29 April 2008

Circle Tour

Our big splurge for this trip was to take a circle island tour. We looked at the helicopter tours of the volcano but for the same money we could see the whole island in a cessna. Being the frugal New Englanders that we are we opted for the latter. We went with another couple from Singapore, and our pilot was a young guy from Arizona. We had a blast! It was a pretty nice day, vog was low, and it wasn't even raining in Hilo (love that song "...it's raining it's pouring in Hilo again, but I don't mind..."). The volcano from the air was the cherry on top. The volcano has been very dormant for about a month now, except for the vog and the plumes of sulfur and nitrous oxide, so we were thrilled when a vent opened up while we were flying around Kilauea Caldera- the big crater venting big time. It was very brief but an area probably forty feet in diamter started to spew red hot lava into the air. Within a minute it had calmed to a swirling pool of orange and tan liquid lava swirling as in a boiling pot of water. Then off to see the lava flow into the sea. Over 26 square miles have been added to this island here since 1983. Then continuing around to the windward side (aka rainy side or tropical side) to see beautiful waterfalls and dramatic valleys. Up over the high cattle country, then back down to land behind a 767 at Kona Airport. What a day!

28 April 2008

Volcanoes National Park

One of our favorite days was the day we drove down to Volcanoes National Park and drove Chain of Craters Road. The vog was pretty thick, and some of the road was closed due to noxious fumes from Madame Pele but we were still able to see Caldera Crater venting away. A few steps away was a thick rain forested area where we saw a lava tube. The lava creates it's own plumbing in the earth and some of them empty so you can see/walk through them. Then we drove along the Chain of Craters road, with many lookouts, craters, and lava fields, finally dropping around 2500 square feet down to a lava flow by the ocean. Too cool!

27 April 2008

Construction Progress

We are making progress. New windows and doors in- still need to be trimmed. Surface drain in just in time for rain!

We are getting the wonderful asian greens, and spring mix lettuce from Damon and our greenhouse. What a treat!! Art started clearing the field for outdoor planting.

Here is a shot I took of my laundry room before we left a few weeks ago. Every flat surface is now piled precariously high with folded laundry. I am finally washing my last load. Then I have to try to cram all these clothes into our closets and dressers...


The next day we found our snorkel spot. We wanted to stay close and take a bit of a down day, so we went about fifteen minutes North to Honokohau Bay. When we arrived all the tour boats were just outside the bay putting their customers in the water to snorkel so we knew it had to be pretty good. You climb over lava rocks to get to the beach which is many grades of crushed lava rock, tiny shells, and crushed shells. I have a snorkel set that I had gotten at Bean's outlet store a few years back. Art did not have any today as we had not rented (like we did for Two Step). He thought he could do it without as he is a very good swimmer. Nope. He can swim like a fish, but could not see in the salty water. So he swam around with me as I snorkeled (I'm a sissy in the water and I am not afraid to admit it!), then he would take a turn and snorkel around. Great day. When we headed back we put on our walking shoes and checked out the little shopping area within walking distance of the resort. We stopped at Sushi en Fuego for a little happy hour and some pupu's (aka-appetizers or tapas). We found a (can't remember the name of it) little snorkel shop that had snorkel sets for short money so we bought Art a set. He was most excited about his flippers. Mine are one big paddle and his are split. Apparently it makes a big difference (like I could tell??) He was very happy. After that we had margarita night, went down to the beach to watch the surfer's, boogie boarders, and the sunset. Growing up in Colorado I was treated to some spectacular sunsets. Even where my parents are in Mazatlan you get some nice twilights. We noticed that there wasn't really so much of a sunset as it was watching the big round glowing ball drop into the ocean. It was explained to us that because Hawaii is so close to the equator you don't have a twilight so to speak. The angle of the sun relative to the horizon is too steep. It was still a nice sight and a great way to end the day.

26 April 2008

Hawaii Day Two

On the second day we decided to head South. We started off with a tour of coffee country in, you guessed it, Kona. We stopped off at Greenwell Farms for a tour. While we waited we sampled several varieties of their coffee blends, including their signature blend, peaberry, and chocolate macadamia nut. They also had chocolate covered mac nuts and coffee beans, as well as mac nuts. There are something like 700 coffee growers in this ~twenty mile strip of Kona. Most of them are about three acres. Very hard work! The trees flower constantly, and the beans do too. This means that on the same branch you could have many different levels of bean. So they all have to be picked by hand! Each tree only produces enough for about a pound and a half of coffee. They dry the beans in the sun (which comes out each morning- although it has been very voggy for the last couple of months according to the locals. Yes- voggy- new word- volcanic smog- their word not mine...) Anyway to keep the beans from getting wet in the afternoon (when it rains at about four o'clock) they have a retractable roof on slides that can be pulled by one guy. Very cool. We got coffee and a bag of macadamia nuts and set off in search of a snorkeling spot. We ended up next to the Place of Refuge. The story goes that in Hawaiin days of old there was one penalty for kapu (crime-wrongdoing-lawbreaking). That penalty was death. A little harsh but, if you could run (literally) and safely make it into the Place of Refuge they would give you a reprieve and you would spend the next couple/few years paying your debt to society by hard labor and then you'd be released back in to society.
Next to this place is one of the hottest snorkel spots- Two Step. Honaunau Bay. I did not have my camera (as it does not get along with water) so I borrowed the pics of that place. This place was tough to get into and out of with the waves and sharp lava (I ended up with many cuts), but it had the widest variety of fish and tons of them. Smelled great there, too :)
Oops. Extra pic in the mix. Those little dots in the water are the boogie boarders by our hotel waiting to catch a wave!

25 April 2008

Hawaii Day One

Our first full day in Hawaii started with us having coffee on our lanai watching the early boogie boarders, then out to have a closer look at the beach and dip our toes in the water. Then we headed North to the Kohala District. Breathtaking views at the Polulu overlooking cliffs by the ocean. The valleys are so deep that they cannot build a road through this area. We saw the statue of King Kamehameha causing Art to trip down Brady Bunch memory lane. We saw one of many wind farms, a great asset, that the island hosts. After driving through the high plains area where the cattle ranches are we stopped at beautiful white sand Hapuna Beach to end the day.

Contractors are messy and I am a mess!

It is contractor time at our house again. Windows are the top priority for the post and beam part of the house, but they are also installing a ventilation system for the basements, replacing front door, new back door, running wire, installing a storm drain outside, etc. etc. etc.

Some was done while we were gone, but the bulk is being done right now. My house is hard enough to keep clean with just Art and the critters to clean up after. Add the contractors, three weeks of laundry (one week before that didn't get done and two weeks gone), cable modem failure (again...), a biomass presentation for the Chamber, new piggy-back, early buy, new web page, second job as treasurer, raking now that the snow is mostly gone... Any moment now I am sure my head will spin right off!

24 April 2008


Hello. My name is Shannon. I am a time-share-aholic. I just love being able to stay in a mini-apartment with a kitchen, a living room, and sometimes a patio when we are on vacation. My parents bought into timeshare in the seventies when it was a new concept. We stayed up at Snowbird in Utah for three weeks each summer. As we got older, and when we moved to Colorado, we branched out and took vacations to different places like Idaho, the mountains, or visiting family in Wisconsin.
A few years back DH and I purchased timeshare (used of course!) for short money and a low maintenance fee. The intention was to use it for our business. We have taken the guys on ski trips, and training trips using time shares each year. Using a week for our trip to Hawaii was wonderful! The reviews on the site lead me to believe that it was a so-so resort in a great spot. When we checked in the guy said that the best views were taken and he put us in a side building. I wasn't surprised and really expected a dark, dank place but figured we wouldn't spend much time there anyway.

Wrong, wrong, and uuhh, wrong!
We had a great unit, about 450 square feet and a lanai overlooking the ocean. It had a full kitchen, and a king sized bed in the bedroom. The view was great. Overlooking a small beach away from the road and pool noise.

We went shopping our first full day. The lady behind us in line balked at how much we spent at Safeway, but we bought some great meals like ribs, salmon, steak, shrimp. Of course beverage makings added a bit to the tab ;) Prices are a bit higher in Hawaii but not like I expected. The beef was actually lower than we pay in NH. Did you know that the largest beef ranch is on the Big Island?? I sure didn't, but loved the two huge racks of beef ribs that we got for $14! The outdoor bbq area at the resort was great, too! We talked with people from Washington, and California while preparing our feast(s) :)

The veggies were the killer. I think we spent over $70 on veggies! Yikes! Even more shocking was the fact that they don't grow them on the island!! Even the avacadoes were from California! Hello? Warm, sunny, temperate... Easy to grow your own fruits, and veggies!! We of course got some Kona coffee too YUM :)> Even spending what we did we saved a bundle over eating out!


I've been tagged by whatevergirl, 40 and a bit cheeky... You thought it took you a long time- Ha! I also had to change the rules because the way they were written would take way too long and require way too much brain work!

This is the first time, but I will give it my best shot.

The Rules

1. Post the rules before you give your answers.

2. List one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name.

3. At the end of your blog post, tag three people (or blogger of another species). Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.

So, here we go.. Middle name- Suzanne

S-Surprised. Very surprised but pleased with how my life has turned out. I did not plan it this way, but I wouldn't change a thing!

U-Upright. I am a straight shooter. I am honest and fairly reliable.

Z-Zealous (yes I did use a dictionary for a few of these...) But I am very enthusiastic and diligent in promoting biomass.

A-Active- in our community- finally. We love our little town and feel like we are home.

N-Non-conformist. We are quite often outside the box, or do things not in the main-stream.

N-New Englander. I was born out west, raised out west, and still lived over half of my life out west. But New England fits.

E-Elected. I was elected to my first position this year. Treasurer. It's working for me :)

Now the tricky part!--also difficult for me because I don't blog that often and only read a few.

1. Random Thoughts and Musings from the Island
2. Misadventures in Maturity
3. Exseno


We just got back from our "once in a lifetime" trip. We had two international frequent flier tickets on United that had to be used this year or be lost so we began planning our anywhere in the world trip last fall. We initially thought New Zealand or Australia then United changed their frequent flier requirements and it wasn't quite anywhere so we looked a little closer to home. We settled on Hawaii. Not a place that was on our roster, but all we know who have been have had rave reviews. So off to the Big Island we went. It is a LONG flight! Or should I say flights... We headed down to Boston on Friday since it costs less to stay at a hotel with extended parking than to park at the airport, or any nearby lots. We got up at the crack of dawn to catch our 6am flight. We stopped in Denver for a three hour layover. Very weird stopping in CO and not seeing any friends or family but we had a great Mexican lunch before hopping the flight to Kona. We arrived at 4:00 in the afternoon (and a six time zone change) exhausted but excited. We picked up our Chevy HHR, checked in to our timeshare unit, hit the beach then an outside restaurant looking over the ocean for some dinner.
The smell was the first thing we noticed about Hawaii. Kona smells wonderful! The flowers? The ocean? Surely a combination of things but it smelled delicious! We went to bed fairly early since we felt jet lagged and otherwise floopy!

22 April 2008

Too fast!

Less than two weeks ago I did a post about "kitten"-hood. We went on our spring vacation just after and while we were gone our little fur-baby became a cat. Under the ever vigilant eyes of our fur-sitters our little Blizzadora went into her first heat.
Poor Polar! was the object of affection since the sitters don't leave him outside :( The 'Cringe Factor' is that Polar in his distress of being left alone broke down the cat door (again), which was closed for the duration or until we get/got our new front door sans cat door... anyway it was closed until Po broke it open to stuff his babies through it. He gets stressed when we leave sometimes and stuffs his babies out on the front stoop for some reason??? Don't ask me. I have NO idea?!? Anyway, this act left the door open for newly wanton Lizzie to seek affection outside at least TWICE! Oh, NNnnoooooooo~ (aaarrgghhhh!) I hope we don't have little blizzards swirling around soon!!!
btw- Fun stuff to follow about our trip :)

11 April 2008

The joys of kittenhood.

Snuggled on the top shelf by the washer.
Cats have a mind of their own. Yet we constantly tell ourselves that they can be trained, tricked, or molded to follow the rules. HA!
Our little Blizzard(ora) loves to be up high. She loves sitting on the edge of the loft staring down longingly at the bird below, or on the shelf above my laundry waiting to pounce on an errant sock.
But I can't seem to drive it into her little skull that the kitchen counters and tables are Off Limits! I come down in the morning to make coffee with the little fluffball on my heels, and as soon as I reach for the coffee pot up she jumps to help. Or she will be sunning herself on the table in the bar...
When she first came home I would simply yell like a crazy woman, clap my hands, and stomp my feet to chase her off. A couple months later when she had numbed to this we upgraded to squirt bottles. Now I am thinking of getting a few of those battery powered water guns! Rotten cat.
DH has helped develop the little monster's bad habits by sharing a favorite activity he started with Zoi. Turning on the bath faucet so they can get a fresh drink of water. Their food is also up on a high (used to be counter/sofa table) so that the dog doesn't eat their food... She's a monster, but it's probably our fault a little bit- (frat-a-ratta-ratta-fratta) It's a good thing she's so darn cute!

Hanging from the rafters!

03 April 2008

Cost of doing business...

When we started our company ten years ago we were told that NH is the easiest state in the nation to own and operate a business. What they neglected to mention was the fact that we are desperately close to (what I believe) is the WORST state in the nation. The Common Corruption of Taxachusetts. We don't have sales tax in NH and get a large crowd from our southern neighbor as a result. Most people will put a stove in themselves to save a couple hundred bucks, but there are a few loonies that want us to do it even if it means that we have to pay tax to their state. I won't even get into the taxation without representation speech that many NH'ers rightfully do... Instead I will be focusing on their silly contractor's license maze that I have been trapped in for over a month! As of this July we will need a Solid Fuel's Appliance Specialty Contractor's License in order to install in their state. Not only this but we will have to pull a permit for each install (we used to have the customer do this), and have a meeting with the local inspector. What used to be a single two hour trip has turned into a minimum of three separate trips, and probably six to eight hours... (head shaking back and forth...)
Fine. Whatever... $125 application fee, plus $150 per person being licensed, and a list of 30 installs (Customer Name, Address, Phone number, How much they paid...) headed up by and done over the last five or more years for each person that will be permit pulling, or installing, and a letter stating we are who we say we are... So I fill out all the forms, get all the customer's stuff put together (btw-really don't think I have the right to turn over other people's info to this state...) Get the bank checks for app fee and each person.
Almost mail it when I find out I need to have a copy of my MA Home Improvement Contractor's License enclosed!?! WTF- a What?? So I download that form fill it out, get TWO more bank checks for $150, and $200 fill it out and send it in. After two weeks, I get it back- REJECTED- because I need to register as a Foreign Corporation in the state before I can apply for an HIC license.
So I call that office and get their form. $400 application fee, and $125 a year. I start to fill out the form and it asks where my office in their state will be. I AM NEVER EVER moving to that state. I call and tell them that. The guy on the phone says in his deadpan government employee drone that I need a registered agent in that state with a valid address so that when (WHEN!) people want to sue me they can deliver the court papers in their home state. WHAT??!!?? "I don't know anyone in your state," I say. "Well, you have to find someone, or hire someone." "Are you kidding?", I ask. "No, not kidding." "That's just plain stupid," I slip out. Silence. "Thank you," I say as I hang up mouth agape. So, now I have to (allegedly) hire someone in that state to sign for court papers "when" someone wants to sue me, fill out a foreign registration to the tune of $525, fill out an HIC license form for $350, so that I can submit an application form for a specialty blah blah blah license($125 plus $1000) just to install a stove???
For the record no one ever asked if we knew how to install them, or have a test to take to prove knowledge. They just want $$$$
By the time I pass on these charges to the customer they will be spending almost three times what we charge now! I keep coming around to the same conclusion about that place... Batshit Crazy!