What’s happening with the lava flow in Pahoa?…Life goes on among the locals and tourists…Last year…They visited a second time…Magical…

Lava or not, local roosters and chickens are busy peeking on vegetation, a common sight in the islands. This rooster had a keen eye on his “wife” and a chick on the side of the road.

As we drove around Pahoa yesterday afternoon, we couldn’t avoid noticing the number of buildings and businesses that have closed or are soon to close in Pahoa with the lava flow only 660 yards from the Pahoa Marketplace.

Yesterday afternoon, we drove on the newly graveled road, recently made as an alternative to Highway 130 which eventually will be closed due to the lava.

Please click here for the latest update and video of the lava flow in Pahoa.

When lava came through this area in years past, many cars remained, burned, and abandoned.

It was only a few weeks ago, that we attended the final sale days of the Malama Market, the Supercuts, and the Long Drugs (owned by CVS) in preparation for their final closing of these and other stores as the lava approaches, seeming to inch along at this point.

Longs Drugs, permanently closed and boarded up due to pending lava flow.

Yesterday, as we drove around the Pahoa area we discussed the tragic impact the lava flow has had on local residents; lost jobs, lost homeownership and rentals, lost business ownership, loss of revenue, and taxes for the city. 

Pahoa gas station, tanks removed, and closed in anticipation of the upcoming lava flow.
The Pahoa Marketplace strip type mall is guarded 24 hours a day by the National Guard.

In one positive way, it has put Pahoa on the map, a sleepy little “hippie” town known for its laid back retirees with long beards, braided hair, and a gentle demeanor; its quaint shops with locally made artifacts, clothing, and treasures and its cozy restaurants where the locals gather to share the news of the day.

Auto repair shop in the path of the lava.
Malama grocery store, since abandoned for the upcoming arrival of lava.

These days, its been discussions in the community about the continually moving lava, albeit slow at the moment, that invariably will make its way to the sea, somewhere near where we’ve been living these past five weeks. Fortunately, for our convenience, it never made it to us.

The pharmacy had left this sign referring prescriptions to the now-closed Longs Drugs.

At the lava flow’s current rate of travel, having recently almost stalled, it could be many months before it reaches this area. Now, living here, we realize that had we found the necessity to relocate, we’ve would have done it with more grace and ease than the frenzied panic we anticipated many months ago.

The local grade school, quite a distance from the Pahoa Marketplace, has been closed for some time due to the lava.

It’s the way of life for the people of this island. They accept that Madam Pele, the Goddess of Fire, as having the power to make the decisions that ultimately will bear down on the lives of its people. They graciously accept her choice of the course of the lava as it flows from Mount Kilauea and the other active volcanoes on the islands. 

The Pahoa Community Center has been closed since before our arrival in anticipation of the lava flow.

After all, Hawaii was created by volcanic eruptions forming the land of the islands, rising from the sea. Who’s to question this power?

We watched the behavior of this rooster and his family. He kept an eye on us and the mom safely tucked her chick on her opposite side.

As for tourism on the Big Island, it has increased since the news of the lava flows attracted worldwide attention.  This fact is good for the businesses remaining in Pahoa.  But, for those who have been permanently displaced, losing their financial security and homes, the saga continues on.

During high winds on Friday and Saturday, this tree was uprooted at the birdhouse where we currently reside.

For us, we’ll always find ourselves checking online news for the progression of the lava as we’ve acquired compassion for the fate of the island’s people and their lives as the course of this geological certainty continues over the years. We pray for their safety and for finding peace in whatever course their lives may take.

Happy Sunday to all.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, January 4, 2013:

This was the second time that the giraffes appeared in our yard on a sunny morning in Marloth Park. We were no less thrilled the second time than we were the first.  For details and videos of this visit, please click here.

Fitful night…Worrying…Up at 5 am…A new beginning in a New Year…A year ago closeup of a visitor…

Late in the day yesterday, we spotted these whales. The much-anticipated fluke, the tail was the prize. Wonderful! 

Even an overly bubbly type has a bad night now and then. Last night was mine, worrying about my sister, unable to speak to her until this morning when she was able to take the call, somewhat awake and alert.

First, we saw the blowholes of these two whales.

We’ve always been very close, my sisters and I. The distance hasn’t changed a thing. We haven’t lived near one another for many years but, we’ve never missed a beat in each other’s life. On any given day, we could easily imagine what the other was doing, our plans for the day, our hopes, our dreams, our sorrows, our shortcomings; always accepted, always loved.

This morning at 7:00 am Hawaii time, 9:00 am in LA, we spoke and I was relieved to hear her voice, so relieved and comforted to know she’ll now begin the healing process. 

The dorsal fin appeared.

I am sorry that I couldn’t be with her. I had been in the past. This time, with family here with us, her partner, and friends of which there are many, were at her side, keeping me informed.

So the days continue on, in the Big Island. The three remaining family members were gone overnight to Kona for swim-with-the-manta rays late-night outing and overnight in the “big city” of Kona. 

Another whale’s dorsal fin.

In three days, they’ll leave the Big Island to return to Minnesota, and once again, we’ll be together alone. Are we sad? Not at all. We loved seeing them all and now as we all roll into the New Year, back into our “real lives.”

For us, our “real life” at the end of the family holiday, begins a new year in our travels which we anticipate with excitement and joyfulness…the vacation that sees no end. How couldn’t one be happy to begin again?

This morning from the lanai.

Over the next few months in Kauai (we leave for the island in 17 days), we plan to explore, learn the nuances of the garden island, lick our wounds from the pricey family get together, take care of insurance, taxes, investments and other such necessary “paperwork” and, most of all, take as many photos as we can to share with our readers each and every day.

Today, a trip to the village is in order for a few things at Island Naturals, the only open grocery store in Pahoa after the evacuation for the still moving lava toward the Pahoa Marketplace. 

The sun desperately tried to peek through this opening in the clouds.

I’m now writing on my new Acer, 15.6, touchscreen, 1 Terabyte, lighted keyboard, Intel Core, i5, 8 gigabytes, la la la…laptop I purchased at Costco on Sunday night for a reasonable $589 including tax at less than half the regular retail price.

Yesterday, I transferred all my data, installed all my apps and email folders, MS Office, and Outlook and I’m loving every moment. It’s been almost a year since my last Acer died due to my dropping it in South Africa and I’ve suffered using an international version of a not so good notebook with keyboard issues from the get-go that finally went kaput in the past two weeks.

Had I been there seconds earlier, I could have taken the rays from the sun reflecting on the ocean. This was the view by the time the camera loaded.

Finally, I feel at ease as I write here each day no longer struggling with the keys and look forward to sharing the future with all of you as we continue on…

Have a terrific Tuesday!

                                          Photo from one year ago today, December 30, 2013:

This kudu looked me in the eye, “You got any pellets this morning?” he asked.  I dropped a handful onto the ground and backed up so his huge antlers didn’t stab me. For details of this date, please click here.

Merry Christmas!…It snowed an hour from here…Welcome to Hawaii, Santa…

The next-door neighbor’s chair gives a good perspective of the massive size of these waves.

Here’s a link to the news report on the snowfall and subsequent road closing on the Mauna Kea volcano.

Tom says that our kids from Minnesota brought the white Christmas with them. On top of that Tom and I, alone at home preparing Christmas Eve dinner while the kids all went to the beach, saw some of the biggest waves we’ve seen so far!

The pool in our yard is located in front of these white chaise lounges.

In our travels, Mother Nature seems to gift us with something wonderful for Christmas, a treasure she seems to pull out of a hat, a treasure she knows we’ll love.

It almost appears to be a waterfall.

Isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Appreciating God’s wonders, the birth, and life of a son. the birth and life of those we love and the myriad gifts we receive when we put aside the presents, the shopping, the laborious tasks in preparation of the next celebration with those with love.

The wave as it builds momentum.

This year, the gifts we receive are that of our grown children, their spouses, and our precious grandchildren right here beside us. In the past two years, they’ve been with us in our grateful hearts, and today and over these next many days we see their smiling faces, taking a hug, a glance, and a moment, always to be remembered, always to be treasured.

What a beautiful break in this wave.

Oh sure, it’s not all sweetness filled with perfection. But then, who’s family is? For us, we all get along even with our varying views on life, politics, and even child-rearing. But, we choose to keep those staunch opinions to ourselves for other places and other times in order to bask in harmony and lightness. Time and life are too short.

Our yard in the second house, so close to the surf.

Yes, the questions are asked, “Will we settle down in the US anytime soon?  When, where, and if we will we ever settle down.” At this point, we have no clear answers other than the one we cling to whenever we’re asked,  “Health providing, we’ll carry on.”

The aquamarine color of the wave as it breaks near the shore is breathtaking.

Who’s to argue with happiness? I remember as a child, longing to see happiness reflected in the faces of those I loved and that wish continues today for all of our loved ones.

We were curious as to this shape on the left side of the upper portion of this wave. Do any of our readers have an idea as to what this could be?

Today, we reflect on our joy in these photos we took last night on Christmas Eve shortly before sunset. It bespeaks the magnificence of this magical world we live in with all its ills, political unrest, and waning bounty that Mother Nature tries so desperately to gallantly protect.

The variation in the colors of the sea is amazing.

We sign off today wishing each and every one of our readers, our family, and friends the utmost hope, passion, and contentment in the holiday season and year to come. God bless.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 25, 2013:

This lovely female impala came to visit us on Christmas Eve while we were in Marloth Park last year. For details, please click here.

Moving day…Quite the challenge…A surprising ocean find on a walk….A year ago, a peculiar foam ball growing in a tree in the yard…

TJ was brave and walked over the narrow bridge.

Up bright and early this morning, we immediately began laundering the towels and bedding in the master bedroom with en suite bath that Tom and I have used since arriving in Pahoa on December 1st when we moved into this oceanfront house.

While on a walk in our neighborhood, we spotted this empty lot, deciding to take a look. We never expected to find what we did.

With the laundry going, the bathroom and bedroom cleaned, I am completely packed except for the food we need to transfer to the second house.

As we walked to the left side of the lot, we discovered this natural bridge made of lava.

Once we’ve moved out all of our belongings, emptied and moved our contents from the refrigerator, freezer, and cabinets over to next door, we’ll clean the refrigerator and freezer making room for the items we’ll purchase today in Hilo in order to stock the foods for the incoming two families that will live in this first house.

It was an interesting natural formation.

Our plan for purchasing the groceries has changed several times over the past three weeks. I must have driven our kids nuts. We’d originally planned to purchase all the food on everyone’s list. Then we decided to make it easy on ourselves and have everyone do their own shopping, with gift cards we’d purchase for them from Safeway in Hilo.

We were entranced by the swirling waters around various lava rock formations.

Then, the lava flow required the evacuation of the Mamala grocery store and I was able to purchase many items on their lists at 50% off. Once I had so many of these items, it only made sense to complete their lists and stock the remainder of the food ourselves.

How many millions of years ago was this spot created as the lava spilled into the sea?

At this point, I went back to the lists on my phone on the Grocer Tracker app and revised my list to exclude the items I’d already purchased. Sure, it sounds confusing. But, in the end, it made the most sense.

The contrast of the blue waters and the dark lava rock was breathtaking.

Much to my frustration, since yesterday, I’ve been suffering from excruciating pain in my left hip. I’ve had this type of pain in the past and it always seems to dissipate within a week by favoring it. Today and tomorrow, won’t be days of favoring any body parts. Luckily, this morning it wasn’t any worse than yesterday and hopefully, it will begin to improve over the next few days.

The manner in which the ocean moved into and out of this rock formation was mesmerizing.

Tomorrow, Tammy, Tracy, and Vincent arrive in the early evening. We’ll have dinner awaiting their arrival. On Monday, late afternoon, Camille, Greg, Maisie, Miles, and Madighan are due to arrive and again, we’ll have a nice meal awaiting their arrival. Both families are renting cars for their own use while here, a thoughtful and smart idea on their part. Sharing vehicles would have been difficult, although we’d originally planned to have two cars available. 

The cave was intriguing.

As it turns out, we’ll have three vehicles enabling all of us to go anywhere together or, off on our own in smaller groups. TJ, Sarah, Nik, and Jayden leave on the 28th. Tom and I have to return the rental minivan on December 31st.

Tom and TJ overlooking the sea.

At that point, it makes sense for us to downgrade to a five-person, less costly smaller vehicle as opposed to our current minivan, saving $100’s in the process.

The sea wafting in and out of this cove was impressive.

There’s so much to figure out for 14 people living together in two houses, eight in this first house and six in the second house, for one week and then 10 for the remaining week. After January 3rd, we’ll be down to four of us and will move back into this first house.

As a cloud rolled in the coloration changed rapidly.

Camille and Madighan, our lovely daughter-in-law and five-year-old granddaughter will stay with us until January 9th, when they’ll depart for their return to Minnesota. Tom and I will be alone in the first house for the remaining six days.

Fascinating formations.

Tom is worried about the possibility of small details that may impede the quality of any of our family member’s visits. I am not worried in the slightest. They are our family.  f something goes wrong, we’ll fix it, lovingly and with aplomb, with the same fervor we fix any situations we encounter in our travels.

Small waterfalls on the lava rock.

The packing, the moving, the rearranging, and the organizing, it’s all a part of our daily lives. Luckily, we both don’t seem to mind any of it. The only addition right now is the cleaning of the first house and the food for the four families.

I yelled out to TJ, “Gee, TJ, your clothes blend right in.”

I have no doubt that we’ll get through all of these preparations in the next two days with relative ease. When we’re all together, none of it will matter. To see the smiles on the little one’s faces and on the faces of our grown children and their spouses, will make every moment a treasure.

There are many variations in the color of the ancient lava rock, evolving over the millennium.

Have a superb Saturday, filled with sunshine and smiles. 

                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 20, 2013:

It was one year ago that we discovered this peculiar white foamy thing in the tree with branches hanging over the pool. Taking a photo, I sent it to Louise, our new friend, and property owner, asking what it could possibly be. She wrote back with a discernable chuckle in her words. It was a tree frog nest created overnight by the female frog. Over the next several days, the male frogs stopped by to fertilize it which we have on video. Please check here for details. What a fabulous experience!

Up close and personal…We saw the lava!…Local stores clearing out and closing for the upcoming arrival of the lava…Link to Tom’s Irish Cream recipe…

There’s no part 2 from yesterday’s story. We had “bigger fish to fry” today regarding the lava

This is a photo I took of a photo of when the lava crossed Apa’a Street on October 25th. See this link for the news report.
Smoke rising from the lava.

It’s hard to believe that we are in Pahoa, Hawai’i as the lava approached on its mission to reach to the sea.  Here we sit at its final destination, expecting it to arrive in our area between February and March or sooner if another eruption sends a faster flow of lava.

Signs such as this are posted everywhere.
Apa’a Street was closed for months, other than for local traffic up until yesterday morning. It’s now open all the way to the Pahoa Transfer Station, where a viewing station had been set up for the public. The lava had crossed the road as shown in our other photos here today. Previously, this road had to be secured by National Guards, preventing anyone other than homeowners from approaching. It is down this road that a house was taken out weeks ago.

Yesterday, Sarah and I headed to the Longs Drug Store, quasi mini Target, that has everything imaginable, only to discover there was nowhere to park. What was going on with dozens of cars touring the huge parking lot for a spot?

To see the red hot lava between these lava rocks only required a bit of zoom.

We had no choice but to park in the Burger King parking lot where we noticed others doing the same, walking the distance to Longs. As it turned out, the entire store was on sale, much for 90% off. 

With the viewing area opened yesterday morning and without the announcement yet on the local news, the visitors were at a minimum to the lava viewing area.  We can only imagine the crowds over the next few weeks as visitors fly into Hawai’i for the sole purpose of lava viewing. We are grateful we had the opportunity to see it before the arrival of the huge crowds. The blue tent is a security area set up by police and National Guard.

We were too late. All the goodies were in carts of anxious shoppers in lines 20 people deep with regular-sized shopping carts overflowing with nary a one for our use, while we meandered about the store, filling our arms with food and supplies we could use while our family is here over the holidays.

Sarah and Jayden walking in front of us on the long walk down Apa’a Street toward the lava viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station.
A portion of the viewing area at the Pahoa Transfer Station where experts and guards were on hand to answer questions and show various photos.

Of course, the reason Longs Drugs was selling out their merchandise was clear. The lava is coming. Although, the drug store is a few blocks from the Pahoa Marketplace that was also evacuating (more on that shortly), apparently the drug store is closing as well to make way for the fast-approaching lava, only days away.

A secured main power pole built up to prevent the lava from taking out the electric power for the area which could impact all of us.
Information as to how to protect the power poles from the lava flow.

Sarah and I spent no less than 90 minutes waiting in line. Fortunately, the upside was that we had the amazing opportunity to speak to locals, one couple who didn’t have to evacuate and another whose house is across the road from us here, who moved out in the past month, in preparation for the lava’s eventual arrival in this neighborhood.

Some vegetation survived along the edges of the lava flow.

The kindly gentleman, my age, retired, explained he found a place to live in a safer area and had decided to pack up everything he owned and leave his house for safety. 

A barn or garage that survived the lava flow as it crawled down the road.

He explained that most insurance companies have canceled homeowner’s policies over the past few years, leaving him and thousands of others, uninsured. He’ll get nothing for his home when it burns to the ground as the lava envelopes it in days to come. 

The swirls in the lava are interesting to see firsthand.

It was heartbreaking to hear his story, as we’ve heard others over our past almost three weeks in this forsaken area; loss of homes, job, and security. Very sad. But, the amazing attitude of these people is a treasure to behold as this kindly gentleman wanted to hear more of our story than tell his. “You are doing what?” he asked when I continued to ask him to elaborate on how he made the decision to move out sooner rather than later.

Parts of this lava that had crossed Apa’a Street in October were still hot and flowing.

When he was gone, we spoke to a lovely woman and her husband who shared their cart with us, Mee Ling and John who have lived in the islands for decades, have 10 grown children, seven of which still live with them  To earn a living, Mee Ling is referred to as “The Jamming Lady,” making exquisite homemade jellies and jams using local produce, phone 808-965-9119 and John, owns a company, Hawaii’s House of Gold who sells and distribute health products.

Peeking into this spot I saw red hot lava as shown in the above photo.

As they showed us their bargains, they offered to give us several items in their cart they’d found before we’d arrived. Of course, we refused their kind offer. They needed every item for their big family as well. While Sarah held our place in line with Mee Ling, John showed me where to find many items including pretty Christmas paper plates and napkins at $.14 a package. I grabbed all that remained.

Jayden, in front of the lava.  In years to come, he’ll look back to this experience with wonder.

We hugged goodbye when they were checked out and ready to go. Who gets to hug people in a drugstore that we just met? How lucky can I get? The 90 minutes of waiting proved to be enjoyable especially when Mee Ling and John told us the Pahoa Transfer Station had opened that morning for lava viewing.

Tom, Nik, TJ, Sarah, and Jayden in front of a lava area.

No sooner did we load our stuff into the car, Sarah and I headed back to the house to unload, get the rest of the family, and head back to the Pahoa Transfer Station cameras in hand to take photos.

Tom, his new haircut, and me, in front of the fenced-off lava area.

Today, we share these photos with many more to come over the next several weeks. We’ll make every effort to get photos of the lava after it envelopes the shops of Pahoa, the gas station, and the grocery store.

More tomorrow on the last days of the Malama Grocery store in the Pahoa Marketplace, when we spent two hours shopping yesterday afternoon engaging in their 50% off sale of groceries. Unbelievable. Long lines.  Friendly people.

This beautiful orchid was growing only feet from the lava flow.

Wow!  What a great experience for our family! They will always remember their time in Hawai’i as the lava flow from Mount Kilauea came our way. 

We began the long trek back to our car, parked at quite a distance.

Back with more tomorrow. May your Thursday be a day of accomplishment and pleasure.  We’re striving for that!
                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 18, 2013:

It was one year ago today, that we posted Tom’s Irish Cream recipe which is at the end of the post.  Please click here for the recipe at the bottom of the page.

Part 1…Another amazing day…Wonders awaiting determined investigation…Pahoa Marketplace closing for lava…

Part 2 is cancelled for tomorrow due to another story about the lava flow fast approaching Pahoa.

Sandy beach spots for enjoying the tide pools filled with fish and turtles at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.
More sandy areas at the Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

Yesterday, we took off with a plan in mind; haircuts for the boys at the soon-to be-closed-due-to-lava, Supercuts at the Pahoa Marketplace, a visit to the Lyman Museum, and later to dine at the popular, highly rated Hilo Burger Joint about a mile from the museum. Leaving the house at 1:00 pm, we had plenty of time to leisurely make our way to each location. 

Sarah and Nik, walking along a high ledge at the Onekahakaha Beach Park.

With no GPS in our possession without the availability of SIM cards in the US without a contract, I always find directions online and take photos of them to store on my phone. 

White sand at Onekahakaha Beach Park in Hilo.

Unfortunately, with many roads poorly marked in Hawaii and the propensity for bad directions from online maps, it’s easy to end up in the wrong spot, not necessarily lost (with Tom’s good sense of direction) but unable to find an exact location.

Easy to maneuver steps into the crystal clear water of the tide pools.

So was the case yesterday in finding the Lyman Museum, which we’d chosen to visit more as a result of it being our namesake than anything else. Although, when looking up its particular, this place could definitely pique the interest of all of us. Finding it, on the other hand, was a challenge.

One of many tide pools at the Onekahakaha Beach Park, perfect for snorkeling.

After driving the general area of the museum, so we thought, we “accidentally” ended up on a dead-end road leading to the ocean. Oh my, were we in luck! 

Lovely views of the beach.

We found ourselves at the most amazing family park, Onekahakaha Beach Park, the most kid and family-friendly park we’ve seen in Hawaii since we arrived almost two and a half months ago. 

Covered picnic areas at Onekahakaha Beach Park.

We all oohed and aahed over the prospect of spending plenty of great family time at this park with had every possible amenity of a beach park, clear waters, great snorkeling, ideal swimming conditions, shallow waters for the young swimmers, sandy beaches at several points, playgrounds, grills, well-maintained restrooms, and many covered picnic table pavilions. 

Gorgeous views of a few tide pools at Onekahakaha Beach Park.

Seeing this perfect location put our minds in overdrive, putting a plan in place. Our plan is for the 14 of us to spend Christmas Day at the park, bringing meat to cook, salads, and beverages in the coolers. What an unusual Christmas Day outdoors for our cold weather Minnesota family members, used to snow, ice, and cold weather during the holiday season!

Sign at the entrance to the park.

After spending almost an hour perusing the park, spotting a giant sea turtle in the shallow pools, and numerous colorful fish, we were content that we had a perfect plan in place which only escalated as the day wore on.

Jayden in the “lava” chair at the Lyman Museum.

Back on the road, after taking numerous photos of the park, we were on our way to the Lyman Museum finding from a friendly local passerby that we were quite a distance away. 

Naturally occurring granite in Hawai’i.

Heeding his directions, we were on our way but only after we “accidentally” spotted a sign pointing in the direction of the museum, we were all thrilled to have found it. Of course, the online directions were wrong once again. That’s not to say that GPS is always right either, as we all know from experience.

Fossils on display at the Lyman Museum.

With only a $21 family rate fee for the six of us to enter, we had plenty of time to wander the two floors in the time remaining until they closed at 4:30 pm. Then, we’d head to the restaurant dinner less than a mile down the road.

More fossils on display.

Much to our delight, everyone loved the museum. Snap happy me, shot, photo after photo. But, I won’t bore our readers with too many photos of the museum pieces and spread the photos from our outing over the next few days.

Colorful coral from the coral reefs in Hawai’i.

Before we left the museum, I asked the receptionist if she’d confirm our directions to the restaurant. Good thing I asked. She explained they’d moved over a year ago. Funny, the old location showed on all of the maps. We’d have been driving around for days.

Amethyst on display.

Luckily, the kindly attendant gave us directions to the new location, and once again, we were back on the road, confident we’d find the restaurant which we’d done so easily.

Hawaiian built structure at the museum.

The Hilo Burger Joint is rated #28 of 206 on TripAdvisor. With this information, we were confident that we’d have a passable if not spectacular meal. Spectacular it was, some of us claiming it was the best burger, they’d ever had, myself included. I ordered a burger in a bowl with my preferred toppings of avocado, bacon, and tomatoes on a bed of lettuce. Fabulous!

This beautiful Hawaiian lava photo caught our eye.

Discovering that the beef was local and grass-fed, I was in heaven knowing we’d all enjoy at least a chemical-free burger.

Exquisite works of art lined the walls in the Lyman Museum.

When we received the bill, including tip for $152.00, averaging at $25 per person including beverages, we decided to have Tom’s birthday at the Hilo Burger Joint (our treat), making our reservation for 14 at 6:00 pm on December 23rd, next Tuesday.

Interesting works of art.

Considering we’d already spent over $2000 on food since arriving on the Big Island on December 1st, with a few more shopping trips ahead, we realized it would probably cost no more to go out to dinner at this establishment than it would purchase all of the food for a meal for 14. 

An Asian mural on a wall in the museum.

Tom’s primary reason for choosing this option for his birthday is the fact that it’s one less meal for me to cook. Dining out on Tom’s birthday on the 23rd and Christmas Day at the park, bringing food to cook and salads, I’d only make dinner for Christmas Eve. This is a breeze, leaving me more time to spend with the family as opposed to stuck in the kitchen over three busy days in a row.

Tom, after his haircut, covering part of this sign so it reads, “Grandfather’s House.” Now, Grandfather doesn’t have a house but certainly rented two for this family gathering.

After dinner, we drove to the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, which Tom and I had visited when our ship docked in Hilo in October. A kindly cab driver drove us to see the park when we’d boarded the wrong bus at the pier, ending up at Walmart.

More items with the Lyman name.  They all loved it.

With no interest in Walmart, we hailed his cab for a ride back to the pier and the cab driver, who happened to live on Lyman St. (What?) agreed to take us on a little sightseeing tour for $10 plus a tip. We loved the Liliuokalani Park and Gardens and of course, the friendly cab driver.

After we left the museum, I walked across the street to take this photo.

Last night, we parked at the Liliuokalani Park when the family was anxious to see the ship, Norwegian’s Pride of America, leave the pier to head out to sea. With sunset fast approaching, we were able to see the ship’s bright lights as it pulled away from the dock.

The partial menu at the Hilo Burger Joint.

Returning home around 7:00 pm, we all hunkered down for some WiFi time on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. We’d had a great day.

Nik and TJ waiting for their food to be served.

Today, Tom and I will stay put except for my quick trip to the Pahoa Marketplace to take more photos as the entire mall prepares to evacuate by Thursday night as the lava quickly approaches the mall. This mall and gas station may be completely covered in lava by Christmas Day, sad for the employees and store owners in its path.

Tom sat across from me at the restaurant.

Yesterday, before we took off for the Lyman Museum, the three generations of Lyman boys; Tom, TJ, and Jayden each had haircuts together at the soon to be closed for lava. The staff and the owner of the Supercuts salon in the Pahoa marketplace worked fast and furiously to accommodate their customers in its last few days in business at this location. 

Sarah, Jayden, and Nik at the restaurant while we waited to be served. 

The shop is moving to two locations, Hilo and Keaau, and can be reached at 808-982-5707 or 808 965-5577 with questions. Tomorrow, we’ll share haircut photos of three generations, having cuts simultaneously. How fun was that!

Last night at dusk at Liliuokalani Park.

Have a wonderful “hump day” with the holiday season in full bloom.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 17, 2013:

Although the Hornbill house in Marloth Park had a few nuances, we found it the most wildlife-friendly location of the three houses we experienced in our three-month stay in the park. The friendly warthogs were daily visitors as shown in this visitor hanging out by the braaii, hoping for a leftover morsel. For photos of the house, please click here.

Pahoa Marketplace, where we shop…Lava coming soon…News reports here…Kapoho Tide Pools…

TJ checking out the rocky terrain at the Kapolo Tide Pools.

At least every third day we go to the Pahoa Marketplace, a handy strip-type mall a short 10-minute drive from our home. There’s a video at this link below explaining how close it actually is to take out the grocery store and gas station we currently use when shopping for groceries to fill in our supply from Safeway in Hilo.


As we drove to the Kapolo Tide Pools, we passed this National Guard vehicle. The guards were close to the shore enjoying a view of the ocean, most likely during a lunch break.
The road we traveled to the tide pools, one we had traveled earlier. We continued to be in awe of the beauty.

Hopefully, by Wednesday, (tomorrow) a viewing area will be opened for the public to see the lava at the Pahoa Transfer Station. Of course, we’ll quickly be on our way to see the lava as soon as the area is open. 

Another beautiful section of the narrow road.

We often drive by the National Guard tents where they are securing the lava area, wondering when we’ll have an opportunity to see this once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. We can hardly wait.

Our family members found a level spot easier for getting in and out of the tide pools. 

As for the six of us, yesterday we visited the Kapoho Tide Pools at long last. Speaking of spectacles, this spot is ideal for the avid snorkeler. Walking across the large lava rocks is quite a challenge. To avoid turning an ankle I only went so far when I found a flat surface on which I could take photos which we’ve included today.

The tide pools were filled with interesting fish, an ideal spot for the snorkeler.

For the swimmer or very young children, the treacherous walk wouldn’t make it the right spot for them. 

A huge tree trunk had landed on the lava rock, most likely during a storm or hurricane.
There are a countless number of tide pools.

I’m sure as the remainder of the family arrives, we’ll visit these tide pools and the other tide pool at Ahalanui Park that we visited last week where there’s an easier to access single large tide pool with warm water in a more park-like setting.

Amazingly, vegetation grows out of the lava rock.
The tide pools weren’t packed with visitors.  For one reason, it isn’t easy to find; for another, the lava covered long walk from the road isn’t for everyone.  Also, it’s a long walk from the parking area to the tide pools.

Unfortunately, the road to the Hawai’i Volcano National Park is closed at this time due to the lava. Ironic, isn’t it? That which attracts many visitors to this island is inaccessible at this time. 

Every direction we turned, there was a grouping of tide pools.

Then again, it’s all a part of Madam Pele’s, the goddess of volcanoes, the bigger plan, none of which we or any scientists are certain at this point. I suppose it’s the mystery of it all that adds to the excitement.

More vegetation growing from the lava.
More huge lava formations.

Our plan today is a trip to Hilo, a last trip to the Pahoa Marketplace to take photos while it’s still standing, and perhaps a visit to a museum. It’s all dependent upon the weather. If the sun comes out, which currently it’s not, we’ll do outdoor activities. If it’s cloudy, we’re off to Hilo for the museum and dinner out.

All of the dozen or so houses near the tide pools, were on stilts such as this, necessary to protect them from hurricanes and unusually high tides.
At the far upper left in this photo is the lanai of a house, jutting high above the pools. It’s difficult for homeowners in the area. They are constantly dealing with cars and tourists traipsing across their property. We parked in the designated parking lot, making the long walk.  We hope others do the same.

May your Tuesday be pleasing and full of wonderful surprises.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, December 16, 2013:

We laughed when we zoomed in on the back legs of a warthog. These look like women’s high heeled boots at first glance.For more on warthogs, please click here.

No word on lava viewing…We’re so near yet so far away…Slowly, coming this way…Scary photo, one year ago today!

The bright sun, the palm fronds and the sea create a gorgeous scene.
A perfect Hibiscus begs for a photo.

This article from the National Park Service explains where lava may be seen from the park, but also explains that the viewing areas aren’t open to the public (at the end of the first paragraph). In this same paragraph, it states there is no lava flow into the ocean at this time.

TJ is the king of videos, rather than taking still photos. He does a great job.

However, the flow continues to flow to Pahoa toward the little shopping mall, we visit almost every other day for one thing or another.  This article describes how it is indeed flowing toward the Pahoa Marketplace. At its current rate of flow, it could reach the shopping area and gas station within a week.

A grass fed cow lounging in his yard.

If that area is taken out, it will surely have an effect on our ability to run to the store, instead making it necessary to make the 35 to 40 minute drive or more (lots of bad traffic due to construction) to shop in Hilo.To make matters worse, it will have a bearing on the access road to Hilo which is already rather daunting.

It appears this road had been an ideal dumping spot for junk vehicles.

There’s a superette about three miles down the road called, “Da Store,” but their prices are at least 30% higher than the Mamala Market in Pahoa Marketplace. We’ve done the bulk of our food shopping in Hilo at the Safeway.

We’re often surprised to find yet another excellent viewing spot along the ocean.

We could worry ourselves into a tither. We decide not to, continuing to enjoy ourselves as a family of six for one more week until the other arrive, only adding to our enjoyment, doing exactly what we all feel like doing with no pressure to constantly be on the go. Nothing is more appealing to us than lounging together in idle conversation, looking out at the sea, searching for “blow holes.”

Tom whistled in an effort to get this horse to pick up his head from grazing in this yard.

Yesterday, TJ, Sarah and the two boys took a long drive on the island on a rainy day. Tom and I stayed behind preferring not to drive long distances in the rain when its impossible for us to properly explore and take photos.  They stopped at McDonald’s for lunch and later Baskin Robbins for a treat.

Its surprising how trees and other vegetation are able to grow in the lava rock.

It was good for them to have the day on their own without worrying about the oldsters. Returning around 5:00 pm, we fired up the grill an make six New York strips steaks (one grass fed for me befitting my no grain way of eating), baked potatoes for five, sweet corn, a huge salad and leftover garlic bread I’d made the previous night.

The waves are generally larger on this island from what we’d seen on the south side of Maui.

Oddly, the microwave died last night when I attempted to heat one more potato and now we have no microwave. I contacted the owner regarding this event, and heard this morning that she’ll replace it over the weekend. The sooner the better. Its hard not to have a microwave with kids around.

We’ve found many uprooted trees from recent storms.

We grilled the six steaks on the smallish Weber managing to get everyone’s cooked exactly as they preferred:  four medium, one medium rare (Tom) and one rare (for me). We all fit comfortably at the big square kitchen table and have enjoyed every meal together.

Striations in the lava from times past.

Tonight, we’ll dine in again, making pork chops on the grill, salad, some variation of potatoes, green beans, and again, bread of some sort which we’ll run to the store to purchase today. Of course, I’ll eat one pork chop, my coleslaw and green bean and be just fine

Everywhere we drive we discover these appealing tree lined roads.

Oddly, it doesn’t bother me to prepare these foods I can’t eat. Although, it does nag at me to see loved ones eating such carb laden foods, high in sugars and starches. I keep my mouth shut and don’t preach. Although, I have made a few comments about how bad soda is for kids (and adults). So, slap me. I’m just a concerned grandma.

The simple beauty of the sea.

The weather is sketchy at best today. Its windy and overcast with only a sliver of blue sky peeking through.  Hopefully, if the sun appears, we’ll head outside or to the tide pools in Kapoho.

Close to home, we ventured down a narrow one car road for some interesting scenery.
There are no sandy beaches on this side of the island of Hawai’i. The islands were created as a result of volcanic activity, its not surprising to see lava rock lining the shore.

May your Saturday be filled with fabulous holiday gatherings and if you don’t celebrate, may you recall, if you’re old enough, “It’s Saturday night!” 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 13, 2013:

We found this giant insect in our pool in Marloth Park, one year ago today. Zeff, our house person, fished it out of the pool for this photo. For more photos from that date, please click here.

Mesmerized by the sea from the patio…The sounds, the spray, the waves….Family is loving it! We’re loving them being here!

This greenery is prevalent in the yard rather than grass. Apparently, these plants withstand the saltwater, flourishing in their constant moisture.

Living this close to the ocean is an event in itself. Although the house is small and is as well-stocked as many of our past vacation homes, we’re managing to make it work for all of us.

Here’s our visiting family of four from left to right, Jayden 9, Nik 14, TJ, and Sarah.  We couldn’t stop laughing when we took this shot at a local stop in Pahoa. 

When the others arrive on the 21st, we’re confident it will work out well for all of us especially when a few of us will be at the house next door.

It’s easy to just sit outside watching the waves hit the lava rock shoreline. Yesterday, I took this photo from a sitting position in a chaise lounge.

Yesterday afternoon we visited the village of Pahoa to take the kids shopping only to discover the shops in the downtown area were closed on Sunday. Pahoa is not necessarily a huge tourist area although there may more lookiloos (sic) here now due to the lava flow.

A more distant view of the above.

As a result, this sleepy, often referred to as “hippie” town rolls up the sidewalks at night except for a few restaurants and pubs. We never mind that aspect of living away from the typical tourist spots after all.

Last night’s full moon as it ascended into the sky with only a few clouds in its wake.

That’s not to say prices are less here in Pahoa than in the heavy tourist areas. Unlike Maui, the prices on groceries on the Big Island are very high, higher than we’ve seen in any of our travels throughout the world.  Literally, outrageous! A family of four eating three meals a day and snacks will easily spend $600 per week.

A few dark clouds impeded the lower view of the moon last night.

Tom and I eat only one meal a day with no processed snacks, we can manage for about $250 a week, buying only fresh meat, produce, and a small amount of dairy and nuts. Since our only beverage of choice is iced tea we avoid the high cost of soda and other beverages, chips, and crackers

After a break in the clouds.

After our short trip to town, we returned for our second taco night in a row and some amazing photo-taking time when the moon made its appearance around 7:15 pm. 

Here’s our moon in its full glory.

We hope our readers don’t tire of our moon photos. Learning to take good shots at night has been a huge learning curve for me. Seldom reading directions, I have chosen to learn by trial and error. Finally, I’m beginning to utilize the proper camera settings to lessen the difficulty of this process.

TJ was wearing a hat with dreadlocks attached. We couldn’t stop laughing!

Last night was one of the first moonlit nights I felt more at ease taking photos. Of course, the moon over the Pacific Ocean on a relatively clear night certainly added to the experience.

Guess who?

Today, we’re off sightseeing today with hopefully some amazing new photos tomorrow. Tonight, out to dinner to a local Chinese Barbecue restaurant with reports on our first foray into dining out in Pahoa.

Whether the tide is high or low the waves spraying on the rocks is awe-inspiring.

Have a fabulous Monday. We love that the days of the week each offer the same blissful opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest.

                                            Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2013:

This was the first time we saw “Clive” a local wild ostrich when we went for a walk in the neighborhood in Marloth Park. He was busy checking himself out in the glass of this vehicle but later turned to look at us. At a later date, he came to visit us at our house for which photos will follow soon. For more photos, please click here.

Yesterday, we got close to the lava flow with photos of the smoke!…An accidental scenic road trip with photos tomorrow…

Looking closely in this photo, there are two National Guards with rifles manning the access to the lava flow, preventing curiosity seekers from nearing the flow. As we slowed to take this photo, they waved at us to get moving along.

Yesterday morning, we headed to the Pahoa Community Pool to check it out for our family’s arrival. We’d heard it was a huge, clean, and lifeguarded pool available to residents at no charge. 

As is the case around the Hawaiian Islands not all streets are marked. Although we had good directions on my phone, there were of little use when there are no road signs. Somehow, we managed to find the community pool. 

Further down this road, which is Apaa St., the road is closed after the lava had crossed the road weeks ago. Click this link for details and photos.

However, during our bit of wandering around the area, we saw the road that was closed off for the lava flow and the National Guards maintaining watch to avoid curiosity seekers from entering the dangerous area. Much to our delight we were able to take these photos included today of the area that we found most interesting including the smoke in the sky from the lava, once we arrived at the Pahoa Community Center to check out the pool.

Inset of a civil defense map posted on Dec. 4. The yellow dot is the location of the distal tip of the active flow front.
Yesterday, we were at the Pahoa Community Center as shown on this map. We were able to see the smoke in the sky from the flow. In the next few days the city plans to allow visitors to see the lava from the Pahoa Transfer Station also shown on this map.

We copied the above map this morning of the ongoing progress of the lava flow. Here’s a link to more information from the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

After checking out the pool (we weren’t allowed to take photos to protect the privacy of the few swimmers in the pool), we began the drive to Hilo to the Safeway store to buy groceries for our four family members arriving tomorrow. 

Numerous power poles located in the path of the lava flow have been covered in fire retardant materials to prevent the flow from destroying the power to the area which has worked.

Along the way, Tom spotted what looked like an interesting road which proved to be one of the most scenic roads on Big Island, the Red Road, Route 137. Go figure, how we ended up on that road. We couldn’t stop oohing and aahing along the way, stopping frequently to take photos which we’ll post tomorrow.

Here’s a link to the Red Road scenic drive.

The house in the background could easily fall prey to the lava should it continue on this path.

After the amazing drive we found our way to Hilo without a map considering that its almost hard to get lost if one follows the coastline on an island. Of course, we always have our personal navigator on board, Tom Lyman, Mr. Sense of Direction, who hardly ever disappoints.

The Pahoa Community Pool.  No photos were allowed inside so we shot this exterior photo.  The pool is huge and will provide hours of fun for our family.

The grocery store was a two hour, two cart, confusing ordeal. Buying foods others eat so different from our usual purchases, plus buying food for us, was quite a challenge. But I stayed “over bubbly” and much to my delight Tom wasn’t his usual “overly grumpy” while in a grocery store. He did well, stayed cheerful and we actually had a good time.

Behind this downed area of vegetation, lays the lava flow.  Soon, we hope to see the actual flow when an area is opened to the public at the Pahoa Transfer Station.

He brought everything inside when we returned “home” and I insisted on putting everything away. It didn’t appear there would be room for it all but, I managed to make space for everything in the small pantry and average sized refrigerator.

The smoke in the air from the lava flow.  We could smell it as we stood in the parking lot of the Community Center.

Once Tom and I move over to the house next door, we’ll be moving over the foods we usually eat making room for the foods in this house for the other two of our families. It will all work out, one way or another.

I haven’t decided yet if I’ll join Tom on the two hour drive to the Kona airport to pick up family tomorrow afternoon. I just may stay behind and prepare dinner, having it ready when they arrive.

There was a reddish tint closer to the ground as shown in his photo.  During this period the sky was otherwise relatively clear.

We’re waiting for the sun to peek through which looks hopeful after several days of clouds and rain. An hour of sunshine would serve us well.

Have a fabulous Friday!
                                        Photo from one year ago today, December 5, 2013:

When Okee Dokee drove us to the grocery store in Komatipoort, we marveled at the wildlife in our neighborhood in the bush. A sight such as this was to be found daily.  For details from that date, please click here.