Smorgasbord Posts from the Archives 2021 – Pot Luck – #Hawaii – My Aloha experience by D.L. Finn

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Since this series began in January 2018 there have been over 1000 Posts from Your Archives where bloggers have taken the opportunity to share posts to a new audience… mine. The topics have ranged from travel, childhood, recipes, history, family and the most recent series was #PotLuck where I shared a random selection of different topics.

In this series I have shared posts from the last six months of 2020 and the series is now closed to new participants.

This is the second post from D.L. Finn and she shares her various visits to Hawaii over the years with highlights and memories.. This brought back my own of our two visits to the Islands.

My Aloha experience

Hawaii is a place I hold close in my heart. I heard many tales of this magical place growing up. My family had done business there, and my mother had been there many times during this. Although the family business had ended, I was lucky enough to see this place when I was in the fourth grade. Oahu was magical through a nine-year-old girl’s eyes. I spent hours swimming and exploring the island with my great grandparents. I remember touring the pineapple groves and sitting next to a very nice fourth-grade teacher.

Pineapples were a cornerstone of my diet there. We ate pineapple ice cream at Woolworths and fresh pineapple at the International Market. What I will remember most about this trip is the Brady Bunch (one of my favorite shows growing up) went to Hawaii the same year. We stayed in the same hotel they did, but not at the same time. Although I didn’t get cursed or learn how to surf, I got a hula lesson at the Kodiak show.

Then, when I was twelve years old, I went back again with my great grandparents. We stayed in a hut (that was torn down soon after to make way for more hotels) with a path to the beach. I found a Hawaiian lady who was making leis with plumeria flowers along the path. She took the time to show me how to make them, and then I got to keep my work. I spent hours swimming and ended up with the worst sunburn I ever had. For nights after I sprayed myself with water to cool it down and later my shoulders bore freckles of my Hawaiian journey. We picked up some souvenirs at the International Market (now gone) and went to the Polynesian Cultural Center, where we walked through villages while interacting and learning. Then a beautiful show floated by on the river.

My next trip back was on my honeymoon. We explored Oahu: Pearl Harbor, Polynesian Cultural Center, and a Luau. When we weren’t seeing the sights, we hung out on the Waikiki Beach and ate lots of crab Louie and pineapple. Another week was added, and we headed to Maui. Here we drove the famous Hana Drive that took us through all the waterfalls and an amazing black beach that we had to ourselves. Every night in paradise, we sat and watched the sunset.

It was almost 30 years before we went back to Hawaii for our second honeymoon. This time we focused on Kauai and Maui.

On Kauai, we made a point of doing things we’d never done before, including a helicopter tour over Kauai, which produced some amazing views and pictures but also left my husband with a queasy stomach. Next, we took a boat tour to snorkel (my second time ever), and the spinning dolphins and a couple of turtles entertained us. Then we rented a Harley and cruised the south shore of the island, including the spectacular little Grand Canyon. Kauai is an amazing garden island filled with roaming chickens.

We spent week two on Maui. We took the Hana drive again, where I was less brave than I had been on our honeymoon with the narrow road, but it was still just as beautiful as I had remembered it. We explored the town of Lahaina and the Hard Rock Cafe, and other wonderful restaurants. The thing that has the fondest memories was staying at the hotel and lounging around the pool— and snorkeling. We’d get up each morning and suit up for the ocean. There was usually a turtle greeting you at the shore, but we were warned not to touch them it could make them sick. However, the turtle seemed determined to touch me.

Hawaii is truly paradise, full of wonderful people, scenery, and memories. It has become my home away from home and has found its way in An Unusual Island, This Second Chance, and soon to be released, middle grade/ YA Dolphin’s Cave. I’m hoping for an early December release if all goes well.

The Aloha spirit has found residence in me and my work.

Embrace your inner child with the Aloha Spirit in your heart. D. L. Finn

©D.L. Finn 2020

About D.L. Finn

D.L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to the Sierra foothills in Nevada City, CA. She immersed herself in reading all types of books, but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, being surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations vary from children’s books, young adult fantasy, and adult paranormal romance to an autobiography with poetry. She continues on her adventures with an open invitation for her readers to join her

A selection of books by D.L. Finn

One of the recent reviews for This Last Chance

Mark Bierman4.0 out of 5 stars You may need a few more sips of that Cabernet to ease the nerves. Reviewed in the United States on December 28, 2020

Unseen forces battle for the future of earth, while unsuspecting humans go about their daily lives. This novel is a unique spin on the classic tale of good versus evil.

Amber Dodges is a news reporter on the hunt for the killer of her twin sister, Iris. She unknowingly attracts the attention of the evildwels, the angels, and the killer.

Finn has created a strong female protagonist in Amber, who lives, quite literally, by the motto, “Never say die!”

A view of the supernatural and terrestrial worlds, are constantly interchanged throughout this story, providing a chilling premonition that something terrible is about to happen. You may need a few more sips of that Cabernet to ease the nerves.

As the story unfolds, Amber is threatened and grows leery of all, as she tries to determine who is a ‘friend or foe’. This fact is left for the reader to puzzle over, until the climax is reached.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who desires a peek beyond the veil of the spiritual/mortal realms. Anyone who relishes a decent thriller, without the gore of a typical slasher story, will be appreciate the strong plot and high stakes drama. I’m giving this one a Four-Star rating!

 Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK – Follow D.L. Finn: Goodreads – Connect to D.L. Finn – Website: D.L. Finn Author – Facebook: D.L. Finn Author – Twitter: @dlfinnauthor


My thanks to Denise for permitting me to share her posts and I do suggest you head over to enjoy her archives.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Potluck – #Hawaii – the beginnings by Susanne Swanson

Welcome to the  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post:

A welcome back to Susanne Swanson with the first of the posts that I have selected from her archives…cats are the muses in her household and they have some wonderful adventures. There are also some great travel posts and Susanne has a series on Hawaii…one of my favourite places and today I am sharing the first in that series.

Hawaii – the beginnings by Susanne Swanson

No, not the beginning of the islands themselves. (Though you can still witness them grow as molten lava flows into the ocean.) I’m talking about my own humble beginnings with these wonderful Pacific islands collectively known as Hawaii.

It started sometime after my 20th wedding anniversary when I said to my husband, with a smile on my face and stars in my eyes, “Isn’t it wonderful that we will celebrate our 25th Anniversary in Hawaii?”

His laughter indicated he didn’t know this to be true at the time. In fact, I knew my husband had little to no interest in Hawaii, why I do not know. Nevertheless, I continued this prophetic speak when the occasion so warranted, wisely and judiciously until the message was heard; until he deduced from my unabashed hinting that I wasn’t kidding, and yes it may be time for such a trip.

“Honey, if you really want to go, we will go.”

And so my planning began in earnest as we settled on the islands of Oahu and Hawaii (aka, ‘the big island’) to celebrate our anniversary almost 10 years ago.

I won’t bore you with too many details from that first trip. (For I have been making up for lost time ever since.) I can only tell you that I was immediately smitten; it was everything I hoped it would be and much, much more. I can find no word more suitable to describe this magical place than Lush.

Lush. Hanging vines. Coconuts. Papayas and mangoes. Banyan trees. Waterfalls. Rich fragrances of fruits and flowers filling the moist air.




And so while the Seattle winter rains are heavy upon us I am making final preparations for our next trip, the second to the island of Maui. It may be our last, who knows? But I am so glad I spoke that first trip into being many years ago, by a few simple words.

“Isn’t it wonderful that we will celebrate our 25th Anniversary in Hawaii?”

Yes. It was.

©Susanne Swanson

About Susanne

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

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In my blog you will meet my two favorite felines, Tiger and Benji, and see pictures and stories from my travels, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Connect to Susanne


My thanks to Susanne for allowing me to share posts from her archives and you can find more of the amazing scenery of Hawaii in her Hawaii directory

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park on #Maui by Marsha Ingrao

Delighted to welcome Marsha Ingrao today with a wonderful guided tour of Ka’lkena O ‘lai State Park in Maui.

Visiting Ka’Ikena O ‘Iao State Park in Maui, HI is one of the must do activities if you love gardens and easy hiking. You can do a quick hike in 20-30 minutes or enjoy every detail and take several hours.

If you are Hawaiian, it’s free, but tourists pay only $5.00 per car to park, and you can stay as long as you like.

By the time you reach the parking lot, you already have a magnificent view of the famous Iao Needle. And the young ones want to push forward up the broad path.

The official Iao Valley State Park website lists the amenities as a Scenic Viewpoint, Trash Cans, a Walking Path, and Restrooms. So you won’t want to miss these. It’s a long walk.

Iao’s Unique History

Somebody in the group always wants to stop and read the historical markers. Usually, that’s me. If you don’t learn anything else about Hawaii, you will probably recognize the name of King Kamehameha I. The battle of Kepaniwai took place here in 1790 with King Kamehameha I defeating the Maui army. No doubt they did not want to give up the beautiful island and fought bitterly to save it.

Although Kamehameha had guns and cannons, the waters churned with casualties on both sides. Women and children watched the massacre from the hills.

Leaving the history behind, three couples of us started up the broad path together. The climb was easy because all frequently stopped to take pictures. That’s a sneaky way to catch your breath without anyone noticing that vog and the steep climb made breathing laborious.

Vog results from the smoldering volcano ash from a nearby island. It’s no healthier for you than smog or smoking, but we stood and breathed it in for a while just to get a feel for the place.

As we worked our way closer to the 133 stairs up to the Needle Scenic Viewpoint, a young man worked his own guns. We paused to enjoy the fitness show for a while and take pictures.

When we finally reached the Viewpoint, we were hardly any closer to the Iao Needle than we had been 133 steps before. That’s not to say it wasn’t worth the climb. Nothing obscured the view. We were done hiking anyway, so we sat down to enjoy the shaded rest area.

There are trails you can take to the top, but we didn’t follow the signs advertising trails to tourists.

On the way down our party of six didn’t even try to stay together. I got sidetracked by a spider web sparkling in the sun that wouldn’t cooperate when I tried to focus in on my camera.

What a journey down, gravity pulling you down speeding up every step until you’re almost running by the time you reach the bottom if you don’t make it a point to stop along the way. Burning calves demanded me to rest and photograph the ferns and other greenery. It wasn’t raining while we were there, but with this lush vegetation, you could well imagine that it should have been.

At the bottom of the stairs, the path led beside a stream with rapids. In every park with natural water features, people do dumb things. Children here frolicked in the water with no lifejackets.

Water-related accidents commonly cause of death in parks, forests, and waterways. Many drowning victims had engaged in activities as innocent as wading, taking photos or playing beside the stream bank.

For example, one girl had her dog on a raft and pulled it back when it got too close to the rapids. Would it do any good to yell at her and tell her not to do that? None of our party did.

What would you do if you saw something you thought was cruel or at best stupid behavior in water?

Beware of Five Water Hazards

  • Cold water. Even warm water can cool your body temperature if you get caught in it for a while.
  • Rapid currents. If you slip or lose focus, the current may trap you under water or cause you to fall and break or sprain a bone.
  • Swimming without a life jacket in a stream is dangerous. Using a life jacket goes without saying for children. However, parks also find adults who have gotten trapped when going over rapids even if they had been good swimmers.
  • Don’t wade upstream from a waterfall even if the water seems calm.
  • Park officials suggest that you stay on trail or walkway. Often people wear inappropriate hiking shoes such as thongs or sandals. Wet debris is notoriously slippery, and poisonous plants sometimes lurk just off the path.


What other rules or advice would you give your children if you go on a hike near the water?

Is this visitor looking for the Needle? He’s not even close to the Haystack let alone the Iao Needle! He probably knows more about the trees in Hawaii than I do.

It surprised me that there were so few flowers in this park. Iao Needle State Park luxuriously green, overflows with ferns.

On the way back up from the stream we noticed that Mr. Fitness had disappeared. Fortunately, no bodies had floated down the river as we watched the kids playing in the water. Wherever he was, it looked like he littered and left behind some valuable items of clothing.

Maybe he had turned into Spider-man.

Our trip culminated back in the parking lot where the state bird had taken ownership of the grassy picnic areas. We relaxed for a while in the shade while some of our party visited the amenities one last time before we drove away.

Hope you enjoyed the gardens of the Iao Needle State Park. Be sure to visit it yourself as these pictures can’t do it justice.

My thanks to Marsha for this wonderful glimpse of this spectacular park and mountain.

About Marsha Ingrao

Marsha is a retired teacher and History Consultant for the Office of Education for Tulare County in Central California.

My first novel, Girls on Fire, a romantic comedy about three women in their early sixties looking for new loves, will come out as soon as my editor sends me back the final edits to make. Three blogs keep me busy the rest of the time I sit at my desk.

In the past year, I have focused more on writing, blogging, and photography for newbies and non-professional bloggers. I write about those topics on this blog, Always Write.

Marsha is author of Woodlake (Images of America)

About the book

Known as the area “within the magic circle,” the Western town of Woodlake, along with its surrounding valley, is rich in both natural resources and hardworking citizens who are proud of their heritage. Most Tulare County towns sprang up along the Southern Pacific Railroad. Woodlake, designed as a tourist town, drew together farming communities, consisting of people too busy raising fruit and cattle to create a town. Starting with Thomas Henry Davis in 1853, settlers established farms and ranches, which attracted Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson when he arrived in 1907.

Approved by the Tulare County Board of Supervisors on October 3, 1911, the world-class tourist town named Woodlake grew from Stevenson’s imagination into reality. Led by the strong sales personality of its founder, Woodlake grew quickly, yet it remained a Western town, retaining reference points to the early communities that visitors would not find on signs. Visitors to Woodlake today will find Woodlakeans still doing what attracted Gilbert Stevenson: raising cattle and growing citrus within protection of the Sierra Nevada and foothills.

All author’s proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Woodlake High School Foundation.

One of the reviews for the book.

Wonderful book of Woodlake history. It’s a treasure! I bought three so my kids have their own copy. Grandson loves it! It’s heritage!

Buy the book from Amazon:

Connect to Marsha

Websites: Blogging tutorials and personal posts:

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Thank you for dropping by today and please feel free to share.. thanks Sally

Happy 4th July – Part Two – Houston Texas – 1986 – Halley’s Comet -Hawaii – Magnum PI – Top Gun

In celebration of our time in America and the wonderful people we met and still are in touch with, here is our second year living in Houston and some of the adventures we enjoyed. We actually ended up visiting all the East and West Coast as well as driving across country.. On this trip we wanted to see the once in a lifetime visit of Halley’s comet.

It is now 1986 and we were very aware that we only had a year left of David’s contract in America and that we needed to step up our explorations.  In that twelve months we visited the East and West coasts and made the epic road trip from Houston to New Mexico with a friend  to try and glimpse Halley’s Comet:

Halley’s Comet only appears every 76 years and being such a rare visit we needed to find a very special place to try and view this once in a lifetime event .  We opted for the car park of Carlsbad Caverns which is an enormous underground network of caves.

We explored the 119 caverns hundreds of feet below ground in the day; at night we returned to the car park miles from any light pollution and lay on ground sheets searching the star filled sky above us. The second night we were rewarded with the most amazing, if very tiny, sight of this elusive comet with our low resolution telescopes and just about with the naked eye. We had taken a rucksack with us with hot coffee and snacks and as we watched this astral display, we heard the rucksack being dragged off into the undergrowth. Fearing we had been targeted by large felines; we aimed our combined torches at the predator. A raccoon stared back at us challenging our refusal to pay the car park fees!  We persuaded him that this was not acceptable and were able to enjoy our breakfast at dawn surrounded by deer and a view that stretched for miles across the Chihuahuan Desert.

That year David and I also took advantage of the air miles he had accumulated on all his sales trips and flew to Hawaii for the first of several visits to these magnificent islands. I have to admit at this point that I have always had rather a crush on Tom Selleck…. Magnum P.I and I rather hoped that I might be lucky enough to encounter him on our trip. Whilst waiting for a glimpse of an earthbound comet…. we did some of the usual tourist activities and I splashed out on a wonderful MuuMuu which was set off by my 80s hair.


We also  discovered the delight of rum cocktails and completed pre-dinner tasting sessions. The outright winner is the Molokai Mule which is a drink not to be attempted on an empty stomach with the expectation of being able to stand up again afterwards.. It certainly has a mighty kick…here is the recipe for those of you brave enough to attempt!

Eventually my secret wish was fulfilled and the day before our flight back to Houston, whilst at a four way stop near Diamond Head, I was rewarded with a fleeting encounter with Magnum P.I. He was in a convertible at the stop opposite us and as we glided past each other like ships in the night I knew that 1986 had been a very special year!

The music of that year was great with many hits making their way across the Atlantic in both directions. Here is a small selection: Lionel Ritchie – Say You Say Me, Dionne Warwick & Friends – That’s What Friends are For, Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love, Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls, Steve Winwood – Higher Love, Simply Red – Holding Back the Years, Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer, Madonna – Don’t Preach, Billy Ocean – When the Going Gets Tough and Bananarama – Venus.

In honour of the passing years I have selected Simply Red for this weeks chart track from 1986.

Films were equally interesting in 1986 and we managed to get in a weekly cinema visit wherever we might be at the time. Aliens, Platoon (stunning) The Mission, Crocodile Dundee, The Name of the Rose (highly recommended) Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home, The Color of Money, and Mona Lisa (amazing). Without a doubt the film that followed in the wake of An Officer and a Gentlemen in the romance category, with action thrown in high in the skies for good measure, was Top Gun with the every youthful Tom Cruise.  Here is the theme song.. and 30 years later the soundtrack is still on my playlist.

Buy Top Gun:

Halley’s Comet Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License;

I hope you have enjoyed my step back in time in tribute to our American friends and the two wonderful years we enjoyed as guests in Houston.