Thursday, October 30, 2008


Last year I had a season pass to the zoo and went sixteen times. This year I don't have the pass and I have only been once so Jocee and I decided to take her two kids, Milly and Brejdan, to the zoo. Unfortunately, we were not aware that this Saturday morning was Trick or Treat at the zoo. Picture hundreds of kids lined up in costume waiting to get in, half of them crying. Needless to say, we decided not to go to the zoo and instead went to the Living Aquarium. We had to convince Brejdan that he didn't want to see the "Mountain Tigers", no they are not mountain lions, but mountain tigers. (I have never been to the Aquarium before and it was a lot cooler than I was expecting.) Brejdan had a blast. He especially liked the "Sea Racers" (or sea rays). Jillian spent the entire time texting (typical teenager). Colby came with us, he is so good with the kids. I love the photo of the two of them hanging on Colby. There were jack-o-lanterns in some of the tanks and it was funny to watch the fish eating the pumpkins. We were leaving and everyone else had gone out to the car when Brejdan noticed a parrot in a room without any kids in it and the workers there were kind enough to have the two parrots in the room go through their tricks. They offered to allow Brejdan to hold the snake or the hissing cockroach. He didn't want to have anything to do with them.

Jillian's Piano Recital

I have to admit that my sisters are amazing, all three of them. This past weekend Jocee brought her two kids and Jillian up so that Jillian could play for the Utah Music Teachers Association. She had competed earlier this year and scored a Superior +, which means she was invited to come and play. She did a fabulous job! (Someday when I learn how to use my camera I will be able to take videos to post)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Alright, most of the time I ignore tags but I decided to do Jocee's.

8 TV Shows I love to watch:
  • Dirty Jobs with Mike Row
  • Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (it's like a train wreck, I can't turn away)
  • Scrubs
  • The Simpson's
  • Family Guy
Other than that I really don't watch TV but movies on the other hand ...

8 Things that happened yesterday:
  • I went to the gym
  • I bought food from the Schwann's man (Mmmm!)
  • I spoke to all of my sisters on the phone except one
  • Made dinner (okay, so Colby made dinner but I did tell him what to fix)
  • Read
  • Finished researching law schools to apply to
  • watched Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
  • Spent some quality time with my cat
8 Things I am looking forward to:
  • Getting into law school
  • Decorating for Christmas
  • Taking Christmas decorations down (yep, I can't wait to put them up and can't wait to take them down)
  • Dixie Salad and Sweet Potato Casserole (Hooray for Thanksgiving traditions!)
  • Scrapbooking my Hawai'i vacation pictures
  • Finally organizing my craft room (like it will ever be complete)
  • Spending the holidays with family (I complain about traveling all the time but I love spending time with my family)
  • Finishing my UFOs (Unfinished Objects . . . you know, all those crafts that you start but never seem to finish, I have decided that they secretly multiply in my basket when my back is turned.)
8 Things on my wish list:
  • Getting into law school
  • Traveling to Europe
  • Traveling to Scotland
  • Traveling to Yellowstone Park
  • A red stone slide for my Omega
  • A house with decent sized bedrooms and insulation
  • More time to finish my UFOs
  • A maid to clean my house
I am supposed to tag eight people but I prefer to just let whoever wants to post, to post.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One Year Anniversary

It's hard to believe that mom has been gone for a whole year. In some ways it seems much longer and in others much shorter. We are all doing great but we do miss her a lot. She was one of my best friends and I have missed her wisdom and her wit. You never realize how much you rely on your mother for advice until she is no longer there. It is the simple things that you miss the most, like calling her up to ask her on what temperature do you cook an 11 pound roast that you need done in four hours.

What I remember most about my mother was her love of people. She loved everyone, and I mean everyone. It took forever to go anywhere with her because she would always run into at least ten people she knew, or, if she didn't know anyone she would talk to the person standing in line next to her and find some connection and they would suddenly become a good friend. She didn't know how to use the word "no", if someone was in a tight spot she would help them out, regardless of much she didn't have. Sometimes I would have to get after her because she would let people take advantage of her but, luckily for everyone, she wouldn't really listen and she never changed. I remember when I was younger I saw her putting $20.00 bills into envelopes with cards that she wouldn't sign when she knew someone was in a tight fix. What impressed me the most is she would do this when she was stressing about having enough money for one of my siblings birthday presents. If you have ever received some money anonymously, there is a good chance that she was the one who sent it.

The other thing I remember most about my mother was her courage. The first time she was diagnosed with cancer she never once whined about what she was going through. The only time she really was upset was when she lost her beautiful hair but even then she went to 'Vegas and bought several wigs where all the showgirls got their wigs. She got two brunette wigs and one blond saying "I want to know if blonds have more fun and now is my chance to find out."

The second time she was diagnosed and when she was so ill she told me how everyone kept commenting on how well she was taking it all. She said, "People don't understand why I don't say 'Why me?' Well, when you say that you are really saying 'Why not you?' and I wouldn't wish this on anyone so I won't say that." This just shows you what an amazing women she was.

I don't know that there will ever be a time that I don't miss her but I am very glad that we got an additional ten years after her first diagnosis of cancer. That was a difference of Jillian being four years old when she was first diagnosed and Jill being fourteen when she died.

While no one can replace my mother, my family is very blessed to have several "second mothers" who have been so great to help us and take care of all of us. We love all of you and appreciate you filling in since mom can't be here (you know who you are).

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jordanne Homecoming

I realize that I am WAY late in posting this. Before we left for Hawaii Jordanne made Homecoming Royalty. She looked beautiful and dad was the proud father down on the field during the Homecoming football game. I have to admit I was impressed that all of the of the girls on the royalty,except one, were wearing modest dresses (of course the girl without the modest dress on won). Two of Jordanne's friends made the royalty also, Whitney and Sara.

Dad found out about the royalty first and the early morning breakfast, where they wake the royalty up and take them to breakfast in their pajamas, was Friday, the same day D.J. got married. Poor Jordanne was woken up early, dragged to breakfast in her pajamas and taken to school where she then had to leave to come back for the wedding festivities. She was not expecting it so it was a great surprise for her.

Jordanne's date was named Jordan also so it was Jordan and Jordanne going to the dance together. We all laughed at that. Jordan is a Sophmore and this was his first formal dance. He was a nervous wreck, it was so cute! When he was putting the corsage on her wrist his hands were shaking.
Jordan's father was being made a bishop the following day so his mother made him come back to hishouse with Jordanne so all the extended family that were visiting for the event could see her. As Jordanne came walking into the house she said, "Don't you look pretty, and your dress is modest. Thank you for being modest!" I guess she was really worried about Jordanne's dress.

I have to admit I was pretty proud of her hair this time. Jordanne showed me a music video on YouTube of Taylor Swift in "Love Story" and asked me to do her hair like that. I think I am pretty close. Of course it is not hard when she starts off as beautiful as she is.

Loads of Hawai'i Photos

As many of you know, either from hearing it first-hand from me or from reading this blog, I despise slide shows--particularly the ones with music. This won't stop Jessica from posting more in the future, but at least I can offer people the freedom to choose for themselves once in a while. I uploaded most of the photos we took while in Hawai'i. We still have three cameras (one digital, two disposable underwater cameras) to work through so there will certainly be more ... eventually. I have added captions to many of the photos, if you have questions, post a comment on the relevant photo and there's a chance one of us will post a reply.

More information on our adventures can be found at the following locations:
Volcano National Park
Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours

If you so choose, you can also peruse the other photo collections. By the way, the VW Beetle is for sale.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Guessing Games

Okay, here is a game for everyone. The first one is to count how many mosquito bites I have on my leg. I stated in a previous posting that they are vicious and I mean it. I have been eaten alive like never before. This leg is the worst but the other one isn't much better.

Second, which side of this picture is the ocean and which side with the sky?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Imiloa, Zoo and Falls

We spent the morning at the 'Imiloa Discovery Center. The big Island has the one of the world's tallest mountains (if you count from see floor) and at the top of Mount Mauna Kea are three observatories, including the largest in the world. The mountain stands above 90% of the world's moisture so it has a great view of the stars. We happen to be here during the Navigation Celebration so they had these great canoes in the parking lot that are still used. The Hawaiian Islands were settled by Polynesian settlers hundreds of years ago, about the same time the Romans were converting to Christianity (ca. 300 CE). The Center has a domed room for viewing shows similar to the one in the Clark Planetarium so we saw the movie the center plays about the creation of the Hawaiian Islands and the Hawaiian's cultural believe about the creation of the Islands. It was really interesting but the best part was when the credits were rolling and we saw that the entire film was created in Salt Lake City, about a block from where Colby works. We both got a kick out of that.

Pana 'ewa Zoo is the only zoo in the world in a rain forest to have rain forest animals. This great zoo was free and we enjoyed seeing the animals. Their prize is Namaste, a white tiger that was donated to the zoo by a magician in Las Vegas (no it wasn't Sigfried and Roy but Arthur Dick, who I have never heard of). Namaste was beautiful and came right up to the side of the enclosure while we were there. The Zoo also features feral pigs (who slept and didn't look scary at all), feral goats (who kept whining at us to feed them), monkeys and really cool looking frogs. There was a Lemur (which let me just say I can't see one anymore without hearing the words to "I like to move it, move it" in my head, thank you Madagascar) who kept mewling at us because the zoo feeder was feeding the monkeys behind us.

It makes me wonder why Hoogle Zoo, who I vote to allow them to have more money, can't be free so everyone can come and enjoy the animals. Granted, the white tiger was the coolest animal there but still, my tax money pays for the zoo and I shouldn't have to pay more money to see the animals, but, I digress.

The zoo had an animal called a Bearcat, it was different but cool. (It has an official name but once you see it and realize what the locals call it you can see why the name bearcat stuck.) What you can't see in this photo is that his tail is about two feet long. Check out Colby's Picasa Web photo albums for more zoo pictures.

After the zoo we went to see Rainbow Waterfalls. I was less than impressed with the falls but along the path was this great tree. It looks like it has been there much longer than anyone else on the island.

Every time Colby and I go to see some site we run into Polynesian Adventures tour buses with old people just pouring off them to view anything and everything. It reminded us both of the trip we took back east when the boy scouts were visiting Washington, D. C. and we had to wait in line for everything. Only this is worse because they all have money whereas the boy scouts didn't.

We ended the day by walking down to Coconut Island just off of Banyan Drive. The island juts out into the ocean and the bridge spanning to it has been rebuilt every time there is a tsunami . The tsunamis here are all caused by earthquakes originating on different continents. The last one to hit Hilo was in 1960 and was caused by an earthquake that occurred near Chile. It really makes the world seem smaller when something like that can impact an island thousands of miles away.

On both islands we have been besieged by birds begging for food. This is a photo of the beggar at the car rental place in Honolulu. (I mean really, like I had any food with me) There are signs posted everywhere, "Don't feed the birds." We both noticed that most of the birds only have one toe or are missing an entire foot. Finally, today we figured out why they are missing limbs, it is because they are stupid! Driving down the road they wait until you are almost on top of them to fly away (and I mean almost on top of them, I keep turning around to see if we have run them over). It is surprising that any of them are alive and able to reproduce, they are that dumb.

I have decided that Colby and I are a bit on the techie side. Obviously Colby wouldn't leave his laptop home, for him that would be like leaving his arm or kidney behind but it seems he has rubbed off on me. This would be Colby and I having an exciting night on the town . . . oh wait . . . we are both geeking away on our computers.

Hilo and Wedding

First thing Saturday morning we checked out of our hotel and flew from Oahu to the Big Island. Honolulu, where we have been staying, is the largest city in the state with approximately 2 million people. Hilo, the city we just flew to, is the second largest city with approximately 58,000 people. Big change! Staying on Waikiki Beach was great and an interesting experience but both Colby and I have reached the point that we are just tired of all the people. It was so busy all the time!

The Hilo airport is more what I had imagined when thinking about Hawaii. There a only a few walls so everything is open to the air. The rental car company that I had arranged to get our car through had to wait until someone brought a vehicle back so we could have one. Luckily for us the next car to come in was a jeep so we got another free upgrade. The hotel we are staying at is very small but we are enjoying the change from the large ten story hotel in Honolulu.

Hilo gets some rain everyday because of where it is located on the island. Right outside the back door of our hotel is a path through a mini rainforest garden. The hotel offers free fruit all day, every day. Little did we know this is because they walk into the backyard and pick the bananas off the trees growing wild there. The only downside to the garden in the back is the frogs. When we were exploring the hotel room we came across two sets of earplugs in the bathroom and thought it was an odd thing to provide. Now we know why, last night the frogs woke Colby up four times because they were so loud. (I, of course, have slept through it all!) The other downside is the mosquitoes. They are vicious! There is a small green gecko living in our room but every time I pull the camera out to take his picture he hides behind something. He is only the size of a bobby pin but I think he is so cute. (Colby thinks he is a lizard living inside and should be kicked out of the room.)

Right after we checked into the hotel we went to the Farmer's Market that is held in Hilo every Saturday. I bought jewelry (I know, big surprise!) and Colby picked up a couple of mangoes. We took them back to the hotel and while I was arranging all our luggage Colby started to cut the mango, after a little while I realized he had gone really quiet and I found him eating the mango right off the pit. He had started to cut it up but found it to be so good that he couldn't wait. I barely caught him before he ate the entire thing so I got one bite. I have to admit I have never had a mango be that soft or sweet before.

The whole reason (or excuse, however you want to look at it) that we came to Hawaii was to be able to participate in the wedding of Rebecca and Sterling Okura. I have worked for Rebecca for almost four years now. I started working for her as a paralegal four weeks after she opened the door to her own law office and now we have three other attorneys that work for her and have changed office space twice. During this time we have grown really close and I felt honored that she wanted Colby and I to be at her wedding. Sterling is from Hilo which is why they decided to have their wedding here. The wedding took place at this great house with beautiful grounds overlooking a river. (The only downside was the ground was soft so I couldn't wear my high heels but, never fear, I was able to find some platforms that worked.) Rebecca and Sterling are both Zen Buddhists so the ceremony was performed by their sensei, Daniel.

I wasn't sure what to expect (having never gone to a Buddhist wedding before) but it was beautiful. The ceremony involved Rebecca and Sterling renewing some of the vows that they made when the became Buddhists, like to always do good and abstain from evil. Then the couple exchanged vows, Sterling and Rebecca wrote their own vows and looked so happy. After the ceremony we had a big Hawaiian dinner.

They had cooked a pig in an Imu pit, traditional style. (I have to admit before coming here I couldn't figure out why they called it an "emu pit" since they cook pigs in it and not emus, the relative of the ostrich. Once we got here I noticed that it was spelled different but pronounced the same so it made more sense.) The pig was fabulous and I am not a big pork fan. We also got to try Poi, a traditional Hawaiian dish made from the taro plant. It is purple in color but doesn't have much taste. It does have an incredibly icky texture though, if you pureed apples and cotton together you would get the consistancey of Poi. I was brave and tried it because I am in Hawaii but I won't be eating any anytime soon.

After the dinner Sterling's dad, Sanford, led everyone in a traditional Japanese chant to wish the couple good luck. Everyone was required to yell "Banzai" really loudly after him. This was what warriors would yell before going to their deaths but it also means ten thousand years so it is wishing the couple ten thousand years of happiness. Now, when I say yell I mean yell, at the top of your voice so you are hoarse the next day. The reggae band "Soul Redemption" are all friends of Sterling and Rebecca so they came over and provided live music for dancing afterward. I can't get Colby to dance (he would dance with me when we were dating but once we got married all dancing stopped) so instead I stood around chatting with everyone. (I know, hard to believe that I would be talking.) It was great to be able to celebrate this momentous occasion with them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hawaii Day Three--Diamond Head, Dole and North Shore

Colby and I got up at the crack of dawn to hike Diamond Head today. (Okay, so we still have adjusted to the time difference and we were both up by 5:00 AM anyways.) This photo does not do justice to how sweaty and moist we were. It was overcast as we were hiking up the trail and despite the fact the trail is only 1.4 miles, everyone forgets to mention the stairs you have to climb. That's right, stairs. The trail switchbacks for some distance and right when you think you are getting the hang of the trail you come to the first set of stairs. (I was thinking, hey, this isn't so bad . . . right?) At the top of the stairs is a tunnel that you cannot see the end of, it turns so you can't see the other end. The entire tunnel is lit but it has a very closed in feeling and on the way down there were several people (besides our selves) inside so it smelled strongly of sweaty bodies. (Not so pleasant!)

After the tunnel you come to the real stairs, that's right, the first set were just to loosen you up so you could make it to the second set. Straight up for a good three flights of normal stairs. The stairs are concrete but so many people have taken them that the right side is more worn than the left. There is only one hand rail and if you meet someone coming the other direction you pray they are thin because there really isn't that much room. After this flight of stairs you come to another tunnel, this one made of concrete. Then you reach the two flights of spiral stairs inside Diamond Head itself. You finally reach the top of the spiral stairs and the way to get to Diamond Head is by bending over almost double to crawl out this tiny space to get to the trail again. At this point you can see the top, where you want to be, but there is another flight of stairs between you and your goal. Finally, you reach the top and it is a beautiful view of the island but wow . . . no one warns you about the trek up. I normally don't admit to sweating, I only glisten, but this morning it was not pretty! A storm was rolling in and the air was humid. I am used to Utah where if you are hiking and get sweaty you just rest for a minute and you cool off and aren't wet anymore. Not in Hawaii, you just stay wet. I enjoyed the down trek but I always do prefer the easier path.

Looking down from Diamond Head you see this great lighthouse that has been standing there for years, warning ships of the shallow waters. The lighthouse is still in use but is run by electricity instead of candle and manpower. I wish we would have had more time to go visit it but unfortunately we don't have time to do everything.

After hiking Diamond Head we went back to the hotel to clean up before we headed inland.

We drove to the Dole Plantation. For those of you who don't know, pineapples grow on bushes. Prior to coming out here I thought they grew on trees like most other exotic fruits such as oranges and bananas. Nope, they grow on bushes. The plantation was great and they had a 20-minute narrated train ride that took us out past the pineapple fields. The word Hawai'ian word for pineapple means "foreign fruit" because it was brought here by explorers and is not native to Hawai'i at all. (An interesting fact I did not know before the train ride.) I have also discovered my new favorite dessert that I don't think I will be able to get anywhere else. It is called a Dolewhip and it is fabulous! Light and cold, they should sell these in St. George, they would make a killing! [Editor's note: the Hawai'ian word for pineapple is "halakahiki."]

To end out our day we wend to Pupukawai Beach and rented snorkeling gear. I have never been snorkeling and was a little bit nervous about it (every Jaws movie and shark week special immediately came to my mind) but it was great. We spent most of the time in the kiddie pool (as our rental guy stated) but I was okay with that. To begin with Colby let me choose the path through all of the rocks and sand. It is an interesting experience because your world really narrows when you have the goggles on and it is hard to remember that you need to lift your head out every so often to make sure you are going in the right direction. The paths that I led us on were interesting and while occasionally it got a little tough to get past all the rocks, we were able to do so without any problems. On the way back to where we had left our gear, Colby took the lead. He led us on some interesting paths and we saw some great fish but he forgot to look at the big picture and we ended up having to walk over some rocks to get back to where we could swim. Now by rocks I mean large lava rocks that have been pounded by the ocean into sharp, jagged monsters that are mostly covered with moss/seaweed and are very slippery, especially if you are trying to walk in flippers. Needless to say, I fell and scraped up my arm. Salt water in an open wound does not feel good! (Enter the Jaws thoughts again) Colby felt really bad and even offered to stop at the Dole Plantation on our way back to get me another Dolewhip to make me feel better. After that I took the lead again and got us back safely to our gear. I have to admit that as we were swimming back I started thinking about Colby and I and who leads who and I wondered if this was a sign of how our relationship goes, when I lead we are okay but when Colby leads we sometimes end up places where we didn't mean to go. But then I thought, Jessica, stop being a dork you are just swimming! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hawaii Day Two-USS Arizona and Bowfin

Colby is really struggling to adjust to the time difference (four hours behind us) and was up at 3:00 AM Hawai'i time. I, at least, slept until 4:00 AM but still, it feels unnatural to automatically wake up that early. We just chilled in our hotel room until the Continental Breakfast our hotel provides was open.

Then we got into the Jeep and drove out to the USS Arizona. The memorial opens at 7:30 AM and we arrived a little after 8:00 AM and already the line was HUGE! The actual memorial itself is out above were the Arizona lies on the sea bed so they only allow a certain number of people on it at at a time. By the time we got our tickets, the wait was an hour and forty-five minutes long. It was worth it! They have a video about what happened, using video footage from both sides, that everyone watches before they load you up on a boat and drive you out to the memorial itself.

The memorial isn't very large but it is a very reverent place. Everyone was speaking in hushed tones and were respectfully taking photos and just reading the signs that are posted. As you can see, pieces of the boat are still sticking up.

One thing I was not aware of is that several of the men who survived the attack on the Arizona have had their remains placed in the ship with remains of their fellow service men after they have lived full lives. The last one placed there was in 2006. (More photos will follow in other postings but I am having problems getting the internet to work on my computer and I hate using Colby's computer).

After we finished the tour of the Arizona we walked next door and took a tour of the USS Bowfin, a WWII submarine. It gave me a greater appreciation for the men who spend time in subs. I would go crazy being stuck in something that small and Colby hit his head a couple of times in the small quarters. The photos above are the deck guns they have on the shore for people to see. (Yes, those are flats I am wearing, even I am not silly enough to where high heels while touring a submarine full of grated openings but don't get used to it :))

Then it was time for my favorite part of the vacation, nap time! Just kidding, everything has been awesome but I do enjoy taking naps. Colby was great this evening and let me go souvenir shopping. The man hates to shop but he was very patient while I enjoyed picking things out. To finish up the evening we took a walk along Waikiki beach and watched the sunset before going to the store to stock up on breakfast for tomorrow's early morning hike up Diamond Head.

Hawaii Day One

Here we are on the airplane ready for the six and a half hour flight to Honolulu. (You can tell we aren't in Hawaii yet because my hair is still smooth—not any more!) The flight was pretty uneventful except . . . let me vent for a second . . . I think it is ridiculous that I paid for two tickets to Hawaii and am stuck on a plane for six hours and I have to bring my own food or pay their outrageous fees to buy the pre-made sandwiches on the flight! Sorry, I digress . . .
Our flight put us in Hawaii at about 3:00 PM their time, 7:00 PM our time but by the time we got off the airplane, retrieved our luggage, flagged down and rode the shuttle to the car rental place, got our car (which is actually a really nice Jeep Patriot) and checked into the hotel, it was evening and so we really didn't do much but take a walk on the beach and eat dinner.

We ate at this little restaurant/ramen house. The entire restaurant is one big bar that you sit and eat at. While we were eating, a Japanese family came in, ordered dinner and started eating. Looking at us, they made the comment to Colby that he held his chopsticks correctly (all in Japanese so I didn't understand a word). They then noticed me trying to eat with chopsticks (I like to eat with chopsticks because it takes me so long to get any food to my mouth that my stomach thinks it is full and I don't eat as much) and made the comment to me that I was holding my chopsticks wrong (in sign language once they realized I didn't understand what they were saying) the five-year-old little girl then showed me how to use the chopsticks correctly. Once I was holding them right and actually ate one bite, they all cheered.

Colby has been enjoying all the Japanese that is spoken and written here.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Lachelle Junior Prom

Lachelle had Homecoming the same weekend as D.J.'s wedding so I was able to go and do her makeup before her date picked her up. Kim did her hair and Sharlene her nails. She looked fabulous!

Her date tie-dyed his shirt to match her dress and it looked perfect. If you look closer at one of the photos in the slide show you will see Colby's face in between Lachelle's and her date. It made her date laugh. Lachelle had to miss some of the day date because of her dance rehearsals for Nutcracker. (More on that to follow in a December posting.) As you can see, Bentley was very helpful with the whole beautifying process!

Sharlene was kind and gave Jillian her tickets to the rodeo so Jill dressed up in her cowgirl attire while we were there and we dropped her off. The seats were three rows behind "cowboy central" and Jill and her friends had a blast ogling them.