First time surgery

Tomorrow I am taking the first step to improve my life. In the morning I will check into Kaiser Permanente Medical Hospital for spine surgery. I have lived with the tingling, numbness in my legs for over 20 years. Last fall it made its way down to my feet. I have complained repeatedly, and was told that there was nothing that could be done. It has affected my ability to stand in place the most. When out taking photographs I look for a place to sit and recover. Funny, standing in place is most painful, and this affects me when I am in a group socializing.

Some suggested I should try alternative methods.

This was not my preferred route.

Well after my dog Libby had her MRI, my doctor set me up with one. The MRI showed definite lumbar spinal stenosis. One look at the many x-rays and the MRI, and the spine specialist referred me to a surgeon. Tomorrow I hope will be the beginning of a more mobile, comfortable life. Getting a bit ahead of myself. Keeping optimistic!

These are close pictures, but not my x-rays!

There is the surgery first. I’m almost 70 and this is my first time going under “the knife”. Actually, this is the first time I will be a patient since I had my kids.

I hope that my equipment will do its job!

My husband and son are ready to help me. There is a 6 week recovery. This means no lifting, no bending, and no twisting. Chubby Checker will have to wait.

My ice packs are ready.

I’ll be careful with the drugs offered. Good to know I was given pages of warning about not
getting addicted to pain meds.

I can’t believe it is March already. I have been busy taking care of Libby. She is her happy self. I think her left back leg is getting stronger, her right remains about the same. She carefully walks on our flooring without splaying, or she keeps to the carpet runners. When we walk outside I protect her paw with something called “PawZ”. It looks like a balloon, and she doesn’t mind me dressing her because she knows she is going for a short walk. I guess she will be a bit of a homebody while I recuperate. Though, I watched the doctor recommended videos and walking is encouraged.

I assume that I will be able to remain connected. But I am going to do all I need to do to get back in shape. My husband will be helping me with household tasks. Giving up doing the laundry, and cleaning. This may be hard to do. I made a big pot of butternut squash soup which goes well with salad and sandwiches. The weather has been quite wet lately, and soup fits perfectly with the season. My son is coming from the Richmond, Ca. for a couple of days and plans to cook for us. It will be good to spend some time with him.

Well I hope my doctor, nurses and everyone else gets a good night sleep, has a calm morning and will take good care of me when I check in at 9:45 a.m.

These photographs were taken at the Museum of Medical History located here in Sacramento.

Until I am up and blogging keep good thoughts!

Back to Nature in Kauai

Exotic Hibiscus Flower

For such a small Island I can say that five days left us little time with nothing to photograph. Each day we found a new area to see, and new things to photograph.

Up on the North shore Kilauea and Hanalei were an eye catching treat to explore. Weather was cooler, and changeable. Due to some storms last year roads past Hanalei were washed out. On my last visit I had a private docent led tour by my daughter-in-law of the Limahuli Garden  Perhaps, next time.

Approaching the Kilauea Lighthouse



My friend with her long lens finally got to capture images of the birds of Kauai. I tried, but quickly found other things of interest. Without long lenses, and strong arms to hold said lens, I look for things that are possible with the tools I can carry.

Meet the yellow garden spider. Aside from the wind, this spider stays still for a photo opportunity.

Yellow Garden Spider

The Nene is the official bird of Hawaii. I even caught a photo of it young.

Nene, official Hawaiian bird

Nene young

The views from this spot are spectacular. I so enjoyed visiting the north shore.

Rain started up, and we continued on to Hanalei, our selected lunch spot. But oh so fabulous a landscape.

View of Hanalei Bay


Waioli Huiia Church

Capturing some of the flowers here on Kauai. For some of these we stopped at a nursery where we could get close to our subject.

When I’m in Hawaii I like to take in a luau. The garden setting is lovely. A tram ride tour started us off.

Plenty of roosters
Smith Family Garden Luau is a family business. Now four generations continue the tradition started 50 years ago

Kalua pig roasted in an imu oven starts the ceremonial tradition. Followed by song and dance show. Not to easy to capture. I used my Fuji with a 35mm f1.4 lens and we had good seats!

I’m leaving the last bit of this photo tour for another day! Hope you enjoy the images as an arm chair traveler!



Street Photography in Kauai

Along with the lush scenery I tried to capture the flavor of the Island with some street photography. Laura brought an up-to date guide book. The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook. Mine was 19 years old, and prices and recommendations have changed. My son, who lived in Kapa’a in 2000 provided me with points of interest also.

My Fuji x100f is suited for street photography, and came in handy at the airport and when we explored towns. Along with my xt2 I brought along lenses for landscapes, and distance, lowlight, and all around general shooting. The dilemma my friends and I faced each day was what lens should we take with us. We joked around thinking there should be an app for that purpose. And who knows, maybe there will be an app for this someday?

Sacramento International Airport (SMF) is a delightfully easy to navigate, and a great point for departure.

There is no direct flight to Kauai. My flight landed in Honolulu in over 5 hours. Traversing this airport is quite a task. I took note of this and planned to use an airport cart for my carry-ons next time.

Off to Lihue. The bright Hawaiian shirts and big “Aloha Greeting” puts me in a holiday mood.
Baggage claim in Lihue is open-air. Right away you know you have arrived in the tropics.
Keeping my friend caffeinated with the “perfect” cappuccino!
And I know what my friend likes!

Old town Koloa is a quaint town with a sugar plantation past. Had a lot of fun exploring here.

Festive Hawaiian greeting.

Monkey Tree brought us here, but the charm caught my photographic eye.
Can you tell I missed my dog?
Always on the lookout for funny signs
This is part of a beautiful sculpture depicting their history.
Chickens and Roosters everywhere. Just like my town of Fair Oaks, Ca.

Koloa has this great ice cream shop, Koloa Mill Ice Cream and Coffee. Be sure to stop by, you won’t regret it! Another treat on this Island is Shave Ice. Not only is it fun to eat, it is fun to watch it being made. It does take a bit of technique to eat it without looking like an amateur.

Guide book recommended Jo Jo’s. First tried Shave Ice in the town of Waimea. Our second stop was in the town of Hanalei.
All kinds of flavor combinations.
Developing her technique!
Caution. Head freeze ahead!

Hanalei is another fun town to check out. Had to pull out our rain gear to protect our gear. The rain comes and goes quickly.

Wandered in and out of shops. This owner was learning a new song.

Croc Cuteness

I end here today with the hope of getting time tomorrow to continue with some more of my photo images.

Kauai – Looking for Water on the Coconut Coast

The last time I visited the Garden Isle I spent much time at the beach visiting my son and daughter-in-law. This time photography pushed us to explore, explore, explore. There are 4 distinct areas to visit. West Side: Waimea Canyon and Hanapepe, North Shore: Kiluea, Hanalei and Princeville, East Side: Coconut Coast – Lihu’e, Wailua and Kapa’a, and South Shore: Koloa, and sunny Po’ipu.

Surrounded by ocean, with waterfalls and rivers interspersed there is no shortage of water. Landscapes full of green provide much appreciated photo opportunities. Especially when you travel from California after a summer of drought.

Opaika’a Falls enhanced by cloud cover
Looking for a closer view, a longer and heavier lens might do!

Our trusty Nissan rental provided our only means of transportation. Maybe if I return I may plan a trip down the river by boat. Not being able to get close to the waterfall kind of took away some of the excitement for me.

Wailua River found on the other side of Opaika’a Falls.

On to our next waterfall of the morning.

Beginning of a muddy trail to find the Secret Waterfalls
Meeting a much younger and experience hikers returning, I decide the Secret Waterfalls will remain as such. My friends and I enjoy the jungle atmosphere.
Looking out from the jungle path is a clearing with goats and bird friends.
Muddy, broken flip flops abandoned by a more adventurous hiker.

Lunch in Kapa’a at Bubba’s Burgers and a quick stop at Kapa’a Beach. Ocean

Plenty of wait time. Amusing signs always capture my attention.
Wild ocean waves on Kapa’a Beach

Last stop of the day is the Wailua Waterfalls. Picturesque, but did not get my heart thumping like Niagara Falls. What can I say.

Wailua Waterfalls
Amused to watch selfies be taken.
I guess this sign does not apply to the lizard attached!

This ends the exploration of the Coconut Coast. Didn’t photograph any coconuts. I understand that this side of the Island has groves of coconuts. Something to see, next time?