We just got back from almost two weeks in Hawaii and we already want to go back. It was great hanging out with family, going to the beach, eating lots of wonderful food and playing tourist. We were there for Grandma’s birthday and started out the week going out to a Chinese restaurant to celebrate. The kids loved hanging out with Jordan and the three of them spent lots of time chasing the hundreds of lizards that thrive in Grandpa’s back yard. Dan got Jordan and Miles to play this new card game he got called Munchkin and ended up playing almost every night before bed time. There were trips to the beach, hiking, sightseeing, the Bishop Museum, the state Farm Fair and lots of shopping and eating. We spent one morning visiting the spot at Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery where Jeanine spread Mom’s ashes. It’s a beautiful spot with a great view that she would have loved and visiting it made us all miss her again. We spent our last day going over old pictures and then going to a fantastic buffet, full of foods that are hard to find at home. We can’t wait until our next visit. Scroll down for two albums full of more pictures.
We were early for our tour of the capitol this morning so we visited the Supreme Court first. There were lots of reporters there because they were hoping for a decision on whether Obamacare was legal or not, but they just decided some FCC rule making stuff, instead. Then we checked in at our Congressman Jerry McNerney’s office where one of his staff members gave us a personal tour of the Capitol building. It was cool because we walked right by the thousands of people waiting for the public tours. We sat in the House of Representatives gallery and saw the same view we see on CSPAN live. We visited the Capitol rotunda, the room under the dome, which is one of the most beautiful rooms anywhere. After that we went to the Library of Congress which looked a lot more like a church than a library. We finished up with the Smithsonian Postal Museum which made us think a lot about my mom who worked at the post office for most of her life. The kids really liked hearing about the Post Office mascot Owney, a stray dog that ended up riding the mail trains. We ended the day with a mediocre meal at a mediocre restaurant. Great day except for the part where I left the souvenirs I bought in the cab on the way home.
We really packed in the Hawaii activities this weekend starting by going to a very crowded craft and food fair on Saturday with Grandma and Jordan. We saw tons of shirts and jewelry and other fashion items and tasted a thousand different types of food. We left with some trinkets, some li hing kettle corn, and some dead animals preserved in resin. Dan got an octopus and immediately named him Bobby Flay because he thought Bobby Flay might have made some good calimari with it if he had gotten the chance. Elizabeth got a gecko, which was appropriate since she’s been chasing lizards and geckos since we got here. Jordan got a hermit crab. We went to Sam Choy’s for lunch, and Miles joined us to watch Hawaii beat up on Tulane for dinner.
On Sunday we brought flowers to Punchbowl Cemetery where three of Sandy’s uncles are interred and where Jeanine had spread mom’s ashes. It is a very beautiful location.
After that we toured the grounds of Honolulu City Hall, Iolani Palace and the State Capitol. Then we went to the Arizona Memorial but were kept from actually going all the way to the site because high winds made it too hard for the boats to take us there. We still went through the museum and were able to look across Pearl Harbor to see the memorial and the battleship Missouri. Dan, Liz and I were impressed by this giant snail, but Jordan didn’t understand why since she sees them that size all the time.
We then drove out the new Aulani Disney Resort on the West side of Oahu. It was lacking in Disney-ness in lots of ways and while very pretty, it could have been a Hyatt or Marriott. Still Dan was impressed by the river pool and water playground and wants to stay there some day. This time we just ate at the hotel buffet which was very tasty but also very expensive. I still can’t get to sleep at 1:30 a.m. because I ate so much. Now I’ll have to tone down the eating for the rest of the vacation.
I have many great memories of my mom, who passed a year ago today, but one thing she told me when I was growing up stuck with me. She told me she didn’t care what I did with my life just as long as I was happy doing it. Because of her wisdom, support, and inspiration I now find myself very happy with my life. I have a great family, wonderful friends, and a job that pretty much has me doing the same thing I was doing when I was five playing in my room; looking down at little vehicles and making them do things, only instead doing it from the edge of my bed with matchbox cars, I’m doing it from a control tower with airliners.
Every day, I think about my mom and miss her. But I always am remembering things she’s done or said to me and those memories keep her here with me.
Jeanine, Wade, Luke and Michael took Babette to Hawaii and spread her ashes at the Punchbowl Memorial Cemetery. Mom loved Hawaii and often said that she wanted to retire there. But as we all know MS made that impossible. Jeanine picked a perfect quiet spot, under a tree, with a wonderful view of Honolulu. Surrounded by lots of brave servicemen (it is a military cemetery), she is in a perfect place. We plan on visiting the site when we go to Hawaii this Thanksgiving. We all miss Mom so much.
So Michael came down for a couple of days before Thanksgiving and stayed with us. We mostly just hung out but we did go see some cars and motorcycles at Arlen Ness and Kassabian Motors. Then on Thanksgiving day Jeanine, Wade, Luke and Rex came up. We ate tons, played games and drank lots of beer. Jeanine brought Babette’s ashes and we realized that it was the first time mom has been in our house. Hope she liked it. Mike drove all night on Thanksgiving to get back to work but the rest of the family stayed two more days and helped us get rid of some of the massive amounts of leftovers. MMMMM turkey sandwiches.
It has been a rough month saying goodbye to my mom. Babette had been in the hospital for months and I think she saw the end coming, but no amount of planning or expectation would have made her passing any easier for her family. I want her to still be with us, hoping for a cure for MS, seeing her grandkids, and sharing our lives.
That being said, she was in a bad way before the end. She was in constant pain and needed lots of morphine and other painkillers. We traced most of the pain to her teeth and after Jeanine and I struggled to get the money to pay the dentist to treat her, we hoped that would make her want to go on. In the end the pain was too much and she had to let go. So in a way, I am selfish for wanting her to try and continue when she clearly needed to go to a better place.
The funeral was perfect in every way and she would have thought so. Michael and Daniel served as lectors during the mass and I know she would have gotten a kick out of that. The reception afterward had a Hawaiian theme and the mai tais were flowing, very much to her liking, too, I’m sure.
I am amazed and grateful for the enormous support we received, I can never thank those people enough for being there.
I was not there for her actual passing and that will make it much easier for me to remember her as the living, loving, wonderful woman she was to us.
And like Jeanine said during the mass, I hate MS.
So with three kids having to put up with the mostly somber few days, we needed something to cheer everyone up. It seemed only appropriate that we spend the day after Mom’s funeral going somewhere where she took us kids dozens of times and always loved visiting, Sea World. Jeanine, Wade, Sandy, Joe, and four of Babette’s grandkids all drove down in the morning and spent the whole day doing what a healthy Babette spent many a weekend day doing, watching fish, and whales, and eating, and playing and having a great time in beautiful San Diego.
We went to LA for a few days to visit Grandma and go to a rare Dodgers/A’s game in Dodger Stadium. After the game the kids went to stay with Jeanine and Wade for a wonderful time at Disneyland, and Joe and Sandy went to stay in an LA hotel for a wonderful time, too.