Monday, July 28, 2014

Kaua'i Vacation

Today it is hot and humid as can be here in the greater Los Angeles area.  It is just miserable, with chances of isolated thunderstorms.  There was even a lightening strike at Venice Beach over the weekend which killed one young man and injured over a dozen more people.

I'm trying to chill, but it's hard.  For some reason, I think this weather would be easier to take if we all lived in Hawaii...

So, on that note, I'm going to whisk you off to an Hawaiian paradise for a few minutes!


My friend Ava and her little cousin
My co-worker Emma just got back from a peaceful vacation to the island of Kaua'i.  She brought her daughter and nephew along for the trip and they had a terrific time on this tropical isle.

They spent some time at Ha'ena State Park, on the north shore of the island.  The park provides access to beaches, trails, and several ancient Hawaiian sites, including the sea caves estimated to be more than 4,000 years old.

The kids had a great time in the sparkling clear water!
I believe Ava will break a few hearts when she gets older.

A sheltered cove
I don't think these next photos need any commentary at all!

A lovely... and lonely vista!  Nice.
The unique reef lagoon, which allows the water to be calm and safe for swimmers and snorkelers, is seen in the photo below.

Safe swimming behind the breakwater
The beach is nice!  It has amenities like pay phones, picnic tables, restrooms and outdoor showers.

The view in the other direction includes some majestic scenery.  The Makana mountain soars about the Limahuli Garden and Preserve in the valley.  According to Wikipedia, the area surrounding the beaches contains ironwood trees, coconut palms and guava, among others.

Low Clouds over the spectacular mountains

The kids at one of the sea caves estimated to be over 4,000 years old

Lazy streams feed into the ocean

Sometimes in spectacular ways!
The kids enjoyed seeing the wildlife on the island.

The wild rooster is Kaua'i's unofficial "Official" bird.

Hawaiian chickens!
Aren't these guys beautiful?

It is said that the "mua" or red jungle fowl were brought to Kaua'i by ancient Polynesians as a source of food.  They are now wild and are found everywhere on the island, as they have no real predators here.

Some people don't care for them, as they can be a nuisance (the roosters crow at all hours of the day and night!) but they do eat the icky local bugs - lots and lots of bugs!

My friends also took the time to visit the Kilauea Lighthouse.  What a picturesque view!

The Heritage Site of Hawaii, Kilauea Lighthouse has an impressive sign
The lighthouse was dedicated in 1913 and served as a pivotal navigation aid for ships who were sailing to the Orient. 

The station was manned until 1974, when it was automated.  In 1979 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Hawaii.  

The visitor's center is operated by the Kilauea Point Natural History Association.  In 2008, the group raised funds for restoration of the lighthouse.

The surrounding area is also home to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge.

The beautiful Kilauea Lighthouse
It looks so remote out there, doesn't it?

The lighthouse is located on Kilauea Point on the island of Kaua'i, Hawaii.

The Lighthouse is still operational, having been restored a few years ago

I hope you have enjoyed this mini vacation.  Enjoy your day!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Jack the Sneaky Kid

Beware!  I think there's a vewwy scawy monster lurking there!
Okay, I know - I've run these photos before - but I was just thinking about how darn cute Jack was, and had to dig them out.

Besides, it's been a while, so maybe some of you missed them...

You can't see me!  You can't see me!
Jack loves to slip between the shower curtain and liner.  He just sits there on the edge of our ancient porcelain tub waiting for me to notice.

Peek-a-boo!  See it's just me!
I love my little kitty, and I enjoy his antics very much.  He always finds a way to make me laugh.
Cats are real comedians when you give them a chance.

You were scared, huh?  Admit it!
Have a terrific weekend!

And watch out for those monsters lurking behind shower curtains.  You can never be too careful!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

O Pioneers!

My Great-Grandparents: Nils and Margrethe
Today is Pioneer Day, a State Holiday in Utah.  It marks the day in 1847 when the advance company of pioneers, led by Brigham Young, entered the Salt Lake Valley.

While Nils and Margrethe didn't cross the plains, they were very much pioneers in their day.  Nils joined the Mormon church in his native Norway, enduring great persecution for his faith.  He would emigrate to America in the late 1800s, coming first to Salt Lake, then settling in the wilds of Colorado.

Margrethe was born on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. She, too, joined the LDS Church and endured persecution for her faith.  She came to America as an indentured servant.  It was there, in Salt Lake City, she met and eventually married the Norwegian immigrant Nils.

Their lives in Kline, Colorado (near Durango), were hard.  Nils and Margrethe had eleven children, but buried six of them in infancy.  Five would grow to adulthood.

This picture shows them seated surrounded by their children and grandchildren.  The daughters, Agda, Evine, Dagmar, and Hilda are the young women on the left side of the picture.  I wish I could tell you who was who, but I believe Hilda, the youngest, is in the white dress with the bow in her hair standing in the back row.

Their only son, Axel, is standing on the right.  He is my grandfather.  His wife Pearl, the only non-Scandinavian of my grandparents, is seated in front of him with their oldest son, my Uncle Clifford, on her lap.

I have no idea who the other children are or which of the sisters they belong to.  I'm guessing they are the two oldest daughter's kids (Agda and Evine's).

My grandmother Pearl died the year before I was born, but I knew my Grandfather Axel and my Uncle Clifford (a truly wonderful man!) well.

In her diary, Pearl talks about going to live up on Red Mesa with her husband and how they would have to haul their water about a mile. She married Axel when she was 14 and can't be more than 17 in this photo. Life wasn't easy for them, but they left a great legacy of faith.

Pearl and Axel went on to have a total of seven sons and three daughters.  I have 45 (if I counted right!) first cousins on this side of the family.

So, in honor of this day, let me just shout out:  Blessed, Honored, Pioneers!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Visiting Ottawa, Canada

Little Miss Livia and her Grandfather
My brother and his family visited Canada this summer.  It's funny, you never really think of Canada as being "foreign".  At least I don't.  Yet one of the first things they mentioned was the fact you could immediately tell you were in a foreign country.  Interesting comment!

One of the joys of visiting Ottawa, Canada, was seeing the kids and grandkids, little Miss Livia (above) for instance, and little Master Fred.  They are both growing like weeds.

Little Miss Livia and her Grandmother
Ottawa is a beautiful city.  It is the capital of Canada and the fourth largest city in the country.  It is home to the impressive parliament buildings and has a high standard of living.
Chateau Laurier, a major hotel, dominates this streetscape
Although the Algonquin Indians and many trappers and early explorers had called Ottawa home, the city was actually founded in 1826, mainly because there was work being done on a canal in the vicinity.  The Rideau Canal was significant because it served and fostered the growth of a busy timber industry.

Timber would be transported along the river from the Ottawa Valley to Quebec City.

One of the Rideau Canal Locks
Today, Ottawa is an impressive, modern city.

I think it's quite beautiful!

In front of Parliament
Canada is a federal parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy.  That means they have a Prime Minister and democratic elections, but Queen Elizabeth II of England is technically the head of state.

If you didn't remember that from school, you just have to take one look at soldiers on parade in the photos above and below.
The parade halts traffic for a while
Ottawa is an interesting city.  You only have to cross one of its three rivers to be in a completely French speaking neighborhood.

Linnea, Christian and my dear sister-in-law, Kirsti
Canada is one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

St. Patrick's Basilica
Ottawa has a rich cultural heritage.

But you can only sight-see so much before you have to go for a burger.

Dinner anyone?
There is lots of beautiful architecture!

Looks like you could do lots of walking.

Lots. Of. Walking.

The average temperature in the summer rarely goes about 80 degrees F.  That sounds great to me! The winters, however, are COLD.


Very, very cold.
I believe this is a museum near the government buildings.
Ottawa has a diverse ethnic population.
The flower market
I think my family enjoyed visiting there very much.

Chateau Laurier
Of course, family had as much (or more) to do with their having a great time, as actually being in Canada did!
Fred enjoying some time with his grandparents!
Fred, by the way, just lost his first tooth yesterday.  It is quite a milestone in his young life!

I wish I knew better what all these buildings are.  But I don't.  I just think the architecture is cool.

Boats on the river
More cool architecture...

I love this building, especially the curving stairway
I'd like to visit Ottawa someday.

Preferably in the summertime, eh!
Fred and his Uncle Christian by the Parliament building
I love being an armchair tourist.  Hope you do too.  Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Vacationing in London

My friends Angelica and Glenn
It seems like so many of my friends and relatives are vacationing abroad this summer!  I'm lucky that my friends Glenn and Angie let me post their photos from their fun vacation to Europe.  This holiday marks their 25th wedding anniversary!

A rather terrific way to spend an anniversary, I say.

Or, as the Brits say: Brilliant!

The colorful changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace
Of course, no visit to London is complete without seeing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace!
Buckingham Palace
If you squint you can just see Queen Elizabeth waving from the window on the left.


On the roof of St.Paul's Cathedral
I've been to St. Paul's cathedral, but never ventured up the gazillion stairs to the roof.  What a spectacular view!

I love this ceiling at St. Paul's
St. Paul's was patterned after St. Peter's in Rome.  It's amazing.  I love Glenn's shot of the ceiling. 

A Panoramic view of London from the top of St. Paul's
London is a great city, with so many places to explore.
Angie enjoying her fish and chips
It's funny how we Americans always need to have some fish and chips when we visit.  I love that you can see the bottle of vinegar on the table (next to the ketchup)!  That's a British thing I love - forget the tartar sauce, you have to put malt vinegar on your fish!
On the top of a double decker bus
The view from the top of a double-decker bus in the twilight is great.  The other passengers don't look so happy to be photographed, though!  Ha.

Once playing at the Phoenix Theatre
My friends enjoyed the theatre, and took the Princess Diana Memorial Walk.
The Princess of Wales Memorial Walk
I didn't know they had a Memorial Walk.

The ubiquitous Red Call Box is slowly becoming a rarity
Call Boxes are not as common as they once were.  I love that they were able to get a photo of one!

Westminster Abbey
"Westminster Abbey, the Tower of Big Ben, the rosey-red cheeks of the little children..."
Name that song quote.

Big Ben and the London Eye in the background
There is nothing to compare with the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey.  Everywhere you go in London you touch history.

Here (Below) you see Tower Bridge.  If you recall, the actual London Bridge, made famous by the song: London Bridge is falling down, is in Arizona now.

Yes.  The world is a crazy place.

Tower Bridge
I hope you enjoyed this jaunt to London.

Have a great day!

Photos by G. Heap