Wonderful Vacation! Now Back to Life in Paradise!

Washington Monument as seen from National Mall in front of Smithsonian Castle

Vacation is a wonderful thing and returning to life post-vacation is always hard. Throw in a six-hour time difference, eighteen days away from home, and the beginning of the school year, and you’ll have an idea of where my head has been the last few days.

The trip however was well worth the jet lag! I got a chance to visit with my oldest brother and his family, to spend time with old friends, and to explore D.C., Boston, and Maine, along with a little of New Hampshire with the kids. They rode their first subway. We explored four of the Smithsonian Museums and toured the national monuments via of moonlight tour. We walked the Freedom Trail and we drove down to Plymouth, then up to Maine, where we met friends and hiked in the White Mountain National Forest. All in all a wonderful vacation! I took a thousand pictures, but don’t worry, I am not going to bore you with that many.

First Smithsonian Museum Visited

Lincoln Memorial at Night

Old Mother Goose was real! Who knew?

Did you know Old Mother Goose was based on the real person? Apparently, she was! I walked the Freedom Trail decades ago, but somehow I missed this tidbit until I went with the kids.

Boston, MA: The Old State House

Two of my favorite things!

A Reminder from Plymouth, MA: Thanksgiving Isn’t Thanksgiving for All!

View from Bradbury Mountain State Park in Maine

Hiking in White Mountains National Forest

Reflections: Where Do I Begin? 10

The last two days I have sat in this swing trying to decide how much I want to share with you to explain why I have been MIA. I realize no matter what I say it will not fully explain everything. It is impossible to see through someone else’s eyes or to completely understand their feelings no matter how much they share.

We recently passed the one year anniversary of leaving my daughter’s former school. We also passed the one year anniversary of my brother’s first surgery due to his cancer, and it has been one year since my fall and subsequent lumbar compression fracture. We are all three still facing challenges. Yet, we are all on the road to recovery.

Those who read M’s blog know she wrote a letter to her former school on her blog around the time of the anniversary. I am so proud that she chose to do so. She released her frustration and is continuing to work toward her goals although overcoming bullying is not easy.

Her anniversary coincided with the release of Lee Hirsch’s movie Bully in local theaters. Those who have been reading my blog know that the poor response it received in Honolulu disappointed me. I sincerely hope the schools will do a better job once it is on video.

I am especially disappointed that M’s former school made no effort to take the students to see it as I encouraged them to do, but they are making baby steps toward their bullying problem according to the chaplain and the elementary school assistant dean. I know both of them have their hearts in the right place and they both still express concern for M.

The high school dean is a different story, but I will not get into that here other than to say that M. still deserves an apology from the school and my request for this has fallen on deaf ears. Still, I will not give up. A new headmaster will be arriving in July, and I hope he will see that giving my daughter a formal apology is the right thing to do.

My brother had his fourth surgery recently, but he is on the mend and hopefully in a few weeks he will have his last surgery.

I was 80% better until I had a bad virus a few weeks ago. Now I am starting over with my walks and my exercises. I have faith I will get back to 80% since it really is only reconditioning and not another injury. I am still aiming for at least 90%, if not 100%. I am taking care of myself as I promised when I joined the Oxygen Mask Project.

Overall, life is good. M. is interacting with her friends again. I had a fabulous mother’s day. M. cooked my breakfast. My hubby and son and I went to see The Avengers. M. saw it the day before with her friend. Hubby even cooked lobster for dinner, so yes, life is good and I am still grateful.

Gratitude for a Perfect Day 8

img_2773.jpg ©delightfullydifferentlife.com

Footprints in the Sand

I am moving forward and taking positive steps to get back on track. I am taking time to continue rehabbing my back from an injury I sustained in May. I am supporting my daughter as she works towards overcoming the past hurts from those who wounded her soul and let her down. That is why I am sometimes MIA.

I realize my gratitude posts have been sparse lately, yet I am still focusing on gratitude and forgiveness. Today, I am most grateful for the blessings in my life. I received a wonderful review of Delightfully Different from Lorna at Special Needs Book Review. Just click on the blog name to check it out if you haven’t already. I am also grateful for my readers, my family and my friends.

Another thing I am grateful for is that I get to take care of my health by taking long walks three to four times a week. It is one of the good things about living in Hawaii. I started slowly using my walking poles and leaving my dogs at home. A month later, I got my son to take one dog while I took the other one with one walking pole. Another month has gone by, and I now walk both dogs using one walking pole for added balance. I take my camera in a small backpack and stop and photograph nature along the way. We even walk to the beach occasionally although it is not my corgi’s cup of tea.

©Delightfully Different Life

©Delightfully Different Life

Yesterday was one of our walking days. We stopped at this beach because I knew I could take pictures from above without having to actually walk on beach. Thus, my corgi stayed happy.

I last visited this beach when my daughter was in preschool some years ago. They were learning about tide pools and this beach is ideal for that. The school bus was able to drive to the beach to drop us off and to come back to pick us up which is very important when you are taking four-year olds to the beach.

However, there is no parking at this beach as it is in a residual area, and it is not really the best beach for swimming. Still, it is beautiful and the surfers love it. It is the prefect place to quietly observe if you are not swimming. Yesterday Mother Nature gave me the best Valentine’s present by allowing me to see this.

Mother Nature's Valentine ©DelightfullyDifferentLife

Mother Nature’s Valentine ©DelightfullyDifferentLife

I know it is hard to see, but it is a humpback whale breaching. I never wished I had more than 200 zoom more than yesterday. Still, l am not complaining! Just getting to see this made my day. Until yesterday, the only whales I have seen on Oahu were from a boat.

Taken During Whale Watching Tour ©DelightfullyDifferentLife

Taken During Whale Watching Tour ©DelightfullyDifferentLife

Then, after I got home I got these from hubby.

Hope all of you had a happy Valentine’s Day! I would love to hear about how you spent your day.

The Year of the Water Dragon 9

You might have noticed that I was off-line most of last week and the beginning of this week. We have been celebrating Chinese New Year. This year we are taking no chances with our luck.

Not only did we attend the Chinese New Year parade and feed the lion, we also decorated for the New Year. I couldn’t resist buying these guys when I saw them at the street vender during the Honolulu Chinatown block party.

I brought a steamer and spent a full day making gau, a sticky pudding made with mochi flour, brown sugar, vegetable oil, and water. I even made it the old-fashioned way this year instead of in the microwave.

Here’s how it turned out! I gave some to my in-laws since gau is supposed to help families stick together.

Hubby and I got these to bring good karma to our home.

And this big one to place in our entry way.

I also spent time organizing and cleaning the house, and of course we had a wonderful Chinese meal that included a whole chicken for family harmony combined with a whole lobster for a harmonious marriage and noodles for long life and shrimp dumplings for wealth.

Kung Hee Fat Choy! (May prosperity be with you!)