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Archive for December, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away

So this is a first for us. After going on these golf trip for the past 7 years or so we may come back to Honolulu without playing a round of golf. The rain, which I thought had blown over from the Big Island to Oahu, has apparently stuck around and on Sunday Mike, Ted and John got rained out. We took a break on Monday to visit the east side and today we drove all the way to Big Island Country Club only to sit in the clubhouse for half an hour and then call it quits. We determined that even though we came here specifically to play golf, we would rather not play and be comfortable as opposed to play in the rain and be cold, wet and miserable. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even bring a rain jacket. I only had a sweatshirt (which is possibly the least rain resistant garment you can have other than a terry cloth bath robe).

This is what we saw as we entered the golf course parking lot

It was so cloudy you couldn’t even see the mountains

Notice the huge puddles (water hazards?) on the driving range?

So what do you do when you go on a golf trip and the weather doesn’t cooperate? Well if you’re us, we just headed back to Waimea and played cards in Starbucks for awhile. Yeah, yeah, I know. We didn’t have to come all the way to the Big Island just to do this, but let’s face it, would we have done this if we were in Kaneohe?

Couldn’t we have done this at home?

So for the rest of the day, we just hung around the Waimea house and played video games, napped and watched TV. All in all it was a great afternoon. Very relaxing and very mellow (after all, in the words of my father-in-law, this is the Big Island).

Speaking of which, we later met up with my father-in-law for dinner. We went to a little joint called Huli Sue’s that I read about several years ago, but just never got around to going to. Honestly, I wished we waited a little longer. The food was pretty mediocre at best. For a BBQ joint, the pork ribs and the brisket was very tough and the short ribs were tender but lacked in flavor. They did offer 4 types of sauce to dip them in but in my humble opinion they were all too sweet for my liking. I don’t think we’ll be going there again anytime soon.

Purveyors of Fine Grindz may be a slight exaggeration

The famous corn pudding in the upper left was by far the best thing on the plate

Mike’s plate of pork ribs and short ribs

That’s my father-in-law behind Ted

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When we normally do these golf trip they usually last four days and we play three rounds of golf. One day we set aside for sightseeing and just general relaxing. On this particular day we decided to visit Ted’s parents in Honomu but before we met up with them we cruised around Hilo town.

Our first stop in Hilo was Two Ladies’ Kitchen. They are famous for their homemade mochi and manju. Mochi is a very popular food around New Years so this place was packed and they also mentioned that they were not taking any custom orders so whatever you saw you could buy. If you didn’t see it on the counter it wasn’t for sale.

A simple sign lets people know they’ve arrived

The variety pack (Mike already took and ate his)

Ted sampling a sweet potato mochi

After we grabbed our omiyage to take home to the grandparents we proceeded to Ken’s Pancake House. It’s a Hilo landmark that reminds me of Hilo’s version of Zippy’s. The food’s okay but it’s popular because of their many menu selections and they’re the only place open for 24 hours for miles around.

We met up with Nalani (who was one of the bridesmaids in Keao’s wedding party) since she was in Hilo town to take her dad to the doctor. It’s always fun coming to the Big Island because we get to see people that we don’t normally see.

Here’s almost half of our wedding party (sans John-John who is taking the picture)

After lunch we headed up to Ted’s parent’s house in Honomu. Ted’s parents retired to the Big Island some 6 or 7 years ago, but it seems like they’re busier now than they were when they were both working! They have become farmers and own a nice chunk of land up in Honomu. They took us up to the farm and showed us what they’ve accomplished. Let me tell you, they accomplished quite a bit. Ted’s dad, Uncle Kenji, kept pointing here and there and saying, “Aunty Faith and I put this up…took us two days (or a month or however long)”. And he wasn’t just pointing at small stuff. He was pointing at walls and warehouses! I know their plan is to eventually move to the farm as he is currently designing their home right now.

Ted with his parents, check out the view they’ll have from their house!

This is the building Ted’s parents put up…took about a month

Here’s Ted by the stream that runs through the farm

Of course, I had to get into the farming lifestyle so they let me help around the place (and by help around the place I mean sit on some farm-type equipment).

Nothing runs like a Deere…too bad I couldn’t take it for a spin

They did let me drive this 4×4 golf cart on steroids

It’s just too bad I can’t hear you

Even though we did get to putz around the place, most of our time there was spent feeding the spiders. Ted and Mike would catch grasshoppers to feed them and then use chopsticks to put them in the webs. I must say it is amazing to see how quickly the spiders can wrap up its prey. I was marveling about this my wife (who is from the Big Island) and all she could respond with was *sigh* “You city boys…”. Little does she know I’m really from the country. I’m just pretending to be impressed by the spiders (from a very safe distance).

Can you see the huge spider in the upper left corner?

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While we were at Frank and Jen’s wedding on Saturday we ran into some friends of ours (that also got married last month) and the new bridegroom remarked that he liked our Christmas card and our accompanying newsletter. He said he was jealous because it seemed like I traveled a lot during the past year. And while it is true that I got have been blessed enough to go on a few trips this is the last one of 2008. I am up here on the Big Island with a few of the guys in my wedding party.

They actually arrived before me to play a round of golf on Sunday and because of church (they’re all heathens) I arrived a little later in the afternoon. I got there just in time for dinner and so we tried a place called Solimene’s because John-John‘s friend owned the place. Now in general, I’m not very fond of Italian places but being the team player that I am, I agreed to eat with them.

They had paninis, which I do like, but unfortunately for me, they only have them during lunch so no luck there. Mike and Ted split a large meat lover’s pizza and I settled for a sausage and pepper calzone. The calzone had a light soft crust and it came with a large dish of marinara sauce for dipping. Also, since John-John knows the owner, he hooked us up with tiramisu for dessert. Overall, it was an enjoyable evening with acceptable food.

Solimene’s in Waimea Shopping Center

For the two meat lovers, Mike and Ted’s pizza

My calzone with the large dish of marinara sauce

A close-up view of the sausage and peppers

And of course, a large slice of tiramisu for dessert

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I’m not sure how many weddings we’ve gone to this year, but I swear it’s been like 8 or 9 of them. I know I had 6 during the summer alone and there must have been at least 3 or 4 more spread out through the rest of the year so by my count we’ve been to a helluva lot of weddings this year. With that said, last Saturday we went to our final wedding of 2008.

Who got married you ask? Well none other than our Jr. High pastor Frank Cabacungan III. It was a lovely wedding at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. He finally married his long-time girlfriend of eight years Jennifer Davis. It was a semi-formal to formal affair so a bunch of us got all dressed up in our suits and partied like it was the last wedding of 2008.

That’s Youth pastor Tom Landeza on the far left

At the Crystal Chapel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

The happy couple during the reception

All of the male staff pastors dressed up

But anyway, congratulations Frank and Jen! Here’s to a wonderful life together!

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So last weekend was a really busy one. I thought things were supposed to slow down after Christmas, but the Saturday immediately following Christmas was probably the busiest Saturday of the month. It was supposed to start with breakfast with my sister and Kristy Hirata, but being that the power went out it got canceled. So instead we substituted with breakfast with two couples from our MiniChurch (the Garland’s and the Whiteley’s) and Mikey since we still had our trusty new gas range (but the oven is still broken). We did have a great time playing “telephone pictionary” (remind me to tell my wife was an amazing artist she is) and shared quite a few laughs. Who says you need power for fun?

Then we had to go to our niece Lauren’s second birthday party (we also had a wedding later on in the evening). It was held at Leapin’ Lizards, which is a huge warehouse full of various bouncy houses. So we get there and it’s slightly rainy and we arrive on time with Aliya (our friend’s daughter) and there are a bunch of kids ready to hit the bouncy houses. Of course there are rules to follow the first and most important being: don’t run. Umm, yeah, that lasted about a second and a half. As soon as the doors opened, the kids immediately ran in and paid no attention to the no running rule. I mean it’s like they never even heard it at all. *sigh* I guess not all the kids could read or listen.

Here’s the birthday girl in the jousting ring (that’s what the kid behind her is holding)

Here’s Aliya going down the toddler slide

Not all the houses were for kids though. In fact, one side of the warehouse was set aside for adult or older children houses.

Here’s Keao testing out the bigger slide

After a while, even the little ones went by themselves

It was neat to see how the kids needed us in the beginning, but soon enough when we got too tired they continued on by themselves. They would climb up the stairs and slide down over and over and over again. Thank goodness they didn’t need us because they had much more stamina then us. We did have fun bouncing with them in the jousting ring and volleyball court.

Keao and Lauren sharing a moment of fun

Uncontrollable bouncing + hard heads = crying babies

Unfortunately it wasn’t all fun and games. Poor Aliya got clobbered on one of the slides because she was coming down and a boy was trying to climb up the slide and they collided (even though we told him repeatedly to use the stairs). A little later Aliya and Lauren bonked heads while they were bouncing. Aliya was very cute and told me that she hit Lauren’s head. She then promptly went over to Lauren and apologized. They’re still friends.

Even mommy got in on the action

Oversized boxing gloves make good chairs too

Sisters, sisters…

Of course, what’s a birthday party without cake and ice cream. After bouncing for an hour and a half, we went upstairs to the party room for pizza, cake and ice cream. Lauren sat all by herself at the center of everyone and ate her pizza. Then with a little help from mom she blew out the candles.

Mine, all mine!

Make a wish!

Not only the birthday girl can have all the fun

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Okay, so a lot went on this past month, way too much to try to catch up and devote a blog entry to each event. So for this entry, I’m going to try to give you some highlights of my last month. Actually, I’m going to mostly try to do it with pictures and I’ll give you a very short description. I’ll also try to give more detailed entries to the more recent events when they need it. But without further ado, here’s the last month or so.

We say goodbye to Kevin

This one is actually kind of funny because Kevin told us he was going to Germany for a few years with the Air Force so we threw him a going away party. Then the next thing we know, he comes to church the weekend after he was supposed to have left and not only that, but he’s no longer going to Germany but instead he’s going to Beale AFB in Northern California. We think he did it just for the party and the sympathy.

Mikey gets close to the Mayor

On the last Sunday of November, our church helped out in the Windward City Lights celebration. Not one to miss an opportunity, Mikey manages to get past security and take this candid photo with Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Not wanting to be outdone I take a picture with the Mayor and Scotty Friel

Me and Coach Mack

On the Tuesday before the last home game, we went to the Coach the Coach Show at the Willows. Coach Mack bought a round of beer for everyone in the room. Unfortunately we went on to lose our home finale against Cincinnati.

Some of my coworkers from Pleasant Holidays

Christmas time brings Christmas dinners, so here are some of my kooky coworkers from Pleasant Holidays. We were treated to a nice dinner at Assagio’s in Ala Moana Shopping Center. I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to be working there, so this may have been my last Christmas dinner with them (God willing…j/k).

The Worden’s at Aloha Stadium

Despite the loss at home, the Warriors were still eligible for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. We had a super fun time at the tailgate and our mood certainly soured on Christmas Eve as the game progressed. Unfortunately for us the game was really over by the second quarter (yes, it really was that bad).

Even Santa came out to play (and lead the band for a few songs)

We saw this a lot since they ran like this every time Notre Dame scored

See I told you it was that bad!

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I am always amazed at how children see the world. When they are babies, they look to us for encouragement and security. When get a little older, they look to us for guidance and advice. However, many times, when left to their own devices, they will do the right thing.

My wife, Keao, does the Children’s Church Choir at our church and she is very good at it. She has a way of communicating with them and getting them to understand that they are not just performing, but they are singing to the Lord. It’s not just music, it’s worship. The children range from 5 year-olds all the way up to 11 or so and if you remember being a kid, the difference between being 5 and 11 is huge. There are differences in maturities and education. You can’t necessarily communicate with them the same. The little ones need more direction and sometimes more attention.

The Children’s Church Choir before their Christmas performance

So one practice, one of the little ones gets sad all of a sudden. She slowly separates herself from the group and goes to the side of the stage. I asked her is she was okay and of course she nodded yes. Thinking she was probably fine, I let her go. Then one of the older girl asks her what’s wrong. She replies, “Nothing. Sometimes I just like sitting by myself.” Again, if I handled this situation I would have listened to her and let her be. But the older girl sensing something was wrong gently put her arm around her and comforted her. She stayed with her until she cheered up. Later, one of the other little ones kept trying to find out what was wrong. Finally the first girl gave in and told her but under one condition…that she wouldn’t tell anyone else. Of course, kids being kids, she turned around and told me. Hee hee. Even though she squealed, she did do a good thing. She helped her friend out and helped us to solve the problem.

Got time for another quick story? As were we sitting between services, Keao made breakfast for everyone (although I did make the eggs which Lainey proclaimed were “the best eggs ever!” Sorry Keao, even though you made everything else, my eggs trumped them all). After they ate they started to play with each other and just enjoy being kids. This one girl, Tiffany, just started cleaning up. Without being told! I was so impressed at her manners and her thoughtfulness. I think she’s quickly becoming one of my favorites (although I use that term rather loosely because I have tons of favorites). Again, I marvel at children doing the right thing even without being told. If all of the children were like them, I think we’d be in good hands.

Same kids, just being sillier

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