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Nine for 09

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Hawaii Island , Kauai , Maui , Oahu
Dec 30, 2009

In the past few days, I've run across numerous year-end lists:  Just about every media outlet has gathered their top 10 news stories of the year, standout athletes of the decade, best books for 2009 and top-selling movies of the year.  In the same spirit, I've compiled "Nine for 09."  This is a list of our--mine and your--favorite blog posts published on "View from Here" since January.

Here they are:

In Search of Fish Tacos in Hawaii
Stefanie loves Hawai’i, and, in particular, Kaua’i.  She was here last March with her mom.  A mere 10 months later, she returned with her boyfriend.  Normally Stefanie is a quiet, somewhat shy woman, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know what she wants.  When Eric and I invited the two over for dinner one night, I asked Stef if she had any special requests.  She didn’t hesitate.  “Fish tacos,” she said.

Hawaiian Monk Seals, the Spirit of Service and a New President
The cheers on the Mall had just hushed over my television when the phone rang.  It was still early in the morning in Hawaii, and President Obama had already completed his inauguration speech.  I expected to hear my best friend, calling from Kansas, another state with ties to the new president, and I was ready to quote from the president’s speech.  Our patchwork heritage is a strength.  Quiet force of progress.  New era of responsibility.  A man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

Weathering Kauai
We all know weather forecasting isn’t an exact science.  No matter how many buoys we put in the ocean to track wave speed and height.  No matter how good we get at flying planes into the eyes of hurricanes. A low-pressure system northwest of Kaua’i is expected to collide with a cold front passing over the islands.  Gusts are expected to reach 70 miles per hour with sustained winds between 30 and 50 miles per hour.  That’s a bit breezier than our typical trade winds.

Whalewatching in Maui
At 7:30 this morning, the sun glinted off the ocean like it was a field of diamonds.  Three minutes outside the Lahaina Harbor, Captain Karl of Maui Adventure Cruises nosed the boat northwest.  He had already spotted our first humpback whales of the morning.  Thar she blows.

A Dash of Aloha in My Fruit 
Yesterday, I made a smoothie with banana, papaya, mango and peanut butter. I plucked the bananas from the trees we received as a gift for a few minutes of my husband’s time, and I peeled the papayas and mangoes donated to me by friends.  It just could have been the best-tasting smoothie of my life.

Volunteering on Vacation in Hawaii:  Here's How
If Hawai'i happens to be one of your favorite places--and you wouldn't be reading this blog if it wasn't--the good news is there are plenty of ways to volunteer your time and engery here, from half-day beach clean-ups to week-long adventures. Here's a few. I'll continue to add to this list, as I find more, so you might want to bookmark this page and check back periodically. If you know of other volunteer opportunities good for visitors, please share. And if you've volunteered on vacation here in Hawai'i, please tell us about it--just make a comment.

Hawaii Writers Conference Day One
I've attended the Hawaii Writers Conference (formerly "Maui Writers Conference) four out of the past five years, and I can easily say this opening was the most powerful. I cried. I laughed. I stood with my mouth open, shaking my head, holding my hand to my heart.

Hawaii Writers Conference Day Two
Let's say your husband dies suddenly. Let's say you're in your mid-30s when it happens and let's say you also have three young children at the time. What you really want to do is crawl into bed and never get out, but you have these children. They need their mommy. They also need clothes to wear and food to eat. You decide the only thing you can do for your children is to show them that tragedy does not give one permission to live a small life.

Big Waves, Yoga & Equanimity
As I write this, the ocean is swelling and waves are building as they roll over shallower depths making their way for these Hawaiian Islands—in particular, the shores of Ha’ena and Hanalei on Kaua’i and Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipline and Sunset on O’ahu.  It is the first big swell of the season.  (That’s the reason for all those vehicles toting surfboards you may see on the road today.)  

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