Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wisconsin 101: Seriously, what is wrong with these people?

I promise I am not making this up. I found this site because an ad from the magazine at the vet's office promised they offered "canine massage."

Just one thing: if I am not going to pay to get a massage for myself, I am sure not going to pay for one for a dog.

Another thing. Isn't that called "petting?"

This is what the store offers:
Welcome to Petlicious® Dog Biscuit Bakery and Pet Spa, where we make healthy and all natural treats for dogs, cats and horses. We do not use extra salt, sugar, dyes or preservatives in our treats. We use only human consumable ingredients such as certified organic whole wheat, rye and oat flour, wheat germ, whole eggs, cheese, fresh pureed vegetables, fresh ground peanuts, barbecue sauce, and carob (a pet friendly alternative to chocolate). We also have a special treat for allergy sensitive pets made from brown rice, potato, or oat flour.
SH said, "That sounds like something White People do." Enough said.

Next issue. It's almost kitten season. SH and I need to find some cats. The cat rescue website has an online application. They ask, "If your pet were to become ill or injured what would you do?"

That's easy. Take it to the vet.

Next question: "What if treatment is expensive?"

Also easy. We set a limit in advance of how much we are willing to pay. But I can assure you that I am not willing to pay thousands or even hundreds of dollars on medical care for a pet. They'll probably disqualify us as not sufficiently committed.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Wisconsin 101: What is wrong with these people?

Wednesday:

Me: Hi, Jim. I'm calling about the chair you're reupholstering for me.

Jim: Oh yes. It's taking a little longer than I thought because the frame was loose and I had to take everything apart and put it back together.

Me: (yikes!) Well, we're in no hurry. I just wanted to know when it would be ready.

Jim: I can deliver it Monday.

Me: Monday would be great. Thanks.

SH: What did he say?

Me: He had to do some extra work.

SH: How much is it going to cost?

Me: You heard everything I said.

SH: So you didn't ask? What if he doubles the price?

Me: I think he would have called to ask before doing extra work if he intended to charge a lot for it.

Today:

Me: Hi Jim. I just wanted to check on Monday. Would you prefer a check or credit card?

Jim: I'd rather have a check.

Me: OK. You had told me it would be $185 plus $40 for the delivery. Is that right?

Jim: Oh, just make it $200.

Me: But that's less than you said before.

Jim: Don't worry about it.

The unbearable whiteness of being

I didn't know I was a White People until I read about White People and Sea Salt. I thought I was immune from all the organic, tree-hugging, cigarettes are bad but marijuana is good, che is cool and Obama is better silliness, but apparently, I am indeed a White People after all because I have sea salt.

Not only do I have sea salt, I have quested for even more sea salt. And not just sea salt. Fleur de sel. Pink salt. Black volcano salt. I am a salt snob.

Mind you, I cannot taste the difference between any of these salts and Morton's. (A lot of which comes from Aigues Mortes, which is one of the famous sea salt harvesting places, and I know this because I HAVE BEEN THERE, thus winning not only White People salt points but also White People traveling points, but I digress.)

It all started when Lenore and I went to this cool cooking school in France. Susan Jenny, one of the owners of the school, gave each of us a little box of fleur de sel when we left. I thought it was cool, but it wasn't until I got home and found out how expensive it was in the US that I really could appreciate the snob value of it.

Which was why I got upset when John took a pinch of this salt to eat all by itself. Which was why when I told my aunt about his eating the salt and my getting upset that she said, "But it was the good salt!" Which is why John, upon meeting said aunt and my mother, said, "It's not that the apple didn't fall far from the tree; it's that the tree carefully placed the apple exactly where it wanted it." And which is why John bought me an entire pound of Good Salt and why I now have enough salt to last the rest of my life.

Is there a point to this story? Yes, there is. Now you know that 1) I am a snob and 2) I have a bunch of Good Salt. Fact #1 overpowers fact #2; i.e., even though I have no need for it, I am driven by my snobbishness to seek even more Good Salt.

Which is why I dragged SH all over Hawaii and back looking for the Hawaiian Black Lava Salt
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because the Pink Clay Salt
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both photos from Amazon.com

wasn't cool enough on its own.

Alas, we never did find the Hawaiian Black Lava Salt, even though we looked in every grocery, gourmet and hotel store. Yes, this is my idea of a good time on a vacation. SH, not so much.

We finally resorted to asking. The head butcher at the grocery store where SH bought his breakfast poke (raw fish with gunk on it) told us he had only ever seen the Hawaiian Black Lava Salt in Los Angeles.

Which makes perfect sense, because the people in LA are the Ultimate White People. I can't beat them.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

More landfill for the rest of us

In the ladies' room with three other women and a very small baby whose diaper is being changed:

Woman 1: It's been years since I held a baby that small. I miss it.

Woman 2: Me, too. But I sure don't miss changing diapers.

Woman 1: Remember when we had only cloth diapers and had to wash them? Disposable diapers sure are nice.

Woman 2: But they're so bad for the environment! If I had a baby now, I would still use cloth.

Woman 1: Me, too.

Me: I wouldn't. I'd rather ruin the environment than rinse out poopy diapers.

Dead silence.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Newspeak

From a friend:

"I'm doing an investigation for another new client. It should be interesting. You should see the document the employee sent me. One of my favorite lines is 'overheard me conversating on the phone'...The employee's job title is 'Educator.' She works for [a supposedly reputable organization]."

What I heard at the gym today:

Woman: I friended this girl.

Me: I have never heard "friend" used as a verb before.

Woman: ?????

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 28: Living the life of Riley

The dilemma: whether to apply for a part-time professional position at the small college five minutes from our house.

Reasons not to apply:

1. Writing a cover letter is a pain in the neck.
2. I might get the job.
3. And if I get the job, I will have to work.
4. If I work, I will have to wear Decent Clothes. Of which I have none. As my old work clothes are out of style. Not to mention way too tight. (Marriage has been berry, berry good to me.)
5. If I work, I will have to take a shower every day.
6. If I work, when I'm at home I will do nothing but clean and cook as opposed to now when that takes only 10% of my free time, the rest being devoted to going to the gym, watching "What Not To Wear," and lots and lots of telling people how they are WRONG on the internet.

Reasons to apply:

1. $$$$

Monday, January 26, 2009

I've lost my Jspace friends

Wendi, happy birthday! I hope you get this. I can't find you on google and of course I can't go into my journalspace private messages to get your email. Those jerks. Have a great day anyhow!

Food for thought

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Well come here superman!

What exactly does one get for the $16 one spends on "Performance underwear" from REI?

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What was I doing at REI if I think they are so snooty, you ask? I was picking up the winter boots I had ordered from their online catalogue. The pink Polo rainboots weren't doing the trick and there are no winter boots to be found in the stores around here any more, which is a little odd considering that snow and winter have not stopped. Stores are all no one wants to buy our stuff and I'm all well stock some dang winter boots, some warm (ie, made with wool) socks and a few wool sweaters (hello -- acrylic is tacky just by itself and it does not keep you warm) and maybe I'll consider it.

Yes, I know you can't see the part on the tag where it says "Performance underwear" but trust me it is there. Just because I was dumb enough to shrink the picture and save it on the SD card before realizing the valuable text would disappear with the pixels doesn't mean it's not there. C'mon -- there are people who believe now that the big O is pres that the days will start to get warmer, leaves will appear on the trees, flowers will sprout and the swallows will return to Capistrano. You can believe me on this little thing. You've had practice.

Back to the main issues:

1. Who spends $16 on a pair of underwear that's not even leathah and
2. Just what do you get for the money?

For $16, I want my underwear to make me breakfast and clean the bathroom. You are probably saying, But CF, you think it's dumb to spend $178 on a pair of jeans when you can get them for $5 at the Goodwill store so what do you know about fashion? How do you know this pair of underwear won't make some heretofore 98-pound weakling enormously attractive to the ladies?

And who are you to mock that entire class of people who think spending a lot of money for high-performance rock climbing, snowshoeing and hiking gear makes them athletic? Aren't all the people who buy really expensive kitchen gadgets good cooks? Well you rest your case.

You're probably huffing, "Hiking in The North Face or Patagonia clothing is not just Stuff White People Like. I mean, these people carry water with them! They are serious! They are Committed To The Environment and They Care."

Yes. You're right. We are mostly a nation of uncaring, dehydrated people (except for the lady sitting next to me at church* last night who had a bottle of water in her purse and drank from it during the second reading about if you have a wife, act like you don't, which SH and I still haven't figured out is about other than Paul telling the Corinthians that maybe wives are supposed to let their husbands go out to watch football with the guys or something) who Don't Care. Except for the people who pay $16 for a pair of underwear. They care. They've spent the money to show us.

* Speaking of what people do in church, I guess North Face gear would be slightly more appropriate than the plaid flannel PJ bottms, long swim team t-shirt and lined Crocs I saw a teenager wearing a few weeks ago.

Marriage 101, Lecture 13, part 2: Bedding

Which arrangement looks better?

This one?Photobucket

Or this one?
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Not that I am trying to direct you one way or another, but my brother the architect says that symmetry is for people with only half an imagination.

Friday, January 23, 2009

That's just gross

I got this survey in the mail from Shoppers' Voice and of course I am completing it because I love any opportunity to give my opinion, even if it is about freezer bags (Ziploc), air fresheners (we don't use) or adult pain relievers (yeah, baby).

For each category, there is the option of checking "We do not use," after which is the instruction to "skip to the next category."

So. What I want to know is, how many people check "We do not use" next to the "Bathroom tissue" category and shouldn't that be on the outside of the envelope so the reader knows not to touch it?

The Dilemma

What do we do? What would you do?

We got a beautiful wedding gift from a friend. It arrived slightly damaged, so I called UPS and the vendor sent a replacement. The damaged item is not so bad that it can't be used. In fact, I think I can make it look perfect with some light sanding.

So. Do I fix the damaged item and re-gift the perfect one?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hawaii #12 In search of food

We started at the Painted Church, but found nothing but this. No hidden chocolate in the pews, not that I've ever found that on the mainland, either.
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The writing on the wall is in Hawaiian.
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How would you like to spend eternity with this view? There were ladies off to the side selling handmade trinkets. We were lucky that when we arrived, we were about the only ones looking at the church, but a tour bus pulled up when we were leaving so the trinket ladies had far more fertile grounds for sales than us. We slipped away in the confusion. I really didn't want a hand-woven leaf thingamajig that I wouldn't have been able take off the island anyhow. Rocks, on the other hand, are perfectly worth gathering and taking. Volcanic rock, baby. Come and get me, Pele.
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Then we stopped at this fruit stand in search of snotballs. Some of you might call them lychees. To each his own, I say. But there were no snotballs to be had. Just the honor system for buying bananas.
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With the fancy coffee on the island at $55/lb, I did consider relieving this tree of some of its beans. But that would be wrong. And I'm not positive this was a coffee tree.
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So it was on to the laulau place, where I was distracted by these girls.
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Who wanted me to take their picture
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and another one
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and then try the camera themselves.
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Fortunately, there were laulau(s?) ready.
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These banana leaves were being readied for a future batch.
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But we still needed more food. So it was off to the grocery store for poke, aka, the raw fish I will not eat.
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SH, however, thinks this stuff is nectar.
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Then we watched the sun set over the water, collected some legal rocks, and changed into our airplane clothes in the parking lot. The end.
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Hawaii #11 That's Illegal!

No, it's not! Ha, ha, ha to the crazy lady on the easy hike we took with Ranger JZ at the volcano. It is not illegal to take rocks out of Hawaii.

Chapter 171.58.5 of Hawai`i Revised Statutes states:

Prohibitions. The mining or taking of sand, dead coral or coral rubble, rocks, soil or other marine deposits seaward from the shoreline is prohibited with the following exceptions:

(1) The taking from seaward of the shoreline of such materials, not in excess of one gallon per person per day for reasonable, personal, noncommercial use;

And even if it were, too late.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hawaii #10: Once more into the breach

After a long, hard descent through rain forest with being overtaken by ginger -- an invasive species, so you know how dangerous that was (probably brought here by white men, who cause all the problems in the world unless they are socialists and then they are just trying to undo the damage the other white guys have done what with trying to make goods and services people actually want to buy -- ancient Polynesians brought pigs to Hawaii, but it wasn't until the Europeans brought their European pigs that bad pig things began to happen, kinda like when I worked with the indigenous women in Chile who informed me that Mapuche men didn't even know how to make a fist until us white people got there and ruined everything), we got to the bottom of the Kilauea Iki crater.

Regardez: Lots of moonscape. One could walk out two feet onto the cold lava and get the idea of what the next mile would be like, so why bother to walk any further?
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Source: http://photos.igougo.com/images/p201377-Partial_view_of_Kilauea_Iki_Crater_from_rim_trail.jpg

But no. SH was determined that we should make the arduous journey across the rugged terrain, even though the scenery never changed and we had nothing but two bottles of water, a bag of Hot and Sweet beef jerky, five cappuccino shortbread cookies, and a diet Dr Pepper and a breakfast of three cafe au laits (OK, with whole milk) and a macadamia nut sticky roll (breakfast of champions) to sustain us. We also had a flashlight in case we didn't finish the hike before dark (this was 3:30 and it's a two-hour hike) and had to signal passing aircraft for help. And two umbrellas. You never know.
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Look how dangerous this was! SH was about to go crazy from my being all why are we doing this and you call this fun and the only way I am getting through this is reminding myself that when you are dead, I will wish I could have just one hour with you even if it's hiking, an activity that rates right up there with cleaning the bathroom for me although at least when I clean the bathroom I can listen to the radio.*

He was all I thought you liked to exercise (no, I don't, I like to eat) and isn't this better than going to the gym (no, because at the gym I can look at the clock and know just how much more suffering I have) and what do you mean suffering you're here with me doesn't that count for something?
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Thank God there was cellphone reception so SH's friend could ask him if we had gotten that koa wood yet so he can make a guitar from scratch.

* SH read this and asked You really don't like hiking, do you? And I'm all how did you know?

Hawaii #9: Being culturally insensitive

Me: That is gross.

SH: What is?

Me: That guy over there has taken off his shoes, which is bad enough in a restaurant, but he's playing with his feet.

SH: The only thing that could make it worse is if he picked his nose.

Me: Omigosh. I don't believe it.

SH: What?

Me: He's picking his nose.

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Marriage 101, Lecture 22: I love you, you're perfect, now change

What SH wishes he could change about me:

1. My sleeping habits (he wants me to stay up later)
2. My drinking habits (he wants me to)
3. My eating habits (he wants me to eat raw fish)
4. My voting habits (he wants me to go over to the dark side)

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Yes, that is the sushi-maker's supper to the right. You can't see his Heineken, but trust me it is there.

The only one of these wishes that has the remotest possibility of reaching fruition?

I can tolerate some raw fish as long as it is wrapped in sushi rice and mixed with avocado.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hawaii #8: What not to wear

Honey. I know you're excited that the hormones are working and that the boob surgery went great. Yes, that is a fabulous rack you are sporting -- so big and perky and no support! Not exactly natural, but if you're going to make the Big Change, then go all the way is what I say.

But your girlfriends are leading you astray. As a (former) man, you have probably not heard of the bridesmaid theory. Basically, women are super competitive and will do what it takes to make you look bad so they will look better in comparison. Even if they are your friends.

So don't believe them when they tell you that the tube top and long skirt are your best look. The skirt covers your legs except for your ankles and I'm sorry to say that there is no surgery in the world that can give you delicate, pretty ankles, which is why you never see Hilary in a skirt, but the skirt also covers what are probably slim, toned legs that might be halfway convincing as woman's legs. Man legs can translate to decent woman legs -- after all, don't most fashion models look like 12-year-old boys with breasts? -- and yours might be OK, what with those slim hips and all. But we can't see them.

Now for the tube top. Sure, it shows off your bosom. But when you used to be a pro football player and still have those big traps, deltoids, and biceps -- nice striations, btw, you might want to cover them up. Big neck and shoulder muscles just aren't pretty. Indeed, as my liberal, tolerant, wanting-to-cut-off-your-man-parts-is-NOT-a-sign-of-mental-illness husband commented when I pointed you out to him, "Wow. He is like the black hole of femininity."

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hawaii #7: We spit in the face of Death, again

Yes, I know this is the SECOND hike we have taken this week. This trip was supposed to be our RELAXING vacation, as compared to our trip to Spain and Morocco a few months ago, where we changed hotels and cities almost every day and had to put up with the jerks in Marrakesh cussing at us for not eating at their stand. ("Miss, you eat here?" "No, thanks." "Well, f--- you!" "OK, sure. You've changed my mind with your eloquence. I will eat at your stand now.")

For me, a relaxing vacation is one where I don't have to move more than ten feet from the bed and the porch after I have slept for ten hours and someone brings me all the food, diet Dr Pepper and mochas I want while I control the remote. A pedicure would be nice.

For SH, a relaxing vacation is one where we drive through gorgeous scenery (that we could see in photos) to walk down a 25 degree grade for a mile through more gorgeous scenery (that we could see in photos) to arrive at a gorgeous beach (that we could see in photos). The good thing about SH's plan is that it includes frequent stops for lunch (seared yellowfin tuna and kalua pork quesadillas today, gado gado and chicken sate yesterday, Vietnamese sandwiches and green papaya salad the day before), malasadas and ice cream, but in the Perfect Vacation, wouldn't somebody bring them to you?

The difference in our definitions of a "relaxing vacation" is probably from the differences in our realities: when we're not on vacation, I get up earlier than I want and leave the house to exercise (which I hate) and find food. SH gets up, puts on his bathrobe, walks upstairs, and sits to work all day while food magically appears at his side. He does not exercise. Yet he always beats me up the hill. Just more evidence that God is a man for those of you who are counting.

Back to Hawaii. Does anyone know why you can't buy ice cream after 5:30 p.m. on Saturday here? Is there a law? Why do all (that is, two*) the ice cream places on this side of the island close at dusk? Do Hawaiians only want ice cream during daylight hours? What is wrong with these people? Also, why can we get macademia nut Hershey's kisses only at the ABC stores? What sweetheart deal is going on here? I want to know!

Back to the hike and our treachorous descent into the maw of death. We should have taken this omen as a warning. Many have tried, many have died.
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Yet we decided to make the climb down to the beach anyhow.
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We got there and found not only a grave marker
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but the remains of the fire used by the cannibals for the unlucky hikers before us.
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Aftershadowing.
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* Wait! No! There are three. Marble Slab stays open late. And they charge over $7/scoop. No thanks.

Hawaii #6: Pot of gold

Yeah, I had to mess with the color balance on this, but that's the only way I could get the rainbow to pop. It's not so easy to take a photo of a rainbow, at least not for me. I spent some time on this while SH was waiting for our laulau order (meat wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed -- really yummy!). They were just cutting the banana leaves when we arrived, so it took a while.

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Hawaii #5: Still life with geckos

When we lived in Panama, we had geckos in the house all the time. They lived on the window louvers and ate bugs. That high up, they could avoid O'Malley, our cat. When I lived in Miami, my geckos lived on the floor, which was not a good strategy, because my cats would torture them until they dropped their tails, then would kill the geckos and eat everything but the heads. I would find dried tails and heads in the corners when I cleaned the house on Saturdays. The rest of the time, I didn't wear my glasses.

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Marriage 101, Lecture 78: Following the law, even when it's a stupid law

SH: This is the second morning in a row that I've read that there will be more speeding tickets.

Me: To make up for the revenue shortfalls?

SH: Yeah. It's a good reason to have a radar detector.

Me: I would have said it was a good reason to not speed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Marriage 101, Lecture 17: Food

SH: What's that?

Me: It's a cherimoya.

SH: Yuck. I won't like it.

Me: Good. More for me.

SH: Let me try some.

Me: OK.

SH: No! That's too much.

Me: Here.

SH: Oh. That's not bad. I could probably eat some of that. Let me have some more.

Screwup #1, Packing for Hawaii

Let me preface this by saying it is very hard to remember what 80 degrees feels like when it's below zero at your house and you wear long underwear, sweatpants, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a fleece, and a sweatshirt when you are inside because you don't want your already at $292 heating bill to go any higher.

This is what I packed for the trip:
  • two pairs of jeans
  • two skirts
  • two sleeveless shirts
  • one blouse
  • two long-sleeved shirts
  • one dress (the one I wore for my wedding)
  • a bathing suit
  • running shorts
  • gym shirt
  • running shoes
  • hiking boots
  • sandals
What I have worn:
  • the same skirt and a long-sleeved shirt, two days
  • blue running shorts, hot pink gym shirt, and hiking boots, one day. It really works for me.
  • bathing suit, once, until I realized that it was very out of style and showed my Milwaukee roll and lack of bosom because of the tankini cut that is supposed to be flattering but is NOT, thank you very much, Lands' End
  • my wedding dress for three minutes in anticipation of going out for a nice supper but then had to change because since September, I have getting ready for a very cold winter if you know what I mean and apparently nature thinks my butt and thighs will be the part of me most affected by cold but that my bosom can take care of itself
  • sandals, until my feet hurt so much because of the strap rubbing on the top of my foot, a pain not even four bandaids could prevent, that I switched to hiking boots
  • my nightgown

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hawaii #4: The Death March

Not for the faint of heart.

We started at the top of the valley.
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Saw a couple of Japanese ladies in flip flops and the shoes that will not be named (but can be washed in a dishwasher) coming up the 25% grade and thought how hard can it be? We're all "we have hiking boots, water and malasadas! We're ready for anything!"
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It can be hard, is the answer. It took us 20 minutes to walk down. I was leaning way back, which I suppose is good for the abdominals.
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We got to the bottom and saw the carcass of a dead vehicle. Was there any hope for us?
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Danger lurking all around. Mud. Mud! What if my hiking boots got dirty?
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The trees -- the dangerous trees. There could be people-eating critters in those trees.
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Then we looked back up to where we started, which you can't even see on this photo because it's so high. It's way at the very top.
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More danger. Rocks. Rocks can be bad. You could put an eye out.
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What about the wood? There were crabs on this wood. People-eating crabs? I kept my distance.
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Hawaii's crack problem.
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We took a look at this terrifying landscape and had to stop to recover.
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SH regained his strength by eating a taro roll, smoked fish, and a tangerine, making sure to check for seeds each slice. You could choke on a seed, you know.
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The traffic was awful.
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And then we had to climb back up. The guide book warned us it could take 40 minutes minimum, but we did it in 26. Ha. 25% grade! Take that. SH finished before I did, but that's only because he was racing and didn't tell me.
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Hawaii #3

Gecko with bananas

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And flowers
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