Saturday, May 31, 2008

Leaving for Iraq

Today's picture of the day is probably going to be a bit more meaningful to me than some of my readers ... but hey, it's my blog so from time to time I get to make a "personal" post.

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This is my friend TSgt Estepfany Allen who along with my other friend Najimah Jones left this afternoon for 6 months in Iraq, providing weather support for the army. I was over there for most of last year, and as a "fobbit" (someone who never leaves the base) it's really not all that bad.

But even so ...

They are on their way to a war zone.

Good luck girls! ... see you in December.

Aloha,
Todd
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Friday, May 30, 2008

Sand Crab

One of my favorite things about Living in Hawaii as a kid was hunting for sand crabs on the beach down at Bellows.

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The picture of this little guy was taken right here at the beach at Iroquois Point. Around sunset, as the tide is coming in, the crabs all start to come out. I've taken the kids before, but I think it's time we made another night time trip down there. With a big flashlight, sand crab hunting is actually pretty easy. When the light is shined right in their eyes, the crab freezes ... making it quite easy for a kid to dive in from the back to grab him and put it in the bucket.

When I was a kid, we used to try to take them home and "raise" them as "pets" ... they usually lasted about 2-3 days. One time, on the drive home, a crab got out of our bucket and actually grabbed onto my dad's toe while he was driving. Very funny at the time, but now that I think about it, having a crab pinch a driver's toe while going through the Pali tunnel probably could have had a fairly unhappy ending. But hey, I'm still here, so it's all good.

Aloha til next time.

Todd
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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sailing into Pearl Harbor

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is another view from our beach at Iroquois Point. We've got a sail boat making it's way into Pearl Harbor, and eventually to our Iroquois Point Yacht Club. There's a little plane getting ready to land at Honolulu airport. The Ko'olau mountains and Tripler hospital in the background.

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It's a nice, peaceful scene on any given evening.

aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

KC-135 Tanker

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is of a different kind of bird; an Air Force KC-135. Honolulu International Airport and Hickam Air Force Base share the same runways, and the approach path for both takes the aircraft right over Iroquois Point ...

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The downside is obvious; the noise can sometimes make it hard to hear the TV. But, being an Air Force brat, I'm pretty much used to it. And on the plus side, it really is pretty cool to watch all the different planes fly over ... and of course to sit outside and take pictures of them.

Aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cattle Egret in Flight

I went out on another picture taking walk yesterday. I've decided that I want to try to get pictures of as many of the birds around here that I can. This one is a Cattle Egret. It took me a little while to get a good picture of one actually flying ... but, I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

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I hope you enjoy this Hawaii Picture of the Day.

Aloha,
Todd
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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

No words needed today.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

More Surf Pictures from White Plains Beach

I took my daughter Jordan to a birthday party today at White Plains Beach. While she was having fun with her friends, I was sitting on the beach with my 50-500mm "Bigma" practicing Surf Photography.

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These are non-pro surfers, and fairly small waves. But even so, it's fun to try to catch the shot at just that right exciting moment. All were shot from the beach (hand held) at 500mm F5.6. I hope you enjoy these Hawaii Pictures of the Day.

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Aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Red Vented Bulbul in a Palm Tree

Today's Hawaii Pictures of the Day are the product of my evening bird watching walk. All images were taken with my Canon 20D and 50-500mm Sigma lens.

I hope you enjoy ...

Red Vented Bulbul

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Brazillian Cardinal

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Saffron Finch

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Common Waxbill

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Aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Friday, May 23, 2008

Na Pua O Hawaii

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Whew, it's been a long day here in Hawaii. First we had the kids May festival at Iroquois Point elementary school. It was called Na Pua O Hawaii which means The Children of Hawaii. I took a ton of pictures, but have only had a chance to process a few. The one above is of our 3 that attend the school; after the program was over.

Then at lunch time we went to a cook out / going-away party for a couple of our troops who are on their way to Iraq next week. It was a fun time, we sat around eating and playing games for about 6 hours. I just got home a little while ago. Time to veg out and watch a little tv.

I hope you're all enjoying the start to your holiday weekend, no matter where you're at.

Aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Pit Bull

If you're Living in Hawaii you'd better not be scared of pit bulls. The pit bull terrier has got to be the most popular dog in Hawaii. My family and I used to go down to the humane society all the time, and I swear about 85% of the dogs had at least a bit of Pit mixed in.

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Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is a portrait of "Pretty"; who we've been dog sitting for the past week and a half. I was a little skeptical at first about having a pit bull in our back yard, when we have young kids and a 3lbs chihuahua. But, after this time with Pretty, I definitely buy into the idea that how a dog is raised is more important than it's breed. This particular dog was more likely to lick someone to death than bite them ... and that includes our chihuahua.

I still doubt I'll ever own a pit bull ... but I also don't think I'll be quite as likely to prejudge them in the future.

Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Teeing Off at Mamala Bay Golf Course

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is a view from behind the 1st tee at Mamala Bay golf course on Hickam AFB.

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I have vivid memories of this course from when I was a kid ... although, mostly from fishing in the reef runway lagoon ... I was too young to play the "big course", so most of my golf adventures were confined to the base par-3 course.

This first hole has a big drop off from the tee shot, but still always seems to play a bit longer than the score card indicates. That being said, a nice little draw off of that big tree on the right can definitely set the tone for a good round.

Aloha til next time ...
Todd
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great Hawaii Pictures by Joe

I just met a new twitter friend tonight, who also lives here in Ewa Beach.

It turns out that he's a (very good) photographer. If you enjoy Hawaii Pictures, you'll love his portfolio. Check it out ...

http://www.philipsonphotography.com/Travels/Pages/Hawaii.html

Aloha,
Todd

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Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach

I apologize, I've been sick for the past couple of days, so I haven't really had my camera out with me.

As a result, today's Hawaii Picture of the Day will be a "classic".

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This is a familiar scene from many post cards. There are several littler rock jetties that go out from Waikiki beach ... this picture of Diamond Head was taken from the end of one of them.

I hope you enjoy this relaxing scene.

Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Monday, May 19, 2008

Air Force KC-10

Living in Hawaii, and especially here in Iroquois Point, aircraft flying overhead is a very common site. The approach for Honolulu International Airport comes in right over our house.

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Every once in a while I'll take my camera out back and grab a few pictures.

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is a US Air Force KC-10 tanker aircraft.

Aloha til tomorrow,
Todd
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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Shaka Sign

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If you've lived in Hawaii for any period of time, you're well familiar with the Shaka sign. Even us Haoles use it on a pretty regular basis. In fact, the last time I moved away from Hawaii (in 2002), I was getting strange looks from the gate guards at Scott AFB for about 3 months ... because every time they waved me through the gate, out of pure habit, I'd have to give them a Shaka.

I did a little research at Wikipedia, and appears that there are several theories as to the Shaka's origin. My favorite is that it represents "Shark Eye" ...

Holding the hand with the pinkie and thumb extended represented the shark head, with the thumb and fingers being the eyes. To say "shaka" (or "shark eye") to someone and flash the "shark eye" hand is said to have been considered a compliment, as the shark is highly respected in Hawaiian culture


One of the most useful places to employ the Shaka sign, is when you're stuck in one of Hawaii's famous traffic jams. This is one of the few places in the world were you can totally cut someone off, and they're not allowed to stay mad at you as long as you immediately turn around, smile, and give them a big Shaka.

... it's in the "Hawaii rule book", I swear.

Aloha til next time
;-)

Todd
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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tips for Local Niche Bloggers

Back in January, I revived one of my 6 years old domain names and started a local niche blog about Living in Hawaii. At the time, I also made a post here at Success with Todd with 5 reasons to start a local niche blog.

Over the past few months, my Alohateam blog has grown to the point where it's getting about 100 visitors a day, (with about 85% of those coming from search engines). For those of you who either have, or have thought about starting your own local niche blog, I thought I might share a few "lessons learned" from my first couple of months.


  1. Unless you're studying journalism, Do Not try to emulate your local newspaper and become some sort of "reporter". If people want real news, they'll go to the newspaper's site. They have the resources for those type of stories. If you try to compete, you'll burn yourself out.

  2. Find your own unique voice. The whole purpose of a local blog is to share your unique perspective with the readers. Basically, don't be afraid to be yourself, and share some of your personal adventures.

  3. Seek out, and fill in, under-served topics. One of my most read posts to date is about the Grey Boat ferry that runs between Iroquois Point (where I live) and Pearl Harbor. I had to ride it for a week because I was taking a class over on that side. When I searched online to try to find the schedule, I came up with a big fat blank. So, during my week of riding I did a story about the boat. Since then, I've received literally dozens of requests for information ... lol, I've somehow become the grey boat expert ... which in a way feels kind of cool.

  4. Probably the most important lesson I've learned so far, it to try to find a "good" reason to post every day. This is definitely something I struggled with for the first couple of months. Then about a month and a half ago, it hit me that I already love taking pictures, and bring my camera with me almost everywhere I go ... so, I started posting a Hawaii Picture of the Day. I either take a new picture, or go through the thousands I already have in my archive, find something interesting, and write a couple of paragraphs. It's funny, it took the "stress" right out of blogging. I actually look forward to my daily post on that blog now.

  5. When it comes to building links to my local blog, I've primarily relied on commenting on blogs that I already read. One advantage I've discovered is that I can easily use a keyword focused name such as "Todd in Hawaii", and nobody really objects. Whereas if I was to try something like "Make Money Online with Todd" (pointing to my "Earn Extra Income" niche blog), unless I already know the blog owner, there'd be a chance I'd end up in Akismet.

  6. Wrapping it up, I'd say the most important thing to remember when it comes to local blogs, is to Have Fun, and Be Yourself. If you do that, people will come.



There were a couple of other people who started local niche blogs at the same time as I did. These are a few (but certainly not all inclusive) that I think are coming along nicely:



If you're a local blogger, and theres ever anything I can help you with, feel free to leave a comment, or drop me a note any time.

Keep havin FuN!
Todd

Creative Commons License photo credit: _sarchi
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Honolulu Zoo

Ever since I was a kid living in Hawaii, the Honolulu Zoo has been one of my favorite places. So you can probably imagine how happy I was to find out that Jasmine was going on a field trip there this week.

Of course I brought my camera with me, so a few zoo pictures will be today's Hawaii Picture of the Day.

Right outside the zoo, is a giant banyan tree that I can remember playing in when I was a kid way back in the late 70s.

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Before you go through the gate, there's a little booth outside where you can purchase a Zoo Membership. It's quite reasonable at $40 a year for a family of 6.

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After you go through the gate, the first site to greet you is the orange flamingos:

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Next we went to the plains to see things like antelope:

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Since it was a field trip, the kids had to take notes on a clipboard recording all the animals they saw:

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And of course two of our favorites sites during the day were the Peacock and the Tiger:

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All in all, it was very fun day. If you'd like to learn more about the Honolulu Zoo, just pop on over to http://www.honoluluzoo.org/

Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Friday, May 16, 2008

TGIF

Oh yea, it's Friday !!!

I know for some of you that may mean party time ... but I'm old. So, Ana and I went to dinner and caught a movie. And as for my Hawaii Picture of the Day ...

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I think the Chimp above has a perfect idea for how I'd like to spend my Saturday.

;-)

Have a great weekend,

Todd
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Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Bus

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day will be a familiar site to anyone who's spent any amount of time here. Unlike many other areas of the country, we are fortunate here in Hawaii to have a very robust public transit system.

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The Bus has routes all around the Island, and runs from very early in the morning until well after the sun goes down at night. Many people use the bus as their primary transportation back and forth to work ... a great way to avoid the traffic. The fare is a very reasonable $2.00 for adults, and you can even buy monthly passes.

For more information about The Bus, check out the website: TheBus.org

Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Luau Beach Scene

Today's Hawaii Picture of the Day is a beach scene with a couple of the performers from Germaine's Luau getting ready for their performance.

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I've posted a few pictures from our trip to the luau before ... of the Fire Eaters. But, I do also like this peaceful sunset scene on the beach.

Whether you're a resident or a visitor to Hawaii, a Luau is definitely something that needs to be on your "to do" list.

Aloha til next time ...
Todd
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ice Skating in Hawaii

Today, my daughter Jordan's class went on a field trip to the Ice Palace. Even though most people wouldn't think of ice skating when they think of Hawaii, the Ice Palace is actually quite a popular spot to spend the day.

It's located in Aiea, just across from the stadium. The prices are pretty reasonable (including for food). And most importantly, the kids had a blast.

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The picture above is a longer exposure shot of the rink when they turned off the lights and closed the blinds. Many of the kids bought necklaces and ear pieces with flashing lights, which added to the effect.

Here are a few more pictures ...

This is the entrance to the ice palace, where we lined up to get our tickets and learn how to lace up the skates.

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This was the manager giving us a skate lacing demo.

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Here are a few images of the kids skating:

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And some kids, took a little time to watch the action before they hit the ice:

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In between sessions, the zamboni smoothed the ice:

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The kids took advantage of the break by checking out the game room and snack bar:

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Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Monday, May 12, 2008

Recycling in Hawaii

At many schools here in Hawaii, the little white trailer above is becoming a common site. This a picture of the recycling center in front of Iroquois Point Elementary school.

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In addition to being good for the environment, putting in a recycling center allows the schools to raise money by receiving a portion of the profits from all items recycled in their bin.

I know that separating out cans, bottle and newspapers can be a bit of pain. But, it's really something that we should be doing ... and knowing that I can also help my kid's school at the same time makes it a little easier to find the motivation to put in the effort.

Do you recycle?

Aloha,
Todd
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Friday, May 9, 2008

Loco Moco Plate Lunch

Whenever we don't feel like cooking, we head on down to one of the many "drive-ins" here in Hawaii for a plate lunch. One of our favorites is the Loco Moco here in Ewa Beach.

DaKine - Loco Moco



Ironically, I don't normally have the Loco Moco, which is rice with hamburger, gravy and an egg ... but it is one of my wife's favorites. I usually go for chicken katsu plate lunches.

While surfing the net for info to use this post, I actually found a website with coupons for the Loco Moco here in Ewa Beach ... http://www.ecouponshawaii.com/detailed.aspx?nid=11&aid=249

If you're in the area, and feeling a bit hungry, it's worth checking out.

Aloha,
Todd
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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Success Quote of the Day

"You miss 100% of the shots you never take."
Wayne Gretzky


Wow, how true is that?

So many of us go through life paralyzed by Fear of Failure. When the reality is that by far the easiest way to Fail is to Do Nothing.

... and besides, always remember that sometimes failure can be a good thing.

So, what "shots" have you taken today?

Todd
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Four Dollar Gas

... well almost $4 a gallon anyway.

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In case you can't guess, my gas needle is nearly on empty, so I'm on my way to fill up today. Along with the pleasures of living in Hawaii, we do also endure the occasional bit of pain ... gas prices definitely falling in that category.

Hawaii consistently has some of the highest gas prices in the country. Which is to be expected, if you think about it. We import our gas, just like pretty much everything else. It's possible to save a little bit of money by getting gas on base (for those with an ID card), or at Costco ... but, honestly it only saves a couple of cents a gallon.  It really is a shame we haven't done a better job developing alternative fuel.

Oh well, just another test of my theory about living here. For everything that I do, or that happens, I simply add the two words "in Hawaii" to the end, then reassess my feelings ...

So, in this case, I suppose that paying almost $4 a gallon for gas In Hawaii is much better than paying that same price somewhere else.
;-)

Aloha til next time,
Todd
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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Life is a Beach

You know, I don't think there's anybody who appreciates living in Hawaii more than a 5 year old child at the beach. This is a picture of my step-daughter Jasmine concentrating on spelling her name correctly in the sand during our recent weekend visit to White Plains beach.

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I say it's the kids who appreciate the beach most, (and they do love it when we go), but now that I think about it, there's probably not many ways that I'd rather spend a Sunday afternoon, than sitting in my chair at the beach with my camera ... getting a tan and snapping pictures of my kids.

Life really is a Beach ... if you let it be.

Aloha,
Todd
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Success Quote of the Day


"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."
- Harry S Truman



As far as I'm concerned, this is a vital component of good leadership. There are many "leaders" out there who really just want to be "celebrities" ... that's not leadership.

A true leader will be most interested in achieving the objective ... and ideally, allowing, or even encouraging his/her followers to take the credit ... thus enhancing future motivation, while achieving the current goal.

Sometimes I think that our society is way too invested in the concepts of "credit" and it's twin brother "blame". It's seems to me that it would be much more productive to simply focus on results.

I don't know ...

Do you think there are times when assigning credit or blame does make sense?

Todd
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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

My Back Yard Palm Tree Sunset

It's been a little while since I've taken a Hawaii sunset picture. But since I was running a little late coming home today, and my camera was sitting in the seat next to me, I decided to walk around to the back yard and take a couple of quick pictures.

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Admittedly, this wasn't the most planned shot, but sometimes we have to work with what we have. A few nice palm trees, and a bright orange sky ... works for me.

I hope you enjoy this Hawaii Picture of the Day.

Aloha til next time ...
Todd
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Monday, May 5, 2008

Pride of Aloha Cruise Ship Sailing into Hilo

This is aerial shot of the Pride of Aloha Cruise ship pulling into Hilo Harbor. It was taken from the window of our C-26 as we were on our way over to the big Island of Hawaii for a day trip to Bradshaw Army Airfield.

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Short cruises had been quite a popular activity here in the Islands. Unfortunately, it appears that this particular ship the Pride of Aloha is actually leaving Hawaii this week. Even with this departure, I know we still have ships docking in Honolulu Harbor on a pretty regular basis.

I haven't done a lot of checking into it just yet, but I have promised my wife that I'll take her on a Cruise Ship sometime before we leave Hawaii. Hopefully there'll still be a few of these magnificent boats left in the Islands by that time.

Until then, I'll just have to look at this Hawaii Picture of the Day and dream about kicking back on one of those deck chairs next to the pool. Alternatively, I suppose we could just take a cheap vacation to Mexico ;-)
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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Iroquois Point Elementary School

Another one of the things that I've enjoyed about living here in Iroquois Point during my assignment here in Hawaii is that the elementary school is about a 5 minute walk from our house. The kids get up every morning, meet up with their friends and head off to Iroquois Point Elementary School.

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My kids have attended this school for two years now, and we've been very happy with the teachers and staff. This is one of the better schools in our area ... to the point that there are actually people who drive their kids onto Iroquois Point every day so their kids can attend IPES.

I'm not sure exactly when this school was built, but I'm assuming it's been around for quite a few years. A few readers have requested pictures of the school. I couldn't go on campus today (it's the weekend, and I'd be tresspassing). But, here are a couple of quick snapshots (if I can get back again during school hours sometime to get permission I'll try to post a few more from inside the school):


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