Thursday, June 9, 2011


Folks don’t be alarmed.  

You’ve had 25 days to prepare yourselves for this.  

No worries, the page is not having any connection problems.  

The site is not down.  I’m simply IN HAWAII!!!

Expect no more happy stories until after June 21st!  I’ll have plenty of material, pictures, tips, etc. upon my return!

ALOHA!!  (for real!)

A countdown to Hawaii: 1 stinkin day

Road to Hana

I love movies!!  But nothing could make me happier than to watch the road to Hana!

List your favorite happy movies here.  You can even break them down into categories – Favorite Movies from childhood, Funniest Movies, Sad Movies with the Happiest of Endings, Guilty Pleasures.  – The Happy Book

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 2 days


Nine times out of ten, when someone says ‘guest list’, you think dinner party.  Let’s say, for an instant, that Haleakala allowed me to create the perfect guest list for a perfect hike…

Haleakala is a special place that vibrates with stories of ancient and modern Hawaiian culture and protects the bond between the land and its people. The park also cares for endangered species, some of which exist nowhere else. Come visit this special place - renew your spirit amid stark volcanic landscapes and sub-tropical rain forest with an unforgettable hike through the backcountry.

Lucky for me, my guest list is already created and already practically perfect in every way.  We have eight bags to pack, eight mouths to feeds, eight accommodations to make…  Before I introduce you…note, that the names are straight out of the baby’s mouth!!

The planning man and spear head on this possible best vacation ever, Daddy Verne!!  His Hawaiian honey (not Hawaiian, but they’ve been so many times, she mine as well be) Mama Marie, batted those pretty doe eyes until there were 6 excited (or almost excited) folks tagging along with her.  Little Man McGough…or baby!  No choice in the matter…but what would a vacation be, if you couldn’t experience it through someone so new to the world.  Papi, a little frightened but a historic buff none-the-less; who wouldn’t dare pass up a chance to see Pearl Harbor.  GG, a mom to all and is eager to see new things and try new things.  Aunt Aaee, free spirited and as lovely as a princess!  Uncle Mommy, my knight-in-shining armor, how could I not want him there.  And I was lucky enough to be invited…

The ninth and tenth, Uncle bubba and Aunt Amanda can’t join us…but we’ll oh-so be thinking of them and we’ll be sure to take LOTS and LOTS of pictures!!  Although ten would have been a more concrete number, eight has turned out beautifully. 

Two days left, and this fantastical guest list will hiking their way to paradise!

Create the perfect guest list for the most perfect dinner party you can imagine.  Let nothing – time, budget, space, or reasonableness – limit you.  On the seating chart, place your grandma next to Elvis.  Include Aristotle alongside your beloved kindergarten teacher.  Add more seats if you wish.  And plan your menu, with, of course, eight courses of dessert.  
– The Happy Book

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 3 days

Discover Lahaina!!

Once known as Lele, which means “relentless sun” in Hawaiian, Lahaina is a historic town that has been transformed into a Maui hot spot with dozens of art galleries and a variety of unique shops and restaurants.

Once the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom in the early nineteenth century, Lahaina was also a historic whaling village during the whaling boom of the mid-1800’s. Up to 1,500 sailors from as many as 400 ships took leave in Lahaina including Herman Melville, who immortalized the era in his classic novel Moby Dick.

Today, Lahaina is on the National Register of Historic Places. You can still get a feel for old Lahaina as you stroll down lively Front Street and visit historic stops like the U.S. Seamen’s Hospital, Hale Paaho (Lahaina Prison), the Pioneer Inn and other sites on the Lahaina Historic Trail. Approximately 55 acres of old Lahaina have been set aside as historic districts.

Lahaina’s sunny climate and oceanfront setting also provides the perfect backdrop for a variety of activities and entertainment. Get a fresh taste of Hawaii Regional Cuisine in Lahaina’s fine restaurants. Get your tickets to some of Maui’s best seaside luau where you can eat, drink and watch the traditional dances of Polynesia. The award winning show Ulalena at the Maui Theatre offers a Broadway-caliber production showcasing the culture of Hawaii.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 4 days

Maui Beach

I’ll tell you what brings me comfort…imagining myself on one of Maui’s beaches!!

Maui has dozens of fabulous beaches to satisfy everyone’s tastes.  There are long, undeveloped sandy beaches, family-oriented beaches with lifeguards to protect you, and developed beaches with high-rise hotels right along the shore.  Maui is home to not one but two of the world’s best windsurfing beaches!  Maui also has beaches for everyone, young and old, sunbathers to extreme sports enthusiasts.

Maui bring me comfort! 

What things bring you comfort?  Hands around a warm coffee mug, a cat purring in your lap, your mom’s rice pudding.  List them here. 
– The Happy Book

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 5 days

Ride to Magnum House

We all know who Magnum is!!  Ever wonder why men in their 50s/60s have mustaches…it’s because of this private investigator living on Oahu!!
For all of you who don’t recognize the name Thomas Magnum, I’ve saved you the Wikipedia trouble.

Tom Selleck portrayed this PI.  The series ran from 1980-1988 in first-run broadcast on the American CBS television network.  According to the Nielsen ratings, Magnum P.I. consistently ranked in the top twenty U.S. television programs during the first five years that the series was originally telecast in the United States.  Originally appearing in a prime time American network timeslot of 8pm Eastern on Thursday s, it was one of the highest-rated shows on U.S. television.

In Magnum P.I.Robin's Nest is not located on the southeast coast of Oahu on Kalanianaole Highway, or near Waimanalo Beach. It's located on the fictional road of "Kalakaua" (street number "1429" or "1541"), somewhere on the North Shore! This is in spite of the fact that we can often see Rabbit Island in the background. Rabbit Island is nowhere near the North Shore! We also never see any waves breaking in the ocean! Luckily, the estate's general location was only referenced four* times in the show, so the odd location setting didn't really present much of a problem. Still, the Ferrari must have racked up a lot of miles coming and going from the north side of the island to all of the action on the south side!

The Robin Masters Estate (usually referred to as simply "The Estate") in the show sits on"200 acres .... from the mountains to the sea", including approximately fifty yards of beachfront property. A mountain range looms closely behind the estate, creating a stunning, beautiful, backdrop. The main compound of the property (what is seen in the show) sits on five acres and is surrounded by a unique lava rock wall on three sides (with an iron-gated entranceway) and a concrete sea wall on the ocean end. It is wired for security and features a large main house, a separate guesthouse, stables (no animals), orchards, a caretaker's house (or gatehouse), a greenhouse, a private tennis court, a man-made tidal pool, and a secluded, semi-private beach.
In the real world, the estate is much smaller than it appears in the show. It is a "mere" three acres in size! It's hard to see through all the foliage and the lava rock wall on the perimeter, but the estate actually sits very close to Kalanianaole Highway. The estate was built in the early 1930s and is comprised of a large, 8,921 sq. ft. Spanish Colonial Revival-style main house, a unique boathouse (with one bedroom, one full bath), a 1,880 sq. ft. gatehouse (with five bedrooms, two baths, and a two-car garage), a storage wing, a private tennis court, and, of course, the beach and tidal pool. The estate does not have stables or orchards. The boathouse was used as the exterior of the guesthouse (Magnum's quarters) in the show.

One of the highlights of the estate is the beautiful tidal pool, framed by a 500' by 50' stone wall (submerged at high tide, but visible at low tide). The enclosure is an ancient Hawaiian turtle pond known as Pahonu Pond (Pahonu means "turtle enclosure" in Hawaiian). The original purpose of the pond was to house captured sea turtles for
an Ali'i (High Chief) that favored turtle meat. Turtle meat was kapu (forbidden) to all but the chiefs under penalty of death. The turtle pond (and rock wall) was restored in the 1960's and was added to the Hawaii Historical Register in 1978. Because of the ancient turtle pond, the Anderson Estate is also often referred as "Pahonu", a name that can be found on a plaque by the front gate.

One of the reasons the Anderson Estate was chosen to represent Robin's Nest, in addition to its beauty and picturesque setting, is because it is located next to a piece of property (the Shriners Beach Club at 41-525 Kalanianaole Hwy) that had space for the production crew. The property was used as a temporary parking lot and staging area for the filming equipment.
Virtually all of the indoor scenes of Robin's Nest, namely the main house and the guesthouse scenes, were filmed at the Hawaii Film Studio (also known as "Five-O Stage"), located at 510 18th Avenue (next to Kapiolani Community College) at the foot of Diamond Head crater. Outside of balcony shots and the boathouse lanai, there were only three scenes filmed inside the real buildings of the Eve Anderson estate.

 Know this!  The house is not marked.  Keep your eyes open!  You wouldn’t want to take a picture of the wrong house!  Happy Hunting!! 
I plan on finding that house!!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 6 days

Diamond Head Hike

Diamond Head is an extinct volcanic crater located in Honolulu, Hawaii on the d island of Oahu.  It is located a short distance from Waikiki.  A hike up the crater provides good exercise and spectacular 360-degree views of the island.

Remember to bring your map!!

While the park service suggest you allow 1 ½ to 2 hours for a leisurely hike; the hike itself, round trip, takes less than 55 minutes.  This includes time for pictures.  Depending on the circumstance, you could even do it in less than half an hour.  Allotting more time might be a good idea though; just in case.

Plan to arrive as early in the day as possible.  It can get crowded and hot!
It is recommended sneakers (tennis shoes) or hiking boots, a lightweight windbreaker (wrap it around your waist in case it is needed), a hat, and a bottle of water (freeze it the night before if you can, it will be ready to drink at the top).

The cost is $5 per carload and $1 a person if you walk.  You can take the bus to Diamond Head for $2.50 per person each way but you’ll have to hike into the crater, pay your $1 fee, and walk through the small parking lot before you begin the actual trail hike.

The trail is 1.6 miles round trip and climbs 560 feet from the crater floor to an elevation of 761 feet.
After ten minutes of dirt and rock, the trail brings you to your first lookout area.  You’ll have a good look at the eastern side of the island.  The sun rises from side!  Now for the first set of stairs. 74 stairs later, you’ll go through a tunnel, 225 feet.
Next are 99 steps…and the second lookout. Then, a three story spiral staircase…the fire control lookout.  Just 54 more steps and you’ll be at the Diamond Head look out!  Of course, at your leisure, you can start making your way back down.

I’ve never been a hiker, but I can always appreciate the views!! 

It’s always been well worth the trip!!

This information was taken directly from Lava 
Thanks so much for your insite.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 7 days

U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

I had an opportunity today to visit the museum at the Police Academy of Columbia, South Carolina.  My knight-in-shining-armor’s brother graduated (very proud) and we took a tour after the ceremony.  After taking a walk through history, and like all things Hawaii, I started thinking about what kinds of things I might see next week.  We plan on visiting the U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii, which is bound to have exhibits similar to any museum. 

Helicopters, tanks, guns now silenced, and vacant bunkers welcome you to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai'i. Once a bastion built to protect Hawai'i from invading forces, the structure now houses a Museum that tells the military story of Hawai'i, from ancient times to the Gulf War and the War in Iraq. Each of these hostilities is covered graphically in separate displays with photographs and sound effect creating a real "you were there" experience.

My dad was in the army, and I could remember when he would come home from the field with ‘war’ paint on his face.  He always smelled like dirt, but I was always happy to have him home.  My dad was just always a mess…

Remember how glorious it was to make a mess when you were a kid?  It’s time to let your inner creative artist out with finger paint.  You can find finger paint at most craft stores.  Cover your work space with newspaper.  Find a piece of poster board (or your face), and fill it with sloppy, glorious art.  Then paste a corner of the result here.  – The Happy Book

A countdown to Hawaii: 8 days

Waikiki Aquarium

Looking for something different to do on a warm summer evening? After the beach, stroll on over to the Aquarium with the family. Exhibits will be open, lights will be on and interpreters will be in the galleries all evening, so come at your leisure. Each evening will have a different educational theme relating to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the opening of a new exhibit.

The exhibits at the Waikiki Aquarium highlight the aquatic life of Hawaii and the tropical West & South Pacific. Education and conservation are strongly emphasized in all of the programs. There are six main areas:

The Corals Are Alive area introduces you to some of the builders of the largest living structures on the planet and one of Earth's oldest ecosystems. Hawaiian coral reefs are unique in that they are geologically young reefs and are the most geographically isolated reefs in the world. Also displayed are the corals from the tropical West & South Pacific.

The Galleries at the Aquarium highlight the aquatic communities of the tropical Pacific and Hawaii, the amazing diversity and adaptations of sea creatures from many different habitats, their use and conservation of marine resources, the cultural significance of some animals, and some of the endemic freshwater animals only found in Hawaiian native streams.

The Edge of the Reef exhibit is a 7,500 gallon (28,400 liter) outdoor exhibit that recreates a typical Hawaiian shoreline. Here you can learn about five different types of Hawaiian reef and shore environments, and get eye-to-eye with colorful fish.

The Hawaiian Monk Seal is one of the world's most endangered marine mammals. At their exhibit you have a chance to see and to discover more about these amazing pinnipeds. You can also learn about some of the current monk seal research projects that the Aquarium conducts.

The Ocean Aquaculture exhibit displays the Pacific Six Fingered Threadfin (Polydactylus sexfilis) known locally as "Moi". Its desirability as a popular seafood dish has resulted in a reduction in the number found locally in the wild. Aquaculture efforts are currently being made to help relieve some of this pressure. The Ocean Aquaculture exhibit demonstrates some of the techniques used to successfully rear these fish in captivity from egg to adult. Aquaculture is a viable enterprise and lessens the demand on the marine environment.
The Waikiki Aquarium's conservation ethic runs deep. As one of the first aquariums in the world to display living South Pacific corals, they have a particular interest in the peril that many reefs in the South Pacific now face. The Coral Farm exhibit is a working coral propagation facility enabling them to provide hundreds of coral colonies a year to other aquariums and research institutions. It is hoped that the demand for live corals may eventually be entirely met by "coral farms" and that damaged wild reefs may even be restocked through the efforts of captive propagation.
Within some of their exhibits are animals that are rarely seen by the public or exhibited in aquaria. A visit to the Aquarium gives you a chance to actually see some of these amazing or beautiful creatures and to learn more about them.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit is the largest single area dedicated to conservation in the United States, and one of the largest in the world, the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is home to over 7,000 marine species, a quarter of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Offering visitors a nearly once-in-a-lifetime experience to see some of these fishes and corals in their natural habitats, the Waikiki Aquarium’s new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands exhibit will feature a living reef ecosystem representative of that found in the world’s most isolated islands.

Among the unique organisms to be featured in the 4,000-gallon public display will be table corals, masked angelfish, yellow barbel goatfish and Japanese pygmy angelfish.  These species are abundant around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, but are extremely rare or absent around the Main Hawaiian Islands.  Interactive touch screens associated with the exhibit will provide additional information on the significance of the islands, their ecology and biodiversity, and the importance of preserving this almost pristine marine ecosystem for future generations.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A countdown to Hawaii: 9 days

Honolulu Zoo

Rediscover some of the joy in traditional kindergarten crafts.
In preparation for the zoo, I can remember Mrs. Aires (my kindergarten teacher) talking about the animals.  She went over some of the animals we might see and explained some of their dominant characteristics.  Of course, before and after the trip, we would craft all kinds of goodies to take home to our parents.  The one below is my favorite.

Paper Plate Lion: Paint the top of a paper plate a brown/orange color. Let dry. Cut slits about 1-inch wide and 2 inches long all the way around the edge of the plate. “Fluff up” the lion’s mane by gently folding alternate strips up and down. Glue on pompoms for the cheeks (brown) and nose (red). Add whiskers by cutting pipe cleaners, each about 6 inches long. Put a generous amount of glue on one end of each pipe cleaner piece and poke 3 or 4 under the bottom side of each cheek. Hang up your lion or add a stick and turn him into a puppet.

I wanted to take this approach in discovering the Honolulu Zoo.  In the next few days, I plan on finding free time, and creating Hawaiian animal puppets or coloring a ‘Lilo and Stitch’ drawing, perhaps!!  Being five again, isn’t so bad!

A countdown to Hawaii: 10 days

International Marketplace

Get lost on a shopping safari under canopies of banyan & palm trees!

The International Market Place has been an island tradition for over 50 years.

With over 130 shops and carts, this open-air setting in the heart of Waikiki remains a must-see-and-do for that special gift or souvenir.

Snap a photo by a cascading waterfall under a century-old banyan tree; the original home of Don the Beachcomber.

The International Food Court offers a variety of local and international cuisine, plus free Hawaiian entertainment.