I survived the road to Hana

Before we drove to Hana, I was noticing all these t-shirts that said “I survived the road to Hana” – and separately, both Sam and I had the same thought: “hmm… that’s a funny way to put it.” Whenever we talked about this “tourist attraction” to anyone, they all seemed to downplay it. They said – yeah, it’s kind of a long trip, plan for a full day, the road is a little winding.

A little? Wow. Maybe I when I tell stories of our adventures I go over the top with my descriptions, but still, I’d never think to describe that road as a “little” winding.

Quite simply, the road was terrifying. Now I understand why the t-shirts all say “I survived the road to Hana” – because just surviving that road is enough to brag about. Like “I swam in a river filled with Parana and sharks. And then just to make things interesting, they placed a hungry tiger on the shore.” Seriously, the road is nuts. It’s VERY winding, it’s VERY narrow. Some turns are so tight and so narrow, you literally have to hold your breathe as you make the turn praying that the person coming around the bend is far enough over.

This picture above explains why I would be concerned about that in the first place. The huge truck in front of us obviously felt the dividing lines between the two lanes was merely a “guideline,” and not something you really needed to pay attention to.

And with such a narrow, winding road, you’d think people would obey the speed limit. Oh, no of course not! Locals as well as tourists zip through this place like death is a paradise you can’t wait to see.

They also warn you that there is nothing from the town of Pa’ia all the way to Hana, so you better get a boxed lunch in Pa’ia so you don’t starve to death on your way. So of course we heeded these suggestions, but there’s actually tons of little roadside local setups that I would have loved to have tried. It makes me think that the hotel has some sort of deal with the “boxed lunch” place to send business their way. At one point, regardless of the fact that we had plenty of food in the cooler from Pa’ia, we stopped at a little local stand and picked up some of the freshest “Pineapple Bread” I’ve ever eaten. Actually, I’ve never eaten pineapple bread, and probably will never do so again, but that’s just because nothing will ever compare to how delicious this bread was. It was still hot from the oven, and just totally amazing. They also had little bags of fresh coconut. Seriously – how can you turn that down.

One of the things we were going to do, was listen to this CD that was supposed to be a “tour guide” for you as you drive. We didn’t listen to him very much. Although it probably would have been pretty funny to keep doing so. The drive was just so difficult that we needed to keep full concentration on every inch. The one part we did hear and are still laughing over is that he said that the road “used to be” terrible – full of potholes, but fairly recently (2004?) it was paved and widened. Seriously? If this road is wide NOW, I would hate to have seen it before!

The point of the trip, apparently, is not just to drive to Hana and back, but to stop at several locations along the way. In my mind, I pictured a decent sized pull-off on the road, or at least larger signage to indicate where you were supposed to go, but this was not the case. The pull-offs were mostly no bigger than a small ditch on the side of the road. For some of the stops, it required hiking into woods on a vaguely marked path. All that coupled with my severe car-sickness from the road, we didn’t stop much.

Look, honey, a waterfall!! Ok keep going!!!

At one of the bathroom stops we found on the way (we were told there were NONE!) we looked at the list of “sights” to see on the road to Hana, and decided the one and only one we REALLY wanted to see was the black sand beach. So we headed straight there. It was incredible. There was a lava tube right near the beach, and the sand was truly amazing. All of it comprised of black sand and rocks formed by lava flowing down to the ocean thousands of years ago. I so wanted to take a sample back, but then remembered what someone had told us about not taking sand or rocks… something about bad luck and really with so much of our life up in the air right now, I need as little bad luck as possible. I don’t even want to think about tempting fate.

Coming back was a much easier trip, for me anyway. I had been so wound up and felt so sick on the road in, that I was completely exhausted and fell asleep for most of the trip back to the hotel. Probably made Sam’s life easier that way too. LOL!

If you do ever come to Maui, and have never done the drive to Hana, and want to… well, at least now you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. LOL! I’m not sorry we did it, but I can’t see myself ever wanting to do that drive again!


We are in Hawaii right now and I’ve decided that this is where I want to spend every vacation for ever and ever. I am so in love with this place I’ve been moved to tears several times already. The hotel we’re staying in is completely fabulous. The two upgrades I made when we booked the trip were to get a room with an ocean view and to have their breakfast included.

First the view is absolutely spectacular! And the breakfast, for some reason, I thought it was just going to be a continental breakfast: some coffee, a bagel, maybe waffles if we were lucky. HOLY COW the breakfast is HUGE. Made to order omelets. scrambled eggs. Hash browns, eggs benedict, lox, bagels, fruit, waffles, steamed fish, even miso soup! There’s so much I can’t even remember it all. Then for seating, they placed us right next to this koi pond that has a waterfall. It’s simply paradise.

In the lobby of the hotel, in the open air, there’s another huge koi pond with another waterfall, and birds that just hang out there: like swans, flamingos, parrots. Everything is just over the top beautiful.

We splurged yesterday and had a couples massage. Then we drove down to the Maui Aquarium. Again, expectations were moderate, reality far exceeded anything I could have imagined. The first few buildings were very cool, but what totally blew any aquarium experience I ever had out of the water was showing up in the shark building JUST as they were feeding them. OMG!!! They have a glass tunnel that actually goes through the tank so these huge stingrays, hammer head sharks, and tiger sharks swim directly over your head and around you. Just…. OMG!!!

If my vacation was over right now, I’d say we had a fantastic time, but there’s still more to come. Today we’re just going to play on the beach and go kayaking, and snorkeling off the beach, then tonight we’re doing a luau (yes, I know they’re hokey. I’ve still always wanted to see one) Tomorrow, the road to Hana in our convertible. Then later this week, we’ll take a snorkeling boat tour. Still not sure about the helicopter ride. We’ve been tossing the idea around, but with my fear of flying, it might not be a good idea. LOL We’ll see.

All the restaurants are crazy expensive. IF I had any regrets, it would have been to get a kitchen in our room so we could have made our own dinner one night. But otherwise everything is about as close to perfection as I could imagine.

Life in the fastlane

-Ferris Bueller

Yeah, no kidding. So much has happened in such a short span of time, I’m literally dizzy. Most likely from adrenaline.

So here’s the order of events:

First, we weighed it all out, and even though Portland, OR sounds like a nice place – the fact of the matter is that Sam wasn’t seeing a lot of jobs there. As well, I know even there, without family nearby, I wouldn’t be 100% happy. Whereas in California, there are more job opportunities and we have family nearby. My brother has offered to help us get settled, so all in all – this is a no brainer. We are headed to California.

The hard part was deciding when. Sam still has a job technically, but it will soon be ending. But they haven’t been really clear about when. At the same time, we can’t base our lives around them. Another factor is the kids. Rachel is FINALLY in a good school, with a awesome teacher – she’s doing really well in class – so I did think maybe we would wait it out this year and head out in the spring as soon as she got out of school… but… I have no idea what the market will be like in the spring. Right now, the market didn’t seem all that bad to me. At least not as bad as I would expect with the current economy and headed into the “slow” season. There were a few house sales right on our street… so we figured we’d jump while it was hot.

We did a massive clean up, and de-clutter, got the house ready to show, put it on the market on Monday. I figured we’d be sitting on the market for at least a month, maybe 2 or 3… We’ve had such amazing luck in the past. The two previous houses we’ve owned and sold, we had a buyer immediately after the Open House. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that we’d hit it a third time…. but we did. In fact, we BEAT our previous records. LOL! This time, the open house was scheduled for Saturday… but we didn’t even make it that far. We got a good buyer by Tuesday night. Seriously. AND, of course we want to make this buyer happy – but they want to move in yesterday. So forget about a lengthy packing and closing process – we’re all going to rush it through in a MONTH.

A FREAKING MONTH from today I will be in my car heading out to California for GOOD. I can’t even wrap my head around it.

I had joked that I wanted the house sold for my birthday. I think I need to be careful what I wish for. (Well somewhat) The other thing I was wishing for my birthday was an iPad. You can just imagine how much I’ve been drooling and pining for one… I wonder how anyone could have ever guessed it’s what I wanted for my birthday… well, that and my trip to Hawaii – which is the reason I really didn’t think I’d get the iPad too… but I GOT IT!!!!! And it’s everything I was hoping it would be. No birthday wish remorse at all. I totally love it.

So yeah. We go to Hawaii for vacation – Just Sam and me – then we come back and hit the ground running like crazy people. Pack. Move. Done.

Oh, where will be staying in the meantime until we get settled? Heh. My parents. You’d think when your kids turn 40, you’re free from them moving back in with you. Think again. And it’s not like I’m just bringing a load of laundry from College. I’m lugging a husband and two kids with me this time! LOL!!!


This past weekend we made the trek up to Park City to the “Park Silly” market they have on Sundays. It’s lots of fun, always get to see cool jewelry, clothes, and crafts. I love to look but rarely buy anything. We saw this one booth for “Twisted Spiders” – and I had to break my rule and get one. It’s not like I’m a fan of spiders, but at the same time I’m fascinated by insects in general just about as much as I’m grossed out by them. (Yes, I know, a spider isn’t an insect, it’s an arachnid – don’t get technical on me!) 😉 So, the jewelry… they make these spiders out of metal wire and beads, and I’ve never seen anything like it. (They then make the spiders into necklaces, earrings, pins) They looked too cool to pass up. Even cooler was seeing all these (FAKE) spiders all over their booth table. Take a look:

Life Lesson I Learned from doing my presentation

The presentation I gave at WordCamp Utah went really well. It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like that. I prepped as much as humanly possible. I practiced as often as I could. I must have updated my slides several times every day for about a month leading up to the conference. AND I also had anxiety dreams almost every night especially the week before. In my nightmares, everything that could go wrong, did. I’d left my power cord at home. I left my laser pointer somewhere. I lost wifi connection and couldn’t find my presentation. My nose began to bleed spontaneously. I mean literally everything my subconscious could do to undermine my confidence, it fed it into my nightmares.

The irony is that I’m not here to tell you that “… and NONE of it came true… everything was fine!”. Well, everything was fine, but that’s not the end of the story. The truth is that almost everything I dreamed actually came true. I did accidentally leave my computer’s power cord at home. I couldn’t find my laser pointer when I needed it. The wifi did get disconnected from my laptop in the middle of my presentation. Really, if you told me that all of that stuff would really happen, I would have run from the room screaming, called up Joseph Scott and told him to forget it, I couldn’t do it! In the nightmares, when all of these things happened, the world basically ended. My presentation was a complete failure and life ended there. Every night, in the middle of the night, I’d wake up, jot something down on a piece of paper I needed to remember so that I could prevent the catastrophe I had just envisioned.

But despite all these things coming true, life did not end. In fact, nothing happened. Thankfully, my battery lasted long enough to survive the length of my presentation. It did die eventually, but not until about halfway through the day – hours later. The wifi timed out on my laptop and disconnected, but I kept going even though the cool slide remote I had on my iPhone no longer worked. (In my opinion: a design flaw in the app to have it only rely on wifi and not bluetooth!!) The arrow keys work perfectly well to move the slides!! And the laser pointer I realized later I left buried in my purse so I just made do without it.

All the anxiety and thinking the sky would fall if any of these things happened, and even my desperate attempts to prevent them – they happened. When they did, there was a logical solution. And life went on.

I think I know I spend too much time worrying about what could happen. I spend too much time trying to plan for all conceivable contingencies. And the truth of the matter is that, when a problem is real, there is usually a solution at hand as well. I won’t say always. But usually. It certainly isn’t worth the time spent worrying about the “what ifs.”

Summer is almost gone?

TMatt Mullenweg will be there. I’m really psyched about that. I feel like some things are coming full circle – A few years ago, Matt asked me to speak at a panel at SXSW and I turned it down. I feel kind of stupid having done that, but at the time, I was working for a company (not for myself, might have been more inclined to do it otherwise), as well, it meant having to travel there by plane and speak in front of people (obviously) – my two worst phobias: flying and public speaking – all rolled up into one. Anyway, I’m glad I was able to get over at least one of those fears in order to take this on.