Posted in Travel

Amore Reflexology

Amore’ Reflexology

When my sister asked me to join her for an appointment for reflexology I was all in. I love a massage, any kind of massage.
When we arrived the woman who were leaving were in the lobby looking very relaxed, almost rubbery and they glided out the door with almost drunken smiles. Soon after we were led into a low lit room with soft nature music in the background.
This was a little different from a massage, you stay fully clothed (except your shoes), and your in the same room as a few others. You start in a huge recliner type chair with your feet submerged in warm water (which feels amazing). And then the masseuse/reflexologist starts their magic. It’s a combination of massage and stretches some your wondering how they contorted your body into, but each one the perfect compliment to the next or previous part of the massage. When they were done I was relaxed, energetic and my sinuses felt clear!
It was a one hour treatment with the cost only being $35.00! I have paid twice that for massages in the past and walked away disappointed. If I lived in Houston I would be at this place at least once a week.

* 4003 Bellaire Blvd. Ste. G
* Houston, TX 77025

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Posted in Travel

Middle Seat Flyers Are People Too!

Middle Seat Etiquette
I recently flew southwest airlines from San Antonio to Houston, It was the typical Southwest scenario, full flight, every seat taken, and Southwest does not have assigned seating.   Don and I were traveling together so I took the middle seat so he could sit on the aisle for more leg room. Don as always was the perfect travel companion, but sitting in the middle seat I was reminded that those in the middle seat will as always have the most unpleasant flight experience unless other flyers consider some brief rules of “middle seat etiquette”, because lets face it, middle seat flyers are people too.
Rule 1 – Arm space – Come on guys, you window person, you can lean on the wall, so why are you hogging the arm rest, plus YOU HAVE A WINDOW!. You on the aisle, okay, you have nothing to lean on, but you can lean toward the aisle (unless the service cart is coming), or you can get up whenever you want without bothering anyone, so give the middle seat the some armrest consideration, flyers.
Rule 2 – Leg Space – Southwest does have exceptionally tiny little seats with minimal space to put your legs, put the same rules apply as do with arm space. Don’t sit there with your legs spread wide open and your knees in front of the seat next to you. You know the middle seat cost just as much as your ticket. This is not your living room!
So share!
Rule 3 – Lights and Air – How much light does one person need glaring in their face. I hate it when people just want a little light so they adjust the light away, towards….the middle seat of course. The same with the air vent, my hair should not look like I am posing for a fashion magazine  or driving in a convertible while in flight.
Rule 4 – Be nice – well that goes for anyone in your tiny little flight row, remember we are all paying a small fortune for the privilege of sitting in that microscopic space together. So be kind to your fellow flyers. Don’t blast your music so high that it can be heard through your headphones, don’t point your offensive movies towards others in the row.  And if your going to bring food on board please dont ask for extra garlic or onions, and dont use that poor middle seat person as your garbage can when your done eating.
Be kind to those in the middle, because someday that middle seat may belong to you, and I promise karma sucks.

Posted in Travel

Hawaii Sea Spirits

I love vodka, as does my Husband Don, so when we found out the Hawaii Sea Spirits Organic Farm and distillery home of Ocean Organic Vodka and Deep Island Hawaiian Rum was on Maui, I knew this had to be one of our stops while on the island. We arrived at the beautiful property just in time for the final tour of the day.
Our tour guide was Earl, he was very knowledgeable about the process of making the vodka and rum they make on the farm. He informed us about everything from the self sustaining well water supply and solar power to the different kinds of sugar cane on the farm even the best daiquiri recipe, using their rum. He commented if ever was a zombie apocalypse, this was the place to be, with ample supplies of power, water and spirits you would be set.
Part of the tour is a tasting. Even this part of the tour is an education. First we enjoyed a sample of the water used in their bottling process, then three small sips of vodka so we can get the true taste of the delicious velvety clean tasting vodka. Then came the rum. Again, Earl was brilliant as he explained the process and challenged us to savor the flavors we would experience as we tasted.
The tour is $25.00 per person plus your ID, (be sure to have it with you they take this very seriously. The cost includes a fabulous tour, a small tasting of both their vodka and rum, as well as a commemorative shot glass.
If you want to purchase anything they are very helpful with assisting you in packing things up to make them travel safe. The distillery is a 20 minute drive from OGG airport, so a good stop when you arrive or depart.

Posted in Travel

Sailing into The Hawaiian Sunset

84b4d681-d45f-495e-95aa-43359b980147Don and I wanted to find a special place to have dinner our last night in Honolulu this trip. So when we found out about the Star of Honolulu and its sunset dinner cruise, we decided that would be perfect.
When we arrived at Pier 8 we were greeted by hula dancers and musicians, making us feel as if we were royalty. We were lead to the top deck where we met the ships captain and more musicians and dancers who entertained. We were served champagne and canapés before being brought to our seats to begin our 7 course meal.
The food was delicious, and there was never a rush to finish. The menu was pre-determined so no need to make any decisions (though they do offer a special menu for those with diet restrictions or allergies, you need to inform them ahead at booking). All we had to to was enjoy each other’s company and the beautiful view, then a new course was brought out.
So often when you take a touristy type cruise like this you wind up eating rubbery chicken or over cooked meat. But that was not at all the case, each course was more delicious then the last. We started a fabulous asparagus soup followed by a golden beet salad. During the salad, the waiter, Jan, poured us a glass of champagne for the Captains toast prior to the main course.
The toast was brief but elegant and well received by all of the guests. Then on to the flown in Maine Lobster chased with a palate cleansing sorbet and then beef tenderloin, finally a delicious chocolate cake with chocolate gelato for dessert.
Our on board package included three alcoholic beverages. To start I chose a delicious perfectly poured rainbow martini. Don had margarita “rocks, no salt”. With dinner we chose a lovely red wine and a Remy Martin VSOP to compliment our dessert.
The wait staff was friendly and very attentive. If we were out on deck watching the sunset or the view of Diamond Head they would wait for us to return before bringing out the next course, so our food never got cold. There was even someone nearby to help take photos of you and your guest(s).
During our meal, we were entertained with beautiful music and hula dancing. And after dinner, we danced along with a jazz trio who performed for us. The experience was like something from a classic 1940’s move.
When outside, we could hear the music and sounds from the lower decks, each package you could purchase had its own unique charm. We wished for more time so we could have wandered down to the other areas to take in the fun dancing and singing that was going on around us. But this night was perfectly romantic and dreamy.
On our deck there were nine or ten honeymooning couples and a small group of friends together for a reunion and us. The MC introduced and applauded the honeymooners, then introduced us as the couple who had been married thirty years. A chorus of oohs and ahas erupted into a raucous applause from the honeymooners. We were embarrassed by the attention, they may have been impressed with our thirty years, but we were envious of their bright futures, remembering how excited we had been thirty years ago to be starting our journey in life together.
At the end of the night we were honored when they asked to be able to take a photo with us.
The night was like a perfect dream, and I will look forward to coming back to Honolulu for another evening on the Star of Honolulu, maybe we will try the party atmosphere and book a lower deck. The 5 Star deck was amazing but variety is the spice of life. Now you know one of the secrets to thirty great years with my best friend.

Posted in Travel

Climbing Koko Head

They say ignorance is bliss, and it was ignorance that allowed me to climb Koko Head in Hawaii two years ago.
Don heard from a coworker that sunrise from the top of Koko Head was a must see while on Oahu. We looked it up, and found that it was a medium difficulty level to climb. . I am not in the best of shape, but was ok with pushing myself for the promise of a beautiful sunrise. So on the second day of our vacation we were up at 4 am, following GPS instructions anxious for our sunrise adventure. We kept finding ourselves in a local neighborhood, after forty five minutes of “What is wrong with the GPS we realized we needed to drive through the neighborhood to reach the trailhead.
There was no moon and very dark when we arrived at the park. We could not see the top, only a strange shadowy shape cut against the stars.
Warning sign number one!
The trail was dark, it looked slightly daunting, but not so difficult. There were multiple warning signs at the bottom but we were too excited or maybe it was just too dark to notice them.
Warning sign number two!
We headed up the stairs, I started the climb with an excited run, “This is going to be a great workout.” I said, the darkness blinding me to just how far it was to the top.
What I had not know was that the “steps” were actually a train tracks built during World War II to haul people and equipment to the top. So these were not your typical stairs. The steps were actually one thousand and forty eight railroad ties, some of them were in bad shape. Broken, bent and dirty making the climb slippery and difficult. Hence the local nickname, “The 1,000 steps of doom”.

75cd4433-b52f-4aab-b392-8e964b8a7efe
Warning sign number three!
It’s a good thing my flashlight only could see a few steps ahead of me, because if I had been able to see the steep climb I may have turned back. We had been warned that part of the climb was on a bridge and that some bees had taken up residence and since we were unable to see the drop underneath we opted for the alternate trip around through little gully on the side of the bridge.
Up up we climbed. If this were the Stairway to Heaven then the climb certainly was our purgatory to get there. As we climbed we were joined by many other would be adventurers, some who ran this daily as their work out, people of all ages were climbing this in hopes of seeing an amazing sunrise, to stay healthy or just as a personal challenge. The other hikers were encouraging us, “Your almost there!” they would tell me as they zoomed past me with their perfect bodies. Finally I could see the top, there were several people taking selfies with their best “Rocky” poses.
I was almost there I panted, I wondered if they had oxygen at the top as my lungs felt as though they were about to explode.
Don and I rested at the top before walking around to the the east side where the sun had just started peaking its head over the horizon. The views and the colors the sunrise made over the top were spectacular. All the pain from the climb was gone, as I realized the climb was worth the view.

 

We remained on top for nearly an hour, walking around taking in the multiple views from the top, it was so breathtaking that I never wanted to leave, plus part of me dreaded the climb down, which I knew was going to be painful.
Finally after realizing that we probably could not stay up there forever, I surrendered to starting the decent down. It was daylight now and looking down, I was amazed at the climb Don and I had made in the dark that morning. There were stairs towards the top were set at a near 90 degree angle. Well not really, it just felt like that. “We did that?” I asked Don, stalling while I tried to figure out how the heck we were going to get down without the ignorance of darkness on our side. No side rails, no even steps, just what seemed like miles of shaky tracks.
Down we climbed, when I got tired I sat down and slid down part of the trail (which actually was a bit fun).
At the bottom my legs felt like jello, I am sure others in the park must have thought I was intoxicated as I struggled to make my way to our car.
It took lots of Advil and stretching before my legs recovered, but now, finally, two years later, my legs are okay.
On our trip back to Hawaii this year I asked Don to go by the park so I could see Koko Head in the daylight to make sure I had not over exaggerated the climb. This time the thought of it seemed even more daunting. “We should get back in shape so we can climb it again our next trip.”
“Sure” Don said smiling, “I will let you take the lead on that one.”

Posted in Family

Missing My Mom

It’s been a year since my mom passed away,  and there are few days that go by that I don’t think of her and wonder if there was more I could have done for her while she was alive, or what I could have done to save her.
My brother Michael called me before her funeral to ask what “mom” stories I could remember, the only thing I could recall at the time was how we had been camping when a tornado hit. Why that was all I could remember is beyond me, perhaps the storm that was raging in my heart after her death clouded my mind from thinking of anything else. I felt awful that I missed my chance to publicly tell my mom thank you for all she had done for me.
So as I remember my mom today I want to thank her for those things that she taught me that will forever be part of my life.
My mom taught me how to type on her old royal typewriter long before the days of computers, she taught me to always say thank you for every gift (even if I hated it) and always write a note of thanks. She showed me the importance of family through her love of her siblings and parents. She taught me to always try to remain cheerful on the outside even when your heart was breaking (a lesson I still struggle with). She taught me how to do my own taxes, how to paint a room and refinish furniture, how to plant a garden, and transplant flowers. She was frugal, yet generous. Distant but loving.
My mom was a good person who was loved by everyone who knew her. She did not lead an easy life, but always maintained a light of grace and dignity even during her darkest times.
I don’t think we can ever understand how deep a mothers love is until we ourselves become parents. The heartbreak, the joy, the worrying and the relief when we find our ways. There were so many things I did not find out about my mom until recently, things that made me respect her and love her even more.
So to all my friends who are fortunate enough to have your moms here on earth, be sure to thank them daily for all those things they taught you, big and small. Life is short and we never know when our loved ones will be called away from this earth, don’t let them go with any regrets of what you could have said or done.
My favorite poem is The Sin of Ommision by Margaret Sangster – 
In it she writes, 
“It isn’t the the thing you do dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.”

Mom I miss you, and I sincerely apologize for all my sins of omission during your time here on earth.

The Sin of Omission
By Margaret Elizabeth Sangster
The Sin of Omission
It isn’t the thing you do, dear;
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you a bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.
The tender word forgotten,
The letter you did not write,
The flower you might have sent, dear,
Are your haunting ghosts to-night.
The stone you might have lifted
Out of brother’s way,
The bit of heartsome counsel
You were hurried too much to say;
The loving touch of the hand, dear,
The gentle and winsome tone,
That you had no time nor thought for,
With troubles enough of your own.
The little acts of kindness,
So easily out of mind;
Those chances to be angels
Which every one may find
They come in night and silence
Each chill, reproachful wraith
When hope is faint and flagging
And a blight has dropped on faith.
For life is all too short, dear,
And sorrow is all too great;
To suffer our great compassion
That tarries until too late;
And it’s not the thing you do, dear,
It’s the thing you leave undone,
Which gives you the bit of heartache
At the setting of the sun.