2nd Anniversary of Mom’s passing

Today in 2015 at 11:47 pm, Anna Bernice Nutt took her last breath on this earth.

It has been two years since that time and I still am heartbroken over it. I cry less now than I did back then but it still aches as much.

The little things we miss about a person, their smile, their eyes or in my moms case, her hands. Mom always had strong hands. Strong and elegant. Mom was not a big women by any stretch of the imagination, 5’4″ on a good day and when she passed was 5’3″ and about 120 .lbs soaking wet. Her strong hands came from typing for many years. Mom went into the Army as soon as she was old enough and became a clerical typist. Later on in life she would work for Multnomah County in the courthouse in downtown Portland Oregon. Years of typing gave her strong hands. Her fingers were long and thin and each was topped by a perfectly manicured fingernail. That is one of the things I remember about my mom – her hands. I of course miss our talks and her constant praise of everything I did, literally everything. She could kill with kindness.

I think the thing I miss most about her is her niceness. She was the nicest person I have ever had the pleasure of encountering. I am not just blowing smoke up your skirt, she was absolutely the nicest person. If you were to ask anyone who met her, they would say the same thing. I miss it because I struggle with my own niceness. If she were still here, I might be able to take away a little of that with me and I miss that.

To wrap up, here is the poem I wrote and presenter at her service. A spoken word version of it is on SoundCloud here if you feel inclined to hear me orate it.

With my mom, who was my only guiding light, I can share no more fears
From a disease that was her companion she did succumb after many years
Like the rocks against the crashing waves
She remained stalwart each and every day

Finally she has left this earthly place
To dawn a suit of heavenly grace
No longer tethered to her old and frail form
She watches over us as we all begin to morn

I am convinced that her energy is still around
Though her feet no longer touch the ground
The tears they come of fond memories long past
And thinking that no new ones with her makes me gasp

How we say our goodbyes are up to each one of us
If you were to ask her she would say not to make such a fuss
It’s hard not to cry when I want to talk to her and can’t
She didn’t even get to see me and my wife ballroom dance

The memory of her face I know will fade in time
But the goodness inside her will always shine
When I look upon the faces of my sisters and brother
I know that they carry with them the best of my mother

I didn’t appreciate the life lessons bestowed until she was gone
But I recognize them now and know I should thank her a ton
The strength of her character even in the toughest of times
I see more clearly now though can’t do it justice in my rhymes

Her honesty and quick smile and always having a kind word
May seem disingenuous coming from others but not ever her
Her excitement when from the coast I would bring salt water taffy
Or the long ago stories she told where we both ended up laughing

Her belief in me was unwavering even at my craziest dreams
To open up a game store was within reach to her it all seemed
Her empathy for my injuries always caused her concern
As any good parent would feel when body parts I would burn

As a new chapter in my life unfolds without her country wisdom
I try to fashion myself a little time to reflect on how to overcome
The obstacles I face each and every day as she once did
And hope that some of her strength inside me is hid

She supported my writing and loved reading my blog
Even though at times it must have been a terrible slog
She commented on my poems whenever she would take a look
And loved the idea of me compiling them into a book

For once and all my mother has shed her mortal coil
To no longer walk upon this earthly soil
Doesn’t mean that she will be missed any less
As the years go by I am sure I will have regrets

Of the things I wanted but couldn’t share
Not that it matters because she always cared
She was proud of my achievements regardless how small
And made me feel like I was 1000 feet tall

The reading of this poem gave me cause to rehearse
For the last words I heard my mom say are its very last verse
They are simple and from a mother to her son
Those words she spoke to me were “Go have fun”

Love you Mom – now and always.

Anna Bernice Nutt – May 25, 1940 – May 17th 11:47 pm, 2015

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 7 – Our journey today was to make it back to Hilo – the wet/rainy side of the island, mainly to visit a botanical garden, plus anything else that seemed cool as we were there.

Our trip went smooth and it was nice to see that landscape during the daylights hours again. The lava flows are interesting and seeing all the little micro coffee/fruit lots was amazing. We even managesd to see a few wild goats.

We first stopped off at Rainbow Falls and took some pics. It is nice but extremely touristy with tons of the tour buses in the parking lots. Personally, I thought there were many more places to see less weighed down by tons of tourists. But what do I know, I’m just a tourist!

The botanical garden was on a huge plot of land, something like 40 acres and you walked where you wanted. There were signes in fronts of all the different species of tree or flower that you could scan with your phone and it would play a message talking about the thing in question, but we never did that.

We saw many wonderful and crazy plants/trees of every size, shape and color. They even had a hedge maze that was 100 yards across. Only one way in and one way out. That was awesome. We also discovered to plants whose leaves closed when you brushed them.

All in all it was just an escape to see some varieties of things gathewred in one place.

Here are some pics from today:

 

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 6 – Today we dicided not to drive nearly as much as yesterday. Instead, we took a short drive down south on highway 160 just past Honaunau Bay to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. There we visited the sanctuary and took a walk-about.

In ancient Hawaian times if a person broke a “Kapu” (taboo or law) you would most likely have been put to death. The only way to avoid that fate was to escape to Pu’uhonua o Honaunau or sanctuary. If you did so, then the priest would forgive you your crime(s) and you could return home with no repercussions.

This was a spectacular place had 8 foot high walls made from lava rock that have stood for 700 years surrounding it. There was white fine gravel all over the paths, royal fish ponds and beaches for green sea turtles to rest on.

We also listened to a presentation by one of the park reps who had told us a few stories and legends about the place and times. He also played the nose flute for us. The name and its use sound a bit odd but it made wonderful music. I recommend this place if you can make your way down here.

On a side note, my wife had purchased an app for 7.99 that we synced with the blue-tooth of our rented car and were able to be given a guided tour through the app that uses the GPS of your phone and the speakers of your car. It was great.

We also wrapped up our trip with a stop at the Donkey Balls store. It’s pretty much a candy shop specializing in chocolate covered nuts or flavored chocolate. There were other flavors of course but to many to disclose. If on the big island, you should make a point of stopping in. On a final note, the cashier said as we were checking out, “Do you need a sack for your balls?” I am totally serious. She kept a stright face the whole time. When we started talking to her about it she did come forward and said it never got old. Most people just laugh.

Here are a few pics:

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 5 – Today was an incredibly long and somewhat emotionally taxing day.

I wil give the highlights of the day and then share pics at the ends as I have been doing.

We started off in Kailua-Kona and made our north along the Kohala Coast through Kawaikae, past Mahukona into and out of Havi to a look out just past Kapaau. From there we travelled down into Waimea and eventually made our way onto Saddle Road that cuts through the island west to east on our way to Hilo.

While were driving along the Kohala Highway my mother-in-law looked out her window and saw a whale breaching the water. We quickly stopped and took some video and pics. Not sure how well they turned out but it was quite spectacular just to witness. In all the whale breached about 7 times that we could see.

We also stopped off at a wonderful botanical area that actually led to a waterfall. Pics of that are included below. It was amazing to see plants that were much bigger than I was.

Once we made it to Hilo, we drove around a little to see what there was to see. We eventually headed back across Saddle Road where we detoured and went North up to the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy.

The OCFIA was a nice place to learn some interesting facts about astronomy s well as some interesting legends and lore about Hawai’i culture. The moon was super bright and it washed out the stars a little but that was of no matter, the view was amazing. If you stared long enough you got to see a shooting star or two.

While we were up there I had a special moment that I had to do on my own. As some of you know, my mom passed away in May of 2015. We cremated her as per her instructions and I thought it would nice to spread some of her ashes at some of the more special places my wife and I have had the priviledge of going to on occasion. In this case, we were between 8000 and 9000 feet on Mauna Kea Mountain on Hawai’i. I think that qualifies as pretty special. I spoke a few words about how much I missed her, had a good cry, and spread her ashes. It was a good place, underneath the stars. Truly breathtaking. She would have liked it.

We then headed back home to the resort. It was a long day of driving as tomorrow will be but I am enthusiastic about what we will see tomorrow.

Here is a map to show our route. We started in Kona on the left side and traveled north.

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Here are some pics of our travels:

 

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 4 – Today we had a flat tire and had to deal with getting it fixed before we could go anywhere. That took a little bit more of the morning than we wanted so our trip to another coffee farm was out of the picture. Instead we stayed at the resort and made the best of it by doing a little swimming and soaking the hot tub.

The Luau was close enough for us to walk to, so we did just that. Not just because it was an open bar, but because the weather is SO nice, in the evenings especially.

With that, a few pics of the Luau:

 

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Hawai’i 2017

~ Day 3 – Today’s adventure was in its entirety a day-long guided tour around the island visiting many of the islands treasures, hidden or otherwise. Lunch and dinner were included. We started at 11am and with not much for us to do except shower, dress and have a relaxing breakfast enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the pool while we wait to be picked up.

Our driver was a chatty fellow named Lawrence who was born in Kona but moved away at a young age before moving back with his family about 10 years ago. He was full of really interesting factoids, legends, lore and personal thoughts on just about everything. He was great.

Our lunch consisted of sandwhiches and chips and took place on a coffee farm that had a stunning view overlooking one of the bays below. This place was also used for weddings. It had a great many kinds of wild-flowers, including the trumpet-angel (which is poisonous) and even turkeys for our viewing pleasure. We were also treated to some excellent coffee. Things definitely had started off right on the trip.

After leaving the coffee farm we took a meandering road up and around that twisted and turned until we arrived at a shop were you could buy all manner of trinkets and do-dads but maybe more importantly had sweet edible goodness in the form of icecream and a tasty pastry called mallasada.

Keeping the tour moving, we headed to Punalu’u Black Sand Beach Park where they had, of all things – a black sandy beach. It was unusual for sure plus the sand was really course. It gets its color from the way it was created. What was in the magma as it flowed into the sea and met the water before exploding bits everywhere. We also managed to see a few more turtles in the water.

Moving forward we next headed to some steam vents that spewed steam 24/7. It was odd, they steam smelled like ramen noodles, not the lipton noodle soup we were told it was smell like. A case of false advertising if ever I heard one!

Keeping things on pace for dinner and the lava tubes, we couldn’t spend too much time in any one particular place. Just enough to entice you to come back on your own maybe.

Dinner was at a winery, which was perfect. We had a tasting of six wines and two meads, one of which was black tea infused. There was also a tour and explanation of the process of making the wine in the unique climate here in Hawai’i. Dinner was chicken, ribs, sweet corn, cole slaw and pasta salad. It was so good. – As a side note, there was a cork oak tree on the property. It is native to Portugal and in their native country grow to more than a 100 feet. The “bark” is so much like cork that it IS used as such.

Our next stop was at a 600 foot lava tube we got to walk through. It may sound weird or claustrophobic but it was pretty big and really cool. No sense of being closed in here. There were tiny roots that had actually managed to creep through all the tiny holes in the rocks and crust of the lava tube to end just above our heads as we walked though. There were several large yellow lights placed evenly throughout the tunnel so we could see but were not intrusive on the experience. A short walk back to the van gave Lawrence, our guide, an opportunity to talk about some of the flora. He showed us one of the few indiginous species of tree that break down the lava rock and help produce soil by excreting a chemical that promoted the breaking down of the lava rock. Crazy! Also they developed floating root sacks to gather water so other specias of plant life that formed around them wouldn’t take all the water around.

Now that it was dark, we made our way to Hawai’is Valcanoes National Park to see some lava – with any luck. Eureka! Not only did we get to see the glow of lava, but actual lava.

On the way back to the van for a long trip home, Lawrence was able to find some lava rock with olivine in it. The stuff that makes up the green sand beaches. He also managed to find some some of Pele’s Hair. This is the stuff formed when lava is ejected into the air and the wind catches it and stretches it thin. It looks like hair. Totally cool!

Here some of the pics that encapsulated the day:

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Hawai’i 2017

Days 1&2 – Traveling + our 1st day exploring

~Day 1 – To make our 8:15am flight from Portland Oregon, my wife and I decided to stay the night at her parents home so that we could all set out on this adventure together. We woke up at 4:45am  and were out the door at 5:30am, at the airport at 6am and were checked in by 6:30-7am. This was just enough time to have a cup of morning java before boarding began. The flight was really smooth and took only 5.5 hours to arrive in Honolulu. We made great time arriving 20-30 minutes ahead of schedule. Almost there; just one more micro-flight of 30 minutes to get to the “big” island of Hawai’i. An unusually long time (90 minutes) to get our car and we were on our way. Usually we get in and are out of the rental place in 15 minutes. I guess it was our time to have to wait. If all things are being equal, one 90 minute ordeal at a car rental place is not terrible at all.

Before we make it to the resort, we need to get to Costco for some essentials like chips, salsa, dip, lunch meat, bread, beer and booze. Yes, Costco sells liquor in Hawai’i! Boo-ya.
To the resort we go. We arrive to drop off luggage and groceries. This was about sunset. It was amazing. The sun was a huge bright ball of red-orange. It was so amazing.

For our eating experience we decided to start off at Kona Brew Pub. The wait was long but it was worth it. The beers were cold and the wings were spicy. My father-in-law and I shared a pizza to top off our dining experience. My wife and mother-in-law also shared a pizza of their own.

After dinner the sun has fully set and we are ready for bed. The resort is not terribly far away so we manage to make it in 15-20 minutes.

I admit, this first day I was not very much in the Aloha spirit. Too long a day on 4 hours of sleep plus no food until the 2nd hour of the flight, around 10:30am, which had me a little hangry (hungry + angry), although angry is a little harsh. I would say cranky instead but hanky doesn’t have the right connotation as hangry. Maybe it has more flair, who knows?

~ Day 2 – The 1st day waking up in Hawai”i was great. No alarms going off, just a fan above circulation the warm air. In all honesty, it was a bit too warm. Easily fixed, open the window, don’t sleep with all the covers on and no AC. The AC didn’t really do much anyway oddly enough.

We had an activities specialist come down to the resort to go over many of the exciting things to do while visiting. Things like helicoptor rides over the volcano, ziplining, coffee plantation tours as well as whole island tours that take 11-12 hours. As an enticement, they give away some swag for sitting through the presentation and such, usually a raffle for a buy-1, get-1 free deal. In this case all the choices were pretty good. The thing we wanted to do was watch the lava at night so we eagerly anticipated the drawing…and won! We of course chose the evening lava tour and are doing that all day tomorrow.

After our meetings were done for the day, we decided to meet up with my parents-in-law who had been walking through one of the many shopping areas where all sorts of wears were being peddled. They even managed to pose with some parrots. It was now time to grab some local island cuisine.

We headed out to the harbor to try a place that our rep had suggested only to find out that it had been closed. Desperately in need of some local island fare, we spotted another restaurant across the parking lot and decided to try our luck. We all tried different things from fish-n-chips to a chili dog (me). The chili was exceptional. Made with pork instead of beef.

As the day wore on and needing to stretch our legs, we decied to take the advice of our rep once again and take a short hike from where we ate lunch to see some turtles. A short 10 minutes later we were on a nice little beach and low and behold – TURTLES! Most were in the water and you could really only see their shells but one pooped little guy was sunning himself on the beach.

We headed back to the resort for some R&R in the pool and hot tub. After about and hour and a half we finished up with a light dinner and a movie. Yes a movie. It can’t all be fun in the sun. Sometimes it has to be chips, 6-layer dip, beer or cocktail and a movie. The Ghostbusters re-boot for the record.

I have attached a pretty good cross section of how are first couple days were like.

 

 

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