Holidays in Hawaii

I’m not a pork eater, so the tradition of savoring Kalua pig roasted in an imu on Thanksgiving did not appeal to me.  We brought our own tradition with us and cooked a meal with some family and friends for the day. One of the things we are used to on Thanksgiving is eating around 2pm, but in Hawaii it’s mostly done around dinnertime.

Christmas in Hawaii is much different than it is on the Mainland. I didn’t notice as many in-your-face “buy, buy, buy” ads, and no one was really in a hurry to buy anything. Black Friday happened, but nothing like everyone on the Mainland is used to. I didn’t experience the selfishness among the people in Hawaii as I was used to in the rest of the United States. It was a nice change of pace.

Where I come from, people begin decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend or right after that. We expected the entire island would be lit up with holiday lights. But that was not so. Except for large businesses in Waikiki and some churches and homes, there were very few places lit up. We realized quickly that it’s not because Hawaiians don’t celebrate Christmas; it’s that the price of electricity is so ridiculous in Hawaii that putting up a lot of lights or anything extra that requires power isn’t exactly cost efficient.

To give a price comparison, our home in Florida with running the air conditioning (and washer/dryer/etc.) all summer long, our electric bill averaged $175 at the highest month. In Hawaii, however, running the air conditioning a few nights in August for 23 days cost us $200. We learned quickly not to run the a/c – period. Still, every bill we received was $200 for the month. When we discussed decorating for Christmas, we decided to sell our pre-lit tree and outdoor lights and opt for something much wiser – a rosemary bush – because I could use it to cook with year-round.

Decorations at a church
How Santa gets to the island.


This yard had the most decorations in the area.


On a main highway


What Christmas Tree Shortage?




The most affordable Christmas tree in Hawaii



Moving to Hawaii – a dream come true

I guess you could say that the last year of my life has been one huge transition – and it hasn’t ended yet. Last year my husband decided that he wanted to retire this year – in Hawaii. When he asked what I thought about it, I said, “In your dreams.”

But he was serious. He’d lived in Hawaii as a child, and it was his dream to retire there. It sounded like a dream to me, too, because it was a place I’d always wanted to visit.

Me being the sensible one, I asked my husband how could we possibly make this happen? We’d have to sell our home in Florida during such a bad market and come out with money to move – not just to another state – but to the other side of the world! He said we could put the house on the market and see what happens. We put our good thoughts into everything and little by little, things slowly fell into place. We sold the house, vehicles, and had two garage sales. Nine months later, our plan was in motion.

Getting to Hawaii wasn’t quite as easy as that, however. We had pets, and each had to be microchipped and tested for the rabies FAVN virus, which took 120 days prior to arriving on the island without them having to be quarantined. Their records had to be impeccable, so finding a veterinarian that knew what she was doing was a big plus. Airfare isn’t cheap for pets, and neither are the airline-approved crates. There are many other factors involved in shipping your pets to Hawaii, but I will go into that on another day.

We kept one car that had to be shipped, so we were left without transportation for a period of time. We needed to pack everything we would need for at least a month, because our household goods wouldn’t arrive for up to 8 weeks.

Luckily for us, we already knew people on the island. Our friends had a spare bedroom and allowed us to stay with them as long as we needed until we found our own place. This was extremely helpful, as hotels in Hawaii are not for the budget-minded or pet lovers.

Everything was set to go. Our dreams were coming true.

Landing in Honolulu at sunset

A Central Floridian’s View of the Casey Anthony Case

Caylee Anthony

I was one of many watching the news stories about Casey Anthony and her missing baby girl, Caylee. I recall when the news came out that Caylee had been missing for an entire month. I recall when 20-something-year-old Casey lied to authorities about the missing baby, and I recall when she was charged with the murder of her little girl. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, I recall the day that little Caylee’s remains were found near the Anthony home. Silently and behind closed doors, like many others concerned for the baby’s welfare and whereabouts, I cried.

Still familiar with the case, but growing tired of the drama and national attention that overtook other important issues, I began to ignore the whole Casey Anthony drama. I grew tired of the media, everything “Casey Anthony” this and that every time I turned on my television. I’m sure I wasn’t alone in this feeling.

It’s difficult to think a mother could act normal for 31 days without reporting her own baby missing. I did, however, think that Casey wasn’t the only one involved in the death of her baby girl. My gut instinct told me she was also hiding the fact that someone else was involved. But who and why? A boyfriend? A family member? Was anything that Casey said true at all? It’s difficult to believe anything said by a person that could have won an actress-of-the-year award.

Having been out of town for a while and ignoring most of the boring aspects of the trial, I understood that it was still under way, but I had no idea that the trial was at its end. I heard the announcement on the car radio that Casey Anthony’s verdict was going to be read at 2:15. My car’s clock read 2:09. My instinctual gut feeling was that Casey was going to be found “not guilty”, although I was hoping I was wrong.

Tapping at my steering wheel, I heard the extremely long verdict. Come on, just say it! I was thinking. And then I was in awe. My jaw dropped. Hand over mouth, I almost laughed out loud – not in happiness but more like surrealism. This can’t be for real. Is the radio station playing a joke?

My first pity immediately went towards the jurors. I knew that the majority of people watching the case thought Casey would be found guilty of murder. Unfortunately for the jurors, although they have served their time, they will be the next of Casey Anthony’s victims, so to speak. It is not the jurors’ fault that the State of Florida lacked evidence, and the prosecution failed. They did what they thought was right and correct to their best ability, and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives.

As for the Anthony family, the trial is over, but theirs isn’t. Their family dynamic seems to be irreparable. They will never be able to go anywhere again without being recognized as Casey Anthony’s parents or being accused of having an involvement in Little Caylee’s death.

Least of all, no matter how “free” Casey Anthony will be when she gets out of jail next week, will she ever really be free? Will the truth ever be told? Will there ever be justice for Little Caylee Anthony?