Thursday, August 27, 2009

OCD? Probably so.

I have this big problem with my grocery store. And I'm not sure what to do about it.

I've lately been going to the grocery on Monday afternoons after I get off work, and typically there are not many people in the store when I go. Because there are not too many people in the store, there is rarely a wait at the cash register which is a good thing. But a few months ago, I started noticing that the manager was always standing in front of the line of registers every time I checked out and he occasionally would come over and help customers unload their carts onto the little conveyor belt thingy.

I do realize they are doing this in an effort to please their customers, but I simply do not like or want their help. I really like for my groceries to be bagged a certain way: produce with produce, meat with meat, dairy with dairy, cleaning products with cleaning products, etc. I think that is fairly reasonable, no? I've found that if I lay my groceries onto the conveyor MYSELF everything is usually bagged the way I like. If somoene helps me,well, inevitably I get home to find my bag of chips crushed because it was bagged with heavy potatoes, or I'll find meat in the same bag as my produce (some of which I eat raw). Its just gross, right? Not to mention its so much easier for me to unload if things are bagged properly.

This wasn't a big issue until the last two months or so. I could get away with no-help from the manager about 66% of the time so I just growled to myself the few times that he did beeline over to help me. Now, the manager AND the assistant manager stand at the front so there is no hope of scooting through without their help. I've tried every possible thing : not making eye contact, rushing to the first register before I pass them by, telling them "you really don't have to do this". Nothing works!!!!

Here's the thing. These are nice people, and I go to this store every single week. I don't want to be rude and I also don't really want to let them catch onto the fact that I'm a little bit crazy*. What should I do? How can I explain that I really don't want their help without explaining my rationale**.

*I know I just stated this publicly on my blog, so why should I have trouble telling someone at Kroger the same thing but if you read my blog, you already know I'm a little nuts. The Kroger people don't.

**which is totally valid and all, its just maybe a little over the top

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Okay, this is really my last Hawaii post, I promise! I've got other things on my mind this week and I'm finally out of denial over the fact that I'm back to reality! This will just be (I think) a short little recap of our last 2 days in Maui.

Of course we spent a lot of time relaxing on the beach and we also discovered how much fun it was to play in the ocean and body surf in the waves! I realize that probably sounds juvenile, and perhaps it is but we had the best time with it. The currents are so strong and the waves are pretty big -- unlike anything you'd see in the Gulf or the Atlantic for sure so this makes it perfect for body surfing and boogie-boarding.

I also joined Ben on the golf course at Kapalua on Thursday afternoon. When we decided to go to Hawaii and more specifically Maui, this was the one course that Ben just insisted he had to play. He did a good sales job on telling me how pretty the course was, how great the views would be, etc so I decided to ride along for his round. I hadn't ever done this before and I'm pretty sure I am now spoiled as this course sets a pretty high standard. I'll share this one picture which really doesn't even do it justice.

We really had a good time on the golf course. Ben lost a few more balls than he had anticipated, and had a tough time on the front nine but redeemed himself on the back. And I just enjoyed riding the cart, having a few drinks, and seeing the views. By the time we finished, the sun had gone down so we really weren't able a great picture of the two of us on the golf course but that's okay. We'd had a long day and were starving so we went out for pizza (!) that night and planned out our final day.

Friday, the last day, I woke up early as usual and took my daily walk down to Whaler's village for coffee. They had this little coffee stand down there and THE BEST cup of coffee for $2 so I indulged each day! We had a great view from our lanai so I would spend the mornings having coffee and breakfast and looking at the garden and the ocean. Man, I miss that place!!

Anyway, after breakfast we spent a little time poolside and when we got too hot we walked down to this place called "Black Rock" to snorkel. It was just down the beach from where we were staying, and supposedly had a good reef and was also home to a few sea turtles. According to the guidebooks, you have to look closely to see the turtles so I didn't really expect that we'd get a glimpse at them. I was wrong ....

We stepped out off the beach and into the water and probably no more than 10 feet off shore we saw a ginormous turtle swimming around. He didn't seem one bit bothered by people and the thing had to be 100 years old. Anyway, we were swimming along and Ben and I stopped to get a little self portrait when I felt a fin on my butt! I looked down to see THIS!!!!!

This guy was directly underneath us. It was awesome and scary at the same time. Ben will tell you that I nearly drowned him, but we got over our little scare and continued out into the reef. We snorkeled for about an hour and Ben started freaking out and yelling all of a sudden! Naturally my first thought was SHARK! and I immediately began planning my escape route. As it turns out, there was no shark but Ben had been stung by a man of war. He never saw the thing, but just felt it sting him several times -- on the back, ear, forehead, and arm and was in pretty severe pain. We swam for what felt like an eternity about 150 yards back to shore and looked at Ben's back. Of course every other word out of his mouth was "f*&k" and I was worried about him but didn't really want him dropping f-bombs in front of all the kids on the beach! (Lord knows, I say my share of cuss words but I try not to do it in front of kids) He of course just glared at me when I asked him to watch his language and somehow he managed to walk back down the beach to our resort. We talked to the lifeguard there who sprayed him with vinegar and told him to sit in the sun and the pain would go away with time.

When Ben felt better and we ate some lunch, I was finally able to convince him to rent boogie boards and get back in the water. I'll share one of my favorite pictures that I think does a good job at capturing the whole boogie board/body surfing experience.

We had our last dinner at a place called Leilani's in Whaler's Village. I even got Ben to try some sushi!!! As I've documented here before, he is an extremely picky eater (sorry, Ben, but its true) so this was quite an accomplishment for me.

We managed to get up early on our last morning and spent our last few hours on the beach before our long journey home.

I said this would be a short recap, and again I lied. BUT. That's it for Hawaii. Thanks for indulging me by reading my little blog!

If you want to see the rest of the pictures, and be forewarned there are lots, you can see them here

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hawaii - The Rest of the Story

Thanks to everyone for all the positive feedback on my blow-by-blow of our recent vacation! I'm pretty sure this will be the last installment and I'll be back next week with something different. I'm still too much in beach-mode to actually put much effort into thinking about other topics for my blog this week. (And obviously, in previous posts I was too lazy to run spell check or proof read as you may or may not have noticed!)

So, our first full day in Maui was Tuesday. This also happened to be our anniversary so we had initially planned to book a snorkeling excursion for the morning and to spend the afternoon at the pool and beach. However, before we left we heard about a hurricane (Felicia) headed towards the islands. By the time we were in Maui, the hurricane had died down to a depression and we weren't in any danger but because it was supposed to hit the island on Tuesday, we thought it best not to snorkel that day. Of course, we woke up that morning to a beautiful day, but it was too late as we would have already had to book the excursion. Soooo, we talked about it and decided that Ben should go ahead and squeeze in a quick round of golf at a nearby course since we didn't know when or if the bad weather would come. (Much to Ben's friends chagrin, the hurricane/depression turned out to not be a big deal at all. Sorry you didn't have anything to laugh at, assholes) Ben took the camera to the golf course that day, so I'll share one of those photos. He'll have to comment here on the Kaanapali golf since I didn't ride with him. I spent the morning on the beach while he golfed and the rain did finally come in late that afternoon.

We went out for our anniversary dinner at The Plantation House at Kapalua. It was FAAAANNNTASTIC! And beautiful. You get a nice bay view as well as a view out over some of the pineapple fields there in Maui. We didn't quite make it there before sunset, but I would imagine it to be an ideal place to watch the sunset. I really wish I liked fish, because that was obviously their specialty -- but since I don't I ended up going with scallops over orzo and Ben went with the NY Strip. We shared a wonderful bottle of wine, called Amavi, it was a Cab, and I'm pretty sure it was from California. Try it if you find it in your local wine store. One funny little story from that night though. We were trying to decide what to order and Ben was leaning towards steak. He usually orders fillet, but he didn't want the side dish that came with it and wanted to substitute it for the truffle fries, which came with the NY Strip. Now, most nice restaurants don't really appreciate you doing this sort of thing, but will usually oblige your request. Not this one! Ben asked our waitress, who in turn asked the chef, who said that he would do it but that he would charge us extra for it. Well, that obviously pissed Ben off because he just said "fine, then tell the chef that I will instead have the NY Strip which DOES come with the truffle fries". He basically did that just as a matter of principle -- if the chef was going to be a Gary Stevenson about it, then he was just going to order a less expensive entree. Just to make a point. (I do this type of 'on principal' stuff all the time, maybe I'm rubbing off on him too much). Despite chef Gary's tude' we really did have an excellent meal.

We spent the next morning walking around Lahaina for a few hours, shopping and seeing the town a little bit. We took a million pictures (of course) but one of my favorites was of us in the Banyan Tree. This tree was planted in the late 1800's and literally takes up about a city block. It really is quite a sight, and a nice place to take pictures. (Although the tree is so big and shaded that it is difficult to get the lighting right with a point and shoot camera). Then we rented snorkels, had lunch at our condo, and drove around the island a bit for some snorkeling.

Ben is driving our 'bad pony'

Our first stop was Honolu'a bay on the very westernmost tip of the island.

The bay was extremely crowded with snorkelers, so I felt that my chance at becoming a shark's lunch was significantly decreased. I always like to have other shark bait in the water with me. I really didn't think the snorkeling would be all that good here, but as it turns out it really was pretty impressive. I don't know the names of everything we saw, of course, but I do know that we saw lots and lots of different colors and really, some pretty large fish. (Isn't that how you rate your snorkeling? Based on how many colors of the rainbow you see and the size of fish?) This is also the place where we took one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip.

We literally spent about 30 minutes working on this photograph!

After Honolu'a bay, we headed to Nipili (Ben, is that right?) beach for another round of swimming and snorkeling. However, when we parked the car, saw nobody on the beach, nobody in the water, and this sign we decided it might be wise not to stay there.

We drove around the Western part of Maui for a little while longer, stopping at various beaches and then went back to our hotel to watch the sunset.

After sunset, we got dressed and headed into Lahaina for dinner at this great place called Cheeseburger in Paradise. I know it sounds like we went to some cheesy Jimmy Buffet (uugggh) place, but a) this one is the original CiP and b) I've been here on both of my previous trips to Maui and they really do make a fine hamburger.

Okay, I guess I lied in my first paragraph because I said this would be the last installment but I feel like I'm getting a little wordy so I'm just going to finish later.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Hawaii - Days 3 and 4

I just realized that I didn't finish up telling yall about the rest of Day 2. After relaxing on the beach and at the pool, we got dressed, took some sunset pictures in front of Diamond Head and then headed over to Duke's (of the Jimmy Buffet song "Duke's on Sunday) for some dinner and an incredible lava flow. This is a picture of me enjoying my fruity boat drink

The thing about traveling that far is that we were SO TIRED after dinner each night so we never really did a whole lot after we finished eating. Also, we were up early every day for some new adventure so we just caught up on the beauty sleep.

We woke up on morning #3 and headed out to hike Diamond Head. We decided to get an early start on this for a few reasons: a) I always get up super early on vacation b) we needed to hike before the heat of the day c) we wanted to be able to have some more beach/pool time on our last day in Waikiki.

So anyway, we went off for the hike. It was fairly strenuous ... especially the last 10 minutes or so when there are about 100 steps to climb straight up, but we got there and the view was so worth it! This picture really doesn't even do it justice but at least it gives you some idea.

After the hike, we enjoyed THE BEST shave ice that I've ever had. Haven't had one of these since about 6th grade, but we both enjoyed every single bite! And it was a perfect treat after a tough hike.

That night we headed off to dinner at a resturant/bar that had been in Waikiki since 1928. It was pretty good and a relaxed atmosphere. We were going to be total cheesy tourists and hit up the local Senor Frogs but decided to take the bar to our balcony instead and have a dance party. (Ben will more than likely make me take this next picture down ASAP).

We woke up the next day (slightly hungover, if I must tell the truth), got checked out, and headed to Maui!!! Here is a picture of Ben driving our "bad pony" (the car we had in Maui). The drive from the airport to our resort was so scenic and gorgeous. We attempted to take a million pictures, but unfortch most of them didn't turn out well.

We stayed in a cute little resort area called Kaanapali and the condo we stayed in was literally bigger than our house. We laughed because this was the picture on the foyer table as we walked in.

Presumably, these are the owners of the condo. (Their hairstyle and clothing choices were NOT indicitave of the condo that we stayed in, I promise!) We decided to nickname them Tamra and Vance .... and we made up their whole life story. I would tell you but its sure to offend someone reading this blog so we'll just skip that part!

We spent a little bit of time poolside and beachside before getting dressed to head to dinner. We ate at this most awesome place in a nearby town called Lahaina. Lahaina is an old Whaling village and was actually the original capital of Hawaii. Anyway, its an adorable walking town filled with shops and resturants -- we went down there every night to have dinner and walk around.
Okay, I'll make only one more installment of this vacation thing ... I'm sure this is only interesting for me, Ben, and maybe our parents!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hawaii - Days 1 and 2

I've been pretty absent from blogland in the past week and that is because Ben and I were away on vacation. We spent 8 days in Hawaii and had just the best time! I'm probably going to have to break this post up into a couple separate entries so that I don't inundate you with all our pictures and stories all at once.

We left last Friday morning for Oahu and landed in Honolulu at about 2:30 pm, local time. The best part about heading west is that you gain time so although we were exhausted when we arrived we decided it was best to just re-adapt our clocks to local time.

When we first got off the plane, we were greeted with these gorgeous orchid leis (I later read that these orchids are most likely not the native, Hawaiian ones and are probably imported from Thailand, ha!)

If we look a little tired and greasy here, its because we were! We had literally just stepped off the 9 hour flight, but we were so excited to finally be there! (Ben was a little concerned about getting through the flight as he's never had one that long and didn't know how his long legs could handle the cramped conditions. Luckily we were able to get the bulkhead seats so he was able to stretch out his legs somewhat).

Once we got to the hotel, I took this picture of Ben and the view from our balcony. We did this as soon as we got to the hotel we were staying at on our honeymoon and just decided that this should be a little tradition.

Then, we got dressed and hit up the beach to see this breathtaking view of Diamond Head. This is also what we saw each morning as we sat in the little beach side restaurant to eat breakfast. It really doesn't get old, at least not to me.

We hung out on the beach for a bit, then moved to the pool and went inside to get dressed for dinner. I had (of course) made a list of places that I wanted to try and we walked and walked before finally deciding we were too tired to go on a restaurant-finding adventure. We stumbled upon this really nice place called Wolfgang's Steakhouse. I wish I had taken a picture of our actual meal -- it was a ginormous steak and although it said it was meant for 2 people, you probably could have fed 4 with that thing! We finished it off with Key Lime Pie (Ben's favorite) and it was a really great way to start off our trip. After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep and to get ready for our trip to Pearl Harbor on Saturday.

We got up early Saturday morning, had some breakfast and grabbed a shuttle from our hotel to Pearl Harbor. I had seen Pearl Harbor before, but I was probably 10 years old at the time so basically this was a new experience for me as well as Ben. Certainly, I have a different appreciation for the memorial this time.

We knew going in that this wasn't a quickie thing to do -- you have to go and get tickets where they give you a specific time that your shuttle will leave for the memorial. We basically had 2 hours to mull around the park and museum before actually seeing the Arizona. When you think of Pearl Harbor, you always think of the USS Arizona as well as the other ships that were actually in the Harbor but you don't necessarily think of all the other ships lost at sea during the War. The park there, looking out onto Ford Island, really does a nice job at paying homage to these other ships.

This is Ben in the Park looking out at Ford Island. This wasn't meant to be a cheesy, posed picture ... I was just capturing him looking at all these plaques. Each one represented a different ship lost at sea during WWII.

One thing that I found fascinating, and I know people who visit Pearl Harbor always say this, is the fact that there is still oil leaking from the wreckage of the Arizona. They say that it leaks up to 2 quarts/day. That is just crazy to me.

We then headed back to our hotel, had some lunch and relaxed on the beach and by the pool for the rest of the afternoon.

My original intention for this post was for this to be a report of days 1, 2, and 3 but its getting a little too long in my opinion so I'm going to continue with the rest of the vacation later on in the week. (And don't worry .... I won't detail every single meal and every single picture for you. Just hit the highlights!!) So ... next up ... our Diamond Head hike!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

How big is too big?

So, not so much comment love on the last post, huh? I actually thought the story was funny but maybe it was one of those you had to be there type things. Oh well.

For the last several years, I have really loved big sunglasses. HUGE ones. Obnoxiously so, in most cases. Its just the trend, and I've embraced it. However, I do have an abnormally small head so it usually makes my sunnies seem even bigger than they actually are. I've bought a few new pairs recently, and I want some feedback.

Are these too big? As always, please be honest. You're not going to offend me and I'll probably wear them regardless of what yall say.

This first pair, I have had for quite a while. Actually I think the longest I've ever kept a pair of sunglasses -- over a year for sure. Maybe two. Anyway, that isn't the point. The point is that I've had these for a long time but I still wonder if they're slightly too big?

These may not be too big, but I'm just not really sure how I feel about the aviator look on me. Also, are aviators even in style anymore?

I decided to smile for all of you in this last picture! These are my newest pair. And I think these are the worst of the bunch. How silly do I actually look? I sent a similar picture of me wearing them to my mom and her response was a polite "maybe they are okay for the beach, but I'm not so sure about them for just wearing around". i.e. "THROW. THEM. AWAY. NOW, KATIE!"

Oh and just for the record, I wasn't driving in these pictures .... just sitting in my car. But I came up with the idea while I was driving so once I got back to my office, I took them in the parking lot. (So that explains the seat belt)

Also, I know my face is shiny. I need some powder.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

I'm fairly certain that I just drank a cup full of spit, but it sure was tasty

I've been hearing for weeks now from different people how Sonic makes these fantastic pina coloda slushies. Evidently they are all the rage, so after I woke up from my Sunday afternoon nap, I was thirsty and groggy and trying to procrastinate doing my chores so I decided I'd make the trek to the Sonic closest to my house to get one of these famed slushies.

I drove all the way up there, and got in the drive thru line. It was very busy there and there were several cars both in front of and behind me. When it was my turn to order, I very confidently asked for the pina coloda slush and the guy taking my order responded:

"We don't have the pina coloda here"

I was devastated. And also a bit flustered ... there were cars behind me so I couldn't exactly hem and haw and take my time making a decision. So I asked the flavors and the man rattled them off to me. He mentioned that they had both PINEAPPLE and COCONUT slushies, but I was so flustered that I just wasn't thinking right so I just said "I'll have a strawberry one, thanks".

I was immediately dejected about it. Didn't even want the stupid strawberry one but I figured I probably didn't need the extra calories anyway. Then as I was waiting for my inferior slushie, I started thinking ... why can't they just mix coconut and pineapple for me? (Didn't think of that when I was ordering ... I know, stupid) So when the guy brought my drink out to me, I figured I'd just ask and see what he said.

Me: "Hey, I have a question ... the guy taking my order told me that yall didn't have pina coloda slushies, but can't you just mix pineapple and coconut"

Sonic Guy: "Yeah, I don't see why we couldn't do that"

Me: "Ummmmm ... is there any way I can get one of those instead of this one" (You'll never get anything you don't ask for)

Sonic Guy: "Yeah, did you want that in addition to the strawberry one?"

Me: "No, I really didn't even want strawberry, I just want the pina coloda, but I understand if you can't do that"

Sonic Guy: "Ah, I'll hook you up ... you just keep that strawberry one and I'll go make you the one you want"

AWESOME! (Special thanks to that nice, nice man)

So, he brought me the new slushie, I gave him a nice tip, and was on my way. I had to swing by Target to grab a few things so I took my delicious drink inside with me. I found the stuff I needed, and proceeded to the checkout counter. I set my stuff on the counter, and put my drink up on the little ledge while I got my wallet out.

I think you know where this is going.

I hadn't even pulled out my wallet, when I heard "BAM" ... my precious slushie had fallen to the ground. And spilled everywhere.

Karma, I guess.

(It was soooooo good though. I'll definitely be having one of those again in the near future.)