Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hale'iwa, Turtle Bay, and Shave Ice Taste Test

The 3rd Engineers built Schofield's Kole Kole Pass in 1937.

Aloha!  I am feeling great ... so I asked my family to take me out on Saturday!   We ventured to the North Shore, first stopping at Schofield Barracks for gas.  Schofield is a historic Army camp located in the middle of the island - it sits at the foot of the Wai'anae Mountain Range.  It is absolutely gorgeous!

Hale'iwa is Hawaii's Surf Capital.

We continued north to Hale'iwa - Hale is home and iwa is a bird.   Hale'iwa previously hosted a missionary school patronized by Queen Lili'uokalani.   Now it is home of the winter surf season.   We ate lunch at Cholo's Mexican Restaurant - a popular eatery with both kama'aina (residents) and malihini (tourists).   After lunch, we drove over to Turtle Beach - a cove along the North Shore where the Hawaiian sea turtles congregate.   It is illegal to touch the sea turtles but families still frequent the beach to swim with the turtles or admire the turtles when they beach themselves for a few hours in the sun.  Today, the turtles were snorkeling ....

Hawaiian Sea Turtle "snorkeling" at Turtle Beach!

We drove back to Hale'iwa for our primary mission - taste test the shave ice from Aoki's versus  Matsumoto's.

Shave ice is a island treat enjoyed by kama'aina and malihini.  You can eat it three ways:

- plain:  shave ice plus flavoring
- shave ice atop of ice cream
- azuka beans atop of the shave ice
(or all three)

We opted for plain as shave ice is refreshing on its own.

David at Aoki's.

Aoki's is a general store that has served shave ice since 1981.  It is probably the favorite for kama'aina as it has easier parking and less lines.   Aoki's shave ice is 25 cents more than Matsumoto's but they serve it with a plastic spoon (Matsumoto's serves its shave ice with a flat wooden spoon).

Hubby and Andrew in line at Matsumoto's.

Matsumoto's is also a general store that has been open for business since 1951.  President Obama has taken his daughters to Matsumoto's ... and the tourists have followed.  Thus, the lines are longer and parking is difficult.

Too many choices ...

My children ordered  plain with cherry, vanilla, and sour apple from both stores.  Hubby and I ordered plain with cherry and lime from both stores.  After careful consideration, we all agreed that Matsamoto's flavorings were stronger in the "ice".  Once both ices melted into the cups, it was negligible which tasted better.   We preferred Aoki's plastic spoon to Matsamoto's wooden spoon.  I prefered Aoki's shorter line but hubby said it was worth the wait at Matsamoto's.

Taste testing shave ice.

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse into the North Shore!  I am giving away a North Shore souvenir to one randomly selected commenter.  To enter the giveaway,

1.  Leave a comment about a local delicacy in your neighborhood.

2.  This giveaway is open to all readers.

3.  Comments are open through Saturday, September 3, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winners on Sunday, September 4.


Kim in Hawaii

I didn't see any coconuts in the tree.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Spotlight on Military Personnel - First Woman to enlist in the Marine Corps

Today is a double header!  Check out my spotlight of Navy spouse turned romance author Jennifer L. Hart as  she celebrates the release of WHO NEEDS A HERO?  at this link.

I'm on a role with the history books ...

... on this day in 1918, Opha Mae Johnson was the first of 305 women to enlist in the United States Marine Corps.   Almost a hundred years later, women are a vital part of the "few, the proud, the Marines."

Artemis is a regular commenter here at SOS Aloha ... and she is a Marine Veteran (married to a Marine Veteran).   Artemis joins us today to share a glimpse into the life of a female Marine.

Camp LeJeune 1944 .... crossed legs in unison!

Kim:  Why did you join the USMC?

Artemis:  It wasn't for any of the various grandiose reasons: see the world, get an education, be a part of something bigger, make a difference. Nope, not at all. It was totally selfish. I needed a way out and Uncle Sam was my only ticket. I didn't bother with any other branch of service. I walked into the Recruiter's station, asked a few general questions, and let him do his spiel. When he was done, I asked, "Where do I sign and when do I leave?"

Available from

Kim:  Can you name one challenge and one reward of being a Marine ... and then as a female Marine.

Artemis:  I asked Jim, Hubs, this question too, about the challenge and he had the same answer as I did: DISCIPLINE! The discipline that is necessary and essential to survive as a United States Marine. That is the first thing that you start to learn in boot camp as soon as you step off the bus. The transition from civilian to Marine is not an easy one and the installation of discipline plays an integral part of being a Marine. Discipline is the backbone of every Marine and is what gives each of them motivation to persevere.

A challenge, for me personally, as a female Marine was to perform as well as, if not better than, my fellow male Marines. Yes, I did know my physical limitations compared to most males and acknowledged them. However, when it came to performing my assigned MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), the boys had to take a back seat. This WM (Woman Marine) had them beat hands down! Let me share a little story with you. After boot camp, I was sent to Camp Johnson right outside of Camp Lejeune, NC, for additional training (schooling) before heading on to my permanent duty station. A "perk" of this twelve week training was that the Marine to graduate first in class would get their pick of the available duty stations. Yep, I was the only female Marine in my class. Those guys tried everything to distract me. (But I'll leave those war stories for another day. *snicker*) I graduated top of the class and promptly chose a US Naval Ship that was attached to Hawaii. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam was still battling the war of the sexes at the time and women weren't allowed on boats. *HMPH* Second choice - Camp Pendleton and off to the west coast I went.

The reward of being a Marine - that's easy. I did it! I survived! You have to realize, I wasn't a spring chicken when I left for boot camp - I was the oldest recruit there! Oh no, I wasn't right out of high school, I had a few years under my belt. I made it through the hell they call boot camp! Seriously, the pride of wearing the uniform, of being part of something bigger and better than myself. Of being a United States Marine.

Marine Etiquette in 1974

Kim:  What does Semper Fidelis mean to you (other than its literal translation)?

Artemis:  Jim has that tattooed on the inside of his left arm. Typical Male Marine. No tat for me. Those two simple Latin words hold such a world of meaning. When you are active duty, they are your life and you are surrounded by them constantly. They wrap you in comfort, like a pair of old slippers or cozy robe. It's a family you are always with and a part of.

"Once A Marine, Always A Marine" is so true. Marine Veterans have this eerie type of connection they use to recognize one another as a Marine Veteran.

We don't know each other from Adam and conversations start up and we can talk and talk and talk. Semper Fidelis - Always Faithful - faithful to The Corps. Faithful to our fellow Marines. That faithfulness never changes and it also spills over to our fellow country men and women.

Or I just get snarky: I can be the best friend you ever had or your worst enemy.

Mahalo, Artemis, for sharing with us at SOS Aloha!  In honor of your visit, I am donating a box of treats for the dogs deployed with the Marines in Afghanistan.   As Navy Doctor Tamara noted, all military personnel respect the job that the dogs perform in sniffing out bombs.

So I invite you to leave a comment or question for Artemis - the few, the proud, the Marines!


Kim in Hawaii 

To learn more about women of the Corps, log onto the USMC History at this link.

CAMP FALLUJAH, Iraq, 2007 - Iraqi Lioness Chapter  members
of the Women Marines Association 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kim Update

Stopped by to see Kim again today.  She's much better--so much so, she's nagging the kids about their homework!  She will stay in the hospital until Saturday sometime.  Stay tuned for breaking news, whenever it feels like breaking....


Thursday, August 11, 2011

She's Alive! SHE'S ALIVE!!

For all of you loyal fans, Kim made it through her surgery OK.  We stopped by to see her this evening; she was somewhat groggy but otherwise doing as well as can be expected.  Further bulletins as events warrant; however, we think she'll come home Friday... and the computer will be in the bedroom waiting for her! :-)

"She's alive!  SHE'S ALIVE!!"
(with apologies to Mel Brooks)

On an ironic note, as we were leaving the hospital parking lot, we saw four cats sitting on the sidewalk.  Maybe one of them will sneak up and visit her?

Chris (aka Kim's DH)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good Karma and Korean Spas

Hmmm ... did that title catch your attention?

I seek good karma (plus your prayers) as I am having surgery on Wednesday.   It started with a Korean Spa ....

Back in LA, as the RT Booklovers' Convention was winding down, Kathryn Falk treated me to an "afternoon at a Korean spa."   We joined an Avon author and her mother at the spa, dipping into the exotic baths.   Should I mention that everyone wears their birthday suit?

Once it was time for our "ultimate scrub", we hopped up on the massage tables where Korean ladies performed their magic.   As my masseuse scrubbed my abdomen, she said in broken English, "Go to doctor."   She repeated pointed to my lower abdomen - I figured she probably knew more about women's bodies than the women themselves.

As soon as I arrived home, I called the Hickam clinic appointment line.  The dilemma - how to explain the "ailment".   I requested to see my doctor for "abdominal pain."   Since my assigned doctor was deployed, a contracted civilian doctor attended me ... and she was fantastic.   She chuckled with me about the Korean lady's advice and responded, ""Let's do a Well Woman Workup on you."    I was embarrassed to report that it had been two years since I had a Pap Smear and Mammogram (the Air Force required both before I moved "overseas" to Hawaii).   I was able to accomplish both that day and the results showed no abnormalities.

Tripler Army Medical Center - "the Pink Palace"
Is it pink in honor of women's health?

Next step - ultrasound at Tripler Army Medical Center.  The ultrasound revealed I have an oversized fibroid.  Since it was not causing any discomfort, I could delay surgery so I could travel to the mainland for my father's memorial service, the RWA National Convention, and my cousin's wedding.  

During the convention, I learned that Avon is sponsoring a campaign - K.I.S.S. and Teal - to promote awareness of ovarian cancer.  From the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website:

September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and Avon Books is joining forces with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance to urge women to learn about the symptoms of ovarian cancer–and to help us spread the “K.I.S.S. and Teal” message (Know the Important Signs and Symptoms) to friends and family. “Ovarian cancer was long thought to be a silent killer, but now we know it isn’t silent at all,” says Dr. Karen Orloff Kaplan, the chief executive officer of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. 

Read the rest of the article to learn why Avon is sponsoring this campaign and who this disease has impacted. We'll talk more about this campaign in September.   Avon's efforts reminded me that women have to take control and know their bodies.   I am scheduled for a hysterectomy on Wednesday morning to remove the fibroid and prevent others from growing back.  I plan to be home Friday night ... and then four weeks of recovery.   The benefits:

- Instant weight loss!
- Mandatory reading time!
- Opportunity to hone my Jeopardy skills!

Not quite me but I do have a pile of ARCs!

I  have preposted this week's blogs.  My older son is tasked with posting the links to my Facebook account.  My younger son is tasked to "be helpful."  I am fortunate that hubby is not deployed and I have three cats who give comfort.   Plus I have a pile of ARCs to review!

What do you do to take care of your body?  

Check your boobies?  I know Alba advocates this!

One commenter will win a book of choice from my stash of the Avon titles.   This giveaway is open to all readers as we are one in this fight to keep ourselves healthy.   Comments are open through Saturday, August 13, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winners on Sunday, August 14 (or the job will fall to my older son).


Kim in Hawaii

Also from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance website:

A portion of the sales from each of these September 2011 Avon titles will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance as part of the K.I.S.S. and Teal Campaign:

  • Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens
  • The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell
  • The Deed by Lynsay Sands
  • A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
  • In the Arms of a Marquess by Katharine Ashe
  • One Night in London by Caroline Linden
  • Star Crossed Seduction by Jenny Brown