Today I napped and did some grocery shopping. I bought flowers to cheer me up. I also harvested some lavender from my garden and added it to a bouquet. Today I'm full of fears and tears, worrying about Squirt's surgery on Monday. Here's a picture of a bumblebee sipping some lavender nectar.


Today we landed in Atlanta, then flew home to Charlottesville. It took over 24 hours to get home, what with the six hour loss of time. Exhausted, we napped, ate Bodo's bagels, gave out souvenier gifts, sorted the mail, and welcomed home Jes who is giving up her summer job as a river guide so she can actually make some money. There may not be a photo today... I'm so tired.


Today we got up and had breakfast at a cafe on the beach. I took pictures of some birds on the ground...

...then loaded up our rental car with suitcases and headed for the airport. Here is a last glimpse of Waikiki Beach, Diamondhead, and Hawaii. See the two islands? Dan kayaked out to them one day.

We flew to Los Angeles first, arriving late at night. Here's my first glimpse of the mainland...


Today I gave my paper in the morning, then headed up to the North Shore for the afternoon. Dan went scuba diving while I shopped around the quaint little town. This is a Bird of Paradise flower, the shrimp truck Dan had dinner at last night, and a canoe team out on the North Shore.


This is what Diamondhead looks like from Waikiki Beach. I went snorkeling today and it was amazing. It felt like flying through the coral reef. Unfortunately, I went snorkeling when the sun was on the horizon, so every time I looked up to see where Dan was, or how far away I was from the shore, I got stabbed in the eyes by the sunrays. By 7pm I was taking my first Maxalt pill since September of 2006 to relieve the migraine for the awards dinner I was attending (and being awarded at). Here are some photos I took earlier in the day of animals running around the Hilton Hotel complex.


First day of the conference, and I was inside the convention center all day. They served dinner in the exhibit hall, so I wasn't in need of dinner. I got a bubble tea and Dan got some sushi from this place that sold Spam sushi.


Today, after attending a workshop in the morning, Dan and I hiked to the top of the rim of Diamondhead Crater. This is an extinct volcano with a large caldera- you drive up into the caldera through a tunnel, then hike nearly a thousand feet more to the top of the rim, giving astounding views of the beach below. Tomorrow I'll try and get a photo of what Diamondhead looks like from Waikiki Beach. It's very large and looming. These photos show what the inside of the crater looks like, a view of Waikiki (where we are staying), a beautiful cardinal I saw after the descent, and a lighthouse I photographed with my telescopic zoom lens. Unfortunately, I did not eat a proper lunch (pineapple slices) and ended up with a migraine that lasted through the night.


Yesterday we left the Big Island sadly. We arrived in Honolulu late in the evening and I went straight to bed with the migraine. This morning I was fine, and spent all day in workshops while Dan got to Kayak out to two small islands. When I arrived back at the hotel, we sat on the balcony and fed a little house finch that came to visit. We walked along Waikiki Beach at dusk and had dinner at an outside cafe.


Today we drove up Mauna Kea (14,000 feet, I think) to see the telescopes and the views above the clouds. All we could see was the top of Mauna Loa and some other small eruptions. My favorite small volcano was this red one pictured. We got to go inside the Keck telescope viewing room and have a look inside. It was cold up there, and the lack of oxygen gave me a wicked headache!


Today we ventured into the Waipio Valley. Luckily we had a 4-wheel drive, a new white Jeep to take us down into the valley. The grade was 25 degrees or more in places, and we had to forge through deep streams. At the bottom, there were only a few people on the beach- a black sand beach, fine as powder. I swam in the waves near a place where a fresh stream flowed into the ocean, so the water wasn't salty. It was like being in "Lost" for real!


So many photos to choose from today. In the morning we went to the local farmer's market and the variety of flowers and fruits and produce I've never seen in my life is amazing.

The banyan trees with their big canopies are stunning here in Hilo.

We rented a silver Jeep which proved to be both good and bad. The bad part is that today it broke down on a desolate stretch of highway south of Kilauea Caldera and we waited nearly two hours for a tow truck to bring us another one. A white one. The good part was that by the time we got the white Jeep, all the tour buses had left the lava tube parking lot, and we got the whole lava tube to ourselves. Like a half mile of pitch black darkness inside a tube of frozen lava.


Flying over Oahu and the Big Island on a clear day was amazing. Here is an image of Honolulu from the air, and another of my first glimpse of the much less densly populated Big Island. Most amazing observation: The airports are basically outside. The windows are walls open to the elements. Humid yet not too hot, breezes blow through the gates and seating areas.


I brought Fran this Mocha and we had a nice talk out on her front porch today. I like the quote on the cup.


Dan's office. Needs a nice color on the walls. Any suggestions?


This morning I ran two miles with the 4-miler training group, came home and registered for the race, then fell asleep. Squirt left for Florida, and I fell asleep again on the couch sitting up while Dan was watching golf. I didn't feel like cooking dinner, so he went and got us a fresh mozzarella pizza from Vita Nova (formerly known as Sylvia's) and he decided to hang out with me instead of pruning these bushes in the picture. I'd better get some energy flowing before the big flight to Hawaii.


Freshly mown grass. Squirt is trying to earn some cash for his upcoming vacation, so he mowed the grass twice this week. We spent all morning at the doctor's office and the hospital doing x-rays and blood work and paper-signing for his surgery. We got a lot of questions answered and a lot of fears allayed. I'm still scared though, and I miss Jes, and Aza left today for the beach for the weekend. Transistions. Grass gets mowed, and it grows in thicker. Like hair, I guess. I'm being mowed this week.


I always know things are better when I clean something. Today I cleaned the laundry room. I also registered for a 12-week training program for a 4-mile run I'll be doing in September. Ian and I worked on the ASTE proposal, and he always helps cheer me up too.


Today I took my son to get his drivers permit and he passed the test. Then we went to the blood bank so he could donate a unit to himself for his upcoming surgery. Later in the evening, Dan and I went on a nice hike with the outdoor club, and I felt myself coming out of my slump. I think it was very centered on the fear of loss, and my anxiety over my son's surgery. This is a photo of Maya yearning for the great outdoors.


Today I met with my engineering professor to go over our workshop presentation and paper for the conference in Hawaii. After I got home, I had a very bad afternoon which started with a little accident denting my new car in a few places, morphed into a difficult email from an old friend, and ended up with everyone in the house wondering what became of me as I hunkered down in the bat cave under covers. I managed to come out of my covers long enough to take this photo of Maya on my office windowsill.


Today I turned my exams in, came home and tried to get rid of all the books and papers that had been piling up around my desk. It's not clean by any means, but the environment is workable. The let-down process started today.


Today I finished the last of my comprehensive exam papers, stapled four copies, and prepared to turn them in. Three months of hard work all done!


Wee Mini Van and Mini Van- together for one last day. Tomorrow Mini Van takes Jes to West Virginia to be a river guide and live in a tent for two months.


My camera, a Nikon D50.


My lavender is blooming.


Helping Squirt study for his Algebra II test.


This is a picture I took of the blue Honda Fit Sport I wanted, parked in a dealer lot in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Three hours later, I drove it home!


OK, I did NOT take this photo, so I get no credit whatsoever. But I found it today in a magazine that came to our house, and it's a photo of my daughter reflected in her friend Jacob's tuba! Isn't it awesome? You can see the online version of the magazine here and scroll down to page 39. See? Isn't that awesome? Kudos to the photographer Trevor for such an awesome picture, and to the JMU Marching Royal Dukes!


Now THIS is my rosebush. It's huge. Years ago it was a tiny little thing in a small green plastic pot, a gift from a student. That student just graduated as valedictorian of the local high school yesterday. I should show her this picture, because it's obvious she's been doing a lot of blooming herself!


This is a photo of my messy office. It's really hard to work in this chaos, but I manage.