Kauai Vacation – Day 4by Angie

15 Jun 2009
12:06 pm

Na Pali HikeAngie & AndreWe set out fairly early this morning on the long drive to the Northwest end of the island.  We hiked about a mile along the Na Pali Coast, with Tolton spending a lot of time on Josh’s shoulders and me straggling at the end of the group with Jim and my Dad to shepherd me along.  There was great rejoicing when I made it to “our point” alive, where everyone had stopped to wait for us.  Going down was much easier, but by the time we made it back to the parking lot, I was exhausted.

Josh & Tolton

We had lunch at Bubba’s Burgers, after which Tolton promptly fell asleep in his car seat.  The next adventure was to be snorkeling at Tunnels, but I offered to stay in the car with my napping nephew so he could get a good nap and I could  rest.  When everyone else was as tuckered out as I was, they returned to the cars and we drove to Banana Joe’s, where we had been promised the best smoothies ever.  Unfortunately, their smoothie hours ended at 4pm and we had arrived at about 4:10.  We bought fresh pineapple instead, and drove out to the beautiful overlook of the Kilauea Lighthouse on the North shore, and then had dinner at the Bull Shed.Kilauea Lighthouse

Kauai Vacation – Day 3by Angie

14 Jun 2009
12:06 pm

Church was wonderful in Kauai, at the familiar blue-roofed building that carried fond memories from past vacations.  Relief Society was a beautiful lesson about forgiveness and mercy, which led to continued discussions throughout the rest of the day.

Sunday DinnerSince Saturday was Kim’s birthday (our adopted sister for the week), and Sunday is my Mom’s, Day 3 in Kauai ended with a grand feast.  We had bought enough beef tips in gravy, peas, and rolls to feed 10 people, and we put our two microwaves to good use in the hour leading up to dinner.  Mom even had her very own chocolate cake and candle (thanks to a single-serving microwavable molten chocolate cake mix).  Though the suites didn’t have stovetops, they did have half-sized dishwashers, so we didn’t even have to spend much time washing up – just put load up the dishes… “It’s just that easy!”  We finished with a little devotional by Mom, presentsPam and Kim, and some planning for the coming week.  At the end of the family festivities, my Mom and I went out on the balcony and studied my next JS Manual lesson together (topic: temples); it was so wonderful to be musing and brainstorming with my Mom like that again.  It was even more wonderful for it to be happening as we looked out on Kauai in the fading light, with the sound of the waves on Kalapaki beach accompanying our conversation.  I love Hawaii.

Kalipaki Beach

Kauai Vacation – Day 2by Angie

13 Jun 2009
12:06 pm

Risi, Tolton, and the KoiI love vacationing to the West, because it is so pleasant and easy to get up early!  Risi and Josh (who were sharing a suite with us, though we had separate rooms), were up at some ridiculous hour of the morning because Tolton was not going to stay in bed any longer, so they were out walking the beach before the sun was up.  By 6am, however, I was awake and dressed and ready to officially start my vacation!  I walked down to Kalapaki beach with Risi and met up with Josh and Tolton, who just couldn’t get enough of the water.  We just hung out on the beach and watched the cutest little boy ever being thoroughly delighted by the waves crashing on top of him.  Whitney wandered down to join us, as did Mom, Dad, and eventually Jim.  We decided to head to Poipu beach for our first excursion, so in just over an hour  my excited, swim-suited, not-yet-burned family members were gathered at the Mariott Fish Pond.  We stayed long enough to watch the goldfish and koi being fed, then headed out to the beach.

Spouting HornWe stopped to see the “Spouting Horn,” which was very cool, and the girls browsed the shops nearby.   Back on the road, Jim and Josh stopped our caravan to buy some garlic shrimp from a guy selling the stuff freshly cooked in the back of his truck.  Then, on to Poipu, where we played in the sand and the water and just had a lovely, relaxed morning.  Unfortunately, I had borrowed some spray-on sunscreen, and – apparently – hadn’t quite sprayed enough, because after just a couple of hours, my back was nice and red with little un-burned splotches all over it.  That evening, we took a family outing to the grocery store (to plan our microwaved feast for Sunday dinner and to celebrate Mom’s and Kim’s birthday) and K-Mart (for presents for said birthdays, among other things).

Kauai Vacation – Day 1by Angie

12 Jun 2009
8:06 am

IMG_0222This was a long day, but well worth it!  Jim went to work today, as usual, then came home and helped me load our luggage into the car.  Our friend, Justin Bradley, drove us to the airport, and we made our flight just fine.

Jim’s seat was by the window, I was in the middle, and in the aisle seat next to me was a wonderful, friendly woman named Leslie, from Palo Alto.  She noticed that I was reading The Count of Monte Cristo and we started chatting about it.  She told me all about how her son was assigned to read it over the summer for his 8th grade English class.  The little trooper read the whole, 1200 page unabridged version, then showed up on the first day of school to find that his classmates had all read a variety of abridged editions, most between 300-500 pages long.  His teacher was immensely impressed with his “depth of understanding” and “grasp of characters” on the reports and tests – you’d hope so, considering he read twice as much of the book as all the other kids!  Anyway, Leslie and her husband and two boys (now young adults, but not yet married) were flying to Kauai for a 2-week family vacation.  When she found out that we’d be there before, she asked about what sights were worth seeing, which beaches were good for snorkeling, and all sorts of other stuff.  We had a great time.

Once on the island, my parents picked us up from the airport.  It was about 7pm there, but we felt like it was nearly midnight, and hadn’t eaten anything on the flight.  Mom & Dad wanted to do some grocery shopping, so Jim and I ate dinner at the Costco food court while we waited for them.  I was exhausted by the time we reached the hotel, but I wanted to see my sisters and Jim wanted to take a late-night swim, so it was quite a while before we finally turned in.

NIF Dedication & Toursby Angie

30 May 2009
8:05 am

NIF-Group2With all of the major, necessary hardware finally installed, the National Ignition Facility has been in fine trim for two days.  Yesterday, Jim attended a special outdoor dedication ceremony to honor this milestone in their work.  There were enough dignitaries there to warrant half a dozen snipers watching over the event.

Today, the entire campus was open for friends and family tours.  Jim was up and out the door by 9am to take some friends from our ward and stake around the NIF facility, along with Becka, who is here visiting for the weekend especially for this.  When they were done, he came home to meet up with me, Jon, and Brittany and grab some lunch before heading back again.  Becka was there too, to see everything a second time (this was not only for her entertainment and curiosity, but also research for a future book!).  At the gates, we met the other members of our group – Kelly, Brennan, and Amber Mills.

The line was an hour long, just to enter the building!  I’ve been there before, but this time we saw much more – not only the laser bays and the control room, but also lots of other stuff like the capacitor bays, with one opened up.  Best of all, we got to look down into the target chamber!  It was a lot of standing and walking, but it was fascinating, and I loved it.

Seeing “UP”by Angie

20 May 2009
7:05 pm

upLast week, while my in-laws were in town, we all took a trip out to Emmeryville for the “Friends & Family Screening” of Pixar’s newest film, “UP.”  We met up with Jon first at a fantastic pizza place called “Nathaniel’s” in Berkley.  After dinner, we drove over to the campus, received our special guest badges, and headed into the main building.  There wasn’t much of a line forming yet, so we went upstairs to the gallery to spend some time looking at the concept art for the film.  When it was finally time to go in, we sat together in the center near the front and center of the theatre.  After “Ooohing” and “Ahhing” at the shooting stars and watching a silly little short, we finally got to watch “UP.”

It was so fantastic!  I simply can’t express how hilarious and darling it was, and how much I enjoyed it.  I couldn’t do it justice if I tried to summarize it, so I will just emphatically encourage everyone I know to go and see it as soon as you can!

p.s.  All you Californian Fenton fans – keep your eyes and ears open!  🙂

Lots of Help Recoveringby Angie

8 May 2009
5:05 pm

Hi, everyone – I’m alive!  Recovery is kind of lame, but going well.  Kathy has spent the week with us, and has done her best to wait on me hand and foot.  Jim has been wonderfully attentive, too.  I feel like a very lazy princess.  My most enthusiastic exercise comes from a couple of trips up and down the stairs each day.

Jaquie is enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, and has been very affectionate, as usual.  We were a little worried, before the surgery, about what to do with her at night – she usually lies on Jim as we are falling asleep, then migrates to some part of me during the night, but it is pretty uncomfortable to have a cat sprawled on your stomach or legs when you have an incision to worry about.  Surprisingly enough, she must have been listening to our conversation about it, or else noticed a difference in my sleeping habits:  she now lies on Jim for a while but, of her own accord, she now often spends the rest of the night on the end of the bed or the floor.  We have such a smart, sweet cat!

I have a post-op appointment next Monday, where they will check me out and make sure everything looks good.  No steri-strips for them to examine – just stitches on the inside and super glue on the outside, this time!  Things look good to me, so far, so I’m sure we’ll have good news next week.  We’ll keep you posted.