Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fall Clean

So far a day of baking and cleaning. I'm about to do a little work on a craft project and then head out for a short run around the park followed by a swim. Wearing my old running shoes I might add....:0)

Some french bread. I'm still on the lookout for the "perfect" breadmaker bread. This is the closest i've got, but it would be nice to have a good sandwich loaf that doesn't taste like it came out of a breadmaker - do you know what I mean?

The big part of the fall clean - the closet clean out. This is my only closest, but it's nice and large! The before (ish!)

And the after. The top shelf is all camping equipment, I didn't pull that out as i'd organized that recently. Next shelf down is cold weather clothes - the blue boxes have hats, gloves, thermal underwear etc. in. Then trousers and shorts; t-shirts; gym wear in one box, socks in another and then bedding and towels; craft box, shipping boxes (iron) and the bottom shelf is shoes.

Some sweaters and t-shirts went into the donation box. I thought I would do better with shoes, i'm only giving away one pair. Sigh. I like shoes, it just so happens that they are all hiking/running/sneakers and flip flops.....I do have my eye on another 2 pairs that can probably go once my next trip to Canada is done and dusted (Feb). My feet have been getting larger, so it's hard to tell what fits anymore and i'm just not in the mood to walk around in all of them. Last trip to Canada I ended up giving 2 pairs of shoes away there, but I also ended up buying 2 pairs of shoes, because I had to have something to wear that I could stand in all day........

Shoes shoes shoes shoes.......:0)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Vog

Nope, i'm not misspelling Fog or Smog, it's Vog. A phenomena that can be particularly bad in Hawaii, and today was out in force.

I meant to take a picture all day but forgot - this one is from Wikipedia, and it literally looked like this all day - from my house I couldn't even see the other side of the valley....

Vog is basically Volcanic Smog - volcanic gases, dust and other not so lovely things created from Kilauea on the Big Island, that blows over to Oahu on a Kona Wind and sits until the major tradewinds come back and sweep it away. Vog has a lot of sulphur-dioxide in it, so is hazardous to people with respiratory problems, and all are advised to stay inside with air conditioning. By the time it gets to Oahu, most of the harmful volcanic gases are gone, but the thick dust in the air still causes a lot of problems.

As much as I hate air conditioning, this did make me turn on my one at home today. That and my 101F fever that continued until about an hour ago when I finally started to feel normal again and came down to 98.9F (nothing compared to what little Mollie is going through right now! Get better soon Mollie!!!). It's been so humid here recently, but i've got so used to it that suddenly having the dry air conditioning on made me realize just how damp my apartment was beginning to get. Mold grows faster than anything here, especially in Manoa valley where I live, you really need to keep on top of it. It's more than time for the "fall clean" up to boot (today I found some t-shirts I had stored in a drawer had gone moldy), this weekend i'm definitely going to try and make time for that.

Hopefully tomorrow the Vog will have lifted, my cold will have passed and my AC will be off. The later, at least, is a certainty.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

All at once....

Why does everything hit at once so I have a hard time sorting out what is what? For the last couple of days i've been off food, not in a major way, but enough to make me wonder if I was coming down with something. Of course it's also SO hot here right now that that alone can put you off your food (the wind is GONE, my apartment sighs when I open the door and lets out a puff of hot air, even at night!).

Yesterday I ran in my new shoes to start to break them in. 4 miles. 4 very pathetic miles, by mile 2 I was pretty much walking and my shins and hip were so so sore. My shins have been playing up a little, and i've been wearing a compression sock that has really helped. Determined by my last pair of shoes start, I wore them again today (after wearing comfy birkenstocks all day at work) for an intended 8 mile easy pace run. I didn't even get to mile one and my shins were so painful. What is worse is my knees hurt - for literally the first time since starting running - my biggest fear. So I limped around and went back - 2 miles instead of 8.Stretched then piled on the ice for half an hour.

I then started to get chills, so jumped in the shower. Started shivering like mad in the shower, turned up the heat and that helped. Got out, started shivering, so piled on socks, trousers and a sweater. I'm now still shivering, having eaten two mouthfuls of tuna pasta (my favorite) and have a temp of 101.5F. Ish. Feeling very sluggish.

There are definitely colds going around, so that could well explain it, I haven't had a cold in so long, i'm probably due. What I don't know though is how much that might have affected my run - are my body aches more cold than bad shoes? I came back from that "walk" and swore I couldn't even put them on my feet again they are so painful - and yet comfy to walk around in (though maybe I should do a long walk in them).

So now i'm wondering if I made a really bad shoe choice. If i wasted my money, and whether I can just load up my old shoes with gel insoles and hope they last the marathon without sore feet (like I had after my 16 miles on the weekend). Anyone ever bought bad shoes before? Maybe they'll "break in".....should I give them the chance and risk putting myself out for another week with sore shins? Am I sounding like a broken record yet..... I'm regretting the splurge on what I thought would be shoes that would HELP me with my shin splints.........going to bed to watch MI5, have the fan on full on me (maybe even....gasp....start the air conditioner) and try and sleep off the chills.....

Still want that (plastic) bottle of water?

Report from Midway Atoll - i've seen this first hand here on Oahu too and it's becoming much more common.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A new pair of shoes

Hard to believe i've worn out a pair of running shoes already. I've logged somewhere upwards of 300 (all be it slow) miles in my Adidas Supernovas (140 since getting my Nike + a few months ago, so maybe way above 300) and they are definitely on their way out. I'm actually quite sad about it, seems silly, but these are my "first" running shoes, and they took me from "0 miles" in 2008 to "300+ miles" in 2009. Amazing to think about that. Hard to believe they were once this colour too! Knowing a bit more about how I run, and on good recommendations, i've decided to switch to Asics Kayano 15's - a bit more support and a bit more cushioning to see if that will help with my shin splints.

And with these new running shoes comes an announcement too. I've decided to run/walk the Honolulu Marathon in December. I don't know how long I am going to be here, and this is something I want to do, so i've decided to go for it, and if i'm still here next year, I'll try and beat my time. My goals are similar to my 1/2 marathon goals - To finish.

The Honolulu marathon is a good one for me to start with too - the line is open for 12 hrs, there is no limit on entries and there is a walking component. 20,000-30,000 people enter each year and I guess what concerns me most is that ~5,000 of those drop out each year. I don't want to be one of those. Being realistic it's going to be a run/walk rather than a run, and I would like to do it in 6hrs, which with my 1/2 marathon time, should be possible. Most of all, my major goal, is to have FUN.

And before you ask, yes, I have been following a marathon program and have been doing so since August, just in case I decided to do it. It's been hampered somewhat by my various infections, but for the most part i'm doing "okay" at it. Today I ran 16 sluggish miles. But I had fun and don't feel too much like death. In two weeks I will run another 1/2 marathon, along the same course as the one i've done, so it'll be interesting to see how I go. I'm not sure my time will improve much as I really have had too much time "out", but it would be great to be less nervous, to not have a stitch most of the way through and to be more comfortable with my eating/drinking strategy.

So here I go....another month another goal......!

Join the crawl!

Seventh Generation is organizing an online "crawl against toxic chemicals" to demand toxic chemical policy reform from congress. They are looking for a million supporters for this reform!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last week

Tuesday - Tuesday night Dad and Sanchia came back from Maui and we went to a Luau with Laura and her parents. Was fun!

Beautiful sunset
Lots of Hula and good food!

Wednesday - We did a drive around the island.

Monk Seals at Sandy's beach. These seals are native to Hawaii and though once threatened, are coming back in numbers.
Monk Seals at Sandy's beach.

The Pali by Chinamans hat. Though a cloudy day, still beautiful.

Spot the surfer - Pipeline. The waves weren't huge, but big enough for some surf.

...enough to catch Dad out while rinsing off his sandals.......Waimea Bay.

I just like this shot. The kid on the beach at Waimea and the heads in the water showing how large those waves really were.

The outcome, a soggy father!

And the evening at Haleiwa beach park. See the pictures of turtles below - the beach still has not failed me for turtles!

Thursday - a beach day.

And a day of trying out the cocktails at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.....:0)

So family have headed back to the UK, it's back to work and reality. One week until my undergrad teaching begins. Gulp!

For Lance

How many Honu (Turtles) do you see?

I'll give you a clue, they're a little hidden in the seaweed....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A department email

Thought i'd share this one with you, made me smile.....:0)

Aloha everyone,

While it is tempting to stand under the shade of the palm trees at times, please be aware of the falling coconuts particularly while walking around the Beach House and common walkways. Thank you.

Administrative Assistant to the Director of the

Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology

Monday, October 19, 2009

Volcano National Park

The trip to Volcano National Park! In pictures, as they speak more than words!

We stayed in the Camper Cabins inside the park itself. These were great! A double bed and a bunk bed, outside a table and a grill, shared bathroom (for the 12 cabins) with hot water showers! The cabins were $55 a night and came with all linens and blanket. We were lucky it wasn't cold at all when we were there, but we did bring extra blankets as they suggested. They were right in a stand of Eucalyptus trees, so smelled wonderful when the breeze was blowing!

The first day we arrived we just drove to the park, checked out the visitor center, checked into the cabins and then did a drive around to the Jagger Museum, which is a far as the road that usually circles Kilauea goes right now, as the volcano has been very active since March 2008. The above photo is from an area called Steam Vents - water dripping onto the hot rocks below comes out as steam.

The summit of Kilauea volcano - the caldera in the center is called Halemaumau, where the volcanic gas has been coming out since last year.

The gas coming out has Sulphur dioxide in it, so much of the park is closed right now to keep people out of the gas. We were lucky that we had such clear days and the wind took the gas away to the other side of the park (the part that is closed).

A first night G&T with dad at the Volcano House....:0)

The second day we continued our drive around. This is a Tree Mold - where the lava solidifies around a tree (which is wet so cools the lava) and then the tree burns away, leaving these holes in the ground. They looked almost man made!

I like finding these - a USGS marker. This was near the top of Kilauea.

At the end of the Chain of Craters road you could walk across a road that was covered by lava in 2001. Some of the signs were still there....:0)

A short hike to these ancient Hawaiian Petroglyphs. I really enjoyed seeing these, and the 4 mile round trip hike.

That evening we went on a short 2 mile hike to some Sulphur Vents - where sulphur gas is coming up slowly from the active volcano. Though the gas is coming out really slowly, they form these yellow crystals and the whole area was just covered in tens of yellow vents.

The third day - an early morning to go out on a boat to see the lava pouring into the ocean. We started at 3am! There are some pictures I posted previously, so won't repeat, but this shot from the way back gives you an overview of the lava flow. That was a really amazing trip. The rest of the day we drove up to Mauna Kea outside the park and explored a little of Hilo by car.

The last morning we also started out early to visit the Thurston Lava Tube before the crowds arrived. We got in there before everyone and were the only ones, which was nice so we took our time and explored.

We then decided to do the Kilauea Iki trail (a small caldera to the side of Kilauea), which took us down inside a crater and back up the other side - a 4 mile circle. This photo is inside the caldera after the initial down. The floor of the crater was a lava field, it was amazing to see it up close.

On the crater floor there were a number of hot vents too, showing it is still active below our feet.

Looking back over the trail we just came, ready for the last stint back up the walls. It was a nice hike, took about 2.5hrs and we stopped and looked and photographed a lot too, so it was relaxed. After this we ate and headed out of the park. I got on a plane back to Oahu and Dad and Sanchia kept on going around the Big Island and then Maui. They come back tomorrow and we have a few days together again before they head out on friday.

Plants of Volcano National Park

There were some beautiful plants in the park, here are just a few.

This one was actually from Mauna Kea and is for Ann V. Silverswords.

I'm not sure what this little flower is, but it was so beautiful to me. Just small little clumps with ~10 of these pink "bulbs" on them. Anyone know what these are?

The difference between the lava and the rainforest was both striking and beautiful. These are the leaves of Tree Ferns, one of the oldest living species, around in the time of the dinosaurs.

The flower of the Ohi'a tree, called a Lehue. This flower is the official flower of the Big Island of Hawaii and they can start growing on a new lava flow within 100 years - hardy!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weekend yet?

What a week - I would say definitely time for the weekend, but this weekend, i'm up before 6am on both Saturday and Sunday! Tomorrow Jenna has a practice SAT starting at 7.30am, so i'll take her there and then head into work to continue either moving or writing lectures. As much as I feel i'm dying for a lie in, it'll be good to get a head start on the day. Around lunchtime i'm then helping out at the SOEST Open House. Today we had 4000 kids come around - ish! It was fun though, lots going on, and it's good to pass on what we do to the public.

Sunday I am running in the Komen Race for the Cure with Jenny, and potentially Hannah in the stroller, but Jenny hasn't decided as yet. I had little Hannah for half an hour today while Jenny helped with the "Earthquake" simulator. She yelled for about half of that, poor thing has two teeth pushing through.

The other exciting thing of today is that I got locked out of my office - amazingly I didn't lock my keys inside (a common issue with me and keys), but the lock actually broke. The maintenance guy climbed through the roof to let me in, and then they came and repaired the lock for me. The move is exactly where it was a few days ago - half there. I'm actually using my new office, and all the big stuff is in, but all my books and papers etc. are not. Maybe i'll get to it this weekend. I have 4 of my 13 lectures written, which is good. I've done all the hard ones, now on to Deep Sea Biology, Coral Reefs and Invertebrate Zoology - all subjects I'm familiar with and enjoy, so i'm hoping those will go quicker.

Hope you all have a good weekend - big hugs to the Kings in particular, hope your weekend is restful and enjoyable.

My old office - knowing I was moving I didn't tidy for a while.....

My new office, a real office rather than a cubby, and even a window!

And, because it was there, the awesome sunset tonight!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I'm moving office....

An excuse to start a post is not my favorite way to go, but I am - I am moving offices, so it's likely to be a few days before the sum up of my trip to the Big Island. This week has been more than a little crazy. Things have come back to bite me from a few weeks ago, i'm desperately trying to get ahead on writing these undergrad lectures (two (of the hard ones) totally down out of 13...), I am looking after my friends/landlords daughter Thurs - Mon (she's 15, so pretty independent, but needs driving to school, cooking for etc.) and now, i'm supposed to be moving offices.

The word came this morning, the previous occupants got their orders and were out of the office by 10am. I, however, am somewhat less organized. I swept up and moved a shelf around, but other than that haven't moved a single item. Ug. Tomorrow I have some extra hands to help out at 10am, which means I need to organize enough early tomorrow morning so they can help move the big stuff out for me.

So my apologies, it might be the weekend before I get the rest of the photos up or really talk about the trip, but that just means I get to look over all those photos again and remember the trip...:0)

Monday, October 12, 2009


So many different kinds....

Shiny lava

Orange and red drippy lava

Stretched lava
Old and young lava

Lava that looks like a ducks head

Naughty lava

Ropey and smooth lava

Tricolour lava

Very naughty lava

Molten lava

Pahoehoe lava

And my favorite. Purple bubbly lava.