Friday, November 30, 2012

Our thankful tree

Since we were only together for a week this holiday, we filled our tree with things we are thankful for: family, horses, being together and ... cereal?

Visiting Santa!

 Hayes had a long list of Breyer horses she wants but had also included that she would like Santa to bring world peace. Seriously.
 Cort had to point out what he wanted in particular. World peace was not one of them.

Horse rescue to meet a pony, or two

Hayes has been asking for a project to take on at the nearby horse rescue where we previously had adopted three horses. She got it in her head that she wanted Tebow, the palomino pony pictured here on the left. She also met Ranger, who had also been suggested to us.
 And she decided Ranger was it.
 Very cute pony!
 She, of course, wants to adopt him but she will very soon outgrow him but he's a nice project for right now.

 We even got Cort on him. You don't know what kind of feat this was.
 It's always nice to get a horse fix.

 When we got there, Cort had to give Gidget a hug.
 And he met this pony, whom he named "Adorableness."

 I like for Cort to get a bit of handling experience too.

 Happiness is a warm, fat pony!

Colonial Cup steeplechase

My annual rite of fall is to hit the closing steeplechase of the season in Camden, S.C., and the kids were with me for their fall break. Hayes and I, of course, have a good time. It's a little difficult to entertain Cort the whole time since he's not that into horses but there were skydivers to set off the races and that was a big hit with him.

 Here's Keri Brion with Divine Fortune prior to the running of the Colonial Cup.
 My old friend, Ken Furlong, an outrider for the races and the kids getting their picture made with a horse of course.
 Here the eventual winner of the Colonial Cup, Demonstrative, heads to the course with jockey Matt McCarron. Demonstrative came from the very back of the pack at the last jump to win the race - it was a gutsy move from a capable horse!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Aloha, Hawaii

It was hard to believe that our Hawaii trip had come to an end. It seemed like a very long week and then again it didn’t. We sat on the balcony to have our coffee and watch the surf before packing. I was convinced Susan was going to have to buy another suitcase for all the loot she got for everybody!
MawMaw, Susan and I drove to a coffee farm, which was far more interesting than I imagined. It gave me newfound respect for Kona coffee and the difficulty that goes into making it. It takes 7 trees to make one pound of coffee and now the coffee industry on Hawaii is plagued by a small beetle infesting the beans, making them unusable. No wonder Kona coffee is expensive!

We made other stops along the way to places Susan had been to prior, including St. Benedict’s Painted Church

 The church cat
 One of those cemeteries I wish I could have walked through
This is breadfruit and apparently has a lot of uses on the island, including making poi, which I overlooked at the luau the night before.
Then on to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, also known as the City of Refuge. I really enjoyed that place. The wall is original – if you made it over the wall after making it through the surf and rocks while being chased by warriors, you were given … wait for it … refuge!

MawMaw and I playing Hawaiian checkers. I was contemplating how the heck I was going to win.
Here is the wall
After that, we stopped by Captain Cook’s Bay. This is where Captain John Cook was killed and the British Isles owns part of the bay, marked by a plaque sank deep in the water. The only way to the Captain’s statue is to kayak the bay or hike waaaaay down the mountain. Susan and I found shells and sea glass to mark our visit.

The lei my Uncle Dean got for me on my arrival to Hawaii was looking sad and even though I'd wanted to take it home as a souvenir, I decided to give it back to Hawaii. Susan accompanied me down the Grand Staircase of the hotel for me to cast it into the lagoon. Of course, my “cast” just plopped it down at my feet so I scooped it from the water, balled it up and gave it a heave the next go-round. 
Then it was over. We said our goodbyes at the airport to wait for overnight flights back home. Aloha, Hawaii!


MawMaw's conference ended with a luau. I don't even know what to say about this guy ...
 I had to take a picture of this couple from Colorado. They bought these matching outfits 36 years ago when they got married.
 The dancing was entertaining and the fire dancer beyond comprehension!
Afterwards, we visited with Melinda and Dean a bit because it was going to be the last time we saw them for awhile. MawMaw asked Dean what was his favorite part of the trip and he said, of course, being an astronomer, being up on top of Mauna Kea was pretty spectacular. MawMaw said, ”My favorite part was being with all of you.” So we all felt like turkeys and MawMaw raised her hands in the air and exclaimed, ”I won!”

Pu'ukohola Heiau

Early in our visit, we stopped by the Pu'ukohola Heiau, which has one of the last major sacred structures built in Hawaii before outside influence altered traditional life. Below is the Hawaiian state flag.
 This heiau was finished in 1791 with warriors bringing volcanic debris to make the structure. No mortar was used - instead the walls slant inward and spaces are filled with smaller pebbles.
 A bit of Hawaiian language, showing King Kamehameah uprighting an impossibly heavy rock.
 So Melinda tried it. So did I but I hurt my back ...
 This is one of the weapons of war: a wooden pahoa with sharks teeth. Just imagine that buried in your skull *shudder*.