It’s sort of difficult to look back and reflect on this year. It seems to have been impossibly long and impossibly full of both good and bad. I’ve heard from many people that 2013 lived up to its reputation of being bad luck and ended up being the worst year in memory. Not many people seemed to have enjoyed this year, and I can’t particularly say that I blame them. Obviously, this year brought us amazing goodness, but it was unbelievably hard, too. Cameron, his father, and both my parents spent time in the hospital. I seem to have lost touch with most of my friends. The flood. Oh, the flood. What happened in September this year put a huge crack in me that has forever altered the way I see the place I live–through no fault of its own–and I don’t think it will ever be fixed. I spent more time this year battling my depression and anxiety than probably ever before. Not to diminish the beauty that is my daughter, but her arrival brought with it almost 5 weeks of daily crying and some of the worst self-doubt I’ve ever had.
But there was beauty and wonderful moments this year, too. I celebrated my 25th birthday and Cameron turned 30. We spent three whole weeks in Hawaii, something I think about almost daily. We traveled to North Carolina to witness the union of two of our most wonderful family members. I started working on a new book with my agent, which was exciting despite how challenging it was. And, even though many of my friends seem to have fallen away from me, I grew closer than ever before to my best friend–my husband–and to my parents. Of course, most beautiful of all, my little girl. I cannot wait to see what this year brings us and I am so excited to watch her begin to learn and grow. I know 2014 will bring new challenges but it will bring new opportunities too, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m eager to see 2013 go into the record books and hopefully 2014 will not be repeating any of its bad habits.
Our trip to Pearl Harbor was fresh off the stinging playoff loss of my Denver Broncos to the Baltimore Ravens. We had spent the day at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Waikiki amidst a raucous crowd of Denver fans that slowly but surely became more and more inundated with Ravens fans. What a game! It was so exciting even if it ended in tragedy for us. Seriously, I walked out of that bar in tears. I have never cried over football before. Alas. I was happy, in the end, to have lost (in double overtime!) to the team that went on to win the Superbowl, which proved that we weren’t defeated in a fluke win. At least if we couldn’t beat Tom Brady, the Ravens could. (Sorry Pats fans. No Brady love in this blog.)
Early Sunday morning we trucked off to Pearl Harbor. I’m a bit of a history buff and I definitely love exploring historical sites like this, especially ones that are so pertinent to the American psyche. It was a moving experience to sure. We got there in time for the first boat out to the Arizona Memorial, which was nice because the ferry wasn’t jam packed. It was nice and quiet. Unfortunately my camera batteries died before we got off the memorial, and because you are not allowed to bring any bags on site, we didn’t bring the camera bag with more batteries. Still, I think I got just enough.
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The next post should be our first couple of days on Maui. That part of the trip was definitely our favorite so expect a long lovely write-up on that! However, yesterday I met with my editor for the first time and she has tasked me with doing a monumental word count cut from the manuscript in the next two weeks, and as time is already limited with my stage managing a show, I will need to spend as much time as I can on that. So it might be a few days at the least.
Before I begin, can I just say how much I hate this new WordPress layout? It is so hard to figure everything out! Put it back, please!!!
Okay, now that that’s off my chest….
I’m still at a bit of a loss on how to post about Hawaii. After going through all the pictures and deleting any that were blurry, or doubles, or just plain not good, I still ended up with roughly 6 or 7 GB worth of photos. Great to have, but makes it extremely difficult to decide which ones are good for telling the story of our trip and even more difficult to pick only a select few to have printed to put in the cute photo album we bought while we were there. Too difficult!
Another thing hindering me is the fact that Waikiki was not nearly what we expected at all. Not in a bad way necessarily, but not what we expected, so it wasn’t particularly picture-worthy. The first couple of days were new and exciting, but we quickly realized that the majority of the things to do in Waikiki have to do with shopping (at incredibly expensive luxury stores) or sitting on the crowded beach, neither of which is very exciting to us. We prefer to get out and do things and explore. Our first week, we didn’t have a rental car, so we tried to get out via bus as much as we could, but it took forever to get anywhere. So our best days that first week were probably the days we spent at Hanauma Bay and the day our friend Keely came to pick us up and take us to the North Shore.
As it happens, we don’t actually have many pictures of Hanauma Bay, because we spent most of the time in the water. Go figure. We had a lot of fun there. Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve that is home to sea life like sea turtles and an assortment of tropical fish as well as a huge reef. The water is shallow and very clear so it’s perfect for snorkeling–too bad I am HORRIBLE at snorkeling! I had never done it before, but the concept is generally pretty simple, you would think. Every time I tried, though, my brain freaked out and couldn’t get over the fact that I was essentially putting my face in seawater with my mouth wide open. Needless to say I ingested quite a lot of water that day. Eventually I gave up on the snorkel and just held my breath, which worked decently well. The other problem I have is that open water scares the shit out of me. Hmm. I never got to be around much water when I was a kid, so even though I’m a decent swimmer, I get nervous when there’s actually a current. I also have a fear of putting my feet down on the sea floor if I can’t see what’s down there. So I’m kind of awkward in the ocean. I did get to see a lot of fish, though no sea turtles. The day we visited, the ocean was pretty choppy so in the end it probably wasn’t all my fault that my first time snorkeling was difficult. In fact, the Bay was closed for several days in a row while we were there because of high surf and choppy water. Just that season of rough seas.
Our other favorite that first week was visiting the North Shore with our friend Keely. If you’re not familiar, the North Shore of O’ahu is one of the best and most famous places in the world for surfing. This time of year is particularly good for surfing because the waves are just bonkers. In fact we passed by quite a lot of surfing competitions while we were driving through.
Keely got stuck in a bit of traffic coming to pick us up, so in the meantime Cameron and I explored the east end of the strip and bumped into the Honolulu Zoo. Outside the zoo is a gigantic banyan tree–crazy as this picture looks, that is all ONE tree. Basically, the tree grows new trunks out of its limbs in order to support itself from the tsunami winds.
We thought the North Shore was amazing. It was so different from Waikiki and it was hard to believe that it was only on the other side of the island, let alone less than an hour away! It was just a completely different world up there. It’s no surprise we spent several days up there when we came back from Maui and rented a car.
Keely was a great tour guide. She had an entire day mapped out for us and it was spectacular. We stopped first at the Dole Plantation.
After the Plantation, we stopped at these food trucks just outside Haleiwa which had the most amazing shrimp plates you’ve ever had in your life. Absolutely incredible. We ended up going back a second time when we came back from Maui and we are already craving them again. So good. For dessert we popped into Haleiwa and had some shave ice (similar to a snow cone) and got to watch some killer waves at the beach.
After lunch we took a tour up the coast and passed by several of the big beaches and surf spots, including Waimea Bay, which was gorgeous.
After Waimea Bay we continued on through the North Shore and explored some of the coastline, stopping on the way at a Macadamia Nut farm and finally ending in the town of Kailua to have dinner with Keely and her family. While we were there we got to stop in at President Obama’s favorite shave ice place before Keely took us home via the Pali Highway. What fun!
Wow, talk about time flying. It feels like just yesterday we were embarking on our grand adventure and now here we are back again! 3 weeks flew by. I know I know, time flies when you’re having fun and all that, but seriously! Hawaii is like the Land Without Time…did not seem to be going by at all!
Anyway, we had a marvelous time. By far the most fun was being on Maui–but I really haven’t been able to compress the whole trip. When I get some time over the weekend, I’ll be able to go through all the pictures and start mapping out a way to break it up into segment posts so you don’t have to muddle through a huge photo-laden post. I’m eager to get going on that but the house desperately needs to be cleaned and we finally received our new sink for the master bathroom and I’m dying to install it. Ahh, domesticity calls.
In the meantime, I hope this will suffice…just imagine the waves and drift away….
On Wednesday I decided it was a good time to spruce some things up and I did the unthinkable–I cut off my hair. I’m kind of particular about my hair; I’ve always lusted for long hair and it takes an unusually long time for my hair to grow and the idea of cutting it was crazy to me. 2 years ago my brother and I both donated 11+ inches a piece to Locks of Love and I felt like it had barely grown back in all that time, even though it had. But not very much. But then I was thinking about how mostly I just end up putting my hair up, how it’s really damaged on the ends from coloring, how it’s such a pain when it gets all tangled and wet, how I have to empty the shower drain every freakin’ week because my hair was EVERYWHERE. So I thought, what the hell. It’s hair. It’ll grow back eventually and in the meantime might as well do something fresh and fun with it. So I did!
It’s not really styled or anything at the moment and one side is kind of flat because I was taking a nap before I took this picture, but you get the idea. I think it’s really cute. Better Half likes it too, which I was worried about because he loved my long hair. Plus, it’ll be great for Hawaii. Easy to take care of, no fuss no muss, and no big deal if it gets wet. Cooler too.
Speaking of Hawaii, we are in serious countdown mode right now. Our flight departs early early Tuesday morning. Tomorrow we are finishing up the final packing and getting everything ready for the lovely friend of mine who is going to drop by to check on the kitties while we are gone. Both of us have to work on Monday unfortunately so with any luck everything will be ready to go and we’ll be leaving as soon as I am off work. We are going to my parent’s house on Monday night since they are taking care of the dog and they live 20 minutes from the airport. My dad will drop us off on Tuesday morning and we’ll be on our way!
Of course, wouldn’t be a 3-week trip without some minor crises. On Christmas, we ordered a really nice camera to take to Hawaii with us. We ordered it through the military distribution site so my mom was the point of contact for it (since I don’t actually have shopping privileges on the website) and she said that she saw it had shipped a week ago. Well, it still hadn’t arrived today, and then I realized that my bank account still hadn’t been charged for it. Something was up. So my mom called customer service to figure it out and they said they couldn’t even find the order at all–so for whatever reason, it was cancelled or never processed or whatever, but that pretty much left us up shit creek as far as having the camera goes, especially since we don’t exactly have a Target or a Best Buy on every corner up here. So I jumped on Target.com as I remembered seeing the exact same camera for the exact same price in Greeley on Tuesday with my friend Kyle, and called to see if they could put one aside to be picked up tomorrow on our way down to my parent’s house. Well, even though their website said it was in stock, they didn’t have any. Nobody in the metro area had them in stock. Luckily, Best Buy did. The store near my parents had it in stock and I was able to purchase it and arrange to have it picked up on Monday. Phew. Same price, same camera, so, I’m so grateful that it got worked out. Obviously I’d prefer to just have it, but now at least I’ll be able to play with it and read the manual on the plane.
This will probably be my last post until we get back from Hawaii at the end of the month. I am not bringing my laptop with me so I’ll save all our spectacular pictures and stories for a set of posts after we get back.