Sunday, April 30, 2017

Waikiki Zen Center and Spa...The Aquarium and Diamond Head

A relaxing way to begin our Sunday Morning on (Virtual) Waikiki with (real) Fresh Fruit, Meditation, Yoga and the promise of a (real) Evening Spa. (...mineral soak, facial, loofah vanilla sugar scrub, mani and pedi, hair conditioning pack and pineapple scented body lotion with relaxing music and candlelight...)

After an hour or so of "Centering"... beginning the day at the Waikiki Aquarium!

And the Full Tour

Next the hike up Diamond Head Crater

Full Hike

And since we are experiencing this virtually...a Fly-Over as well!

Then it is back for dinner. No Island Food tonight. Still getting over the Loco Moco...just basic Comfort Food this evening with Baked Meatloaf topped with Ketchup, Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans and Baked Custard with Nutmeg for afters.

Soon to slip into a Spa Bath!

Relaxation Music

Ending our (Virtual) Waikiki Weekend 
with Quiet Meditation and Gratitude.



Saturday, April 29, 2017

A (Virtual) Waikiki Weekend and Loco Moco

When I think of Waikiki...I think sand and surf and longboards.

I tried longboarding (real time) in San Diego in the late Seventies.

It was a rental shop on the beach.

Their main concern was affixing the board to your wrist with a rubber bungee type cord, so that when you wiped out you wouldn't lose their board. Or maybe because things get a bit boring at the surf rental and tourists are their comic relief.

Yeah...funny stuff.

How hard could it be?

(...never ask this question...)

After paddling out and waiting for a good wave...I proceeded to immediately fall off the longboard....which wouldn't have been such a problem had it not been attached umbilical-like to my wrist.

It is a long way back to shore when you are being tossed by roller waves while simultaneously being beaten by a floating PLANK weighing maybe 20 pounds with every wave curl.


Yeah, I'm good with all that.

The Resort for a Waikiki Weekend would have to be beach-side at the Hilton.

 Known as the Hilton Hawaiian Village.

Not just a Hotel but an ADVENTURE.

Hotel Amenities include:

For Your Comfort and Convenience

  • Automated Teller (ATM)
  • Baggage Storage
  • Bar Area
  • Barber Shop
  • Beauty Salon
  • Car Rental Desk
  • Clothing Store
  • Concierge Desk
  • Electric Service
  • Elevators
  • Florist
  • Foreign Currency Exchange
  • Gift Shop
  • Guest Activity/Recreation Desk
  • Laundry/Valet Service
  • Local Area Transportation
  • Lounge
  • Luggage Hold
  • Multi-Lingual Staff
  • News Stand
  • On-Site Convenience Store
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Snack Shop
  • Tour Desk
  • Beach
  • Fitness Room
  • Mandara Spa
  • Pool
  • Sight Seeing Tours
  • Snorkeling 
And Fireworks at Dusk.

Not your Mom and Pop's Super Eight.

Waikiki is a beach-front city of Honolulu. The name means "Spouting Fresh Water" in Hawaiian for the many springs and streams that once fed nearby wetlands.  In the 1800's Waikiki was a playground for royalty who liked to surf here using longboards.

Today there are still surf contests, hula contests, canoe races and performances held here.

Including several "Surfer Statues" near the beach.

  One, of which, is Duke Kahanamoku Memorial

Kahanamoku grew up surfing these waters, and was buried at sea in 1968 after a heart attack at age 77.  He brought the sport of Surfing into the limelight.

His nickname was "The Big Kahuna" you know where THAT comes from.

(...and I have to notice he does not have his longboard tethered to HIS arm...I am starting  to see a disturbing trend here...)

Waikiki Surf Competition

Waikiki Hula Festival

And Malu the Surfing Dog

(...notice that Malu isn't tied to his board either...way too smart a canine to let that happen...and I am beginning to believe the boys in San Diego were just making sport of us...)

but today I am on a quest...oh sure, Diamond Head is beautiful and the hotel really is a small village of its own complete with upscale retail shopping...but when I started this virtual adventure I heard about The Waikiki Café and Loco Moco.

Now Loco Moco is traditionally a breakfast dish...but I am fixing it for dinner.

Not only is it, supposedly, the Ultimate Comfort Food of comes in several variations to please all palates...and even has a chain of Hawaiian Restaurants named after it.

Not bad.

The dish was created in 1940 at the Lincoln Grill for a group of teenagers from The Lincoln Wreckers Sports Club, after they had requested something different than the usual hamburger on a bun.

The egg was added later.

The concoction named after George Okimoto, a member of the group whose nickname was "Crazy"

They decided on Spanish for Crazy (Loco) and tagged on Moco because it rhymed and "sounded good". (...or it may have been a great high-school joke...considering that Moco in Spanish translates to booger...)

Widely popular in Hawaii now, it is served at most restaurants.

Now we KNOW.

 My Loco Moco


It has a nice presentation, I'll give it that.

This is food in the same sense that Salisbury was "Steak" back in the 1960's, okay.

To put it another way, I suppose you could eat ANYTHING if you covered it with enough brown gravy.

(...well...except Haggis, of course...)

It wasn't particularly bad, in a starchy, brown gravy covered fashion...and where the fried egg to top it came from is a mystery.

So now I have tried Loco Moco which translates loosely (as we now know) to Crazy Booger(psychotic snot?) (insane mucus?)

Try not to think about it.

More anon...

Hotel Firework Show


Friday, April 28, 2017

100 Days...Compost and Herbs...Shelby...And Morels

I once thought there could never be too many morels...until this week.

I feel like Bubba and the "shrimp" speech.  I have fixed them sautéed with steak...fried with Drakes batter and cocktail sauce...stuffed...chopped fine in marinara over pasta...on pizza...thinly sliced and crisp like chips the way James showed me on home-made soup with fresh my morning omelet with cheese...

and I still have morels left!

Not that I am complaining, mind you.
May actually freeze some this season...which I never do.

Morels, beef steak, green peppers, a handful of rice, fresh flat Italian Parsley and Thyme...and spices for soup. Added a dollop of sour cream in the bowl.

Morel and Colby Omelet

Morel Topped Pizza!
And the Mansfield Car Show and Morel Festival isn't even until Sunday!

Spent a great deal  of the week adjusting to the loss of my fuzz-buddy, Tucker.
Strange how you get into a day-to-day routine together...and how glaringly obvious that becomes with his sudden absence. Even Shelby (a relatively new arrival to our little family) wandered the house looking for him and meowing.

Finally settling in on the hassock he loved so much, rubbing her face in what must have been his scent.

And I finally get it, too.

Shelby was a Rescue Kitty. She had been surrendered, though I have no details as to why.  She is a well-mannered, well fed, obviously well loved and taken care of, full grown house-cat. There were/are mornings after she arrived here that she would sit staring me right in the face intently like " are not who I am looking for...but you seem nice enough...will you love me?" Or possibly just feed me.

Now I understand. 

The first time I came home and sat down after groceries and the weight of it hit me that Tuck and I would never again engage in the after-grocery-climb-up-my-lap and snuggle...then Shelby had the audacity to come over and try to sit with me...I almost pushed her off my lap.

Then I cuddled her instead. 

No, she is not Tucker. Since she is already grown I will probably never bond with her like I did that 4 inch pawing and mewling kitten who stole my heart for the next 14 years.

And I will never be whoever it was that took such good care of her and loved her before she was left at the shelter. The person she looks for and finds me, instead.  Did they get sick, die,  maybe move to a place where a cat wasn't allowed or welcome?  I may never know.

What I do know is this...we will both get past all this...and we will both have a New Beginning. Our own familiarity, love, and eventual routine together.

 Engaged in the first of my planting this season with several patio pots and the beginnings of a bog...and my 2017 Herb Basket...literally planted in a wooden Bushel Basket

Beginnings of the bog...a work in progress.

The compost box was amazing this year. All of last year's newspaper, paper towel, coffee grounds, peelings and eggshells...along with straw, small twigs, cardboard, leftover Halloween pumpkin, vines and rotted 30 gallons of sweet smelling rich black soil. No matter how many years I do it...this is always incredible to me.

And...speaking of disintegration and decomposition, I guess this is as good  a time as any to segway into

Trump's 100 Days.

Athough the ACA is still standing...and The Wall isn't...the Muslim Travel Ban has been shot down in numerous courts as unconstitutional...the Tax Code remains the same...and more than a few of his followers are exhibiting "buyer's remorse"

Even Trump himself...who now laments none of it is as EASY as he thought it was going to be...this being President Stuff.

Seriously, ya think?

But in a convoluted pretzel-logic kind of way he HAS made America GREAT again.

There are more people than ever helping with a Resistance to his hare-brained schemes and out and out unconstitutional ideas. People are paying attention...not just ignoring what he is trying to pull...and that, my friends, is truly GREAT.

More anon... 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brenden's 7th and My 57th...

Or the cake is birthday must be over.

Had a wonderful time with Brenden (and everyone) in Terre Haute at Bogeys for Brenden's Earth Worm Jim Party!

What's not to love. Pizza and soft drinks. Private party room (where THEY handle the clean up). Go Carts. Game Room. Bounce Room. Spinning Bumper Cars. Miniature Golf. Batting Cages. Trampoline Bungee. It was pretty amazing! Something for EVERYONE.

Finished my early month-long celebration and cake a few hours ago. The 57th has somehow turned out to be my "Good Food and Cake" birthday, it seems...Starting with Greek early in the month...onward to The Cheesecake Factory

Steak yesterday with a mini chocolate cake from Chuck and Shirley...beginning the day with a candle lit eclair...and Loretta, Sharon Judy and I celebrating with a Brunch and yet more cake this afternoon. Loretta hosted it to celebrate both Judy's (the 22nd) and My (the 24th) Birthdays!

Walked in to the smell of Roasting Turkey, Baked Macaroni and Cheese, Green Bean Casserole and Yellow Cake with Milk Chocolate Icing and Sprinkles. Smelled like Thanksgiving!!!

And good things always come in boxes, too.

The Shelby Cat (earlier this month)

Good Handmade Chocolates.

And still more chocolates.

A giftcard!

 Coffee Pods.

And Cake.

"Idgy's Box" which included this vintage suitcase affair filled with some of my favorite things...a Vineyard Yankee Candle, A large polished geode with some beautiful crystals, a hand-carved wooden dipping spoon, oh....and more chocolate!!!

Feeling very SPOILED (and chocolate filled) today!

Also got a great surprise from Lennon yesterday; who is going to be taking vacation days soon and coming up for a week!


And he is right about this shit being creepy

When you log-in on your  birthday and both Facebook and Google send regards and your Twitter page is dropping multicoloured balloons...yes...kind of creepy.

Anyway...57 rocks!

              1957 Thunderbird...proof that I am not OLD. I am CLASSIC.

Have to admit, I faced 57 with a bit of trepidation. Silly really. Superstitious. I have believed for years that we travel through this life more or less in the same circles (of people)  Having lost 4 close friends at the age of 57...most recently Pam, also at 57...well...let's just say it gave me a momentary pause. 

But this is 57...and it is Grand.

The Daily US not so much.

We have managed to piss off Russia...Iran...Syria...Afghanistan...North Korea and China in less than 100 days.

If you aren't very nervous...well, you aren't paying attention.

Suddenly 4 years feel like forever.

Democrats...get a clue. Forget about Russia and Border Walls and whatever else you are kvetching about and get yourselves focused on one very very very important thing...grooming a Viable Candidate for  2020. You  have 4 years, okay. Don't SCREW this up. Because if you don't we could have 8 years of THIS. And do NOT dust off Hillary and trot her out again or you DESERVE four more years.

And a sad my Tucker-Kitty took a turn for the worse on Sunday. By Monday he had collapsed, and was in obvious distress. Nicole helped me get him to the Vet that afternoon for euthanasia. It was April and he had just turned 15. The vet said we had made the right decision as he would decline further, and be in more pain.

15 years was STILL not enough.

Missing my fuzz-buddy and little shedding Zen-Master who taught me his final life lesson yesterday:

Sometimes no matter how badly we want to keep somebody...there are times we have to love them enough to let them go.



 More Anon...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kalua Pork and Roast Pineapple

And what would Hawaii Cuisine be without Roast Pork and Pineapple, really?

(...okay...Poi would have made this meal more authentic...but I had an Island Brownie it's all good...)

The Pineapple: roasted at 350 and drizzled with brown sugar glaze until done.

The Pork- Kalua Roast Pork

Kalua Pork

This can be made in a slow cooker with good  results, however, I used my oven.

Pork Butt or Loin  (3 pounds)

2 cups water

1 teaspoon liquid smoke flavouring

1/4 cup sea salt

Cook in slow cooker all day or in deep roaster in 350 degree oven for 3 hours. 
Shred meat and add roast pineapple and/or roast bell peppers at this point.

Smells and tastes delicious. Re-Heats easily and very little clean up!


Coming soon :  Hapula:Coconut Pudding and Hawaiian Fried Rice

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sprouted Coconut Palms...Coconuts...and Island Brownies! of these has been on my Life List since Cuba!  I have one (now) winging its way, my way!

Sprouted Coconut Palms.

Hawaii is full of them!

Going from green and full of coconut water.


Nearly ripe and yellowish brown.


Brown, ripe and difficult to split...even with a hammer or hatchet.Also extremely buoyant in water...some coconuts float on ocean waves for miles before landing on a beach...where they sprout. You will appreciate your local grocery more, now.
The round hairy ball (nut) is inside the fibrous jacket.

And at last...opening the nut to find sweet delicious coconut meat (after draining the "milk" off by puncturing one of the soft eyes).

Coconut milk (the liquid inside the coconut)

And the meat

And since we have now explored Pineapple, Macadamia Nuts and is time to combine the three and make Island Brownies!

Island Brownies

1 box chocolate brownie mix  (I used Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate)

Substitute Pineapple Juice for the amount of water...and only use one egg. Otherwise prepare just like it says on the box.

Mix in a cup of shredded or flaked coconut.

Add 1/2 cup chopped fresh pineapple.

Add 1/2 cup Macadamia Nuts.

Mix well.

Pour into 8x8 baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Remove and let cool before cutting.

As it bakes your house will smell amazing...and they taste even better!

Moist and chocolatey...and filled with coconut, Macadamias and bits of real pineapple.