Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm a lovely blogger!

I won a Blog Award! Shannon, (from Shanimals Crackers) has decided to feature me by awarding me this:

Now. I wish I was as witty as Shannon when she accepted HER Lovely Blogger award, but I'm not. (oh, that and I'm starving so pancakes await) Instead, I'll just say thanks a bunches! I'd like to thank my parents for never giving up on me, my aunt's cat for giving me alone time when I need to write, and this really cushy pillow I sit on.

I'd like to spread the love and give my lovely blogger award to three other lovely ladies: Hayley over at Holding the World in a Paper Cup, Carly over at Tune into Radio Carly and Claire over at IN CHAIR. These bloggers are not only awesome writers, they're awesome people. I enjoy visiting their blogs regularly.

Now according to the award rules, I must post 7 random facts about me. Ahem:
 -I love saying hi to people.
-I love looking at google maps and checking out places that I may want to travel to.
-Clowns, Ferris wheels, and math give me the heebie jeebies.
-Thrift stores are one of my favorite places on Earth. It's like treasure hunting.
-I sneeze exactly three times before I fall asleep.
-I love the woods.
-I love bonfires and summer nights.

Thanks again Shannon! I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More new things.

Remember when I said that I wanted to try new things?
Well I've been wanting to get a cartilage piercing on my ear for awhile now....

So after a bunch of research, I finally did.

Oh yeah, one more thing: Sorry in advance Dad.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our Weekend in Maui: Part 2.

The next morning was a bit cloudy. I didn't fall back to sleep too well after returning home from dinner. Sometimes, due to cerebral palsy, my legs can tense up and hurt a bit. It's been less of an occurrence on the Hawaiian islands, but incidents do happen from time to time that I've grown to live with. Usually, my legs will tense and my muscles will be painful into the next day. I was determined to visit new sights though, not see the inside of my hotel room. I would see plenty of hotel rooms through travel in my lifetime, and sleep on lots of cushy beds and pillows, but walking around Maui would be a rarity. Popping back two aspirin, I waited until my spasms dulled, then headed to get free breakfast.

I was quite surprised at their breakfast selection. It wasn't the dry toast and cold cereal you see at a typical hotel. Downstairs, there was an actual diner, and guests of the hotel get to pick a free breakfast meal, have fresh squeezed juice and coffee. There, Auntie and I planned an itinerary for our day. First, we decided to visit The Lavender Farm:

The Lavender Farm is on the way up the Haleakala Crater. (more on that later) The property is owned by Alii Chang. He died this year, but a husband and wife team (as well as his co-workers) have taken over running the farm and keeping his dream alive. There are guided tours, an adorable gift shop and you can walk along beautiful trails, all speckled with lavender. When I entered the gift shop, there were all kinds of organic products made purely from lavender and all natural ingredients. Soaps, necklaces, earrings,  food products and teas. After purchasing a bunch of stuff for family back at home, I walked the trails.

Everything is kept immaculate. (in fact, one of the groundskeepers kept his distance to allow me to take pictures for this entry. I didn't even ask. It was so nice and thoughful of him. Oh and he probably didn't want to be on this blog or something like that. I will give a shout out to him anyway though. Thank you. You're the one who keeps this place beautiful.)

When Aunt Lynn and I grew tired of the Lavender Farm, she told me we were going somewhere else, but she couldn't tell me where. Soon, I realized why. If she told me where we were going in advance, there was a good chance I would have chickened out. When she began to drive, Auntie announced we were going to drive up the remainder of the Haleakala Crater. The Haleakala Crater is a dormant volcano that you can drive up around 10,000 ft. She didn't tell me how high we were going either. That was also probably for the best. At first, I was nervous as she drove up the winding roads.

But soon the view became more and more enthralling that I forgot to be nervous. Except when she teased me and would announce where a new cross was placed at every accident site we came across. Thanks a lot Auntie.

There are little stations you can stop at to take breaks on the drive up. FYI, this is probably a good idea, since the air changes the higher you go. If you start at the bottom and drive straight up without stopping to adjust, you could get altitude sickness. When I felt a little woozy, we pulled over to a rest stop, and I saw this view:

The blue beyond the clouds is NOT the ocean. Just the sky. Rain was happening below us, but we were up so high that we were above the storms.

Before we left to continue our journey, I had a funny idea: it took a couple of tries with my camera, but we managed. Can you fly? We did.

There's much more, but that will have to wait until my next entry. Until next time everyone!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recently, one of these guys paid a visit to me.

This my friends, is a Cane Spider. They are only found on the Hawaiian Islands and Austrailia. 

When we were in Maui, Auntie and I discovered one on the wall of a restruant we were eating at. (Nope, it wasn't an awful restruant. In fact, it was a fancy steakhouse. I guess the spider wanted steak too.) You know when, in a nightmare, you open your mouth to scream and no sound comes out? That was me.

The spider on the wall? His name is George. I named him George so I wouldn't cry. I figured if they have a name, they can't be TOO scary right? Right. Note, these are NOT George's pictures, just ones I found online of his friends, because I was too frozen in fear to take out my camera.

They are as big as you think they are.

Now, onto the big question: Are they poisonous?  Answer: Nope. Just scary as hell. They do eat the bugs though, including the roaches.

I think I'd rather see a roach.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our weekend in Maui: Part 1.

Well, I just returned home from a relaxing mini vacay in Maui. I wasn't sure what to expect when Auntie decided that it would be best if I saw another island to get a full Hawaiian experence. One thing I discovered was this: Every island is completely different.

On Oahu, you mostly think of Honolulu and Waikiki. Waikiki being a touristy attraction, and Honolulu being a bustling city. (and continuing to grow)

It's still beautiful, and you can find quite a bit of astounding sights if you know where to look, but you won't find open land. Maui on the other hand, has tiny little beach towns and lots of space. I didn't think it was possible, but even the pace is slower in Maui.

We packed quickly on Friday night for our morning flight to the island. Auntie because she was busy, myself because....well....I thought our flight was on Monday. (Oh ADD brain. How you've reared your ugly head again.) Luckily, Auntie had called me on Friday afternoon to let me know that she would be home late to pack that night. That became my cue to return home and furiously fold things into my back back.

We left around 8am for our 9:30am flight to Maui. Flights between islands (generally) don't take that long, and the Hawaiian Airlines planes are nothing like the major airline ones. As we were checking in, Aunt Lynn warned me that our plane was a "puddle jumper". I wished she had warned me a little earlier, since I get airsick practically on reflex and would need to take Dramamine in advance. The smaller the plane, the worse it is. We got through check in pretty quickly, and I managed to take a chewable pill before I boarded. As we got on the plane, I became a little nervous. We had to go outside the airport to board and walk on the terminak itself. As I climbed up the tiny staircase to our puddle jumper, I figured I was in for it. Our tickets were for open seating. Auntie and I ended up in the very last two seats on the plane.
Did I mention I'm also sicker if I'm not in the middle or closer to the front?
As the plane took off, I could feel every dip and jolt in my stomach and the spinning in my head.
"If I don't vomit on this flight, I think I'll be cured." I said.
By the time a flight attendant came around with drinks, I definitely needed something carbonated. As I was sipping, Aunt Lynn reassured me that our flight was almost over. I thought she was kidding, since we were only in the air for 15 minutes. Nope, soon we were flying over Maui, then landing.
"Are you cured?" Aunt Lynn joked.
"Eh." I replied. Saying anything else would have been risky.
Luckily, when I'm on the ground, it usually takes a half hour to return to form. By the time we got the rental car, I was back to normal. As we drove to the hotel, I was amazed at how different the landscape was. Some areas were hilly, some were flat. All were open, luscious and GREEN. We entered the  town of Kahului (Ka-hah-loo-ee), which was more populated, but nothing compared to Honolulu.

I was amused when we passed a Costco.
Note to my favorite Costco employee back home: Transfer here why don't cha? Come on. You know you want to. Every one's nicer out here. And you wouldn't have to drive I don't think.

We stopped briefly at Krispy Kreme donuts. I should note that people go crazy for these donouts in Hawaii. Sometimes, people are even willing to hop a plane just to go there for a box and return home. Seriously.

I thought they were good, but not worth getting on a plane for. Next stop was....the Maui Swapmeet! You didn't think that Auntie could get away with passing by a swap meet with me in the car did you?

I didn't think so.

After lunch....

We visited the biggest tree ever!

This is serously all one. giant. root.

And I STILL didn't get all of it. It goes across an entire park.

Unusual for us, but soon after visiting the tree, we became pretty tired. We went to the hotel to take just a brief nap, and ended up sleeping until it got dark. This means our window of opportunity to do any more activities was gone. Maui is unlike home OR Honolulu, Even on a Saturday, they close up shop by 9pm. The only place we could find that was open to eat dinner? Ihop. We concluded then that it would be best to continue our adventure the next day. I didn't realize then that our adventure was just getting started.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Well everyone, tomorrow morning (or I guess today) I'm off to Maui! (I think my writing spirit will return after this weekend. New things to see and do.) There isn't much wi-fi where we're going though, so I can't promise I'll be able to update y'all while I'm there. We've decided to stay at a beach side motel/non resort type place. (My first idea was staying at a cabin. My second idea was camping outside. Auntie vetoed both. I can't believe it. I mean, who WOULDN'T want to sleep outside among wild pigs and cook spam? Don't lie and say you've never had that dream. You totally have.

Anyway, fear not readers, I will return. (Oh who am I kidding? The only people who really read this blog is Hayley and  maybe immediate family. Ah well. Writing for me is fun.)

See ya later dudes.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

This blog is now on Twitter!

Hey everyone! Just wanted to let you know that my blog is now on Twitter! Follow me here @dreamsinthepalm if you like. Now I just have to figure out how to link my twitter page with this blog. (putting a tweet option on this blog is harder then it looks it seems)


Recently, Auntie and I went on a picnic along a tiny, out of the way beach.

I loved it. It was quiet and peaceful, and you could be alone with your thoughts.

Auntie has been bogged down with finals and work recently. I asked her if I was taking away from her study time (not that we see each other much anyway) She replied: "I'm afraid if I sink my nose into the books all the time I'll never get to spend time with you. And we may never have this time again." I thought that was sweet of Auntie to say.

We had dinner, then stayed on the beach until it got dark. I've been so intent on seeing landmarks that I've forgotten about things as simple as a sunset. Sometimes, it's the little things that are the most magical. I have a feeling that time Auntie and I spent together will be what I remember most about Hawaii.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Hey everyone! I know there has been major gaps in my entries lately and that I haven't been writing as often as I used to. Truthfully, that's because there isn't much to write about. I'll be hitting the pavement and visiting more landmarks soon. I'm also going to Maui with Auntie on June 13th, so I'll be writing all about that as well.

Just wanted to give you all a heads up. :) Haven't forgotten y'all. Aloha!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Oh Brother.

I mentioned in this entry that I've been enjoying traveling alone, meeting new people and seeing new places. I've discovered my love for the islands and the west coast. I'd love to see more and travel a lot. I know in the future, New Jersey is probably not where I'll end up staying. I'll admit it, while I'm so comfortable with my friends back at home, sometimes I don't feel like I belong back at home for a lot of reasons. I really don't know where I fit still, but I'm having a great time figuring it out. There's people that I'd miss terribly though, and those people are Brother 1 and Brother 2.

Brother 1 (aka, Kevin, aka simply "Brother"), is my twin and one of my best friends. I can tell Brother anything and everything without feeling self-conscious, or odd about it. I'm only minutes older then Brother, but I do like to tease him to "respect his elders". We've shared birthdays, classes at school and even some friends, all while being our own people. Both of us share a love for movies and other various forms of pop culture. I can tell when Brother is not himself, and he can tell when I'm not myself either.

I credit Brother for introducing me to my love of music. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was read books. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I didn't branch out my interests) When we were about 8 years old, Brother asked for a tape player and cassettes for his birthday. I thought it was an odd gift for him to ask for, but once he started listening to music, he never stopped. When we were in grade school, Brother would take his tape player and blast music in his room, all while talking to me about his day. I wasn't interested in all of the subjects that he discussed, but that didn't matter. I loved talking to Brother. As we talked, sometimes he would interrupt and point out what song was playing, who it was by and even what instruments were in the background. I didn't have any favorite artists that I liked, but I did (most of the time) enjoy what he listened to.

When we were 13, he graduated from his now worn tape player to a CD player with big speakers. I liked that CD player. It lasted FOREVER. By this point, I enjoyed songs. I still wasn't sure what music I liked on my own, but I was getting there. It was around this age that Brother began creating his own music. He was learning guitar and bass and he knew how to sing. I don't believe he thought much of it, but he was very talented. We hung out with our own groups of friends by this point. There were many ups and downs throughout our lives. My health deteriorated greatly in my young teens, and although I don't remember much on how it felt, I remember being in a lot of pain. Kevin brought a great comfort to me, because the routine was always consistent. I wasn't always in school. I didn't always see our friends. I was in and out of X Ray offices and had too many doctors and hospital visits. But at the end of the day, there was always music.

In adulthood, the setting changed and of course we're no longer school aged children. But once or twice a week, I went to Kevin's for dinner. He now plays his Ipod, and I show him my own favorites. Thanks to Brother, I have a very electric taste of my own. Without his help, I don't think I would have ever come across my love for folk music and acoustic guitars. The artists I listen to, everything from Bob Dylan, the Everly Brothers, Feist, Schuyler Fisk....that's all due to him. He's now amazing at guitar, (owns about 8 of them I believe).

Brother always looks out for me too. Sometimes I think he worries about me, although I don't think he'll admit it. I pretend I don't notice him peeking out his front window, making sure I get to my car okay if I leave at night. I know it must have not been easy when I announced I was going to Hawaii, because it's awfully hard (if not impossible), to look out for me from 6,000 miles away. Still, Brother always encourages me, no matter what kind of spot I might be in. He believes I can do anything, even when I don't believe it. He also calls out my BS so to speak, and I do to him as well. I can say things to him that no one else can say and he won't get mad. That's Brother.

Brother 2 (aka, Dan) is also amazingly talented. He's free spirited, an artist, and always beats to his own drum. He can make anything into art. He can paint, sculpt, draw and is awesome as photography. I too, love photography, and I owe Brother 2 for my interest in it, but I only wish I could be as good as Dan:

I admire Brother 2 because when he wants to do something, he just does it. He doesn't worry about what people think of him. He doesn't worry if people disagree with his ideas. Dan is Dan. Last year, he and his girlfriend Gen took a 6 week trip all over Europe. I always admired that trip. I think it's one of the reasons I have this blog and made my own travel adventure to Hawaii in the first place.

I would be doing a disservice to this entry if I didn't include another amazing person in our family, and that is Gen:

Gen has been part of our little group for so long that I don't remember when she wasn't. She too, is artistic. She's also a fashion maven, a dancer and a dance teacher. I wasn't able to go to one of the plays she was choreographing, because I was here. One of the best things about Gen is how fun she is. She has an awesome sense of humor and you're guaranteed to have a blast when you hang out with her. I should mention that she is this blog's #1 fan. Really. She said so.

And so, while it's been hard to be away from them, I do feel lucky that I'm surrounded by them. I feel lucky to have siblings in my lives. Sometimes I don't feel as smart, as talented, or mature as they are. (Most of the time, I feel like the younger sibling, rather then the other way around) But Brothers 1 and 2 accept me as I am, flawed and all.

These are my brothers and they are good.

I'm not sure what talents I possess, or what value I bring to people, but I know what these people bring to me. I can only hope I'll continue to be inspired by them and the rest of my family (like Dad and Lynda) as I continue to take baby steps out into this brand new world. I know how proud I am of them.

I hope to make them proud.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Volunteering at the Oahu SPCA

Recently, I began a volunteer position at the Oahu SPCA. I knew I wanted to get some experience and get out there, but I wasn't quite sure how to go about it.  I contacted the SPCA after the Honolulu Pet Expo and they said they were happy to have me.

I will say, to get to the SPCA in Kapolei from downtown Honolulu, you have to make a day out of it, at least if you're traveling by bus. It's only about 18 miles away, but with all the traffic and all the stops in my area, it can take up to three hours one way to get there, and maybe an hour a half to return at the earliest. (I can take the C express coming home, but not going there, which means less stops on the way back.) I began my tenure on May 21st. The people there are just lovely, with Cyn, Candice and Marley really standing out and going out of their way to get you accustomed. In fact, I missed my orientation completely due to a late bus and getting on the wrong transfer. I was originally going to return June 10th (the next orientation), but once everyone realized how far I traveled, they let me learn from Candace. Staff immediately took note of my physical struggles and didn't want me to be injured taking care of a large dog. Old me would have gone to the dogs anyway, in spite of the risk of injuring myself. New me found it very, very hard to walk away from them. The solution is that I mostly work with cats, small dogs, puppies and kittens. The first few days, I worked with these guys:

Make no mistake, I enjoy all animals, but I am generally not a cat person. I don't dislike them, but I think I just find cats a big mystery. I can tell you what breed a dog is (or what he's mixed with) generally by looking at him. (in fact, this is a game the dad often plays with me. He'll point to the TV at a commerical or a show and say: "Katie what dog is that?") I can tell a dog is happy, sad, stressed or angry just by their expressions and body language. I'm generally not afraid of most dogs. (with the exception of a vicious dog I might encounter by chance that's bigger then me.)

Cats? Cats are another story. When I was five, we had a cat once. His name was Arthur and he was evil. I think there was something wrong with him, because he would generally "hunt" my brothers and I. He would sneak around corners to find us then pounce, scratch and bite us. We never provoked Arthur (we didn't dare). We were afraid to touch him. Eventually, I became anxious to walk around the living room, the hallway, the kitchen or anywhere Arthur might reside. One night while my then three year old brother was sleeping, Arthur snuck onto his bed and attacked his face.
The cat was out the door after that.

Naturally, we're all still weary of cats, and I know I have a bit of a cat phobia. Took me awhile to realize not all cats are Arthur. You can imagine how fast my heart raced when I walked into this:

Things I've learned about cats:
1) Their faces and body language are an open book to me.
2) I can't tell you what kind of cat any of them are.
3) (some) cats don't like being petted. (found THAT out the hard way)
4) Cats do NOT come when called.
5) Cats do what they want. (see 4)
6) Give a cat a giant cardboard box from Costco and he'll love ya.
7) Catnip is like cocaine.
8) Some cats are awesome and adore you. You just have to figure out which ones they are.

To do this, I entered the cat room with caution, sat in a chair, and waited for them to come to me. (I'd advise you to do this with any animal really, but especially with cats) Some ignored me. Some leered at me. Finally though, three cats came up to be rubbing themselves on my legs and purring in greeting as if to say "Welcome to the cat room." I cautiously petted one, who then jumped in my lap for more cuddles. Eventually, we graduated from petting to brushing, then I placed him on the floor, grabbed a cat wand, and began waving it around to see what he'd do. Turns out, what he did was have a grand old time chasing it, swatting it, pouncing on it, and biting it.

Soon the other cats joined in. Then I left Cat Room 2 (nicknamed "The Fat Cat room") and went to Cat Room 1, where the younger cats were. It was here that I met my favorite of all the cats.

This is Blue:
He's part Siamese, and he's been at the SPCA for awhile. I don't know why, because he really is such a friendly cat. Blue is pretty independent (perfect for people who don't work from home). He doesn't need much and loves to perch on a window sill most of the day. Once he has an audience though (like when I walked into the room) he'll show off for you. He also likes having his picture taken, so of course my camera came out.

Don't mind me. I'm talkin.

I also met Gin:

Gin's another love bug. All he wants is cuddles. He's a tiny cat, with some allergies, so you have to keep his nose and eyes clean. (which I was more then happy to assist with, and he was more then happy to wipe himself on my shirt) He's pretty shy though, so it was hard to get his face.

On Monday, I got to visit my true loves: DOGS! The second I walked into the kennels, I was home. My heart was broken with my dog Noah (long story on that one), but I fell in love all over again with the dog I was assigned to play with.

This is Teddy Bear. His name matches his personalty to a T.

He loves to play. And run. And jump. And bounce. I think he even did a flip for me when we wrestled with his toys. As far as I can tell, he doesn't know how to sit (he might be just anxious though). He does have excellent impulse control. (I hold the toy in my hand towards my chest, and he waits very patiently for me to throw it. I started off making him wait very briefly for the toy--only seconds because that's all he could handle--then rewarding him with praise when he didn't jump on me for it. We're slowly increasing the time. When he jumps or nips, I turn my back on him. He hates that, so he tries so hard to avoid it, bless his little heart. Unlike in Noah, there is no aggression what so ever in Teddy Bear. He wants to please you constantly. The hardest part of our sessions is the end, because Teddy Bear hates it when I leave. He tries to chase after me, he whines for me to return, and he even attempted to bolt out of the kennel after me. (I usually need a second person on hand to assist with Teddy Bear, just in case he gets out to follow me.) I usually try to not look back and tell myself that I'll be back to see him. Helps me get on the bus. If it were up to me, that little dog would be in my arms and on the next plane back to New Jersey with me, but I know now isn't the time for a dog in my life I also know realistically I don't have the energy to keep up with Teddy Bear. My goal is to get him adopted to the family he deserves before I go home.

And that's a little insight over what I've been doing lately. Working at the SPCA has been incredibly humbling and I'm inspired by the good they do. I know some Hawaii residents read my blog, so if you can help out in anyway, please call (808) 754-1519. We're open Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 3pm if you want to check out any of the pets featured or are interested in adoption. For more information, go to