Friday, December 18, 2009

Moon Over Honolulu

Taken May 2005, from the Hale Koa Hotel on Waikiki.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Call for Help at Fort Hood, TX

To all my quilter friends out there - if you would like to do something to help those wounded in the tragedy at Fort Hood, TX - CherryHouse Quilts has received information from the Chaplins Office on Fort Hood for donations of quilts. Go to her site and she will guide you on how you can help! Most of you are military wives and mothers like me and I know if you can you will! I love you sisters!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sarah and Audrey

DSC_5414, originally uploaded by Nikongirl's Photoshop.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Show Honu Aloha

Aloha means hello in hawaiian, but it is has another broader meaning of extending goodwill to the person you are saying it to. Honu is the hawaiian name for turtle and this is a little story of how I learned about showing aloha to the honu.

A few weeks ago, we ventured towards the North Shore and we wanted to go to a different beach than the one at Haleiwa, so we drove just a little north and saw some folks parked on the right side of the road. We stopped to see why and initially couldn’t figure out where they were going. We crossed the street, which looked like a drop off and low and behold was a little rocky beach called Laniakea.
Laniakea Beach

We made our way down to the beach and discovered this “little” guy, a beautiful green sea turtle. He was just laying in the warm sand soaking up the last of the afternoon sun. Someone had roped off an area around him with a red rope and put a laminated sign up asking us all to keep away.


So I took a few shots of him and noticed a whiteboard in the sand which said his name was Genbu. This intrigued me because I began to realize that the someone who cared enough to put the rope up also seemed to know a lot about this turtle. I walked around the beach looking to see if there were other turtle basking, which there weren’t, but there were several bobbing up out of the water feeding. What very cool place.

Genbu on Laniakea Beach

I started to leave and a woman with a beautiful green turtle necklace on came over to me and asked if I needed any help or if I had any questions about Genbu (I must have “that” look, because this actually happens to me a lot). We started talking and she told me how she volunteers as a Honu Guardian, volunteering once or twice a month for 3-4 hours at a time. The green sea turtles are a “threatened species” and are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Laniakea is one of the few beaches that the green sea turtles come to feed and bask and they migrate here regularly from their birthing grounds on the French Frigate Shoals about 500 miles north of Oahu.

She is sort of an ambassador for the turtles and volunteers with Malama na Honu, which means “care for the turtles”. They train their volunteers on what to look for when observing and how to collect data about the turtles’ basking and feeding habits. The Honu Guardians are also on hand to help educate humans about the turtles’ migration patterns, explaining why they choose this beach to come feed and why the turtles bask on the beaches.

You can read more about them on their website and there is a cool section about each of the turtles that have been identified as regulars. This is the section about my turtle Genbu. He really is so special!

Hawaiian name: KUPONO- the worthy

Markings: PIT tags # 4250034951 and # 442E084F24

Genbu, who weighs 157 pounds and is approximately 30 years old, disappeared from the shores of Laniakea in 2004. A year later he hauled out onto the beach with a large fibropapailloma tumor on his left jaw hinge and tumors on his neck and eyes. He was successfully treated by the veterinarian with Dermex in 2005 and again in 2007. Today L-11 basks in the sun at Laniakea approximately 8 days a month. L-11 has a distinguishably flat scute on top of his shell and small “wartlike” bumps on both eyelids. A satellite tag and TDR were attached to Genbu's shell March 2009 and the transmitter removed in June, as he did not migrate in 2009.

When I first read this, I decided I like his hawaiian name better, Kupono, the worthy one. Once we get settled into our house and routine, I plan to volunteer with Malama na Honu and spend a few hours a month hanging out at Laniakea with Brian, hoping to see my “little” guy again.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grandpa and Brian

We spent Father's Day at the North Shore on a little beach called Hale'iwa. Brian loves running along the beach and occasionally dipping his toes in the water. He is getting used to the way the water comes in and out from the shore. We watched turtles bobbing up and down in the water, skipping stones and a glorious sunset.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day


I just wanted to update you about our moving situation. We landed safely in Honolulu on Thursday and we are currently in a hotel for an indeterminate amount of time, until we are able to secure permanent housing. The pups are at a beautiful kennel and we can go visit them any time we want. We have already started looking at some possible places for housing and I will keep you up to date as it reveals to us.

No worries, we have so many places to go visit and hang out, it feels more like an extended vacation. It's been a while since I have posted regularly and I hope to be able to do so soon. I have shot so many images since I have arrived, Hawaii is like being in a candy store for me. Beautiful landscapes and flowers and the beach and turtles and of course Brian! The trick will be carving the time for uploading as I have had to remind myself to charge the batteries at night.

I feel so fortunate to be able to live here, be able to shoot this gorgeous place, and share it with all of you. I hope you will follow my journey here on the Hawaiian islands.


Friday, June 5, 2009

Dateline: Hawaii, May 2005


In May of 2005, my family and I flew out of Anchorage for two glorious weeks on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. We stayed at the Hale Koa, right on Waikiki Beach. It was the most fabulous two weeks of our lives. We swam, sunbathed, walked endless miles on the beaches, climbed Diamond Head and watched surfers on the waves. We ate shaved ice and pineapple every day.

We drove up to the North Shore and took in the breathtaking vistas. We climbed on the rocks and visited Hanauma Bay. We saw a beautiful black Labrador that reminded us of our recently departed sweet Sara dog and we watched our son skateboard at an outdoor park in Kailua, We walked the streets and took in the nightlife of Kalakaua Avenue and ate at Duke's right on Waikiki Beach. We drove through the Dole Pineapple Plantation fields and body boarded at Bellows Beach.

My husband and I spent an entire afternoon watching and photographing outrigger canoe women teams practice at Ala Moana State Recreation Area. We came across street musicians and watched the sailboats come in and out of the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor with Diamond Head perfectly poised in the background.
Our first night there, I photographed the night skyline of Waikiki and we watched fireworks both Fridays we were there. I photographed the sunsets, the sunrises and everything I could in between. We visited Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial. It was a very somber visit and I was so grateful to be able to go and pay my respects for those who gave their lives that day. We went to a lua and we smelled beautiful plumera and it really was almost too much to take in.

One night shortly after we arrived, we were having dinner and talking about all that we had seen in the first few days and how beautiful and wonderful it was, except of course the traffic during rush hour. We were only caught twice in it. We thought how amazing it would be to be able to come back here and live and we all sort of shook our heads at the improbability. After all, my husband had been in the military for 22 years and we knew we probably had one more move before we retired. And since we were already in Alaska, the odds were that we would be moving back to the lower 48 states. So we decided we would come back every so often as this was our most favorite vacation ever.

Three years later, the orders came and we were off to Kentucky, to spend 18 months before we were to retire. We packed our house and off we drove; up through Alaska, through the Yukon Territory and down in British Columbia, back into the United States and across to Kentucky; 3,942 miles!

Then as we planned our first trip to the Carolinas to scope out possible retirement spots and jobs; we got a very exciting call that changed our lives; my husband was promoted and we had to leave Kentucky - no job for him here any more. A month later, while he was in Washington, D.C., he called me and asked me what I thought about Hawaii. I said I LOVE Hawaii, why are you taking me there for Christmas? No, they want me to take a position there! I screamed and thought NO WAY, too good to be true. This just doesn't happen to the McDonells! And for the last 8 months, I have held my breath waiting for someone to wake me up and tell me it was a joke.

It's not, our house is packed up and on Monday, June 8th, exactly one year to the day we signed for the keys to this house, all of our belongings will be crated and shipped off for their long distance voyage to the Hawaiian islands. Three days after, on June 11th (my 45th birthday), we will once again get in our trucks, load some suitcases and our beautiful baby grandson and our gorgeous daughter and our two happy-go-lucky black Labs, Minnie and Daisy; and we will all begin the trek across the southwest United States to Los Angeles, Ca. We will ship our trucks at the port on June 17th and early the next morning we will all board a flight to Oahu. We are scheduled to land at 11am local time so we figure we should be at the beach for our first sunset on, ironically enough, Sunset Beach on the North Shore.

I cannot begin to tell you how excited we all are to be able to have this opportunity to live in Hawaii, visit it's beautiful islands and experience the Hawaiian culture like no visitor can in two weeks. I promise to blog about our adventures and share with you all the wonderful things we see and experience in Hawaii and until then, I leave you with some of my favorite memories of our visit 4 years ago!


Saturday, May 30, 2009

Run Minnie, Run!

DSC_6872, originally uploaded by Nikongirl's Photoshop.

Boy does this picture bring back memories. Shot August 26, 2007 in Alaska at Otter Lake on Fort Richardson, AK. I can't believe it's been almost 2 years!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saying Goodbye

DSCN1495, originally uploaded by Nikongirl's Photoshop.

I came across this shot and thought I want to share it with you. It was taken on August 13, 2008. It was the night my husband took Jimmy to the hotel in Louisville. He joined a dozen other young people who were all new recruits into the various branches of the military. Some Navy, a few Air Force and my son had joined the Army. He was flying out early the next morning for basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. I love this picture because we had all been crying and yet here we were, smiling our infamous smiles. I also like this picture because I think it shows how much my husband, Brad and I are beginning to look alike. Maybe because Jimmy's in between us and I can see both of us in him.

Jump Jump Jumparoo!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler: Encore

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Too Much Candy

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