View From The Ridge

View From The Ridge

Thursday, February 14, 2013

2012 in review

Well, it must be time to write again. I am getting e-mails wondering if everything is OK. Yes, things are fine; different but fine. In the past I looked forward to bad weather days to work on book keeping or writing. The problem (?) in Hawaii is there are no bad weather days. Consequently I have spent lots of time on the golf course, sightseeing with company or just vegetating.

2012 will go into the history books as a year of major changes for Jeri and me. Moving off the ranch after 37 years has been difficult, but not as much as I had anticipated, but more so for Jeri. Moving off of 200 acres to a 6,000 sf lot has been interesting, but again the adjustment has not been as difficult as I had imagined. Moving into a one story house has been good, since both of us were tired of the stairs in our Oregon house. Downsizing into a house 1/3 the size of our 120 + year old house has also presented challenges. Dealing with a life time of accumulation of “things” was both good and bad. It is amazing what you keep, and then when you have to get rid of “stuff”, one tends to wonder what in the world were we thinking when we decided to keep it. So this past summer we had two yard sales, made several trips to donate clothing and other things to charitable organizations, gave most of the family heirlooms and antiques to the kids, and yet still have a bunch of stuff to dispose of this coming summer. 

On the flip side of all of this, finding a new church and getting plugged in has proven much more difficult than I ever dreamed of. But it is slowly improving. Being an impatient person as I am you might be able to imagine my frustration. Jeri has joined a women’s Bible study and made new friends, and I have joined a new men’s bible study that just started up so I am meeting new people. We have finally been assigned to a care group, where we already know several of the couples, so this will be good. I have played golf with the pastor twice and we are getting better acquainted. What started as a difficult journey has finally come to an end with my realizing how self-centered my church search was. All is good on the church scene. Plus, it is so nice being only 3 or so miles from the church; beats being 20 miles away like we were for so many years. 

Golf is proving much more difficult over here. The course I play 90% of the time goes up the side of a mountain and back down, starts at 1900 ft. elevation and tops out at 2900 ft. There have been a couple of days where the clouds were so thick you had to wait until they blew through so you could get a bearing on what direction to hit, and still be able to follow the ball’s flight path for a split second in order to have some idea where to start looking for it. But, on a hot day it is much cooler playing there than down at sea level. It is also much less humid. AND, it is only 1.7 miles from the house. What a treat that is!

The fairways and rough are planted in Centipede grass, similar to Bermuda grass, only worse. In the short rough it grabs the club and sends the ball in all directions, or stops the club and the ball travels only a foot or three. And if you get into it where they haven’t cut it, it can be two feet tall and IF you find your ball, it is impossible to get it out. The views on some of the holes are to die for, though. Just beautiful. They also have a local rule that if your ball drops into an area where the fural hogs have plowed the ground up looking for grubs, you get a free drop out of it.  

And, speaking of views, we have sunsets every evening, but like snowflakes, no two are alike. We had been told that on days when there are no clouds on the horizon, you can see a green flash on the edge of the sun just as it disappears when setting. We have seen it twice but haven’t been able to catch the green in a photo. The closest I’ve come is in the enclosed picture, but it shows up as white and yellow. I will keep trying.

Then this past summer, as if I didn’t have enough health issues, I was diagnosed with pre-type II diabetes. The general thought is that the effects of a total of 14 weeks of radiation and more PET-scans and MRI’s than I can count from two episodes of cancer, are playing havoc with my Pancreas. So now I am keeping track of my glucose readings, carbs and calories. I have a diet program on my iPad, a spread sheet on my lap top keeping track of all these numbers and trying to make some sense of them. Not working but it keeps me occupied. And frustrated. I know, I am a hopelessly addicted numbers freak and it drives me crazy. It worked great when I was an IRS agent, not so much now. 

Now that the tourist season has swung into full speed, there are one or two cultural events going on every weekend. This past weekend was held at the Kings Palace where they held hula competition for different age groups. Fun watching the kids. Of course, that means more traffic. Estimates by the Hawaii DMV claim there are as many registered vehicles as there are people. I tried to research the number of rental cars that are registered on the Big Island and was unsuccessful. But from personal observation, I would guess that 25-30% of the cars on the road are rentals. Could be more, could be less, but it sure seems to be a lot. They tend to drive slower than the locals, because most of the traffic officers use unmarked personal vehicles and they love to nail the tourists in their rented Mustang and Camaro convertibles, the high powered BMWs and Mercedes. That is when they are not playing traffic controllers (flaggers) at road construction sites.  What a total waste of taxpayer's funds.
And, no, they have not ticketed the yellow Camaro. They have seen it plenty of times, and even occasionally give the “shaka” or hang loose sign, so it is becoming a familiar sight on the west side of the Island. Still get oohs and aahs from the kids and even the occasional comment by adults. Several times at church, while meeting new people, I get the comment “Oh, yes, you’re the one with the yellow Camaro!” It has been a great ice breaker. 

Starting last week, Jeri has been hosting a new ladies Bible study at our house. One of our goals when purchasing this house was being able to use it for God’s service, Bible studies, home groups, etc. That is why we have had, pretty much, an open door policy for people wanting to visit. It has been so special being able to visit with the Umplebys, Rayburns, Pattersons, our two sons and their wives, Diffenderfers and the Jaegers. And then, out of the blue, we get a call from the McFarlands who were visiting over here, who we hadn’t seen in 30 years or so. Had dinner a couple of times with them, and, of course, taught them how to play Wizard. 

So God continues to bless us, has given us our hearts desires, blessed us with visits from family and friends, and we are starting to make new friends in this new church. This past Sunday Pastor asked me to give a testimony which has, in a way, given us celebrity status for a week or two. That has opened huge doors for meeting people, and maybe, finally, ripped off the “visitor” tag. 

Yes, it has been an interesting and good year. God has been faithful, as always, in providing and answering prayer. And AGAIN I had to learn to be patient. I hate those lessons!! Sorry it has taken me over a month to write this. I’ll try to do better in the future. 

Sunset on the beach at old Kona airport

Sun down

Just another view