Archive for March, 2011


Last year my friend Susie and I decided it was time to go on a cruise to Hawaii.  The waters were very rough as we left San Diego and we were both seasick for a few days so our trip didn’t start out very good but it definitely made up for the discomfort once we arrived in beautiful Hawaii.

Our first stop was Hilo, on the Big Island.  The first thing that I noticed was the banyan trees.  They were absolutely huge and beautiful!

Banyan tree in Hilo

We met a wonderful taxi driver who drove us around the area showing us beautiful waterfalls and scenery.  Of course we had to make a stop at Hilo Hattie’s to shop a bit, too!

Waterfall in Hila

He then dropped us off at Liluokalani Gardens, a 30 acre beautifully landscaped Japanese garden with arching red bridges over fishponds, huge turtles in the water, rock gardens and views of Hilo Bay and Moku Ola (Coconut Island).   We strolled around taking in the beauty for several hours until calling the taxi to return us to the ship. 


Our next stop was the historic town of Lahaina on Maui.  Besides the charming buildings that greeted us as we came ashore the first thing that we noticed was the huge Banyan tree in Courthouse Square.  This tree was brought to Maui from India when the tree was only eight-feet tall.  It was planted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Lahaina’s first Christian mission.  The tree now is about 50 feet tall and extends over 200 feet from side to side.  What an awesome sight!

Giant Banyan tree in Lahaina

From there we took a bus out to Whalers Village to go swimming on Ka’anapali Beach.  The beach was practically deserted that day so we had a great time having the beach to ourselves.  Then back to Front Street to have lunch at Forrest Gumps.


Forrest Gumps

 That was all the time we had on this beautiful island so back to the ship!

The next day we arrived at Nawiliwili, Kauai.  Susie’s brother and his wife were also taking a cruise around the islands and this just happened to be one of the islands that we were both on at the same time.  We met and went out to breakfast and caught up on our adventures.

Susie, David and me

Then we were off to take our kayaking trip up the Hule’ia jungle stream through mangroves and into the heart of the Kauai island jungle.  We passed the living archeological site called Alekoko, a fish pond preserving the fishing methods of the ancient Hawaiians.  We could see a couple of the gates that were used centuries ago.  Susie had never kayaked before and this was just my second time so we zigzagged a bit as we were going up-stream.  It was the perfect place for us beginners though.  It had a very gentle current and the winds blow inland here so it helped in pushing the kayakers up-stream.  Easy as pie!  The trip was beautiful. 

Lush jungle along the Hule'ia jungle stream

Then we got out of our kayaks and hiked through the jungle to the Hidden Valley Falls and swimming hole as the tour guide showed us native edible plants and nuts as well as the beautiful flowers, plants and streams.  What an adventure this was!  I never thought I would ever get to say that I kayaked up a jungle stream, much less hiking through a jungle.  It will always be a wonderful memory for me!

Tying up the kayaks

Jungle walk

Me and Susie at Hidden Valley Falls

My next post will be the second half of my Hawaiian adventure!

March 19, 2011 at 6:37 am Leave a comment

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office K9 fund

This is a letter that was sent to my sister in Wenatchee, WA.  I think it’s a good cause and wanted to pass along the letter in case any of you would be interested in donating to this important cause.

K-9 Moose and Deputy Brent Pfannenstiel

The Douglas county Sheriff’s Office is committed to the peace and security of our community.  One of our greatest challenges is suppressing drug crimes.  As you well know, drug use has a clear connection with other criminal endeavors such as theft, fraud, driving under the influence, and serious crimes of violence.  An important tool available to law enforcement in this battle is police dogs (referred to as K-9’s) capable of detecting drugs through their keen sense of smell.  The dog we have now is nearing the end of her service life and we have started to plan for a replacement animal.  The training of the dog and handler, specialized equipment, veterinarian care, and upkeep supplies represent a large investment for our office.  We have set up a special line item in our budget to allow organizations and private citizens to contribute to our police dog program to help us ensure we don’t lose this vital law enforcement tool.  Your generous contribution to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office K-9 fund is greatly appreciated and an investment to keep our community safe and desirable.  Thank you for your support of county law enforcement.

Donations can be sent to:
Douglas County Sheriff
110 NE 2nd Street, Suite 200
East Wenatchee, WA 98802

Best regards,
Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal

March 12, 2011 at 11:41 pm Leave a comment

A story about Guess, the 5 month old Schnauzer-poodle


I’m sure a lot of you have heard the story about Guess, the 5 month old Schnauzer-poodle that was in the news last month when the owner tried to ship him from Minneapolis to Georgia in an airtight box.  But in case you haven’t, I just had to write about him, especially since it turned out to be a happy ending.

Apparently Stacey Champion, the owner of Guess decided to ship him to Georgia as a gift for her 11-year-old son.  Employees at the Loring Station post office in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota knew something was amiss when a box waiting to be shipped to Georgia started to move by itself.  Then postal workers heard breathing coming from inside the box.  After some time, the breathing grew slower and less frequent.  That’s when US Postal Service Inspector Jesse Swanson gave permission to open the box.  To everyone’s surprise, there was a little black puppy inside.

Sealed box that Guess was being shipped in

It turns out that Stacey Champion of Minneapolis had packed the puppy in the box without any food or water and tried to mail it  to her son in Georgia as a birthday present. It’s not known whether Champion was aware that air mail is shipped on unheated cargo planes, but she certainly ought to have known better than to do what she did. The puppy would have certainly frozen to death or died of suffocation.

Stacey has lost ownership of the puppy and was charged with animal cruelty on Feb. 7th.  Guess was sent to the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Shelter where he was put up for adoption.  Many people came to the shelter expressing an interest in adopting Guess.  Because of the high demand, the Humane Society held a lottery drawing to pick an owner.

Terri Ford of South Minneapolis was the lucky lottery winner and adopted Guess, one of about 50 who showed up to put their names into the drawing.  Ford says she’ll probably change his name and then ease him into his new life which he’ll share with a black cat named Mr. Danvers, named after a character in an Alfred Hitchcock film.

With his new owner Terri Ford

Good luck Guess!  And a special Thank You to the postal workers who took the time to investigate!

March 5, 2011 at 7:12 am Leave a comment