Thanks to Karen @ Waisting Time and Ann @ Dr. Fatty Finds Fitness, I have been tagged for a round robin of blogging extravaganza! It has been almost 3 weeks since my last real post and over 12 days since Karen tagged me. I have been on a bit of a blogging hiatus. Sorry for the unexplained absence – just chalk it up to, um, misaligned neurons. Promise not to do it again without some notification.

Here are the rules:

  1. Post these rules.
  2. Post 11 random things yourself. As if you haven’t read enough about me…
  3. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post. (Using Karen’s since she was first tagger.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
  5. Go to their blog and tell them that you’ve tagged them.
  6. No stuff in the tagging section about “you are tagged if you are reading this.” You legitimately have to tag 11 peeps!
 Eleven random things about me:
  1. I am the oldest of 4 kids by 8 years.
  2. I was the first female among all of my relatives to finish 4 years of college.
  3. I/we just bought a camping van. (Thought our RVing days were over.)
  4. I gained weight over the holidays! First significant gain over the past 2 years. ARGH!
  5. It has been 9 months since my breast cancer diagnosis. I’m just starting to deal with some of the impact of the double mastectomy.
  6. I miss having a career but cannot imagine going back to work for someone else now.
  7. I am searching for a passion – don’t ask me what that means. But some of you might understand.
  8. I am sitting in the middle of a dust storm inside the house while all of all of the tile is being redone. (Darn those flippers who redid the house before we bought it 6 years ago.)
  9. I have concluded that I am a lazy bum. Making physical activity part of my daily routine is difficult, and I don’t have my foob pain to blame any more.
  10. My favorite song is “The Very Though Of You.” Yes, I am a romantic.
  11. My favorite location is a beach – any beach where I can hear the sound of the waves.
Questions from Karen:
  1. What is the most memorable meal you ever ate?  50th birthday dinner at the Four Seasons on the Big Island of Hawaii
  2. What TV show(s) are you embarrassed to admit you watch? True Blood
  3. Would you rather hire a trainer, chef, house cleaner, or personal shopper? Chef. We have house cleaners come in twice a week to do the crud I refuse to do. I love to shop. Trainers – ugh, I can do my own stuff and anyone who pushes me too hard I would just fire.
  4. Share a favorite childhood memory.  Fishing with my Dad.
  5. What destination would you love to visit?  New Zealand
  6. What’s one food you think you don’t like but you’ve never actually tried?  Flaxseed anything
  7. What modern technology that you didn’t grow up with could you now not live without? Personal computer
  8. List the 5 websites you visit most often. New York Times; CNN; Facebook (forgive me, but my family…); Google Reader; Twitter
  9. Who would you like to meet (living, dead, fictional character, blogger, anyone…)? Molly Ivins – a strange choice, but her wit, writing, and slant on politics, especially the Texas government, I miss desperately. Others include a couple of Texas heroines – Ann Richards and Lady Bird Johnson. My favorite celebrity crushes Renee Fleming and Meryl Streep. Who wouldn’t want to meet Jesus and Buddah and Mohammad? The current Dalai Lama.
  10. What’s your favorite spot in your house and why?  Where in your house do you spend the most time? Favorite spot is my huge bath tub with air jets. I spend the most time at the computer.
  11. How long on average does it take you to write a blog post? Days to ruminate about writing, maybe 2 hours to write and and then give it rest before re-reading and edit.

For the final portion I am supposed to tag people and have them answer questions. Almost everyone I read has been tagged, so I will follow a lead from Michele @ Within Reach and post questions that readers can feel free to answer (or not) in the comment section:

  1. What is your favorite cuisine?
  2. What is your favorite hobby?
  3. What would advice would you give someone entering college (assuming they would listen)?
  4. What country other than the one you live in would you consider moving to?
  5. What is your preferred method of travel when vacationing?
  6. What is your best time of day?
  7. E-books or paper? Why?
  8. Do you have a favorite color of clothes or color scheme?
  9. How do you see your life after retirement (or what are you doing if retired)?
  10. What is your biggest fear?
  11. “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” or “It takes a village”?

New camping van


Ironman, Here I Come

Mirinda Carfrae, Women's Winner Kona Ironman 2010

Mirinda Carfrae, Women's Winner Kona Ironman 2010

The Ironman World Championship is held October in Kona, and I will be back! No, I won’t qualify as a participant. Heck, I wouldn’t even be eligible for the few lottery spots that are available to complete the field of 1800 athletes. Good grief, I am struggling to get back to walking regularly (no bitching this post, promise). Nope, we are coming back for 2 amazingly, exciting weeks next September/October to volunteer and be a part of this truly amazing race.

For years we have tried to celebrate our anniversary here in Kona, which just happens to fall the same week as Ironman. Reservations are held years in advance by athletes, sponsors, officials, property owners, etc. Our loyalty and repeat business to a prime little condo that hangs over crashing waves finally has paid off. The manager pulled out a corner unit with a wrap-around lanai that she keeps in reserve for returning race customers, and she is letting us rent it for a very reasonable price. We started talking to shop owners and bartenders along the water front about the Ironman experience, and everyone encouraged us to volunteer as a great way to participate and get close to the action. We were given the number of the local volunteer coordinator and are so stoked about doing this!

I watched many marathons when we lived in Houston and one half tri-athalon. The energy is intense. Plus, this is one way to give back to the island that we are so attached to. It takes thousands of volunteers before and during the race to support the event. The one thing we won’t do is play doctor and staff medical stations. Not sure about licensing, but more importantly, we don’t want to mix bidness with pleasure.

So, tonight it’s aloha to the Big Island as we head back to the green desert of Tucson. The week has been full of relaxation, glorious weather, even more glorious humidity on our lizard skin, lots of whales, fresh pineapple dripping down our chins (thanks to Shelley for the tips), time on the water, and the sound of soothing waves. As one local told me, “We live on the land; we draw life from the ocean.”

Kailua-Kona coast

Village of Kailua-Kona seen from swim portion of Ironman route, safely from a catamaran


Village of Kailua-Kona seen from swim portion of Ironman

Eating in Paradise

How does a gal cope being away from home and kitchen and living a low(er) carb, no sugar, starch, grain life style while in Hawaii? Besides sipping 100% Kona coffee on the lanai, this has been a challenge.

Who wants to cook every meal while on vaca? Sure, eggs for breakfast are fine and go great with whale watching from the comfort of the deck chairs. I have been skipping lunch, although our trip to the local Walmart (a must for buying the cheapest tee shirts and aloha shirts for friends and family) has the cupboard stocked with tuna and sardines. The condo complex has an amazing barbecue setup, which we plan to use with some fresh fish from the local fishermen, if we ever manage to get our butts out to the harbor. The local KTA supposedly sells decent fresh fish, too. Costco, a favorite of everyone here, does not sell local fish.

We ate out yesterday after a glorious whale watching excursion. I didn’t care for the fresh catch of the day and went with a burger, no bread. Why do all plates comes with some sort of starch and more starch? Asking to substitute fruit and veggies is like asking for the moon. The portions were HUGE! And, since when did it become so hard just to offer oil and vinegar as a dressing? Can you tell why I don’t eat out much?

All is not lost. Fresh pineapple is waiting to be cut. Almonds are sitting around when the need for a quick snack hits. Found a Subway using the app AroundMe to grab a quick salad on the way to a distant favorite beach for boogie boarding. And, that fresh fish WILL be on the grill tonight.

Whew, thanks for letting me vent. I think my inability to exercise to any degree is messing with my brain chemistry. Yes, I am still holding a grudge against the manufacturers of all statin medications.

Perhaps I need to go meditate on the lava rocks below. My Mom would have loved being here. Life is too short to bitch this much.

The Big Island Beckons

Less than 48 hours and we will be flying to the Big Island of Hawaii. I ♥ Hawaii – so much that we seriously considered moving there in 2005, but the distance from our families was too great. It has been over 2 years since our last visit, and this Island Girl (now shriveled from desert dwelling) will return to the wondrous diversity and Aloha of the Big Island.

Waipo valley

Waipo Valley

Waipo Valley is amazing beautiful and  incredibly secluded.

cowboys in hawaii

Cowboys on the Parker Ranch

The wide open spaces remind me of Texas!

Pele's Crater in Kilauea Volcano

Kilauea has been spewing lava since 1983 and adding acreage to the Island. We have seen active lava from foot and via plane and helicopter. Spectacular!

After many visits, we always rent a condo on the Kona side, which is technically a desert receiving about 10 inches rain/year, as opposed to the Hilo side that gets > 130 inches/year. See what I mean about diversity!

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain in the world – when measured from the sea floor it is 33,000 feet about sea level, towering above Mount Everest by over 4,ooo feet. Seeing snow on this gorgeous shield volcano from the beautiful warm beaches in the winter is a staggering sight.

mauna kea viewed from hilo

Mauna Kea viewed from Hilo

My strongest connection to Hawaii is the ocean. I love snorkeling with turtles (honu) and go in quest of whale encounters with the amazing humpbacks.

Honu - protected green sea turtle

humpback mom and babe

Humpback mom and babe

Leaping humpback

I will be just short of my goal weight of 200 pounds for the trip. Who the heck cares! We will be in paradise drinking 100% Kona coffee, eating fresh fruit, savoring fruits of the sea, and connecting with some of the most wonderful people in the world.