Sunday, December 16, 2012

Considering Grad School

It's been a while since I've updated. It's really just a waiting game at this point. Hopefully, 3 more years!
I've studied every element in Chemistry, and on a fascinating note- I want to double major in Chemistry and Geology! I want pretty much every job in that spectrum too. Radiation and Nuclear physics interests me as well.
The big plan has also expanded! I want to earn my double Bachelor's Degrees of Science at UH. I would love to work at the geothermal plant on the big island. Or nab an internship with NASA. I would love to monitor the volcanoes and earthquakes. Anything to further the advancement of science. I want to enjoy some time in Hawaii, but then, I may move on...
... to Berkeley! I'm in love with their Chemistry department. I want to earn, at least, my Master's Degree in Chemistry. I want to work with the Department of Energy or CERN. I'm in love with science and energy. I would love to finish up some of the work of Glenn Seaborg (bio- awesome guy!!!!) and possibly advance the Periodic Table. I have some very big ideas.
But, in the mean time.. I'm currently drumming through algebra and linear equations. Slowly on my way to complete the 2 years of Calculus needed for my undergrad. Guess it's a good idea to have these next couple of years, while saving money, to study and become GREAT!
I really wish UH offered a great grad school on the big island. I'm still considering Berkeley. San Francisco's cost of living scares me. Pittsburgh has a low cost of living, and it's very easy to stay here forever. But it's not Hawaii. Hawaii calls my soul home. I crave warm weather and sun. I crave the geology of the islands. I crave the tiki culture and the slower pace. I want to step outside into a world of exotic flora and fauna every day, but I'm NOT looking forward to the giant spiders. If that's the only evil I face there, I'd be doing pretty damn well!

Friday, May 11, 2012

It's in the stars

Just a quick update. Finances are lining up so that it's possible to move to Hilo in 4 years or less. I'm studying chemistry now, so when I get into a geology program, I'll only have to worry about assignments and not curriculum. I have to retake algebra and geometry, and then learn trig and calc. Fantastic, considering the only math I've done in the last 10 years is balance a checkbook. I graded myself on my last attempt at algebra, and let's just say, it wasn't pretty. I have to take physics again too. I'm pretty sure I did well in high school and remember some of it. Then I have to take a lot more science. That's a breeze. I can do this. I'm just very excited that we got a lot of debts paid off this year, and we can actually start saving now. Hawaii is so much closer now, even though it's still a way off!

Monday, December 12, 2011


I feel I posted the last article too soon, since I just found 2 more from National Geographic!

7 Volcanoes Erupting Right Now

Kilauea March 6 Eruption

I'm a science nerd...

I've been figuring out my schooling future. Right now, it involves getting to Hawaii, and enrolling at UH. I want to earn my B.S. in Geology. I eventually want to get my masters or a doctorate in it, but have yet to look into grad schools. I've fallen in love with UH's science programs, without having ever been to Hawaii. I swear, I'm destined for the islands. Even though I don't want to become a vulcanologist specifically, I do want to take advantage of the geography of Hawaii to further my education. So without further ado, I found this article fascinating.

Hawaiian volcano science: why Kilauea sits on Mauna Loa, but is a sister of Mauna Kea

Monday, December 5, 2011


I figured I'd share a link about the privately owned Hawaiian island of Niihua. Here's a tidbit...

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know that there’s plenty of Hawaiian culture to be found in the museums and souvenir shops that serve the 6 million tourists who visit each year. But that’s about the only place you’ll find it. The 80,000 Hawaiians who claim full native-Hawaiian ancestry today make up less than 6% of the state’s total population. Fewer than 2,000 Hawaiians are native Hawaiian speakers, and half of those are over 70 years old.
There are no communities left on the Hawaiian Islands that speak Hawaiian as their first language. No communities, that is, except one: the 130 Hawaiians who live on Niihau. Their culture and privacy are still carefully guarded by the descendants of Eliza Sinclair. On every other island, the traditional Hawaiian way of life has all but disappeared.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things we know & Things we need to know

Right now, it seems as though life wants to crap on us again. Hawaii keeps getting pushed further and further out of reach. The job situation is sketchy, due to contract obligations, we can't get into any details. Christmas isn't happening this year. Sorry if you expected a gift from us, it's not personal. But I figured I'd update some of our Hawaii notes.
I mostly research Hilo & Hawaii, but if we could pull off living on Oahu, I look that up too. And Kauai of course. I will end up retiring there..

Things we want to look into: (in absolutely no order)
  • tattoo shops (and traditional tribal tattoos), pool halls, bowling alleys
  • local holiday traditions
  • local cuisine (seafood, restaurants, fast food places), import cuisine (I know wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, olive oil, vinegar & maple syrup are imported)
    trade winds (seasonally), storms, hurricanes
  • local fauna- Are there boars, flamingos, goats, owls, bats, etc.? What kinds of whales frequent the islands- I know humpback whales do. Same w/seals (monk seals I know), BUGS ick. bees & apiaries
  • cheap hotels until we can find an apartment
  • dollar stores, libraries & book stores, community pools, laundromats
  • google street view- I did this with some parts of Hilo already
  • local lore, ghost stories, etc.
  • tourist activities, how that affects locals (cruise ship season, etc); one-way cruises or ships (plane alternatives) I've heard to avoid Walmart if a cruise ship is docked.
  • amusement parks, carnivals, zoos, playgrounds, circuses
  • medical insurance, hospitals- I've heard that if you have something major, go to Honolulu
  • public transportation- There's a bus on Hawaii that's like $2 a day?
  • invasive species- I heard about the deer and donkeys
  • local religion- Tiki Gods, totems, etc.
  • sports, arenas, venues
  • politics & law- found a cool site a while ago with different laws & ordinances, but I lost the link. weapons laws?
  • biker friendly?
  • local farms, can you have goats, chickens, etc?
  • local beers, good pizza shops
  • continental shelves, trenches, geography of ocean around the islands
  • nationalities of the population
  • deep sea fishing, [land] sledding (down a volcano), surfing, scuba, snorkeling
  • walking on coals
  • exports- sugar cane, coffee, macadamias, orchids, etc.
  • astronomy & telescopes on Hawaii
  • science courses at UH Hilo
  • military. There are 2 Forts on Oahu. My husband wants to re-enlist, do we have to live on Oahu?
  • radio stations
  • city & night life
  • gambling? I haven't heard of a casino in Hawaii...
  • police & fire, response times
  • child care, day cares, home schooling
  • prescription transfers- I assume if you go to like a big chain, it shouldn't be a problem
  • my sons receive different therapies, are those available?

Things we've noticed: (in no order) Keep in mind, research is done for living on [the big island of] Hawaii unless otherwise stated
  • There's cockroaches everywhere, we'll have to get an exterminator anywhere we move in. Is this just Oahu? or everywhere? There's 6" centipedes (I'm getting a chicken, they eat them!), anoles, random scorpions, coqui frogs are super loud
  • It's likely we can find a decent place under $800 a month. Stay away from realtors & property managers, rent from owners, at least at first. Realtors have like a year long wait list.
  • There's not many yard sales or garage sales, but we did find Goodwill & Salvation Army
  • temps are 65-85 degrees year long, and we'll see lots of floral prints
  • sea turtles & millions of stars
  • the ocean changes every 20 minutes, so you have to keep an eye on the beaches all the time. places will be calm one day, rough currents another.
  • my husband's happy there's no snakes. I'm not happy about this cane spider business
  • We found Steelers bars!
  • They ditched the ferry between islands, but if you book ahead of time, you can grab flights from Hilo to Honolulu for $19. Round trip for a family of 4 could be as low as $160.
  • gas prices (as of past summer) were only 35 cents a gallon higher
  • no daylight savings time
  • get a Hawaii state id for $15, we can keep our PA licenses
  • some places don't have curb side garbage pick up. You have to sign up with an independent operator or take it to the dump yourself. composting & recycling available (you drop off), 5 cent reimbursement on recycling. Home Depot lets you recycle batteries
  • First Hawaiian Bank has free checking, CostULess has no membership fee, Longs Drug has cheap alcohol!
  • sewage is ~$27/month, water ~$25/month with $50 deposit to sign up. a lot of places have catchments (rain barrels) but there are periods of drought, and sometimes you wait weeks for water trucks. I just read there's now more emergency water spouts. electric ~$350/month. cut back on water tanks, turn off any light bulbs when not in use, etc. You need to conserve! But I love the idea of it.
  • Our malls are similar, except there's no Sanrio in Pittsburgh, but there's one in Hilo AND Honolulu! Bebe, Dior, Betsey Johnson, Lego... all in Hawaii & not here. But there's no Kohls, Half Price Books, Toys R Us, Gabriel Brothers or the company I work for.
  • they're working on their schools and restructuring building codes for the better. (I'm subscribed to Hilo news.) all government programs are the same as here. Broadband internet is expanding. Saddle Rd. is being repaired... haha I'm taking serious notes now!
  • farmers markets are big! and I've noticed a lot of the beef is grass fed.
  • living on a volcano is a reality, slight earthquakes happen. get the hell out of dodge if you smell rotten eggs (sulfur). I want to look into a Hepa air filter for the vog (fog-like volcanic emissions). Also have emergency supplies on hand in case of an eruption, like tents, bottled water, etc.
  • Haole is the same as whitey... I want to learn more Hawaiian. and hula too. each move has a meaning
  • registering a car is $45 (random)
  • Pittsburgh has a 7.5% sales tax, but not on clothes, shoes, diapers, [unprepared] food, or anything deemed "necessary." Hawaii has a 4% sales tax on everything. I think that means it's evened out?
  • Hawaii has black, white and green sand beaches!!
Things we're going to need once we're there: (the stuff we're leaving behind, since shipping it and buying it all new is the same cost) Luckily, I've noticed a lot of apartments are furnished
  • furniture, lamps
  • tv, dvd player, movies
  • pots & pans
  • small kitchen appliances
  • washer & dryer
  • plates, silverware, cups, etc
  • bath towels
  • curtains
  • clothes, shoes, hangers
  • food
  • cell phones & plans
  • car
  • office supplies
  • kids toys
  • toiletries, sunscreen
  • cleaning supplies, vacuum
  • books
Stuff we're taking with us:
  • computers, xbox
  • clothes
  • glasses, contacts, prescriptions
  • photos & files
  • toiletries
  • eventually want to ship our collectables (Steelers gear, heirloom Halloween decorations, etc)
So that was about 15 pages in a notebook. Please leave us some comments, advice, anything! Or you can email me

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tsunami debris visiting Hawaii + a tiki Halloween

I found this article very interesting. It's about the Japan tsunami debris. Yes, there's still stuff floating around since March. It's crazy to think how much garbage is in the ocean. If you think about how much people litter, plus how much trash randomly ends up in the ocean, plus flooding debris, etc. and it's all in the home of tons of wildlife. It's kinda like this dead bird I saw randomly on a site that had like 20 bottle caps in it's belly. Anyways, it's pretty cool that someone tracked the tsunami debris based on currents.

I know I haven't posted in a bit. Life's been happening, of course. But we still dream of Hawaii. The big job hasn't happened yet. So right now, we've just been trying to survive. I tried to stop making big purchases, but we ended up with a car and a tv, which we won't be able to take with us in the move. Seriously, just need to hit the lottery for like $50,000, and we could do it tomorrow. I took my time enjoying autumn this year, because there's no season changes in Hawaii. I'm getting excited for one of my last snowy winters, especially since I think this year is going to be bad. Speaking of autumn, I tried my hand at a tiki jack o'lantern for Halloween. His face should have been a little more smushed I think.
I have this notebook full of Hawaii notes. I need to post them here. If you've ever visited or lived in Hawaii, or live there now, please share your stories!