Wednesday, August 31, 2016

As the storms approach...

You may have heard that we are facing possible storms here in Hawaii.  I'm praying that they miss everyone.  We shall see!

Keeping that in mind, I made sure, when I saw some pink outside our windows, to get outside and take some photos.  One of the things I dislike about a huge storm is that one might be stuck inside, with little to do but read, play Carcassonne and talk. And await the weather updates.  So here's some pretty from yesterday:

 You probably know by now that my hubby and I love palm trees. There are always some around (and I hate to think of them in terms of heavy trunks flying through the air! as they can in a big storm.)  But enough of that.  I'm praying the storms will miss us and things will remain as pretty as they currently are..

 You don't really get the impression of the majesty of these clouds: their huge size is something that often strikes me here on Kauai.  They are also, especially later in the day when I stroll down to the pool to swim and exercise my shoulder, brightly white.

And of course, pink sometimes, too.

There is a huge Banyan tree near us that has been torturing me,keeping me from taking a photo that truly encompasses how massive and yet lovely it is.
I can't say this photo really captures the size, either, but this is getting closer.

And there was also some rain nearby:
This is the only photo of a series of 8 that I took that shows the rain coming down. (If you cannot see it, click on the photo.)

As when snorkeling, I don't mind the cloudy aspect of rain....I do miss the light, though. Normally, these hills behind the palms are bright green.  I guess the rain is why they are that way!

Humid and foggy.
I will keep you up to date on how we fare in the days ahead..


Would you doubt?

If you were confronted with a Risen Savior, would you doubt?

That is, if you didn't have any of our modern information on Christ and the whole story of His birth, life, death and resurrection, would you believe it?  Or, as in this painting, would you be a Doubting Thomas?

This has been on my mind lately, as I consider whether or not the whole thing would seem too fantastic to believe, if I were confronted with it, without any preliminaries or explanations. Honestly, I like to think that I would believe immediately, but since my background before truly knowing Christ was one of doubt, it is still a matter up for grabs. I guess the most important thing is that I do believe. Now and forever!

And I thank Him for it.

Monday, August 29, 2016

A quick trip to London

Sometimes a photo just grabs you. This is my almost empty glass on a trip to London. You can see the wonderful James Avery silver's my prized possession.  It's a solid ring, worn on my thumb, that has the Cross.  It serves as a reminder of many things.  But also to watch my p's and q's! 

Sweetheart and I visited London and France in May of this year. SO enjoyed it!  I had visited London in 1975 on my own, so it was different to visit on a Rick Steves' tour and also with my sweetheart.  He makes traveling different.  In a good way.

I have an interest in chimneys...and doors.  Not sure why other than the fact that they are all different, but serve the same purpose.

We didn't get to visit inside the buildings to see where all these chimneys led, but I enjoyed the look of them. I can't imagine building them or what is involved in doing so.  Some skills are simply beyond me.  But in most cases, there are always lots of them.  Which maybe tells me that they serve many different parts of the buildings underneath.

And on all of our trips, we bring Domo with us.  Mostly because it's fun.  Or maybe also because we can throw him into the photos and he just stands there, doing what we tell him to do.
In this case, he had wandered into a toy and game shop in London, and decided to await our pleasure underneath this old rocking horse. 

The same store had Easter eggs:

I thought the one shaped like a lady was odd enough to include.  They also had neat wooden, carved ones.

And there was something else that one doesn't see very often:
Lunch time Bible talks!  I do wonder who comes to these and what they discuss.  It would have been interesting to hear the subject matter chosen for this day, but we were not there at the right time. Glad to see that the Bible is still featured there, though.

As is chocolate:
Ooooh, this was dark and yummy!

Can't you imagine delving into these chocolate boats of flavor?!  Totally out in the open, in nice wooden bowls, ready to be sampled and purchased. Yum.

Chocolate was VERY big in London.  We saw variants everywhere.

Turned out that Domo was thirsty, so we stopped into a local drinkery....and actually, it was probably really a restaurant.  I think we maybe visited one pub on our trip.  Just not our thing to be in a group and hanging out in something like a bar....even though it's a different cultural experience over there.

Domo followed up with some food:

I don't know how often he eats like this, but apparently, he was quite hungry for serious food at this point in the trip.  Maybe it's from being stuck into pockets all day.  
We went on a foodie walk, sampling curry, and bagels and chocolate and beer and oh yeah, pork!

St John's Bread and Wine.  They use the entire pig from the snout to the tail.  Which sounds rather disgusting at first blush, but was in fact the spot for a quite wonderful (if high fat!) sandwich:
Moist, flavorful and quite delicious.  Even as it glistened with juicy fat...

And Domo appeared again

Some folks just show up in time for dessert. At least he deigned to wave to us..

And no red white and blue trucks for British mail: oh no!  They gotta have the Queen's insignia on the vehicles.
And just in case you thought only the French did the love locks thing, here's proof they are not alone:

In France, the locks made the fence of the bridges so heavy, they were in danger of falling over and into the water of the Seine.  So mostly they are seriously discouraged. Not sure if this is a new love locks area in Lonson, or if earlier ones had been cut off and people were starting again. 

As I looked at these again while planning this post, I thought of a lot of things.  Why spend money on something that will just get cut off or destroyed?  In my mind, memorialize your love by telling your sweetheart or hugging and kissing them.  But perhaps that's just me!

We did have a wonderful visit to London.  And we walked our dogs off!  Four, five, six hours each day.  Well worth it, but it did mean we didn't do any late night sightseeing or theater.  Truthfully, we aren't really theater people.  But we did enjoy our visit, very much.

Da Shoulder

It occurred to me that I hadn't posted recently, due to not snorkeling, due to hurting my shoulder.

Here's the haps:

Recently, during my last snorkel, I had the bead on a scorpion fish.  Cannot let that go undocumented! So since the current was kinda strong, I held onto a rock with one hand and took pix with the other: big mistake!

The shoulder wasn't sore immediately, but boy, did it kick up the next day.

On the advice of a friend, my personal trainer, ha, I iced it.  And then since I do have medical insurance, thank God, I made an appointment to have it looked at.  They are talking rotator cuff issue....oy vey.

Thankfully, I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory drug, which has tremendously helped.  My doc said she expects it to fully heal on its own and is also giving me some physical therapy, to make the area stronger. Thus avoiding this same problem in the future.  NOT that I would ever hang onto a rock again.  That was just dumb. (What some people won't do to capture a photo!)

I have noted, over the past week, a couple of things about my blog: 1. I miss writing it! and 2. There is MUCH more time available in my day when I don't write.

Because writing it involves not only the swimming and taking photos, but also at least an hour looking at the normal 300-500 photos, choosing the good ones. Then the actual writing and uploading of the pix. Who knew?!

Isn't this the prettiest, yet wackiest, flower?  I have never seen the like.  Very lovely yet so oddly shaped.

And this one made me wonder if some gardener/botanist has been putting a couple of plants together to make this one:
Really, I couldn't think this lovely flower up.  And regardless of whether you believe in God as Creator, you gotta admit this is quite a wonderful flower.  Busy, yet nice balance.

You will remember this nice pale pink flower from previous posts.  Older ones getting a bit frayed around the edges, but the new ones just bursting to pop out and make their statement.

And speaking of statements, first let me say that the leg attached to this sock isn't incredibly hairy, just incredibly oddly tanned:

Did you really think we could get through an entire post without an octopus making itself known?!
These socks were a present from our pals in Boston. It still amazes me that there are so many items that feature octopuses.  I guess I'm not the only one that think they are really cool. (Or what is the current term?  Phat?!)

On a more serious note, we have heard on the tv weather that there are some storms coming our way. Of course, I am praying that they miss us. But we dutifully went to Walmart to pick up some emergency supplies: paper plates, batteries, extra flashlights, food, candles, and of course, beer and wine.  Since I was here on Kauai for Hurricane Iniki over 20 years ago, I remember strongly thinking that the things I missed most when the power was out were hot showers and cold beer!

I'm not so much into beer these days (all those carbs!!), but we each got one of those huge cans of Fosters just in case.  They are duly in our fridge...hopefully for a long time due to not needing them.  If you do pray, please do so for the storms to miss everyone and just fizzle out over the ocean.  After all, I do not need the octopuses to be stressed out.  Or myself either.

I will tell you a couple of "good" sides of tropical storms, though, at least this was true after Iniki: more shells on the beaches from the water being stirred up and some nice breezes!  I will never forget someone at the Hyatt, where I worked at the time of the actual storm coming through, opening the door of the hotel and seeing a wall of steamy, wet air.  And of course, the idiots who ignored warnings and went surfing in the monster waves.

And as hubby and I went for a nice walk yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that since you weren't with us, you wouldn't know about his shirt:

I must tell you that both he and I have a slight tendency toward sarcasm.  After a recent church service in Kalaheo, I told a long time friend that I really enjoyed the service. Her response was to look at me. I said: What? She said she was just judging whether I was being sarcastic or not.  So it proved to me that perhaps I can tend toward sarcasm too often.  So that's my new plan, to keep the sarcasm between the man I married and myself.  Perhaps I'll go for real humor with others instead.

Have a great week!  I am off to search for that God-appointed job for myself. Stay safe and sane.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A little freaked out..

I must admit to being a bit freaked out this morning when I got into the water.

First of all, I was happy, because I found an octopus after only 4 minutes of swimming.  (Yes, we do measure these things...and hey!  If I have to admit to taking an hour and a half to find the first one on some days, I can be thankful to find one quickly, as well.)

A total of 3 octopuses, by the way.  All small...we'll see if the pix are good.

But back to the freak-out:

So I'm swimming along in Poipu, minding my own business, and to the left, very near the entry point,  I see some commotion: sand being stirred up and two big animals.  Immediately my mind goes to full alert mode.

And it turned out to be two huge eagle rays!  At first, because of their size, I totally thought they might be Manta Rays!  But then I saw some spots on their backs, in a pretty pattern.  Sadly, the photos didn't turn out well, perhaps because of operator surprise, but also because they were stirring up the bottom to search for their breakfast.

What looks kind of like a rock in the middle is actually one of the has its fin flipped up. The video, which I did have the presence of mind to record, is ok in the first part, but then gets full of bad visibility, as the sand was stirred up.  Also, my camera had a bit of trouble with focus.  It couldn't really decide what to focus on and it didn't help that the animals were moving quickly.  But here you go:

So I apologize in advance for the quality of the latter half of this video.  I'm just glad I got anything!  And these puppies were huge...probably with wings outstretched, as long as I am tall.   Definitely got my attention. And then they swam off....And no, I didn't follow.  Not THAT crazy!

We did have some rain out at sea:

And here's octopus #1:
Look really carefully, after clicking on it, and you'll see the octopus' eye.  Hiding below the rocks in the middle. Yeah, they have mad skills in hiding.

Octopus #2
Remember, nothing worth doing is easy!  It's the little guy, in the hole, just to the left of the white rock.  YES, it is....really.  Would I lie?!

Octopus #3 

This octopus is hiding in its den behind two rocks.  I wouldn't be surprised at all if it moved the rocks into that protective position.  I have many times seen them moving rocks around to their liking...

I didn't want anything to interfere with the rays photos, so I switched to my backup camera. And with camera #2,I have been noticing for a while that the Moorish Idol has what looks like eyebrows.  What do you think?!

Don't those look just like eyebrows?!  Gotta say that I love the colors and patterns on these fish.

And a Snowflake Eel with a Brighteye Chromis.  Not a normal combination, but the head of the eel was hidden at this point, so I think the Chromis was pretty safe:
Should I call this an Eagle Eye challenge?  the chromis is just above the eel....

I also found 2 Bubble Shells. I think this is perhaps the first time I found this type of fragile shell.  The first one (a small one) had a hermit crab in it.  Which I didn't find out until I got home and reviewed the pix: What ho!  Who's in there?!
Can you see the little eye stalks at the top of the shell? You can perhaps understand why I didn't see this at the time...So much to see, so little time! LOL
Bubble Shell #2 was much larger; it didn't move and I was afraid to pick it up, in case it was in use.  Don't want to hurt such a thin shell.

If you've read my earlier blogs, you know I love the 3 Spot Damsel.  Well, today was an added bonus: I caught one of the 3 Spots in the same shot as a Brighteye Chromis! This is my equivalent of early Christmas present.
Aww, too cute, right?!

And speaking of presents, I saw once again a small Devil Scorpion Fish:

They are majorly efficient in hiding!  This one added insult to injury by also hiding under a ledge in the coral.  I am showing this photo just so you can see the under-wing bright that they are always a surprise, considering how wonderful the normal camouflage is. That is the rule: bright colors mean stay away!  Poison, biting, etc.... Think of the Blue Ring Octopus. Thank God we don't have those in Hawaii! (Australia...yes it has occurred to me to go since I'm all over interested in octopus, but since those octopus hang out in the shallow water, not so much interested in that bite..)

And now for the Soapbox Episode:  If you read my earlier blog when I was still with Wordpress, you'll know that I'm fairly militant at protecting the reef, ocean, its creatures, etc.  Well, today in the Kiddie Pond, I noted someone alongside me, about 6 feet away.  I was astonished to see one human leg and one of those legs you get when your leg has been amputated.  Needless to say, this was surprising to the max.  But I soon went from sympathy to dismay when I realized that both feet were walking on the bottom. He was apparently a photog, taking pictures of, can you believe, people walking with their surfboards:
That's the photog in the water on the left.  And the surfboard models just below the rainbow.  I wasn't too hacked off at first, thinking, OK, a man's gotta eat!  But then I saw the coral:
Mind you, I can't prove that he did this, but it was in the same area where he was walking and it looked like fresh breaks to me.  So sad.  And for what?  A fashion shoot?!

God provided some wonderful creations in the ocean realm.  Let's try to preserve that, people! I know it wasn't you breaking coral, but please be aware when you are in the water that there are fragile systems under those briny deeps! And thanks for caring.


A different kind of post

Found some wonderful artsy books in the local library. One of them included all the paintings from the Louvre.  ALL. That's a lot of paintings.

As you probably know, many of the paintings of the world include Biblical themes.  One such painting was this one:

The Woman Caught in Adultery. I find the painting fascinating.  Look at all the faces: it seems they all have a different emotion.  You probably remember the Bible story, but Jesus comes upon a crowd that was about to fall upon a woman who had been caught in adultery.  Never mind the how was she caught.  Never mind the question of where was the man who was involved.  No, this scene focuses on Jesus coming to the aid of the woman. Jesus asked those assembled that he who is without sin throw the first stone.

 John 8

The Adulterous Woman

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. 10 Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, [a]Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”]
(From Biblegateway) 

The painting conveys Jesus' wisdom and mercy. I think everyone learned from this.  And that was the point of paintings, that perhaps those people who didn't have the Bible to read might also learn the lessons from the paintings.

Another of my favorite Bible stories is the one about Queen Esther.  Think about story (and if you don't know it, Esther has her own Bible book.) Picture Esther in your mind, as she met with the King.  Did she look like this?

No, I don't think so!  I'm under the impression that sometimes stories were brought into the costumes of other, more modern times to make the scene more real to those seeing it.  I personally prefer that paintings be kept accurate to the time (and dress) of the actual story. Your mileage may vary.

And lastly, and I'm not saying this in a facetious way, but look at this painting:

It is a painting of Jesus' circumcision.  Can you think of any circumcision that would cause your knife to tremble more?  To know you were about to cut on the Son of God? This occurred to me as I stared at this painting. It would be heavily on my mind who exactly I was about to cut. Of course, there were no women priests, so this wouldn't have been an issue.

Have a great Sunday. Listen and learn.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

No swim on Saturday?!

Yes, today there will be no early swim....who on earth makes a haircut appointment for Saturday at 9 a.m.?

A goofball, that's who!  But knowing this was coming up, I did swim yesterday. So here's the rest of what happened...

Can you find the 2 brighteye chromis? I love these fish because they are shy but inquisitive.  They'll run from you (after all, they are only about 2 inches long), but then will peek out at you from their hidey-hole.  Very cute.  Love the eyes, too.

And the Abudefduf:

I have heard that some fish have dots on their bodies to confuse predators, making them think the dot is their eye.  Guess that's what this fish has, too.  I have recently noted also that most stripes are in sets of 5.  Intriguing.  There IS a plan!

This was also a shocker for me: the Threadfin Butterfly Fish has blue!  Now before you see the photo, picture that fish in your you see blue?!

There is blue, right at the top edge of their body.  I never knew that until this pair came right up on me.  I haven't much experience with this behavior, but think it's probably because people have been feeding the fish in this area.  Yes, stupid, I agree.  God gave them food..why do they need us?

And who is this guy?
Should I have called this an Eagle Eye Challenge? If you click on it, you can see the tube on the top of the coral/rock.  There's a little face poking out of that tube!

Think it's some kind of blenny, but I could easily be wrong. I didn't see one just like it online.. It was funny to see it pop back into the tube, just backing up quickly. Only to pop out again when it thought I was gone.. I was multi-tasking's hard when you have an octopus to take pictures of and then you see something else that's also cool. Choices must be made.

Tako #3:

You can see his eye and a bit of the body.  Hiding pretty well. 

Saw the usual eels, too.

Until I saw this on my monitor, I didn't realize that this eel, too, is fairly well disguised.  It's in the middle, just below and to the left of the red rock.

Box Feesh...

And now for the real Eagle Eye Challenge:

Once you know where to look, it's obvious that there's a Devil Scorpion Fish there.  But not easy to spot, since it's the same basic color of the surrounding area...Again, I only spotted this one because it moved!
Just realized that I put the cropped photo of this one in yesterday's post..that's what I get for posting one swim on two days.  But this shows you really how hard they are to spot.

A small eel just inside the hole, sharing space with a boring urchin.  I guess it knows how to slide around and not pierce itself.

And now in the Not So Great Photo but Cute department:
It's a 3 spot damsel. They guard coral heads.  It is so cute to watch because the fish darts around the coral, fending off possible attackers.  It's great because the fish is no bigger than a minute, but has a huge spirit.

There were quite a few shells in this dive.  You can see they do receive some punishment from the environment:

I do have some good books, both in my home library and from the actual library, but didn't yet look this one up.  One can often see a tiny hole in the shell, meaning that someone preyed upon the little guy..

Another eel:

Mostly, they stay in their dens, and only occasionally wander off in search of prey.

Hermit Crabs abounded, but this is the best photo:

I do enjoy the crab colors: this one with black and orange legs and blue stalked eyes..Mostly I find them when they start walking around.  Otherwise, you think it's just a shell.  And again, this is why I rarely take a shell never knows who might need a new home.

Wana and a brighteye chromis:

Oh so lovely!  

And not to end on an unlovely note, but this is a shell that had someone living in it, I think.  It's covered with lots of ocean gunk:
It was easier to tell it was a shell in person.  But I thought again that I'm glad I don't collect intact shells....this one, though covered in gunk, was still very much in use.  Besides, I have no clue how to get gunk off shells.
So that's it for this just over 2 hours dive.  Two ponds, 3 octopuses.  A great average..and thanks for reading.