Friday, October 16, 2020

The Maple Tree and the Sky

 I've been away for a while. I will elaborate in another post. Because today, I'd like to bask in the beauty of autumn.

The red Maple tree and the blue sky.



Every year, I look forward to this tree's show of colors.

This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.


Thursday, August 27, 2020

Hazy Skies Over Panama Canal

From the archives, I took this photo while our cruise ship was crossing the Panama Canal in 2016. The Panama Canal is something I've always wanted to see especially that I've read so much about it when I was in secondary school. So when the trip came to fruition, I was just in awe watching how the locks work. It's a remarkable feat of engineering.





This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Sunrise At Dewey Beach

Happy Friday!

I've been away for a month as work's becoming a little bit out-of-hand. A lot of my colleagues are taking vacations and I've been tasked to take over the work of two to three people in addition to my own responsibilities. 

I feel exhausted, but on one weekend, we managed to spend a couple of days at Dewey Beach, Delaware. This trip was very therapeutic. I hope we'll go back again soon.

Watching the sunrise with Daisy.


This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.



Monday, July 13, 2020

Four Waterfalls One State Park

As I've mentioned in my earlier posts, we visited Swallow Falls State Park in mid-June. What I really love about this park is that you hike to four different waterfalls.

Tolliver Falls is the smallest one in the park but quite serene and picturesque because of the pool that forms below the falls. For me, this is a good place to meditate and have a quiet moment.




Upper Swallow Falls  is an easy hike to get to from the main road and has a really cool view.


Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Tree and Sky

I took this photo last weekend near Kilgore Falls. We were on our way home after a refreshing swim at the river.

Monday, July 6, 2020

I Left My Heart In Molokai

When people talk of Hawaii, they rarely talk about the island of Molokai. But for anyone looking for quiet solitude and a place to getaway from the hustle and bustle of the world, Molokai is THE PLACE. My first visit to Molokai was in 2017. I know it's a shame it has taken me this long to visit this island.
 
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A deserted beach we found in Molokai.

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Kepi found this heart shaped rock and gave it to me.

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We left it there so that someone will see it too.

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Our footprints - just us at the beach that day.

Perhaps it was all about great timing. However, for the beaches we've visited, we reveled in our found solitude. In the evenings, our lovely walks were accompanied by the purring crickets attracting their mates and the chorus of frogs croaking loudly nearby.

Linking:

Thursday, July 2, 2020

York River State Park

It felt good to go away for a few days.

Kepi and I headed to Virginia for a short weekend trip. Our plan is to hike and visit state parks there. It's the best choice especially that we'd both want to explore and practice social distancing at the same time. There weren't too many people at the York River State Park when we visited, so we weren't too worried about being exposed to too many people.

We'd love to come back with a kayak next time and paddle through this winding river. 

This is the bridge that would take you to Fossil Beach. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Cool Water

We just got back from our short weekend trip to Virginia. We only stayed there for three days, but it was enough to relax and have some "me" time. We brought Daisy with us, and I think she had a great time too.

 Daisy cooling off by the lake.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Swallow Falls State Park

Taken when we went hiking at Swallow Falls State Park a week ago. 

I'm currently on a week vacation from work, and I find it hard to destress granted that I now work at home and while I'm on vacation I'm also at home. The line between work and home has been blurred. In fact, it seems non-existent.


This is my entry for Wordless Wednesday and My Corner of the World.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Skies Over Reynisfjara

When we arrived at Reynisfjara, we saw this threatening cloud. We managed to take photos but soon after this photo was taken. Snow and sleet fell like crazy. Please see short video below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Hiking In The Rain

Kepi and I went for a short hike this weekend to the western mountains of Maryland. There were several people at the state park. I guess most people were thinking what we're thinking - get some fresh air. It's June but it felt chilly up in the mountains.

It poured in the middle of our hike.


There's something soothing about hiking in the rain.

This is my entry for My Corner of the World and Our World Tuesday.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

View from Diamond Head

From the archives, I took this photo on my fourth hike going up Diamond Head in O'ahu. This view awaits when you reach the top.


This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.




Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Holei Sea Arch

From the archives, this was taken when we were hiking at the Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.

It's been a stressful start of the week, but I'm glad our board meeting will be over soon (tomorrow). I am looking forward to some personal time off even if there'll be no travel involved. Staying at home with the furries will be a welcome change to this work-at-home routine.




Thursday, June 4, 2020

Skies at Ala Moana Park

From the archives, took this photo when I went home to O'ahu in 2018. My dad, brother and I spent the afternoon walking and watching the boats float by Ala Wai Canal close to Ala Moana Park. It so happened that we were blessed with beautiful skies on our walk home.


This is my entry for Wordless Wednesday and Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Belize Is Unbelizable!

Last week, work has been busy, so I didn't have much time to visit blogs. My office is preparing for a board meeting, so we're all at our wits end trying to prepare for this three hour meeting. I am hoping things will get back to normal after this week.

Today, let us to travel to Belize.

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We traveled to Belize in the late spring of 2016. At this time of year, Belize felt stifling hot. It gets worse when you hike into the rainforest. The dense humid air can make your legs feel like a ton. It didn't help that I came down with a sinus infection during this trip. I wanted to see so much of Belize but the sinus infection was egging me to sleep and stay in bed. I pushed on anyway armed with a bag full of tissues, Tylenol, and water.

When we joined a tour to see the Lamanai Archaeological Reserve, I gave a big sigh of relief when I saw that we were taking a boat ride to reach the site. The boat ride to Lamanai was rather scenic but more importantly, the breeze felt cooling and refreshing as our boat snaked it's way through New River. 

We saw different species of birds, a baby caiman, a sleeping sloth, and several howling monkeys on the trees, but with my headache and sinus infection progressing, I was contented with closing my eyes, sat facing upstream, relished the refreshing breeze through my hair and the occasional cooling splash of water on my face.


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Skies Over Rock of Cashel

Visited the Rock of Cashel in May 2015, and we were blessed with good weather and beautiful views. Also known as the Cashel of the Kings and St. Patrick's Rock and quite a spectacular archaeological site. 

 


This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.

 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mr. Mistoffelees

Meet Mr. Mistoffelees! He's not our cat, but he likes to hang out near our house. I see him everyday, and you never know where he'll turn up next. Sometimes, he's on the front lawn, the backyard, by our front steps, at my garden sniffing the spinach or on the wooden fence doing a balancing act.

Yesterday, he was spotted on the front lawn.

Today, he's on our front steps.

A few weeks ago, he was having a neighborly gossip with our cat, Dizzy.

This is my entry for Wordless Wednesday and My Corner of the World.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Boats of Marsaxlokk


Lately, I've been dreaming of the sea, clear blue skies, and the warmth of the Sun. It's been chilly and overcast the past few days. 

I worry about my vegetable garden, as some of my seedlings are beginning to rot because of the low temperatures and lack of sunlight.

Here's hoping for better days ahead.

This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

My Favorite Photos from the Island of Malta

Are you ready to go on another Malta trip with me? Today, I'm posting my favorite photos from the island of Malta.

Since our hotel is in Valletta, we spent a lot of time exploring the Old City especially the Upper and Lower Barrakka Gardens. I like the Lower Barrakka better because it has a great view of the Grand Harbour. Unfortunately, photos I took at the Upper Barrakka didn't come out so well. Below are photos I took at the Lower Barrakka Gardens.

Siege Bell War Memorial

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Skywatch at Kalaupapa Peninsula



King Kamehameha V banished all those afflicted with Hansen's disease (Leprosy) to this isolated Kalaupapa peninsula in Molokai. This is where Father Damien came, served and lived in the settlement until he also contracted and succumbed to the disease.
 
This is my entry for Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Missing the Islands


I am missing the islands today, and I've been feeling low because of work.
I took this photo when I visited the Big Island.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Colombia: Colorful Cartagena

Today, we'll travel to Colombia!

It was March of 2016 when we traveled to Colombia. The Zika virus was the issue then. Yup, another virus, so we were armed with long sleeves, mosquito face coverings and insect repellents.

We thought spring time would be best in terms of weather, but boy, we were so wrong. Cartagena felt sweltering and hot in the month of March.

Below are some photos I took during our Cartagena adventure:

Convento de la Popa offers a respite from the intense Colombian heat. The cloister of the convent beckons with  lush greenery including a robust bloom of Bougainvilleas. The convent was built on  Mount Popa  and thus offering a great view of Cartagena.


Thursday, May 7, 2020

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Malta: Trip to Gozo

After spending Christmas Day in Valletta, Kepi and I were ready for our Gozo adventure. We woke up early that day, ate breakfast at the hotel terrace, then took the bus from Valletta to Cirkewwa Ferry Terminal. It was an hour drive to Cirkewwa due to traffic.

Upon reaching the ferry terminal, we purchased our tickets and boarded the ferry to Gozo.  The ferry ride was about 25-30 minutes, and we reached Mgarr Harbor at around 10 am.

Here begins our memorable two days Gozo adventure.

The welcoming beautiful Mgarr Harbor.


Thursday, April 30, 2020

First Day In Malta

It's another stormy day in Maryland. It's been raining since last night and I am hoping we'll get some sun tomorrow or the weekend so that I can work on the garden. Today, I'm taking you on a virtual travel. We will walk through the charming streets of Valletta. I hope you're wearing good walking shoes.

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We landed at Luqa Airport early on December 23, 2018.  In fact too early that when we got to our hotel, they're still serving breakfast. Tired and sleepy (since I rarely sleep on flights), the hotel receptionist offered us some coffee and took our luggage (yes, we only have one luggage for the two of us) to the storage room.

After getting our bearings straight, we decided to walk around Valletta and orient ourselves of the city. It ended more as a disoriented walk as we were both sleepy and tired. Nevertheless, we got our first taste of Valletta's charm.

Flying over the Alps never gets old.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

New Normal

At long last, the elusive Sun finally showed up. With this work at home situation, days feel blurry and on most days I don't even know what day it is.

It's deja vu that I'm titling this post "New Normal" because it's not the first time I've encountered these words. "You'll adjust to your new normal soon," Dr. D said on one of my appointments. This was in mid-2014. I was complaining about my hives, a skin graft-vs-host condition, and bone pain. I was then adjusting to my new life as a post bone-marrow transplant patient. I was on quarantine for at least two months at the hospital and an additional two months at home. It's eerie because these home quarantine and wearing a mask orders bring back a lot of scary and sad memories for me. I wonder how long our new normal will last. This is our sixth week of working at home, and we're starting to get used to our "new normal".

It was so windy on Monday and a lot of the flowers from our Kanzan cherry tree fell to the ground. I gathered some of them and placed them in a basin of water. Their blooms lasted for a few days.


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Before Spring 2020 Fades

Spring is still my favorite time of the year.

Since we missed the Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin this year, the lovely blooms in the neighborhood surely made up for it. A couple of weekends ago, we drove around our neighborhood and to the next town. We saw lovely blooming trees.

Can someone help me with the name of these lovely trees? They have beautiful white cluster flowers and they bloom first before the Cherry Blossoms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A Quick Spring Trip to Charleston, South Carolina

We traveled to Charleston, South Carolina in the spring of 2019. We've been contemplating about moving to the south, as we're starting to get tired of the cold Maryland winters. My husband suggested that we check out Charleston (it's one of five cities we're looking into possibly moving), since his company has a branch there he can transfer to. This was a quick three-day trip to scout the area and see if it is possible to move there.

So aside from looking at houses, we managed to squeeze in a little bit of sightseeing.

At the top of our list is the Angel Oak Tree. This tree is believed to be one of the oldest living oak trees east of the Mississippi River. It stands at 65 ft, 28 ft in circumference, and it's branches cover an area of 17,000 square feet. It offers so much shade and beauty.


Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Portugal: Fave Sites and Food

MD COVID-19 UPDATE:  As of April 8, 2020, Maryland has 5,529 confirmed cases. According to the most recent press conference by Gov. Hogan, White House is designating DC-Baltimore as "an emerging hot spot" for coronavirus.

Please stay at home, starve the virus and flatten the curve.

This is our fifth week of staying and working at home.

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Today, we're traveling to Portugal.

Portugal is truly a delight to explore. We flew to Lisbon in the Spring of 2018. From our past travels, we've learned not to pack so much on our itinerary. For this trip, we mainly picked the places that we're really interested to see and left much idle time people watching at parks, comparing one pastel de nata to another, and drinking tea and munching on pastries at cafes.

1)  Pena Palace overlooks the town of Sintra. Situated on top of a hill in the Sintra Mountains, it offers visitors a sweeping vista of the mountains and the towns afar and below. It is an uphill climb to reach the palace and so truth be told, I was drenched in sweat when I reached the top.

Palacio Nacional da Pena

Friday, April 3, 2020

Christmas 2017 in the Netherlands

On December 2017, Kepi and I traveled to the Netherlands. Christmas was around the corner and we both needed a vacation from our daily lives. Yup, once or twice a year we feel that way. We enjoy being at home with our furry kids especially during the holidays, but sometimes our penchant for travel pulls us away from our love of Christmas trees and lights. We've never been to the Netherlands, so we were excited to explore a new country. Besides, we've always been curious about this city called Amsterdam.

Here are the highlights from our trip:

1.)  Amsterdam, also known as the “Venice of the North”, has 165 canals and 1,500 bridges. Kepi and I spent a day walking and exploring the city with no itinerary. We took so many photos of the canals, bridges and rowed houses, and honestly, they're all postcard worthy. I don't think it's feasible to post all the canal photos we both took so here's one. Amsterdam is charming in winter, and it's a relief that we only got a few snow showers.




Wednesday, April 1, 2020

My Utah Adventure

MD COVID-19 UPDATE: On Monday, March 30, 2020, Governor Hogan issued a stay-at-home order for the entire state of Maryland as COVID-19 cases has surpassed 1,400. Anyone caught violating the order will be guilty of a misdemeanor that carries a possible sentence of up to one year in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. I think we really need this because in the past two weeks of shelter-in-place, I still see groups of stubborn people playing basketball at the park. What can I say, people love their freedom.

This is our third week working from home, and we're making the most of it.

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For this post, I'd like to share my travel photos from Utah. In July of 2019, I traveled to Salt Lake City to attend a committee meeting. This was my first trip to Utah, and since my meeting was on a Thursday, I extended my stay through the weekend. It's one of the best decisions I've made in my life.


The view from my meeting room. I was more excited to go out rather than being stuck in a meeting room. I know, please don't tell my employer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Second Week of Staying at Home

It's our second week of working at home. We live in the worse of times. I am hopeful that we may survive this and live to tell stories of hope, resilience, strength and love.

There are times I'd be sitting on the couch and the urge to drive to CVS would cross my mind. Then reality sets in and I'd ask myself if it is necessary to be out there. I'd think not. I'd go back to flipping channels on TV and go about watching whatever is on. Kepi and I have been at home for a whole week. We went out last Friday evening for a grocery run and purchased what we needed for the week. We've seen empty shelves of hand sanitizers, toilet papers, milk, eggs and even the meat section. Some people have been panic buying, but no panic buying or hoarding for us. We have to think of other people and that there's enough for everybody. In my opinion, panic buying is a selfish act.

I've been watching the news less. I try to focus on what's in front of me, of what I can control, and of what I can do to get through the day. As my boss would say every morning, another day closer to the other side.

For this work at home situation, I have to create a schedule I try to follow:
  •  6:30 am wake up, go for a 30 minute walk, shower afterwards
  •  7ish am breakfast, watch a little TV
  •  9 am work, conference calls
  •  11:30 am go for a lunch walk while calling Mom/Dad in Hawaii
  •  12 pm eat lunch
  •  12:30 pm back to work
  •  3 pm take a 15 minute break, have tea
  •  3:15 pm work some more
  •  5 pm sign off
  •  5:30 pm prepare dinner, eat, rest
  •  7 pm go for an evening walk if weather/time permits
The best part of my day are my walks. No matter how you're day is going, it's a beautiful world out there.

If it's not raining, I walk further in the morning and what a delight to pass through this blooming street.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Update from Maryland and our Iceland Trip

Sorry, I've been out again. I was so busy at work preparing for our bank conference in San Diego. Unfortunately, our trip and conference in California got canceled due to coronavirus.

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"Year of the Rat" or would it be aptly called "Year of the Wrath"? What do you think?

It's just the third month of the year yet we're inundated with much fear and uncertainty.  The Australian bushfires, locusts swarm in East Africa, Jakarta flooding and now, COVID-19. The DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia) area have closed schools, canceled events, and most or all of office workers will be telecommuting for the next two weeks. This is to contain or slow the spread of the virus.

As of today, there are 12 cases in Maryland and out of precaution, Governor Hogan has declared a State of Emergency. The grocery store shelves are devoid of hand sanitizers, masks and toilet papers. Panic buying has taken over people's sanity. It's impossible for me to tune out the news media, as it is part of my job to monitor it especially for our members. I am not panicking. However, I am scared of catching the virus, as I am still immune compromised. We just have to stay calm and keep living our lives.

Now, onto a happier post.

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Back in January, Kepi and I traveled to Iceland for the second time. COVID-19 wasn't a media hot commodity yet. It was a quick trip for five days. People thought we were crazy for leaving cold Maryland to a much colder Iceland, but that's what adventure is all about. The main purpose of this trip was to see the Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, the whole time we were there it was cloudy and most of the time snowing. I have to tell you. My heart ached leaving Iceland without seeing the Aurora Borealis, so I bought a bunch of Icelandic chocolate to fill that void.

Below are a few of the photos from our trip. All photos were taken by iPhone.

Perched on a high hill, Reyniskyrka Church watches over Vik.

Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik. I took this photo early in the morning while we were out for a walk.

The Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Beautiful view but the Sneaker Waves are deadly. The  small dots on the photo are snowflakes.

Beautiful, towering Skogafoss. It's a favorite. In winter time, you have to be careful walking on the rocks because they're all covered in ice.

This is Tjornin or the Reykjavik City Pond. We enjoyed our long walks here. It's a very relaxing place to be.

This is the other side of Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. This is where two tourists were caught in a Sneaker Wave. They're both okay, but I think one suffered from hypothermia and has to be taken to one of the cottages for treatment.

The Sun Voyager is a popular place to take photos.

Our early morning walk searching for a place to eat breakfast.

The main road in Reykjavik painted with LGBT colors.

Hallgrimskirkja from a distance.

The highlight of our trip is hiking towards Solheimajokull Glacier. The hike was more than I could handle. We navigated through slippery rocks, drenched with rain and got pelted with  hail.

Sadly, this glacier is shrinking rapidly. I hope that we can do something to help our rapidly warming environment.

Here's a perfect example of how the weather can change in a heartbeat in Iceland. This photo was taken when we just arrived at Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach. Now, see the photo below after a few minutes.

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach after hail storm. Of course, all the visitors ran for cover.


We have two more trips planned this year, but they may be rescheduled or postponed for next year due to travel bans and restrictions. I am hoping the airlines will be easier to deal with.

I remain hopeful that we will get through this difficult time together.