Last Day Of Bootcamp

If you haven’t heard me whining, our time on this island is coming to an end. Sigh. Yesterday was the first nail in the coffin that is our time in Hawaii…my last day of bootcamp. It was bittersweet. I had a hard time not tearing up and it wasn’t the 24 reps of everything we did…literally 24 reps. 

I started bootcamp in March after Tye died. I have mentioned before that I felt like my first year in Hawaii was wasted, one of life’s regrets. There were months of figuring out what was wrong with my kidneys, surgeries to repair the damage, Tye’s death, a trip to the mainland. Lots of bad things have happened during this tour. It takes seeing the bad to appreciate the good. Maybe that’s why I’ve loved Hawaii so much. 

My first bootcamp was also the first bootcamp that my friend Jen taught. Like everything else there have been ups and downs with this class. The class lost childcare. They changed locations. They changed locations again and again. Jen even went to a different location for a few months. During that time I was introduced to another great trainer. Lots of ups and downs.

Let’s be honest. Anyone who knows me knows that I never lost a pound with bootcamp. I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. I am stronger. I have much more endurance. I’m more confident. Two years ago I wouldn’t have jumped off a cliff. I might have been afraid of getting to the top or what I looked like. Two weeks ago, I paddled two miles to climb to a cliff and jump off. I didn’t think twice about taking this picture. That wouldn’t have happened two years ago.


And I’ve made some really great friends. I got to know my neighbors. We laughed and joked while we ran through Jen’s paces. It was great. 

Tomorrow I’ll wake up and try to do it on my own. It won’t be as fun. It won’t be the same but I’ll get it done with the knowledge and training I received from Jen. I’ll miss the motivation and the laughs. I’ll miss the joking whimpers. Life will go on. My little McGrew Crew will always hold a place in my heart. 

Mahalo nui loa, Jen. There aren’t many people who can make me want to work out. I’ll miss you ladies.


Read More

When Your Husband Is Away

I just wanted to take a second and jot down a few notes about things that happen when I have to function as a single parent. Ray really hasn’t had all that much travel with this job. Just one of the many things I love about Hawaii. I’m spoiled in so many ways. Anyway, last week Ray was off to D.C. leaving me at home as acting Mom and Dad. Here are a few of my notes.

  • When Ray is away, I’m sometimes concentrating so hard on everything that I have to get done in a day that I drive right by the school that I’m supposed to be dropping kids off at. U-turn anyone?
  • Jack can somehow find something to tattle tale on me about to his beloved aid while Ray’s away almost every day. “I’m telling Mr. Arnie, Mom!” seems to be on repeat in my house. 
  • When Ray is away and I’m at soccer until 6:50 p.m. barely hanging on to my sanity at least three nights a week, we eat out or crappy food or out. Did I mention I miss Ray?
  • I also get to see sweet moments like this one… Maybe this shouldn’t be on the list of not so great things. IMG_6177
  • The weekend that Ray’s away somehow is always the one with the band concert that lasts until 10 p.m. Thank goodness I have friends that invite my kids to watch movies and be totally entertained and spoiled while I’m off watching their sister. (Thanks Chan!)
  • Someone doesn’t like to have her picture taken when she’s playing. That has nothing to do with her father being away but I just needed to throw that in there.IMG_6216
  • On one Saturday there can be soccer games and all day science fairs…on two different parts of the island. Did I mention that I can’t be in two places at once? Thanks goodness for neighbors that understand. IMG_6231
  • Did I mention the really great birthday party that Jack and Bria were over 2 hours late for? No… they had fun anyway.IMG_6250
  • There was also a moment when my daughter told me that I’m like Hannah Montana. Apparently I’m two different people. I’m much kinder and nicer and not as angry when my hair is down. Apparently it’s pulled up A LOT when Ray is out of town. 
  • I had more parenting fails before 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning than most people have in an entire week. Rushing one to get ready for soccer, hurting another’s feelings by asking her to change her clothes, waking a certain boy up to get going for the day… the list goes on and on and on and well you get the idea. 

I have to say, I feel like I used to be better at this. I’m out of practice. That’s not a bad thing. To sum up, single parents have my respect. Parenting isn’t a walk in the park and I am ever so happy to have my husband back home where he belongs!

Read More

A Visit With Lori

I talk about Bria and her BFF Katey a lot. When I was Bria’s age, my buddy Lori lived almost as close as Katey. She was a wheat field away. We could often be found walking through that overgrown field to play all day. There were clubhouses built in old tobacco barns, hopscotch marks laid out on uneven lines in the path in front of her porch and all sorts of mischief to get into. Lori moved to Nashville for a while and then back home as I went into high school. She had her driver’s license long before I did and I was always more than happy to tag along. Her first baby was born when I was a sophomore in college. She’s just sort of always been around. Unfortunately, I haven’t always been. I got married and moved to the ends of the earth. I bump into her every now and then on our brief visits home but I haven’t really been able to catch up with her in, well 20 years or so. Am I that old? Don’t answer that!

This week I was pretty excited to hear that she was visiting my little island. I was even more excited when she asked to hang out with us for a bit. She probably had no idea what she was biting off since we are thick in the middle of soccer/honor band/play practice. Bless her. She’s a pretty good sport considering her kids are grown.

In the short time she was with me I decided that she needed to get acquainted with my little spot here on the island. We started with shave ice.

I think maybe she’s a fan.

Then there was a brief Ford Island tour to share some of the rich history of Pearl Harbor.

The next day I managed to get her over to the Mac Nut farm where she literally got a taste of Hawaii. Fresh shaved coconut!

Of course there was also the obligatory fire dance, movie lot tour and ride out is a huge barracuda-filled fish pond. 

We finished up her brief visit with soccer practice. You can’t visit the Stiffs without a little soccer! Then we ate some local grub. 

I hope she wasn’t too disturbed with way we inhale a Kalua pig sandwich…soccer makes us hungry!

It was a great visit.  I’m so glad we got the opportunity to catch up. Aloha Lori! Come again soon.

Read More

A Close Encounter

On Monday I arrived at my Bootcamp class to be greeted by 3 little friends. It’s not unusual to see many different species of tropical birds here. There were cute little guys hanging out beside us. My friend, Chantelle mentioned that she thought they were Hawaiian Stilts. 

Guess what! They were! One more cooler than cool thing about living on my little island. Since then she found out that the Hawiian Stilts are endangered. They are found only in Hawaii and there are only about 1,500. Their Hawaiian name is ae’o. 

I caught a couple of pictures from my phone. 

Thanks Chan for the info! You have been the best tour guide for our little three-year tour!

Read More

My Big Fat Hawaiian Adventure

I’ve paddled to the Mokes once before. Did you know “moke” in Hawaiian is slang for redneck? Yeah, maybe that’s why I like to head out to the Mokes so much. Nā Mokulua are the twin islands you see from Bellows or Lanikai. The big one is Moku Nui. The smaller one is Moki Iki. A year ago I went out with a spouse group. We climbed to the Queen’s bath on Moku Nui. This year, the weather was a little more unpredictable. The water was super choppy but the waves were low. We made our way around to Shark’s Cove. It’s a little inlet on the back side of the island. My pictures don’t do it justice. 

We started with the two mile paddle from Bellows to the islands. 

DSCF0543Words can’t describe the beautiful turquoise of the waters there. The cloud cover mellowed it yesterday but it was still gorgeous. You can see the bottom. A rock formation that’s 15-20 feet deep looks close enough to reach out and touch. 


It doesn’t even feel like exercise when this is your view. It feels like exercise today when I really don’t want to move my arms much but still. It’s always great to share a kayak with a friend. She didn’t even complain about my complaining!

The views once you get on the island are spectacular. 








When you get to the back side, the sun glistens on the water as it rushes in over the rocks. It literally took my breath away. It was a little like it’s own little world. I’m surprised they haven’t filmed a movie back there. I guess it would be hard to get everything back there but still. It was nothing short of gorgeous.


My pictures don’t do it justice. 

Then the climbing began. Of course, I volunteered and broke my neck to climb up to be first to jump. Of course, I did think twice at the top. You have to think twice when you are about to leap into something called shark’s cove knowing you’ve seen tiger sharks in the vicinity before. I could see to the bottom and there was nothing to bother me but a rocky ledge. 


This would be Joe telling me where to jump and doing a good bit of teasing. Frankly, I knew I’d be jumping because no way was I climbing back down!

I jumped! (I’m borrowing this picture from my friend.)

It’s almost as great a feeling as surfing. Seriously. I went twice even with popping ear pain. 

After all that adrenaline, it was a bit of a hike back to the kayak. I was so ready for a nap after the two mile paddle back to the beach. Can I tell you I LOVE LOVE LOVE this trip like I LOVE LOVE LOVE this island. I was unbelievably tired last night. My neck and shoulders were achy but I was filled with Aloha and it’s the best sort of high.

DSCF0575 DSCF0573 DSCF0571 DSCF0569 DSCF0579


It was a good day!


Read More

So Much Material 

Over the past week or so I’ve been busy. I met a friend for lunch over on Hickam Beach. As we sat there enjoying the gorgeous views and beautiful weather I watched a sailing class come in from their lesson. Then I watched as a sub headed out of the harbor. F22s sounded that sweet sound of freedom, you know the noise so loud you’re sure at any moment they might land in the middle of my lunch. As I drove away and saw the palm trees swaying, I nearly cried wondering how many more times I would have opportunities like that.

This week I managed to take an old friend to Shark’s Cove, hit a shrimp truck, see all those sights on Hickam, tour Ford Island, get a tour of a Hollywood television lot, enjoy a fire dance, paddle a kayak 2 miles to the Mokes, jump off a cliff and see one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen on this island. There is so much to talk about. 

Ray is off island. Before he left he said, “You realize this is it? It’s the beginning of the end, the start of a move.” I swear to you it was all I could do to dam the tears before I sent him to the airport. I do not want it to be the end and I will be a basket case when it really is time to leave. I told him he’s lucky. In 20 years this is the first time I am not excited about the new adventure.

My time here is short, so short. The opportunities are seemingly endless. There is so much left on my bucket list and so much I know I won’t do. Tonight I was wondering where I would start to blog the adventures of the past week when I saw that the National Weather Service posted a photo to help people get through winter. 

All it did was remind me how little time I have left. Yes, I know I can visit but there is nothing like living here. I also know that by the time I get back I’ll be lucky to get my rear on a paddleboard much less a surf board. To add insult to injury my surf instructor wanted to know where the hell I’ve been today. 

So, I’ll have plenty of time to blog while I wait on a maintenance man tomorrow. Tonight, I’m amending my Hawaii bucket list. I’m am determined  to suck all the aloha that I can get right out of this place before I leave if it kills me!

Read More