Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I'm back over to focusing storytelling on the still ongoing cancer saga at I Thought I Was Done With This. Check it out!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Home Again Home Again

After another remarkably uneventful winter crossing of the Pacific Ocean, we arrived safely back in Seattle at around 11:00pm tonight. What turbulence we did encounter stopped before I had time to work up a proper freak-out (it helped that Ian generously offered to lose at Cribbage to distract me. He's a real catch, that one.). I have some observations to write about over the next couple days, but for now I think I'm going to grab a little snack and head to bed. It's only 11:20pm Paradise Time, but that's 1:20 in the middle of the night back over here In The Bleak Midwinter.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Morning Ritual

This morning, our last morning, has been, alas, an exception, but all the other mornings this week Ian went out swimming around 7:30am. I don't think he was out for long--just long enough to bob a half dozen times in the chilly surf. Frequently, he was back before I was even awake. But yesterday and the day before, I went with him for the first dip of the day, and I have to say, I enjoyed it. Not so much that I would do it every day if I lived here, but a bracing salt water bath before you're really awake does seem to be a nice way to begin a day on vacation.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Totally Believe We Are Magic

We attended Warren and Annabelle's magic show in Lahaina the other night, and boy, it was amazing. I'm sorry that all the people I know who were going to be on Maui within the last six months have already been and gone, because this is something that I recommend for everyone to see. First of all, Warren is simply hilarious. He is smart and funny and quick and doesn't miss the slightest opportunity to make a joke, so the entire 78-member audience is laughing uproariously for two hours. Second, Warren is an amazing magician. N&K actually got to sit right by the stage and interact with him--and shocking things happened that they couldn't explain at all. Right next to N, a woman had the time on her watch changed, while she was holding it in her hand. N had a big hat put on his head; when it was removed and turned upside down, there was a bowling ball in it (the second bowling ball of two that came out of the hat). A man from the audience loaned a $100 bill. The serial number on the bill was written down, then the bill was lit on fire in K's hand while she looked at the serial number. It was taken away and put on a plate in front of everyone where it burned to ashes. At the very end of the show, it reappeared inside a whole lemon handed to another audience member (she cut the lemon open).

I have no idea how any of this was done, and I find myself believing that maybe it was, in fact, simply magic.

Of course, this video, which was sent to me by friend L, demonstrates just how little we see when we're not expecting it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Resorting Life

Yesterday afternoon Ian and I joined in the fun of the weekly Putting Party (drinks only $0.50!) on the adult's putting green in the middle of the Napili Kai resort. The Mercedes Cup was finishing up at a neighboring golf course the weekend that we arrived, so golf was (I guess) on everyone's mind. Anyway, as resort activities go, this one turned out to be pretty fun.

We were all on teams of two, coupled with another team of two, and we all started at the same time, and all putted all 18 holes, so our foursome, for example, started on hole 7 and finished on hole 6. We were actually separated from each other--Ian was paired with a late-middle-aged woman named Karen ("my husband asked me to come because he needed a partner; I had no interest, but this is actually quite fun!"), and I with a 24-year-old kid named Brian--but then, Ian and Karen and Brian and I became the foursome. Brian and Karen were both from the Denver area, and everyone was in the mood for a good time (the $0.50 drinks helped a lot).

Ian and I each had a hole in one (and then Ian had a second hole in one), but then we had at least as many totally unhelpful shots, and decided that, of our foursome, we were easily the most erratic. By the time we finished, Ian and Karen had 50 strokes, and Brian and I had a mere 47.

Prizes were given at the end, and Ian and Karen won the "Nice Try" award, for doing the worst of any team! This entitles Ian to two free drinks at the restaurant! We noticed that the best score award, which went to a team with 32 strokes, also came with certificates for two free drinks.

Last night we watched a little VH1 to make up for the fact that we don't get it at home. What we happened upon was the first episode of a reality show we hadn't heard of before, where invariably awful girlfriends tricked their invariably awful boyfriends into a situation where all their disfunction was aired on national TV, called "Tool Academy". Yes, the first guy voted off was told "Your girlfriend is waiting outside. You are a tool."

All in all, a fun time.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It Happens to the Best of Us

Well, our first day of real sun and I seem to have burned myself. I was warned that I might be more sun-sensitive because of some of the drugs that I'm on, which I believed a little, but I was on them last summer and wasn't sun-sensitive at all. In Seattle.

Anyway, what sucks about this is that it's clear from the burn pattern (which is red but doesn't hurt at all at this time) that I didn't actually burn while I was lying out (on the beach for a while, and by the pool for awhile), but rather while I was walking around, with Ian, wearing my bathing suit under a long-sleeved, light-weight cotton button-down shirt. I've never burned through clothes before, and was pretty sceptical about the probability. I guess now I'm not.

I will say this: I am not, as you might imagine, upset about burning through my shirt because I am now burned and it's bad for my skin; instead, I am upset about burning through my shirt because I am now burned and I have white strap marks going around my neck. I'm very careful, when actually sunning, to minimize lines. All to no avail, alas, for now.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


We arrived safely and soundly yesterday afternoon. The flight across the Pacific was a joy--and I mean that completely sincerely, particularly compared to the previous four flights that I'd taken across the Pacific (to and from Hawaii, and to and from Thailand). Those were all invariably rotten with turbulence, and I really, honestly, was surprised to arrive in Seattle, alive, after the return from Thailand 3 or 4 years ago. So yes, the fact of hardly any turbulence yesterday was an immense relief, and a joy.

I was pretty exhausted by the time I finally fell into bed around 9:30pm Hawaii time (we're two hours earlier over here), having had my post-infusion sleeps of about 2 1/2 hours Friday night, and maybe a half-hour nap on the plane. I figured I'd better really stock up on caffeine if I were going to make it, so I had real coffee at SeaTac and real coffee on the flight. An actual limo picked us all up from Ian's and my house, and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time to check our bags in . . . if the system had been working the way it was supposed to.

Ian and I had managed to check ourselves in online, so we only had to check in our bags. We'd attempted to check D&J in online as well, but were thwarted when I tried to skip printing their checked baggage receipts. Perhaps because of me trying to take advantage of Hawaiian's website promises, N&K were likewise unable to check-in online (the four of them had the same reservation), and so they had to wait for an hour at the airport, along with lots and lots of other people who had been unable to check-in online, presumably from a glitch in the system. Ian and I, free agents after we dropped our bags, delivered coffees. Oh, also, the baggage conveyer belt was broken. But that didn't seem to affect anyone's speed too much.

Nevertheless, we were all able to use the bathroom and get food, and there were even maybe two or three people who boarded the plane behind us.

We're staying at the Napili Kai, which is lovely, and we're so happy to be here that we're not at all bothered by the fact that, at the moment, it's really gray and cold out there, and it woke us up raining in the middle of the night.

Go here to see some of Ian's pics.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Welcome Vacation

We're leaving tomorrow morning at 8:00am for a week-long vacation in Hawaii with Ian's family, including his parents D&J Taylor, and his brother and sister-in-law, N&K Taylor. Ian and I were talking yesterday about how long it's been since we've had a real vacation, namely, since the summer of 2007. Granted, for me, that was a four-month vacation, which was pretty darn great, and seemed to tide me through up till now. For Ian, however, since he was working on his dissertation for at least two hours virtually every morning, it was a working holiday.

I recognize that a logical conversation about my life could go something like this:

Me: "Wow, I really need a vacation!"

Absolutely Anyone Else: "Seriously? From what?"

But, folks, that's why this blog is called "The Dilettante Traveler", and not the "I've Worked 60-Hour Weeks for the Past 130 And I Could Really Use A Vacation so I'm Going to Hawaii Traveler."

And the fact is, my full-time job right now is cancer recovery, and I even get to take a bit of a break from that. I'll get to skip an infusion while I'm away, without having to make it up. So next Thursday, when it's warm and sunny and I'm starting to feel pretty great again, I'll get to extend that into next Friday, when it'll still be warm and sunny and I'll be feeling even more great! I'm very much looking forward to that.

And so, Aloha everyone, until we get there.