who performs the fire dance in the luau show. Toni's tattoo was a flower, Eriin got a snake, I got a Honu and my dad asked for a bird. Erin and Toni learned to make headbands with flowers. Then we watched the Shower of Flowers where a man climbs one of the tallest palm trees and showers the guests with flowers. Toni caught one of the flowers in the air and was very happy. It is said to be good luck to catch a flower, but one shouldn't pick up a flower that touches the ground because it is considered bad luck. Toni and I wanted to try paddling the canoes, but the line was long.

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The Hukilau was on the beach and was a ceremony where they pull in the fish nets from the ocean. They had selected numerous guest and adorned them with grass skirts to participate in the ceremony. I was so glad they hadn't picked me because they were instructed to do a number of silly and humorous things. I was quite content to watch others acting silly. LOL

Then they called us over to the Imu Amphitheater to watch a show of dance and the uneathing of the Imu pig. I caught a few shots of the lovely sunset just before the festivities began. The evening was perfect, with lovely clouds, no rain and a gentle breeze.

Next, we went back to our seats to enjoy a luau dinner. The food was quite tasty and there was plenty. We were served because we had the deluxe package. When it came time for dinner, they forgot to serve Toni her dessert. So, I went over to Number 9 and inquired about it. He came through big time by personally bringing a huge plate of desserts just for Toni. :D

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The luau show was next. By this time, we had our table covered with drinks. Each of us were given 6 drink coupons, so that entitled us a total of 24 drinks for the evening! I had a two or three Mai Tais, but then switched to soft drinks later. It was funny to see all the drinks. The show was very entertaining with male and female hula dancers, music, singing and a fire dancer. When they played the Hawaiian Wedding Song, I asked Toni to dance under the beautiful star filled sky. It was very romantic and she loved it.

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When Erin had boarded the bus on the way to the luau, there was a man making something with a reed. She asked him what he was making and he told her that it was grass and he was making a grasshopper. Erin just replied, "Whatever" thinking he was joking around. Well, when she was leaving the bus when we got back to Waikiki, she noticed that he actually had made an intricate grasshopper which was now sitting on the dash of the bus. He said, "See, I did make a grasshopper." Erin was so surprised when he told her to get it off the dash to take home and keep!

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North Shore

Monday, 22 Aug 2005 | Travel

Today we took a trip to Oahu's North Shore. Originally, we were planning to drive directly toward Haleiwa and then follow the Kamehaha Highway around to the east and then south back to Waikiki. However, our plans changed after Toni called her cousin Esther. Esther wanted to get together for dinner and her husband Steve wouldn't be off work until later, so she proposed meeting at 4:00 pm for dinner. Since it was still before noon, we would have reached Haleiwa too early. So, I turned around and decided to take the opposite loop to North Shore.

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We stopped at a number of beaches and lookout points to take pictures and enjoy the view on our drive. The water was so blue and multicolored due to the coral. I think the ocean was the deepest blue I've ever seen it that day. You could see the coral beneath the surface clearly with Toni's polarized Ray Bans. It was so neat.

At one point, I noticed a sign for Macadamia Nut farm and store and decided to pull in to take a look. They had all sorts of Macadamia products and Hawaiian goods in general. Toni bought some lotion and I bought a very delicious bag of Honey Coconut Macadamia Nuts. I bought some fresh pineapple for Erin, her favorite Hawaiian treat and a freshly cracked coconut with a straw for Toni. It was filled with coconut water and I was curious to try it out. Erin and I found it not pleasing at all, but Toni liked it pretty well.

Along the Eastern Coast of Oahu, I was amazed by the beautiful green mountains to the left of the highway. They were sheer and beautiful. They reminded me of the mountains you would see on the Fantasy Island television show; just stunning. I was also amazed by how the ocean appeared to be almost level with the road.

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My dad noticed a sign for the Yellow Shrimp Shack which is a truck converted into a moving restaurant which specializes in fried and boiled shrimp. Toni had seen a segment on the Food Network about the Shrimp Shack and was eager to try it. A little after the sign, the traffic slowed to a stop. We were told by a local and a police officer that the highway was closed up ahead because of an accident resulting in several telephone poles falling and blocking the road. We were told that we should turn around because there was no telling how long it would be before traffic would be restored.

We were right at the point where we spied the Yellow Shrimp Shack. It was parked next to a small general store and had picnic tables and a grass parking lot. When I parked the car, an employee at the Yellow Shrimp Shack informed me via a megaphone that I was parking in someone's yard and would have to move to the official parking area for the restaurant. We decided to try some shrimp before turning back. We ordered one plate of Fried Shrimp and Rice for $9.95 to share since we were going to have dinner in a couple of hours. Well, there were not very many shrimp and the flavor was bland even though there was lot of minced garlic and the texture was not as firm as I would have liked. None of us liked it very much. I'm not sure why so many people rave about the Shrimp Shack. I thought it was expensive for what you get and mediocre in taste. The shrimp we had at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. was much better in my opinion.

So, then I had our Hetz Neverlost satellite navigation system chart the fastest route to Haleiwa. We had to hurry to make it by 4:00 pm to meet Esther and Steve. We hit some heavy rush hour traffic, but we got to the restaurant in time. We had pizza and enjoyed meeting and talking to Esther and Steve very much. They enjoyed our company so much, they invited us back to their house on Saturday for an Enchilada dinner. Steve promised to teach Erin surfing and rock climbing too. We gladly accepted and headed back to the hotel.

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Keo's in Waikiki

Sunday, 21 Aug 2005 | Food, Restaurants, Travel

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Tonight we tried Keo's in Waikiki for dinner, recommended to us by Mary Pat as the best place for Thai food. While we attempted to find parking, Toni spotted the hotel she had stayed in with her family when she last visited Honolulu 21 years ago. I tried to valet park, but the attendant said the valet service was ending. He told me to go down the block and I could park in the valet lot for free.

The restaurant was wonderfully decorated with tons of beautiful flower arrangements. I was told the owner has a flower business too. It was the first time my dad and Erin had tried Thai food. We ordered Chicken Pad Thai, Garlic Beef with Mushrooms, Yellow Curry with Chicken and Thai Sticky Rice. All the entrees were good. I liked the Yellow Curry the best. The Thai Sticky Rice was a long grained rice that was much stickier than traditional Asian steamed rice. It was a favorite with Erin. She loved it. The Chicken Pad Thai was good, but wasn't nearly as sweet as I'm accustomed to having it. Actually, it's usually too sweet for me and I like it to be spicy to balance the sweetness.

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Chicken Pad Thai

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Yellow Curry with Chicken

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Garlic Beef with Mushrooms

Keo's in Waikiki
2028 Kuhio Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 951-9355

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Leonard's Bakery

Sunday, 21 Aug 2005 | Food, Restaurants, Travel

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Leonard's Bakery was our destination for dessert following a wonderful plate lunch at the Rainbow Drive-In. Toni and I had heard about malasadas, a Portuguese fried pastry, on Food Network and Pastor Francis told us we had to try them while we were here.

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A malasada is about the size and shape of a jelly filled doughnut. The traditional malasada is not filled and rolled in granulated sugar hot from the fryer. There is also a cinnamon sugar rolled version which I liked the best. In addition, there are several cream filled versions available in flavors like coconut, guava, chocolate and custard. The outside is lightly crisp, but still pillow soft with a moist doughnut interior. I need to warn you that malasadas are extremely addictive. We loved them and miss them very much.

Leonard's Bakery
933 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816
(808) 737-5591

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Rainbow Drive-In

Sunday, 21 Aug 2005 | Food, Travel

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We went to the Rainbow Drive-In for lunch after church. We were familiar with Hawaiian plate lunches from L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Ono Hawaiian BBQ in California. A plate lunch is a lunch that's served on a plate and consists of steamed rice, macaroni salad and an entree, typically chicken, beef or fish, either barbecued, fried or curried.

The food was wonderful and very inexpensive. Erin and my dad loved the Beef Curry, but unfortunately it's only available on certains days of the week. We also liked the mixed plate which comes with barbecued beef and fried chicken and Mahi Mahi. I really enjoyed the Chicken with Gravy. My dad and I found the fried apple turnovers very tasty. They also have hamburgers and french fries as all good fast food restaurants do.

I definitely recommend the Rainbow Drive-In for a taste of the fast food locals enjoy. We dined there several times during our stay.

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Horizon Christian Fellowship

Sunday, 21 Aug 2005 | Christian, Family, Food, Travel

We attended church at Horizon Christian Fellowship today. This church is part of the Calvary Chapel network and was started through Horizon Christian Fellowship in San Diego, California where Mike MacIntosh is pastor.

The service is held at a Waikiki Golf Course and the congregation was quite small. The pastor, Francis Kamahele, a native Hawaiian, gave a very interesting and funny sermon that we all enjoyed immensely. I noted that the pastor used an Apple iBook for his notes during the service. It was nice to see how close the members were. A man and wife, members of the church we met that morniing were scheduled to leave for another Island in the next couple of weeks. Pastor Francis asked everyone from the pulpit if they could bring food the following Sunday so they could eat together and send off the couple.

After the service, we talked to chuch members and Pastor Francis for a bit. I asked the pastor about the Hang Loose sign locals make by curling the three middle fingers and raising the thumb and pinky. He said that it isn't technically called hang loose. The locals refer to it as Shaka which means "How you brah? Howzit. How's everything?". When done properly the raised fingers should be bent and not stretched out straight.

Then I asked about good places to eat and he told us about the Rainbow Drive-In, Leonard's Bakery and Ono Hawaiian Foods. We tried the first two and both were winners. We'll have to try the third when we go back to Hawaii. ;D

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Dinner with Denise and Mary Pat

Saturday, 20 Aug 2005 | Family, Friends, Travel

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We went to Mary Pat's house in Kailua today for dinner. Mary Pat is the cousin of Denise who I know from work. She has a beautiful Airedale Terrier named Winston who looked just like a stuffed Gund animal. Her husband was out of town in South Korea for his work. Denise has always been crazy about my cooking and especially loves my mushrooms. Since I knew she would be staying with her cousin in Hawaii during our vacation, Denise and Mary Pat invited me to come over to prepare dinner and they would provide the ingredients.

Mary Pat's house is beautifully located in Kailua at the top of a hill overlooking the ocean and two small islands. She told us that she sees many celebrites who own houses in the area, Michelle Pfeiffer and Famous Amos to name a couple. The view was breathtaking from her patio. Toni, Erin, dad and Denise played cards while Mary Pat and I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner.

I made Filet Mignon, Sauteed Mushrooms with Brandy Cream Sauce and Baked Potatoes for dinner. Mary Pat watched with interest the whole time I prepped and cooked dinner, asking questions and making conversation. She was the ultimate hostess and her kitchen was well stocked and joy to cook in. My only quibble was her stovetop was electric since I prefer gas, but that was fine. Denise had asked Mary Pat to watch carefully while I made the mushrooms since I don't give out that recipe. It's the only recipe I've developed on my own and I am highly secretive about it. I laughed when later Denise told me Mary Pat wouldn't divulge my recipe. Way to go Mary Pat!

Mary Pat bought a Cabernet Sauvignon to go with dinner which paired wonderfully with the steak. Everyone loved the food including myself. I am a fan of my own cooking too. After dinner Mary Pat served Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream with Fresh Blueberries and Blackberries which was wonderful. We talked some more after dinner and I took some pictures. Mary Pat gave me a list of restaurants to try during our stay.

We had a great time at Mary Pat's. She was so nice to us. She even gave my dad and I each a Hawaiian CD to take home with us. Thank you so much Mary Pat for the best time ever!

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Raiatea Helm

Friday, 19 Aug 2005 | Family, Music, Travel

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Raiatea Helm, one of Hawaiian Music's rising young stars performed at the Made in Hawaii Festival at the Blaisdell Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. My dad was thrilled that I got a shot of Raiatea and him at the event. Raiatea flew in from Maui for the day to perform at the Festival. It was great to see her in such a small and intimate venue. Dad had Raiatea sign her Sweet & Lovely CD after the performance.

The Made in Hawaii Festival is an annual event showcasing Hawaiian made and produced foods and items. We all had a great time listening to Raiatea and perusing all the great booths filled with Hawaiian products.

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Made in Hawaii Festival

Friday, 19 Aug 2005 | Travel

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We all had a wonderful time at the Made in Hawaii Festival at the Neal Blaisdell Center today. I thought for sure Erina and Toni would find the event tedious and boring since we were going there mainly to see Raiatea Helm perform her Hawaiian Music. Much to my surprise, Erin and Toni loved it! Erin loved that it was a swap meet shopping atmosphere with all kinds of booths. Toni, not ordinarily a shopper, enjoyed the displayed products very much too.

The first thing we did was make a beeline for the concert area to get front row seats to see Raiatea. She's a Hawaiian music singer that my dad and I reallly enjoy. We both have her two albums and love to listen to them over and over. The concert was short, but very entertaining. Raiatea has a beautiful voice which sounds just as good in person as on her recordings. She played the ukelele and was accompanied by her dad on guitar and a steel guitar and bass. My dad had a wonderful time listening to her perform."

Before the concert began, I took a little time to go check out the merchandise with Erin. There were all sorts of food and products to see and taste. A booth selling silver rings caught Erin's eye. I saw a silver Honu pendant that I thought Toni would like.

Later, we returned to the silver ring display. There was a bin with hundreds of rings of various sizes and thicknesses. Toni and Erin eached picked out 2 rings of their choce. Then I took Toni to see the Honu pendant I had spied earlier. She fell in love with it immediately, so I had to get it for her. She has a silver necklace I bought for her in Monterey and a gold necklace I got for her at the Hale Koa PX. I had bought her a black sandal pendant in yellow gold last year in Hawaii, but she didn't have a necklace to wear it with until now. She was very happy with the Honu pendant. I love that I know her so well and can pick out things she'll enjoy. :D

We were hungry from browsing the booths, so we decided to get some food at the show. Toni and I had Teriyaki Chicken with Rice and my dad got Beef Stew with Rice. The Teriyaki Chicken was very flavorful. I was surprised how good it was for this sort of venue. I noticed the locals called it Teri Chicken. Erin decided to try a Boba drink with Tapioca and Pineapple. It was the first time she had this type of drink, but liked it a lot. The rest of us weren't too thrilled with it. I couldn't get used to the huge straw with Tapioca and fruit projectiles flying through it. Boy, I'm a poor excuse for a half Asian, huh? Erin ordered some Garlic Fries which were yummy, but did a number on your breath! They weren't on the menu, but she heard someone order them and thought they sounded good.

The Made in Hawaii Festival was definitely a lot of fun and inexpensive too. It was only $2 each for admission including free concerts. We'll definitely do that again if we're in town when it's held in the future.

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Ramen at Ezogiku

Friday, 19 Aug 2005 | Family, Food, Restaurants, Travel

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Wonton Ramen

I spotted a Ramen noodle soup shop last night that I just had to visit today. It's called Ezogiku and is located in downtown Waikiki. It's a very plain restaurant with a wrap around counter and tables on either side. The deor was very simple, but the food looked yummy and the frequent lines of people out the front door clued me in that it would be a good eating experience.

The food was inexpensive and delicious. Erin and I loved the Ramen so much we came back just the two of us another night to share a bowl and some Gyoza. I highly recommend Ezogiku.

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Jumbo Gyoza

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Pork Fried Rice

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California Rolls

Ezogiku
2146 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
(808) 923-6600

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Bishop Museum

Wednesday, 17 Aug 2005 | Travel

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Today we visited the Bishop Museum. It was interesting to see the many Hawaiian artifacts at the museum. Hawaiian Hall is a beautiful building with multiple levels of displays with a whale and Hawaiian canoe hanging from the ceiling. We watched a neat Hula demonstration there. All of us were amazed by the beauty of the Koa wood stairs and railings in Hawaiian Hall. A tour guide explained that the wood was shipped to the mainland to be milled and shipped back because there were no facilities to mill such large pieces of wood in Hawaii when the building was built.

We went to the Planetarium to view a film about comet impacted by a spaceship and visited the telescope dome to learn about solar flares. We got to see actual flares on the sun using special viewing devices.

At the gift shop, I was enthralled by the beauty of colorful bird feather leis they had for sale. There was a yellow and red one and a purple one that were so beautiful. The craftsmanship was extraordinary. I wanted to buy one badly, but they were pretty expensive due to the work involved, so I reconsidered. I had never seen a lei made from feathers before. There was also a colorful Hawaiian shirt I admired but didn't purchase either.

At the end of our time at the museum, we stopped at the snack bar for some ice cream treats and drinks before leaving.

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Waikiki Beach

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2005 | Travel

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We went to the beach today. We're so fortunate to be located right next to the beach at the Hale Koa. It's just a quick elevator ride downstairs and the pool and Waikiki Beach are right there! Although all beaches in Oahu are public, this stretch is not very busy because it is located adjacent to Fort DeRussy, one of four military recreation locations in the world.

We got some Hawaiian Shaved Ice at the pool snack bar. I love these and was happy to find that jumbo ones were available on the hotel property for a bargain. Yum!

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Ala Moana Center

Monday, 15 Aug 2005 | Travel

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We went to Ala Moana Center today to check out this great outdoor mall. Erin loves to shop, so I knew she would love this place. I bought some t-shirts at Crazy Shirts. I've always loved their logos and the softness of their shirts. We went to dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and the shrimp was excellent as always.

After dinner, we went to the International Market Place to shop for souvenirs. I hadn't been there before. It's like an Asian permanent swap meet right in the heart of Waikiki. There were lots of restaurants and vendors and hula dancers for entertainment this evening.

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Shopping at the NEX

Sunday, 14 Aug 2005 | Travel

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Today we went the the Naval Exchange aka the NEX and the Commissary at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. The NEX is wonderful because it's so large and the prices are good. We stocked up on drinks and snacks from the Commissary to have on hand in our rooms during our stay.

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Safely in Hawaii

Saturday, 13 Aug 2005 | Family, Travel

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We're safely in Honolulu, Hawaii. We landed at Honolulu International Airport at 1:22 pm and made it to the Hale Koa by 3:00 pm, just in time for check-in. The Hale Koa was nicer than I had expected. The main driveway leads to a beautiful covered lounge area with sofas and tables with the front desk just to the right. The parking garage is located across the street.

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Dave MacPherson in the News

Thursday, 11 Aug 2005 | Disneyland

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Dave MacPherson, the first person to purchase a Disneyland ticket, sent me some video stills of his story broadcast on television in Salt Lake City in honor of Disneyland's 50th Anniversary. I have come to know him through emails and find him to be a personable and kind person I'm honored to know.

This past July 18th some rare TV newsreel footage taken of me inside D-Land right after I bought the first ticket was shown on ABC4-TV in Salt Lake City. They had gotten the footage (which I had completely forgotten about) from the archives at the Disney Corp. headquarters in Burbank, CA.

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With the Mayonnaise Sauce

Wednesday, 10 Aug 2005 | Food, Observations, Restaurants

On Monday night I had dinner at the Hong Kong Restaurant, an unassuming Chinese restaurant in the Hemet Target Shopping Center. I was dining alone because Toni had a late lunch with Susan and Roberta. This was a restaurant I had heard about through a local radio station, so I decided to give it a try.

I don't really like dining alone in sit down restaurants all that much. It makes me feel a little lonely, so I find myself quietly checking out the surroundings. Well, it was no exception on this occasion. I had ordered the Sweet & Sour Pork half dinner special which comes with steamed rice. I also ordered some Fried Wontons.

While I was waiting for my order to arrive and sipping hot tea, a couple of elderly ladies were seated at a booth across from my table. I could hear them discussing what to order.

One lady asked the other if she liked Mu Shu Pork. The other asked if that was the one that comes wrapped like a little burrito and said yes, she liked it. Then she told the first lady how much she loves the Crispy Walnut Shrimp with the MAYONNAISE Sauce. She went on to say that it's delicious, but you need to ask for the MAYONNAISE Sauce because it's much better than the other sauce it comes with. Apparently, on one occasion she had asked for the MAYONNAISE sauce and they gave her the WRONG sauce. I found this a bit amusing how she was so emphatic about the sauce being right.

Well, they both ended up ordering the Crispy Walnut Shrimp with the Mayonnaise Sauce. I was quite intrigued by now, and was interested to see how much the one lady would like the dish. When the dinners arrived, both were quite impressed with how they looked. Now the lady skewered a shrimp with her fork and put it in her mouth. She tasted for a moment and exclaimed, Oh that's to die for. Apparently she was a believer too in the power of the MAYONNAISE Sauce.

Although the sound of a Mayonnnaise Sauce is a bit odd to me, I am quite certain I'll be returning to the Hong Kong Restaurant to tell the waiter, I'll have the Crispy Walnut Chicken with the MAYONNAISE Sauce because now I'm totally curious if this is as wonderful as the two ladies purport. LOL

Hong Kong Restaurant
3675 West Florida Avenue
Hemet, CA 92545
(951) 658-9889

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Birthday Lunch at Spencer's

Tuesday, 9 Aug 2005 | Food, Friends, Restaurants

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My friends, Denise, Judy, Velma and Martin from work treated me to a wonderful belated birthday lunch today at Spencer's Restaurant in Palm Springs. My actual birthday was Sunday and today was the soonest everyone was free. It was the first time I'd eaten there, so it was a special treat. Spencer's had such a nice and elegant atmosphere.

I had the Baked Panko Crusted Whitefish with lemon caper butter, chive mashed potatoes, sauteed spinach and glazed baby carrots. I had a great time visiting with everyone. Thank you so much to each one of you for such a thoughtful birthday outing!

Spencer's Restaurant
701 West Baristo Road
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 327-3446

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Birthday Dinner with Family

Monday, 8 Aug 2005 | Family, Food, Restaurants

Toni let me choose where I wanted to eat on my birthday yesterday. I chose Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill in Anaheim Hills for dinner because I love their food. Toni, Erin and I met my dad in Corona to drive to the restaurant together.

Everyday, we slow-roast our premium, mid-western meats and ribs for up to 18 hours. We then grill and sauce them to order over a live mesquite wood fire. This unique two-step cooking process produces flavorful, tender and addictive barbecue.

I had the Prime Rib and Mesquite Corn on the Cob. Toni and Erin shared the Fire Roasted Chicken which is very tender and moist. My dad tried the Filet Mignon. I had a bite of his steak and it was wonderful; seared nicely, tender, cooked perfectly medium, juicy with a great mesquite grilled flavor.

Since it was my birthday, I wanted to have dessert at RJ Patisserie in Hacienda Heights. It's a great French bakery and cafe run by Asians. Toni and I had been there once before and Erin and my dad were experiencing it for the first time.

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Toni, Erin and I ordered Iced Coffee. The Iced Coffee has a bold coffeee flavor and is served with a tiny pitcher of simple syrup and an ice filled glass containing individual Half & Half servings.

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My dad ordered a Cappuccino because he felt like something hot to drink with his dessert. It came in a beautiful cup and saucer with a petite Biscotto and a rock candy stirrer. The flavor was bold with a hint of cinnamon.

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I chose the Prince Charles for my dessert. It was a very chocolatey cake with dark chocolate drizzled on it. It reminded me of a Sacher Torte in cake consistency and flavor. It was garnished with fresh strawberry and mango and a ribbon of chocolate.

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Erin's choice of dessert was the Tiramisu. It was cut into the shape of a cute bell and was garnished with a fresh cranberry.

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Toni decided on the Black Forest. It was a very delicate and tasty chocolate cake with cherries and garnished with chocolate shavings and a fresh cranberry.

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My dad chose the Banquet for his dessert. It was pecan mousse which was mild and subtle in flavor with cake. It was garnished with fresh strawberry and blackberry and a chocolate leaf.

Since we all ordered different desserts, we shared bites so we could sample all the varieties we had ordered. My favorite was a toss up between the Black Forest and the Tiramisu. Toni liked her Black Forest the best. Erin thought her Tiramisu was the best. My dad liked his Banquet the most.

We all had a lovely time and it was a wonderful birthday shared with the people I love. I am so happy they indulged me by going to these special places for my birthday. Thank you so much, Toni, Erin and dad! :D

Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill
8022 East Santa Ana Canyon Road
Anaheim, CA 92808
(714) 974-6660

RJ Patisserie
1635 South Azusa Avenue
Hacienda Heights, CA 91745
(626) 810-6678

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Taffy's 60 Week Photo

Sunday, 7 Aug 2005 | Pets

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Taffy peers around our front door to see what's going on in the neighborhood.

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Happy Birthday from Mickey!

Sunday, 7 Aug 2005 | Disney

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To my surprise, today I found an email birthday greeting from Mickey Mouse addressed to me! What a great thing for a Disneyland and Mickey Mouse lover like me. I was tickled. :D

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Mickey Hawaiian Shirt

Monday, 1 Aug 2005 | Disney

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There's a shop called MacMillan's Resort Wear in Palm Springs where I discovered a very neat brand of Hawaiian Shirt named Reyn Spooner. I like the fabric because it's very heavy duty and well made. It's a blend of cotton and polyester, so it's not as cool as 100% cotton, but it's very wrinkle resistant when you're wearing it and that's very nice.

I had been wanting to get one of those Reyn Spooner shirts for some time now. Last week I decided to splurge and get one for myself since I'm going to Hawaii in less than two weeks. While browsing through their selection of patterns, I came across a Disney licensed Mickey Mouse patterned shirt. Well, I love Disneyland and Mickey Mouse, so this was the obvious choice. Even the color goes well with my skin tone. I wore it for the first time today and found it to be very comfortable. I know it will be one of my favorite shirts to wear when I'm relaxing in Waikiki very soon! :D

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Pirate Rubber Duckie's 4th Host

Monday, 1 Aug 2005 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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Wiesbaden, Germany


Host chocokat718
Location Wiesbaden, Germany
Arrival Date August 3, 2005
Previous Location Aurora, Colorado
Distance for This Leg 5,042 Miles
Total Distance 5,971 Miles

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Pirate Rubber Duckie's 3rd Host

Monday, 1 Aug 2005 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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Denver, Colorado


Host snapshots of life
Location Aurora, Colorado
Arrival Date July 24, 2005
Previous Location Chula Vista, California
Distance for This Leg 844 Miles
Total Distance 929 Miles

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Pirate Rubber Duckie's 2nd Host

Monday, 1 Aug 2005 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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San Francisco, California


Host HapaKorean
Location Chula Vista, California
Arrival Date July 15, 2005
Previous Location Palm Springs, California
Distance for This Leg 85 Miles
Total Distance 85 Miles

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Pirate Rubber Duckie's 1st Host

Monday, 1 Aug 2005 | Pirate Rubber Duckie

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Palm Springs, California


Host disneymike
Location Palm Springs, California
Arrival Date July 11, 2005
Previous Location None
Distance for This Leg 0 Miles
Total Distance 0 Miles

I am the owner and first host for Pirate Rubber Duckie. He started his World Tour from Palm Springs on July 11, 2005.

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