Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mr. Gordon Wagner...A New Work.

Lest everyone suspected I'd given up painting...Gordon is a good friend and a neighbor here in the building and I have painted his portrait a couple of times.  Those attempts were not successful, but we recently had him here for a long-promised, full-blown Italian dinner.  The dinner was originally supposed to celebrate the unveiling of his portrait, but you now know how that turned out. 
The 30 x 24-inch canvas was previously toned and here's the initial lay-in.

So, last Sunday evening, the dinner was served to rave reviews by Gordon and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  Later, following the meal, I accompanied him to his condo and he showed me a photo he said was his favorite.  I offered to have another go at his portrait, using the image he likes so well.
The photo.  Gordon said his brother "Photo-shopped" it onto the background.

I've worked on it for three sessions and here it is today.  It's not a pose I would normally choose to work from, but if I can produce a portrait acceptable to him, you won't hear any complaints from me.  I'm doing my best to keep it loose for a change.  How long I can sustain "looseness" remains to be seen!    
If he ends up liking this, won't we all be surprised!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday, 20 February 2012.

We were having a friend over for dinner tonight, so after I'd done most of my stuff to prepare for the affair, it was time for a jog to allow for a generous intake of caloric delights.  On the route today, despite many politician's words to the contrary, it appeared to me that our economy is beginning to improve.
 I have no idea what these huge fish hooks are for.  Maybe they're trying to catch a giant sturgeon or maybe even "Portland Nessie".  This is the Orient Alliance from I don't know where, but taking on Oregon stuff and paying for it is always a good thing!

The Pacific Basin, also from who knows where.  This vessel was much further away, so I had to employ the zoom on my camera.  That's the Broadway Bridge in red and the Fremont Bridge in the distance behind the ship.

Crossing the Steel Bridge to the Eastbank Esplanade, I saw two massive freighters latched onto piers taking on "Made in Oregon" goods destined for distant ports.  To go along with my upbeat economic assessment, the number of folks walking, jogging and biking along both sides of the Willamette River front was far beyond what I have come to know as "normal" in recent months.  The last indicator of "Happy Days" being here again:  A new barge under construction at Zidell Marine.  Oh!  Almost forgot...today was my first sighting of Portland's answer to the Loch Ness Monster.  I was crossing the Hawthorne Bridge and there it was!  I snapped a couple of photos in my excitement and I hope you can get an appreciation of the size and frightening countenance of this creature.  I'll probably have  nightmares for weeks to come! 
New barge under construction at Zidell Marine, located next door to the Oregon Health and Sciences University's Health and Wellness Center, South Waterfront.

Nessie from Portland!  Oh, sure, you may scoff and say it's just a bit of floating debris, but look closely and open your minds to the possibilities.  It sure looks real to me!

False Spring?  Early Spring?  Whatever it is, here's proof.  Rhododendrons blooming in mid-February!  Amazing.  These glorious shrubs are located outside "Three Degrees", the bar and restaurant attached to the River Place Hotel along the waterfront.  The rocking chairs you see on their balcony are empty because it's only about 45-degrees today.  Too cold for me to bloom, much less have a drink outside!

To top it all off, rhododendron bushes are beginning to bloom--in February!  That's gotta be a good sign.  Feeling really juiced about life, I showered and helped make final preparations for a multiple-course Italian dinner.  It turned out about as well as such a dinner can.  It's late now and time for this old boy to turn in.  Hope you all have a great week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Bold Move.

Yes, indeed!  Today I submitted three paintings to the Federation of British Artists National Portrait Gallery 2012 Portrait Competition.  The large number of entries by exceptionally talented artists will most likely make this an exercise in futility, but what the heck.  With little to lose, save for the entry fee and maybe my pride, I thought it would be fun to see if I've gotten anywhere after seventeen years at the easel.  The answer should come on March 1st and I'm not even going to try to pretend it's not important to me.  As the day grows closer, you can bet this old timer will be mighty nervous.  It's not just for me, either.  It would simply be fabulous for these nice folks who were kind enough to allow me to try to capture them on canvas, to have their beautiful souls recognized and acknowledged by such an esteemed panel of jurors.  Here are my submissions:   

"Mrs. Bertie Parker", 2011, oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches.

"Mr. Harry Kent of Tasmania", 2011, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches.

"Mr. Charles Daniels", 2012, oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches.

Oh, lest I forget:  May this St. Valentine's Day bring you flowers, sweets and extra-special attention from your significant other.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mixed Bag Today.

The jog to the studio was under gray skies and a chilly, low-forties temperature.  Pretty normal for Portland, but we should be hitting fifty degrees on average now, so that's not so fun.  On the run today, I noticed daffodils shooting up in the many big planters dotting the cityscape.  I guess that proves we haven't had much of a winter after all.  I'm just a whiner.  I did pass a fair number of homeless folks camped under the Hawthorne Bridge.  It appears they try to grab some sleep during the day and are on watch throughout the night.  I'm used to seeing this, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me.
Today's effort on Charles.  Refined the drawing and adjust values mostly.  Yeah, I know I should stop, but I just can't let go.
Ninety year-old Henry, the most famous papaya vendor in Waikiki.
Pat, surfboard renter to the stars! 
Another possibility for Pat's portrait. 
Vito, our cab driver.

I carried printouts with me, of some of the interesting people we ran into during our vacation.  I'm more than ready to begin work on some new portraits, but I'll take some time to study the blow-ups to see which might work best.  Henry, from the fruit stand, Vito, our cab driver and Pat, who rented me the surfboard are the candidates.  It might be a few days before I get started, because Charles keeps demanding more work.  I'm considering entering his portrait in the English National Portrait Gallery competition and the deadline is February 23rd.  If his portrait was lucky enough to make the cut, I'd be most pleased and probably stop there.  Should the jury request to see it, I believe I'd have to respectfully decline.  Just too expensive.


The Landmark Waikiki.  What an architectural marvel.

Another view of this most interesting building, the Landmark Waikiki.
Once you see this structure, it's immediately apparent why the called it the "Landmark".

So, more work on Charles today and a photo of the effort.  I've also posted some photos of my favorite candidate for our next home in Honolulu.  It's called the Landmark Waikiki and what a fantastic building.  It's located just where we'd like to be and according to the description, has everything we could want.  We didn't get inside this trip, but it sound like a winner.  Time will tell.  Hope you all had a good Monday.  Hey!  Isn't that an oxymoron? 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Back to Normal.

We've retrieved our luggage, done all the laundry, re-stocked the refrigerator and visited a couple of dear friends who are recovering from injuries, so there was nothing left to do today except go for a long run to the studio.  I had no choice really, as Rahina practically scolded me for not being there by now.  I'm pretty sure she's had quite enough of the vacation and sickeningly sweet joy stuff.  It's the antithesis of painting.  She's right, of course.  It is time to return to the easel and get back to the pain, misery and suffering of the creative process.  I do wonder what painting will be like there.  I mean, why would anyone closet themselves away in a dingy room to smear paint on a canvas?  Who would be so foolish to forgo surf, sun and Mai Tais for that?  I just hope I have the strength to overcome the Siren's song of the Islands and continue to work.  But, I digress.
 Mount Hood seen over the construction of a new Oregon Health and Sciences University building along the South Waterfront.
Men and women at work on the OHSU building.  It's hard to believe how fast it's going up, up, up!
A shot of the Aerial Tram and support tower, as well as, the new pedestrian bridge which crosses over Interstate-5 and eases on down to the South Waterfront.  Here, you can see the east terminus of the bridge attached to the elevator/staircase tower.  Just across the street and out of the picture to the left is the OHSU Health and Wellness Center.
A closer view of the pedestrian bridge and elevator/stair tower.  The Portland Streetcar stops here, too.  What a great plan to move people without cars!
Old guy, dressed for cool weather.  That's the Interstate-5 Marquam Bridge over the Willamette River in the background.  The "photographer" was the stonework along side a building.  Very steady, too.  Oh!  Did you notice the golden glow? 

It was nice to see Charles' subtle smile again.   More than half of the nearly four hours spent there today were devoted to resting and evaluating the portrait.  At some point, I'd seen enough areas begging for attention, so I got up and got busy.  The painting must rest tonight and perhaps tomorrow will be ready for a photo.  I REALLY need to finish this, or surrender and move on!

The jog home was something of a chore, having returned to chilly weather and the heavier attire required to keep an old man comfortable.  I can't complain, however, as we had a perfect week in a perfect climate.  When I picked up the mail, I had a letter from the Cascades AIDS Project and opened it immediately.  I was pleased to see that my donation was juried into their fund raising art auction to be held April 28th.  Last year, my donated painting sold for $900.00 and I hope for a similar outcome this year.  It's a great cause, so as long as it sells, I'll be happy to have helped.
My donation to the Cascades AIDS Project fund raising art auction.  "Vintage", 2003, o/c, 24x36-inch.

That's it for tonight.  For all of you who commented during our vacation, I thank you for writing and all the good wishes.  I just hope my unbridled exuberance wasn't too obnoxious.  I must admit, however, it is extremely challenging trying to curb one's enthusiasm in such a beautiful place.  It is my sincerest hope that each-and-every one of you have the opportunity to visit Hawaii before...well...you know.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Monday, Monday, The Trip Home.

Honolulu only receives a little over 18-inches of rain per year and most of that falls during their "winter".  When I took a look outside this morning, the day of our departure, it was not only raining, but raining fairly hard.  Compared to Portland's chilly winter rains, this was nothing and I didn't hesitate going out into it to make sure the "Charley's Taxi" sitting in the Ilikai drive was ours.
A South Korean B-747 sits on the rain-soaked tarmac with Honolulu and Diamond Head in the distance.

We arrived at the airport at about 10:30 AM, immediately heading for the Alaska Airlines ticket counter.  We checked in, said goodbye to our bags and headed for the gate.  Long story shortened...we failed to have our names called for seats.  At least we knew our bags would make it home and be waiting for us whenever and however we got there.
Waiting and catching forty winks in a massage chair.  I was too cheap to actually have a massage.

When it was all over for us, we sat silently for a few minutes, then I said to Michele, "You know, I'm actually relieved".  Yes, we'd finally missed a flight, but we would be stress-free for a couple of hours until our next opportunity rolled around.  Best of all, just across from the departure lounge was a "Lahina Chicken" restaurant.  The aroma of roasted chicken and prime rib had us salivating and we'd each developed quite an appetite during our fruitless wait.  So, instead of going hungry for over five more hours on the Alaska Airlines flight, we decided it was time for a wonderful comfort food lunch.  Just what the doctor ordered!  We would be rejuvenated during the wait for our next contender--Hawaiian Airlines flight #26 to Portland.  I remember remarking to Michele that I had "a feeling" we'd be going home on the Hawaiian flight.  After a most pleasant and filling repast, we went in search of the gate from which we soon hoped to be heading home.
A large mural in Honolulu International Airport.  Inspired by Gauguin?

We got checked-in and settled into a couple of comfortable chairs for the wait.  Luck was with us and we were assigned two seats, only one unfilled row from the very back of the Boeing-767.  Luckily, our two seats were a window and aisle on the starboard side of the aircraft, so we avoided the dreaded three-seat middle section.  And wouldn't you know it...Hawaiian Airlines feeds passengers on flights over five hours!  The last thing we were interested it at that time was food!  As it turned out, however, those turkey sandwiches would be greatly appreciated! 

Michele reading the in-flight magazine, completely unaware of the stealth photographer seated next to her.

Boarding and push-back seemed to be going normally and then we heard those most-dreaded words..."This is the captain...".  Seems the left engine didn't want to start and when it did, the start procedure exceeded normal limits.  To every one's dismay, we taxied, or were tugged back to the jet bridge.  They didn't make us off-load, which suggested the problem was minor and might be corrected fairly quickly.  "Fairly quickly" ended-up being about two hours, but they finally decided it was good to go.  People buckled up again and soon we were on our way home.
 A full moon shining above the wing of the B-767 enroute to Portland and home.

The captain announced that they had taken on additional fuel which would allow him to fly at maximum warp.  That, combined with strong tail winds resulted in just five hours and fifteen minutes in the air.  Sweet!  Early on in the flight, we looked outside and could see the full moon shining down on the wing.  Oh!  Remember those turkey sandwiches?  It's often said that, "Timing in life is everything", and in this case, no truer words were ever spoke.  We thoroughly enjoyed them!  It's always nice to get home from a trip, but as you might expect, leaving such a beautiful place is  bittersweet, too.  Our move is now only a little over a year away, and though we know the time will zoom by...you could say our hearts are already there.  Aloha.     

Monday, February 6, 2012

Sunday in Honolulu, the Finale.

Saturday was almost like being back in Portland on a summer day.  Michele went to a farmers market atop the parking garage of Ala Moana Shopping Center and I went over to Ala Moana Beach Park to get some sun and do some swimming.  Neither of us took the camera, so no beautiful tropical scenery to share.  It even looked doubtful for a sunset, but the sun did drop below some low clouds, though no Green Flash was seen.
We ended up back at Sarento's for dinner, but behaved ourselves.

So, it's Sunday...our last full day in Paradise.  Michele has done an outstanding job of lining up at least four open houses in buildings we're interested in seeing.  The action begins at 2 PM and all are comfortably within walking distance of the hotel.

I ran this morning and did take the camera.  It was tough to get moving as the soreness from my surfing experience was in full flower.  That, and last night I had a Mai Tai and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner.  I deserve to suffer and after all, it is Sunday.  I guess the jog should be adequate atonement for my "sins".  On the return leg of the five mile jaunt, I stopped by the Waikiki Aquarium when a banner hanging outside caught my eye.  I'm not certain, but it appears to announce the arrival of a new Hawaiian Monk seal.  At any rate, the colors were beautiful and who could resist that face?!
Banner announcing the birth of an endangered Hawaiian Monk seal (I'm guessing) outside the Waikiki Aquarium.

I continued on with a planned stop at the surfboard rental stand to get some photos of Pat, the lady who runs the cash register.  Gunny Gil wasn't there, I'm sorry to say, as I would have loved to get his photo, too.  Pat was skeptical, but her young assistant helped me persuade her to pose.  The young lady does some painting, too, and I believe she'll make sure Pat sees this blog and I hope, realizes I'm serious about painting her portrait.  She did express a little fear that I'll "abuse" her on the Internet.  Maybe her fear comes from guilt at allowing old fools like me to rent surf boards and nearly kill themselves!  Just kidding, Pat!
This is Pat, the Queen and High Priestess of the Surfboard Rental Stand, Waikiki Beach.  

 With the camera telling me it was almost out of juice, I continued to Henry's Fruit Stand, in the hopes of getting a photo of him.  Luckily, the battery didn't die and I was able to have Henry's granddaughter(?) snap a photo of us.
Ninety year-old Henry and me, Sunday, February 5, 2012, our last full day in Honolulu.

It's about time for me to shower up and get ready to see what might turn out to be our future home.

I caught a little of the Super Bowl before we departed, but this year, it really didn't matter all that much who won.  We were successful in our travels today, in that we eliminated every building we saw, but on the plus side, we saw a lot more of the area we want to live in and that's a good thing.


We got back to our room with a lot of time until our 7:30 PM dinner reservation.  Michele "knew" we wouldn't see the sunset tonight, but I, being a hopeless romantic, went to have a look.  Of course, she was correct, so I had no choice but to take up a seat at the open air bar and order a Mai Tai to comfort my broken heart.
  
More to come.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Surf's Up!

Though I have no photos to prove it, a lifelong dream was fulfilled today.  I jogged the mile or so to the surf board rental stand on Waikiki Beach.  As I stood there, a man who appeared to be a native Hawaiian asked me if I was gonna do some surfing today.  I turned and sheepishly admitted I was going to try.  He said he was an instructor and about to begin a class and inquired if I would like to attend.  He quoted a price of $40, which included instruction and board rental and said he'd even go out with us.  I told him I doubted that any lessons could help me and opted out.  He was very good natured and I asked him his name.  "Gunny Gil", he replied, adding proudly that he was a retired Marine.  That broke the ice, so I told him I was retired navy.  We swapped stories for a little while, then some of his friends stopped by and I shook his hand and headed for the rental stand.

To my surprise, it only cost $10 for an hour board rental, so I ponied up the money and stripped off my shirt, socks and shoes, sunglasses, too, placing them on a counter for belongings.  Next, I was given a board with a leash attached and the young attendant showed me where the board wax was and where to apply it.  That minimal chore accomplished, there remained only one thing to do and my heart began to beat faster.

Since I'd jogged here, I was already quite warm and the water felt really good as I placed the board down and jumped on.  I began paddling out toward the other surfers and the first thing I noticed was how tired my neck muscles were getting.  The only way to see where you're going is by lifting your head and short of stopping paddling, there is no relief from this minor torture.  I also found that staying on the board, even laying flat, was something of a challenge.  Luckily, my expectations were low, so the lack of stability, and it's portent of things to come, didn't really depress me.

With an extremely tired set of neck muscles, I reached the area of assembled surfers and sat up on the board to look cool and somewhat like I knew what I was doing.  Resting my neck and observing those who actually did know how to surf served the dual purposes of education and relaxation.  "Gunny Gil" told me the hardest thing about surfing was not standing up, rather it was catching a wave.  I would've debated that with him had I been able to find him when I surrendered and made it to shore.  I actually caught several, but achieved little more than a crouching stance ending each "ride" with a "wipe out".

The paddle to shore was more aching neck muscles and when I carried the board ashore, I'm sure my face told the whole story.  Sure, it was a little disappointing, especially since I've always had a certain pride in my coordination and balance.  At the same time, I felt exhilarated to have finally given it a try.  Since I was a kid in Michigan and first heard "The "Beach Boys" surf songs and learned about the surfing culture, I dreamed of trying this.  Later, seeing the monster surf hitting O'ahu's north shore only fanned the flames.  So, the question is...is it over?  Am I done?  Is the desire satisfied?  Time will tell, I guess.  Once we live here, who knows?  Among my other "bad" traits is a certain dogged determination to do whatever I set my mind to accomplish.  After today, I fully realize it will take every bit of that determination if I ever hope to successfully surf Hawaii's waves.

I showered off in one of the many fresh water showers on the beach and sat on a bench in the sun to dry a bit before putting the socks and shoes on for the run back to the hotel.  Watching the people parade along Waikiki is a never-ending fascination for me.  If I ever try to write a novel and need a few interesting characters, I know exactly where to go.  Hawaii is a crossroads of the Pacific and the cultures all mixed up here is a living and breathing definition of the term, "melting pot".

On the jog back, I had some very soggy cash and decided to stop at Henry's Fruit Stand for a papaya for breakfast tomorrow.  Young Henry wasn't there, but I met what may have been his wife.  We had a nice chat and on my way out, there was "original" Henry, back in his chaise lounge.  I nodded at him and he gave me a warm smile, so I knelt down to have a word.  I told him about first visiting his stand back in 1976 and every time we're in Honolulu since.  He smiled again and said he's not doing too well these days, adding that he's ninety now!  Life is relative, so when I told him I was now sixty-two, he probably thought I was just a kid.  It was wonderful to spend a few minutes with this fine gentleman.  I wished him well, got a solid grip on the papaya and ran away.

We hung around the hotel room for awhile until deciding to walk down to the famous Banyan Beach Bar at the Moana Surfrider Hotel.  Perfectly situated beneath a giant Banyan tree, it's also right on the beach.  I plan on doing more swimming, without a surfboard!  Michele loves their version of a "Lava Flow" and their Mai Tai recipe has long been my favorite, so I'll swim a little while Miss Michele holds our spot at the bar.  As the day gets long, more and more people arrive to drink and wait for sunset.  We hope to snag some seats before the rush arrives.
Our Aloha Spirit-filled bartender at the Moana Surfrider Banyan Tree Bar.
 The bartender was nice enough to take our photo.  You can probably tell that I'm much happier than Michele.  She hadn't had any alcohol yet!  She's a smart lady!!
This is "A Day At The Beach".  Sweet, delicious and a fair amount of rum and other stuff, including a coconut elixir that made me think I was drinking our sun screen lotion.  After the first one, it just didn't matter!
The herb French fries with a horseradish, (maybe ketchup) mayonaise are addictive--whether or not you've had a Mai Tai or Day at the Beach!

We made it, just in time and only two seats at the bar were vacant.  How lucky can you get?!  We sat down and ordered a Mai Tai for me and a Sea Breeze for Michele.  I drank about half of mine and decided it was time for a swim.  Michele held the fort and nursed her drink.  I returned after only about twenty minutes to finish mine, dripping wet.  How nice is that!  We ordered French fries and I had something called a "Day at the Beach", while Michele remained level headed and had a diet Coke.  As we enjoyed the late afternoon, a mystery lady took up the seat next to me.
Remains of a perfectly mixed Mai Tai at the Moana Surfrider Banyan Tree Beach Bar.

Turns out she's a journalist who works for the Australian Broadcasting Company and was in Honolulu for a seminar.  She was most interesting and knew a great deal about the U.S., having worked in the Washington, D.C. area for some time.  We had a lively and delightful conversation as the sun crept lower into the western sky.  Luckily, there was a bit of a low cloud layer which obscured the sunset, so we weren't cheated out of a chance to see the Green Flash today.  After polishing off Michele's ribs and most of my fish and chips, a couple of Mai Tais and two "Day at the Beaches", we departed the Banyan Bar to begin our sodden wander back to the Ilikai.  Enroute, we staggered by a pastry shop and reloaded our breakfast fare and managed to find an "Aloha shirt" for me at one of the countless shops along Kalakaua Street.  Just before we arrived "home", we stopped to chat with a young huckster who offered us half-price fares for a multitude of tourist attractions and said he'd throw in a case of Macademia nuts!  Wow!  Swim with dolphins for sixty bucks instead of a hundred twenty!  Why...the nuts alone are worth that much.  Though we enjoyed the chat with this young man from Kansas, Michele's more sober head prevailed and we opted to think about it tonight.  Whew!  He was very nice and I hope we can help him out tomorrow.  Michele is planning to go to a farmers market tomorrow and that may preclude swimming with dolphins, but I'm not certain.  Who wouldn't want to swim with those magnificent creatures?!  I hope your day was half as great as ours.  

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Thursday in Paradise.

Today was a running day.  It was an uneventful jog until I decided to take a tiny detour to pay a visit to Henry's Fruit Stand.  I selected a papaya, a quart of guava/passion fruit nectar and a bottle of "Gatorade" and put my credit card on the counter.  This is when the morning became...eventful.

First, the proprietor examined the papaya and found a small bruise.  He urged me to choose another, which I did.  That alone would make a trip to any fruit stand unusual in these days of prepackaged, cellophane-covered products.  But the "eventfulness" continued.

Next, he informed me that they only take cash.  I expressed my frustration at not bringing any, telling him that when we stopped by a few nights ago we did pay with cash and never noticed any signs saying no credit cards.

I started to leave the very small store when he stopped me and said, "You can just pay me later."  I was shocked and filled with the joy that only comes when one experiences the sweet milk of human kindness.  I began rambling on about coming here as a young ensign in the navy back in 1976 and how we always stop here whenever we're in Honolulu thirty-six years later.  I found out his name is also Henry!  He's the third generation of the family to run the stand.  Just steps outside the shop is a TV running a documentary about this famous little fruit stand on a closed-loop.  The shop was opened in 1940 and showed the original Henry in his youth.  It's hard to believe someone like Donald Trump didn't buy him out when he built his high rise tower a couple of years ago, just behind the shop.

Enough about that.  So, I took the stuff and walked back to our hotel.  I told Michele about the kindness shown by Henry-the younger, collected the money I owed and just before heading out to repay him, took a couple of slugs of the "Gatorade" and guava/passion fruit nectar to re-hydrate.  With a light heart and my electrolytes replenished, the run back to Henry's was not a problem.  Henry greeted me by name and said I didn't need to come back so soon.  I told him what he had done was so impressive that I didn't want him to even have a hint of a second thought about doing so.

I jogged back here, feeling great, trying to restrain the grin on my face.  People tend to think you're a little "touched" if you look too happy when running.  It was tough to do, however, because few things make me as happy as someone showing faith in me--for any reason.  What a wonderful way to start a Thursday in Paradise.
This is Yacht Harbor Towers, most definitely a place we'd love to see.
This is the east tower of the Moana Pacific, our first stop today.
Partial view from the 36th-floor of the east tower of the Moana Pacific.  It's way up there and the panorama was really spectacular.

We saw two possible buildings today, the first on the 36th-floor of the Moana Pacific building.  Bottom line, the building is great, but the unit we saw wasn't.  We left that place and walked about a mile to see a unit at One Archer Lane.  The condo for rent was on the 41st-floor and the views were spectacular.  The problem for us was it didn't have a lanai and for us, it's a must have.  It was also just too far from the beaches and all the things we want to be closer to.  So, we felt lucky to have seen two more buildings and walked back to the hotel feeling it was a good day.
Partial view from the 41st-floor of the One Archer Lane condo.  The whole sweeping panorama included Diamond Head, all of Waikiki and continued all the way west to Honolulu Harbor.  To put it mildly...it was breathtaking.  A well-designed and affordable unit, but a bit too far from the beach for us and no walk-out lanai.

Upon our return, I jumped into my swimsuit and Michele accompanied me to my first dip into the Pacific.  Tomorrow, we're planning a day off, so to speak, including my first attempt at surfing!  I'm trying desperately to get Michele to give it a try, too, but she is reluctant, to put it mildly.  Tomorrow will be a major test of my persuasive abilities.
After my short swim, we noticed a "Dragon Boat".  It's exactly like those used for the Rose Festival races in Portland, so I asked Michele to snap a photo.  The building behind me is the famous Hilton Hawaiian Village resort hotel with the world's largest mosaic mural.  I'm actually much more "golden" than what shows here.  We've got a few more days to work on it.

As we walked back "home", we decided to watch the sunset from our lanai again and have leftovers for dinner.  Since we normally have dinner at home, this was an excellent opportunity to "experience normal life" in Honolulu.  Michele had about half of her hamburger from last night, not to mention, a fair amount of her osso bucco from dinner at Sarento's.  To augment the leftovers, we walked by a bakery in the Ala Moana shopping center called, St. Germain, and purchased a couple of slices of pizza and focaccia and a few pastries for breakfast tomorrow.  Oh, and a bottle of reasonably priced Chianti.  Let's just say we wouldn't go hungry tonight.
This is a bad photo of the mystery ship as it departed Honolulu Harbor.  From our vantage point, it most resembled an aircraft carrier.  Any guesses.

I won't bore you with yet another sunset.  Besides, we were once again disappointed and failed to see the Green Flash.  On the other hand, we saw this very large vessel sailing out of Honolulu Harbor and were unable to determine just what type of ship we were seeing.  We first thought it must be an aircraft carrier.  Sadly, though I flew off two, I have no idea what they look like coming out of port.  It displayed none of the characteristics of a cruise ship--all lit up like a small city.  Additionally, why would an aircraft carrier come out of Honolulu Harbor instead of Pearl Harbor?  Lots of questions, but as of this writing--no answers.  Maybe tomorrow we'll be able to find out what ship it was.

So, it was a good day and now we're relaxing the old fashioned way...TV and falling asleep in our chairs.  It's okay...when we move here it'll be different.  I can assure you of this!

Wednesday in Honolulu, February 1, 2012.

What a glorious sleep-in after such a busy yesterday.  I cut open the whole papaya, scooped out the seeds and delivered half to Michele who was seated on the lanai reading the morning paper.  We also enjoyed local bananas and coffee while watching a variety of ships and pleasure craft parade into and out of view.  The Pacific is so gentle this morning.
This beauty came from Henry's Fruit Stand.  How lucky we are to be here!

We spent the major portion of today calling to set-up appointments to see potential buildings if not actual units.  We did, in fact, see one condo, but it wasn't a "keeper", as they say.  We'll see two more tomorrow in buildings which have potential.
These two towers are the Moana Pacific.  We'll be looking at a condo on the 36th-floor of the right hand building at 2:00 PM.  These buildings have all the "bells and whistles" we would like, but who knows if any units will be available fifteen months from now.

We walked back to the hotel, a little worn out.  Instead of going for a swim, we relaxed and considered dinner options.  Since last night was on the extravagant side, we decided to go for something a bit more in line with reality--at least our version of it.  We cleaned up and decided to watch the sunset from the lanai again.  We had about half a bottle of wine left over from last night, as well as, some cheese, so we moved to the lanai to await the show.
Michele intensely watches and waits for another chance to see the illusive Green Flash.
It's almost "show time", but minutes later, we had been skunked again.  Keep the faith until tomorrow!  On the plus side...being able to witness such an event, in such a paradise ain't all bad.  Until tomorrow...

We were shutout once again, despite our high hopes.  No Green Flash.  Zero-for-three, but just as the sun comes up every day, so our hopes are renewed.  We decided to have dinner at the bar and grill located on the ground floor.  Poke, and a couple of burgers, loaded to the gills with avocado, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pineapple, a pickle and a couple of ripe olives.  Whew!  Most of the poke came back to the room with us and will provide a nice treat for tomorrow.  It was a great dinner;  open air, warm and gentle breeze, tolerable live music to entertain us and a very nice young waiter from Modesto, California, who surfs during the day and waits tables by night.  I dreamed that dream as a youngster growing up in the cold winters of Michigan.  It's only taken about forty-five years to make it real!  I hope the sun is shining where you live--even if it's only in your heart.