Hawai’i Time Means Living Aloha

Hello, blog amigos. Have passed two moons since I last wrote. Now I am in Elma, Washington visiting family for the holidays. It’s time to get back to blogging.

Washington, D.C.

I must mention the end of my D.C. trip because I had the marvelous experience of being a pro-MC for a night.

My final tourist stop before my Monday night gig was the Lincoln Memorial. It's moving. I cried. Lincoln took a big risk and it worked.
My final stop before my Monday night gig was the Lincoln Memorial. It’s moving. I cried. Lincoln took a big risk and it worked.

My former employer, Socrata, hired me to host their annual Customer Summit dinner. I made up a version of the Family Feud and catered it, including a theme song, to the world of government open data.

Here is an example question from the game:

In the transportation section of the Detroit, Michigan’s open data site, the bus route and People Mover route data get a lot of views. Those aren’t the only routes on display, though. Finish this limerick to tell us another type of transportation information Detroiters are searching for.

Some of us really like
Ways to move besides hitch hike
On two wheels
How nice Spandex feels
Let’s go ride a ______

I had Montana’s CIO, Seattle’s CTO, and other “govies” on stage. My friend and most excellent support, Amy, chose the contestants for their goofiness and she chose well. The show was raucous and ended with a dance-off to break a tie. I am so grateful.

After the show, a group of college friends very generously got together at 9 pm on a Monday to honor my visit to town. It felt so wonderful to “hang” like we used to. I love them all.

The lyrics "It's always a good time" come to mind with this group. We ate popcorn and fancy cheese, and made coffee liqueur ice cream floats.
The lyrics “It’s always a good time” come to mind with this group. We ate popcorn and fancy cheese, and made coffee liqueur ice cream floats.


Kaneohe, Hawaii

I spent a few days in Seattle after D.C. to rest, recover, and dig out all my lightweight clothing. By Halloween night I arrived in Honolulu to spend November with my dear, old pals, Stacey and Thomas.

This very dynamic duo moved to Hawaii in April of 2014. They thought they’d give paradise a try for two years and now they’re not leaving. They bought a 5-bedroom house on the Windward side of the island – super green and lush – and I was given one of those bedrooms for a bit.

My abode for the month.
My abode for the month.

Hawaii is ridiculous, you guys! Hibiscus, plumeria, mangoes, papayas, starfruit, bananas, coconuts, acai berries – it’s all growing there in tremendous abundance. I ate a least one papaya a day and made an effort to go to the beach everyday. Alooooooha!

My most favorite treat - fresh papaya.
My most favorite treat – fresh papaya.

It was very hot when I arrived because the trade winds weren’t blowing. It’s all about the trade winds in Hawaii. Electricity, and therefore air conditioning, is very expensive. You open up all of your windows and doors, hoping for a cooling breeze to come through. When the winds are really whipping, you get a lot of doors slamming and pool toys sailing around. When the winds are not moving, it’s hoooooot.

Every Goodwill in Hawaii has an entire rack of "Aloha shirts."
Fun Fact: Every Goodwill in Hawaii has an entire rack of “Aloha shirts.”

Kailua Beach

I enjoyed a lot of verb-ing in Hawaii. For example, I hiked, biked, beach walked, wave “bobbed,” snorkeled, sorta surfed, boogie-boarded, body surfed, paddled, waterfall hunted, and even shot some hoops. My favorite trip was biking from Kaneohe over to Kailua Beach, specifically Kalama Beach Park with its chickens and nice shower facility.

The view from Kalama Beach, back toward Kaneohe. The Obamas vacation somewhere down on that end of the beach.
The view from Kalama Beach, back toward Kaneohe. The Obamas vacation somewhere down on that end of the beach.

My first day on the Island, I reunited with another old pal from Seattle, Shannon. She moved to Hawaii after five knee surgeries and the realization that her sporty-self needed a new lifelong sport. She chose surfing and is now a bronzed goddess of the ocean. She works a flexible job as a PT and wakes up every morning hoping the swells, winds, and tides are in her favor to create tasty waves.

Tan Shan and Pale Me, reunited!
Pale Me and Tan Shan, reunited!

She also happens to paddle on the same team as Stacey so we all got together to hike Pillbox Peak. On the hike, Shannon and Stacey told harrowing tales of recent shark attacks, including one right near Pillbox. I learned that murky water and deep waters are not safe for swimming – noted. I happened to be in Hawaii during baby-shark-birthing season when they’re really hungry and more likely to mistake your leg for a tuna. Yikes!

Stacey is that little dot in all the green beauty.
Stacey is that little dot in all the green beauty.

On that note, we got in the water! We drove up to Sherwoods, a beach that Shannon said is great for body surfing. And, it was, if you knew what you were doing. Stacey and I got in the water and just let the waves pass by, a practice we named “bobbing.”

Who woulda thunk that two friends of mine would end up paddling teammates on Oahu one day? So much magic.
Who woulda thunk that two friends of mine would end up paddling teammates on Oahu one day? So much magic.

Meanwhile, Shannon was riding wave after wave and eventually said to us, “You’re not body surfing.” She was right. Shannon is very no-nonsense and clear about what she thinks should be happening in most situations.

A view of the Mokulua Islands or "mokes" from my first hike on Oahu.
A view of the Mokulua Islands or “the Mokes” from my first hike on Oahu.

So, Stacey and I rededicated ourselves to the cause and, more importantly, Shannon gave us a lesson. To body surf, (1) plant your feet on the sand in a place where, when the wave comes, you can jump along with it. Then, (2) stick one arm way out in front of you and (3) keep your head up and, voila, you are comfortably carried to the shore. Once Stacey and I got it, we were junkies. It’s really fun.

More to Come

I had lots more fun adventures in Hawaii, such as watching the Triple Crown surf competition on the North Shore and seeing pineapples grow, but I shall end this post for now. In honor of “living aloha,” I shall take a break – and so can you. Put your feet up. Shaka!

Mahalo for reading and a hui hou (see ya later!), blog amigos.

I'm not proud to admit that I'm still a five-year-old at heart, but it makes me laugh everytime I hear people offer to bring "poo poos" to a party in Hawaii.
I’m not proud to admit that I’m still a five-year-old at heart, but it makes me laugh every time I hear people offer to bring “poo poos” to a party in Hawaii.

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