Donna Crawford
Redondo Beach, California


I was born in North Carolina and lived there until I was about 2 or so.  My father was in the military, so we moved every year or two.  We lived up and down the east coast, in Arkansas, Germany and Kansas, before he retired in 1980.  I attended Manhattan High School (in Kansas) and college and law school at the University of Kansas (Go Jayhawks!!).

I've lived in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and California since leaving my parents' home.  I currently live in California with my husband Kirk (even while we were on our RTW, we considered California as home). My family and friends are scattered all over the place, as you can imagine.

My husband and I are highly involved with our church, locally. I have lots of hobbies, including cooking, HAM radio, reading, travelling, bzflag, and sports/outdoor activities. Although I love to watch Jayhawk Basketball, I generally prefer to participate. Some of my favorites are beach volleyball, scuba diving, cycling, rowing, swimming, snow skiing, tramping, surfing, off-roading, etc.

My travels over the last few years have taken me to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and most recently, on a 15-country, 1-year round-the-world trip.

Feel free to drop me an email to let me know how you're doing, or any other suggestions you have for these pages! And be sure to sign my new Guestbook!

Recent Articles

Saturday, April 14


BzFlag & GSoC

I had a rather funny dream last night but to understand it, you must first know a little of what's been going on lately. A few weeks ago, I was asked to apply as a Google Summer of Code mentor for BzFlag. Not only was I completely surprised by the request, I felt totally inadequate. Although I've been playing BzFlag for a bit over 3 years now, I PLAY. I am not a developer (despite the many people who have mistakenly believed me to be after seeing a "developers gathering" photo). In fact, I haven't written a single piece of code since I took FORTRAN in college. So my first reaction was, "WHAT?! Why me?!"

The SoC administrator proceeded to explain to me that the BzFlag project would be more of a team-led mentoring, and the designated mentor was more of a shepherd. And so, I started to think about it. One of my strengths is mentoring. It's also what I've most enjoyed about some of my past positions. So, I ultimately said "yes" and applied.

After several days of evaluating proposals (as best as I could), the administrator had to rank the various proposals, assign mentors (at least temporarily) and then we were waiting on Google to determine the number of slots we would receive. Initially slotted for five, BzFlag ended up with only four. And initially, I was assigned as a mentor for a slotted position. Keep in mind, there were about 10 people (9 of them actually qualified to mentor through giving direction on coding) who were willing to mentor for BzFlag. Ultimately, my mentee was given to another, more qualified mentor.

Was I relieved? Absolutely! This summer is rapidly looking busier and busier. Plus, I've possibly taken on a bit more than I bargained for with ShareFest. Was I disappointed? Surprisingly, yes, a bit. Which, I presume, is what led to my comical dream. In the dream, the administrator was begging mentees in turn to accept me as their mentor. None of them wanted me! Can you imagine?! Bah!

Anyway, I'm very excited that BzFlag has been accepted to Google's Summer of Code and we are all looking forward to the projects being developed this summer!

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Monday, March 12


Sporty Chicks?

Well for anyone who knows my online name, this will make sense:

Special thanks to Pimpi who retrieved it from his children's candy and sent it to me!

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Thursday, February 8


Short Update

Here's a very short update on what's been going on - I'll try to remember to provide an expanded version later on. Kirk has been on the road since January 16th. He did manage a short 2 day trip home for our 5-year anniversary, which we spent in Idyllwild. We stayed at a nice little B&B (Strawberry Creek Inn) and went horseback riding. I picked him up from the airport and took him straight back to the airport - he never even got to come back to the apartment.

While he was in Maui, I took the opportunity to head up to Mammoth with some folks from irc. Christel, who I know from freenode (and whose staff I recently joined), and a couple of others were flying up to Mammoth on a Cessna 210. I attended Bryan and Chad's going away lunch and then drove straight to San Diego.

The flight up was nice, but a bit chilly. It was quite dark by the time we landed. A nice dinner out at Roberto's (where Kirk and I had met Fred & Geri 5 years ago) and the next morning we hit the slopes. Or tried to. It took a while to get everyone sorted, and it was almost 11AM by the time we headed up the hill to take our first run.

Turns out that James was a bit newer to skiing than Tracy or I realized, so we took some time getting him over to a green run and then tried to coach him down the run. It was while on this green run that disaster struck. We were near the right hand side of the very wide run, in perfectly clear view to anyone above us. I was standing still explaining how to snow plow, and Tracy was about 20 yards downhill. All the sudden, I looked uphill and saw a guy coming straight for me, completely out of control, laying back on his skis. Before I even had time to react, he ran right into me. I went flying, landing on my head and shoulder. Tracy later said he stopped about a foot or so from where Tracy was standing.

I was in too much pain to even get up and Tracy went for help. Ski patrol came and I got a nice little ride down the hill on a sled - not exactly what I was expecting. From there, the EMTs took me in an ambulance to the hospital, which was packed. After a substantial wait (a portion of which I spent on irc trying to distract myself from the pain), I was finally wheeled into xray - where they made me do my xrays laying down. First I had to remove about 5 layers of clothing - excruicating!

Turns out, I had a fractured glenoid - that's one of the bones making up the socket. Not good. I was done for the trip - without having taken a single run! I spent the next 2 1/2 days in the hotel room, icing my shoulder, taking pain medication and generally sulking a bit. We had some nice meals out and Christel was a doll and hung out with me most of the time, not getting to ski herself.

Monday, we flew home in stellar weather. I got to ride up front with Tracy (the pilot) and saw some magnificent scenery. As I was now in San Diego with my car, I had a 2 1/2 hour drive home ahead of me. We landed fairly late and I was feeling rather weary, so I decided to postpone my drive home for a day. We met Scott (numist) and Ben (krel) out for dinner and then headed back to Tracy's where I slept like the dead.

Tuesday, I just never got around to going home. I was desperately hoping to find someone who would be willing to drive me back - driving without a right arm/shoulder is difficult, even with an automatic. Putting my seatbelt on turned out to be one of my most challenging tasks. I ended up spending all day Thursday in San Diego too - we went over to Scott's house later in the evening and watched House, along with a bunch of his friends and roomates. It was quite packed, with computers and power cords everywhere you looked. We went out for burritos after House, as we were all starving. It was pretty funny to sit in a roomful of people and have 1/2 the conversation happening online and the rest in real life.

Finally, on Wednesday, I had to go home. My orthopedic appointment was for Thursday. I was pretty nervous about making the drive, but I did. Managed to get home without hitting rush hour in San Diego or LA. My friend, Linda, came over and washed my hair on Wednesday night - that was such a blessing.

On Thursday, my orthopedist took new x-rays and discovered I had two breaks in my shoulder. I had an AC separation and a glenoid break. The AC separation is pretty much ignored - they don't repair those, just let them sort of "heal" on their own (although they pretty much don't go back to the way they were - I'll forever have a bump in my shoulder where the bone sticks up). The glenoid fracture was more troublesome and he sent me for a CTscan on Friday.

I had the scan on Friday and was due to go back in to see my doctor on Monday to get hte results of the scan. However, his office called me Friday afternoon to tell me they had made me an appointment with a specialist - I was seeing him on Monday instead. To me, this meant I was very likely going to require surgery - not good.

Another friend (from bzflag), Manaen (zk), gave me a ring. He is in town for some work training. His timing was perfect, as I was just trying to figure out who to call for a ride to church. When Manaen called, he mentioned going to church, so I invited him to come along AND be my chauffeur, to which he agreed. His internal clock was a bit mixed up though, as he arrived to pick me up at 6:45AM (instead of 8AM). He woke me up when he called, surprising me! We had breakfast at Good Stuff (where I had one of the girls braid my hair) and then headed over to my church, King's Harbor. By the time church was over, I was pretty worn out, so he took me home. I had a Superbowl party I was supposed to attend that afternoon but I ended up staying home and resting.

Monday came along and I went to my specialist appointment. No one had sent over any of the information on my case - not the x-rays or the CTscan. Gah! They took yet a third set of x-rays and got the CTscan written report faxed over. Based on those two items, he decided I did not need surgery! Hooray, good news at last.

Fast forward to today. I've been feeling rather poorly since Monday. I kept hearing a sort of rattling in my chest if I tried to breathe while laying down. Despite taking aspirin, etc., I had a fever that kept coming and going (not too high - no more than about 101) and I had started coughing too (although I resisted coughing as it hurt my shoulder). Finally today, I gave in and went to the doctor. They did a chest x-ray (I'm going to be radioactive if they keep this up) and discovered I have bacterial pneumonia. They think it is caused because of the broken shoulder - I haven't been breathing as deeply as usual and consequently, have been unable to clear my lungs.

So now, not only is it a total pain to type (mostly done one-handed), but it is also difficult to talk, as it tends to make me want to cough, which I decidedly do not want to do.

An aside (but very important), I have terrific friends. Throughout this whole process, my friends and coworkers have been bringing me meals, doing my laundry, washing my hair, shopping for me. I am truly blessed!

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Saturday, January 13


Another BzFlag Loss

A dear friend of mine, and someone I worked with closely on DLC, officially took his leave of BzFlag. Given his extreme involvement, particularly in development for the leagues, his departure is a loss indeed. He actually left the DLC/DLA before I did, but hadn't quite decided to quit everything he was involved in until recently. The fall out from the latest "controversy" continues.


Monday, December 18


Early New Years Changes

I am posting this here so that those who are really interested may know why I have taken the steps I've taken; however, I have no desire to provide further fodder for the gossip-mongers. About 9 months ago or so, I was asked to participate in a newly formed council charged with governing the ducati league in BzFlag. It was an exciting time and I was looking forward to contributing in any way I could. The ducati league is the oldest BzFlag league and has a lot of history, but was on the decline. It had been kept running by three guys who worked on the website, but all had become extraordinarily busy and really needed a step back.

We had a rocky start - an announcement of the council's formation was made before the council really had time to get organized. We were flooded with suggestions (some were really great - actually a lot of them were) before we even had methods of discussion and voting in place. Somehow, I found myself elected facilitator. Originally, the role was going to be "leader" but I lobbied for, and the others agreed, that we would be better if no one member had more authority than another.

For five months, I spent more time working on council stuff than I did anything else - even my real life job. The council saw this, but no one outside really had a clue, which is exactly how it should be. The league should see the fruit of our labor, but didn't really need to know how much work it took to do any of what we did. Then, one of my dear friends on the council - someone who had done the bulk of the technical work of coding the changes we needed - got overwhelmed and left. I nearly did at that time, but didn't want to damage the council. Instead, I resigned as facilitator and stuck around to try to help out in a role with less work attached.

One of the biggest challenges in being part of such an organization is to learn how to balance the needs of the many with the needs of the few. Also, you have to learn how to work with a large number of varied personalities, which in our case, included many cultural and linguistic differences, as well. The hardest situations were often caused when players, convinced that their need or concern was critical, pressed for action, even going so far as to launch what can only be termed as promotional campaigns amongst all the players to encourage people to put additional pressure on the council. This is, sadly, the way of things in an online gaming community - particularly one like BzFlag, which is open source.

In the context of my role, I found myself accused of all sorts of things. I will be the first to admit I've made mistakes. I take full responsibility for those mistakes. It's interesting to me, however, how I receive complaints from players that I am unwilling to forgive or forget their mistakes when the complaining player is the one unwilling to forgive or forget. It's tragic really.

So why have I left the joyful arena of the council? Simple. I'm tired of it. I am a person of action, generally quick decisiveness. But the council is made up of over 10 people. At least 1/2 of those deciding an issue must agree. It is basically governance by committee. Can it work? Yes. Has it worked? Yes. Are there issues with it? Of course. Is it perfect? Of course not. I have nothing but respect for those I served with on the council. However, for their sake and mine, I have decided to let the complainers find another target. Perhaps my absence from their ranks will lessen the criticism. Perhaps not.

At any rate, I have taken a step away from BzFlag as a whole as well. There have been issues going on in real life that have given me better perspective. I went through a year of...great difficulty. I was mostly not myself during that year. Despite recent challenges and trials, I have no desire to slip back into the same funk I was in for the last year. I will still play BzFlag - I will still play in the leagues even. But I will play much less, with better perspective and for one reason only - fun. If it's fun, I will play; if not, I won't.

To the council, I salute you. You are wonderful, selfless people and I've enjoyed each and every one of you. To the league, I challenge you - instead of fighting amongst yourselves and against a group dedicated to making things better, find a way to work with the council. They truly desire to work with you.

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Tuesday, September 26


Blog Central

Well, I've recently become involved in blogging in two locations in addition to this one. (And you may have noticed that I've started blogging here a lot more). As part of my bzflag-playing, my ducati team, Bz-Incorporated, has a blog where it posts match reports and other things. Recently, I started another blog with a few other people (we are still open to additional contributors, so let me know if you are interested) called "The Healthy Cook". I won't be cross posting all the recipes I try to my cooking page, so feel free to go check out what we are up to on The Healthy Cook.

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Thursday, September 21


Birthday Fun, the Answer Age

Well, birthdays are supposed to be fun, right? I mean, I realize many people get to a certain age and simply just dread turning another year. But birthdays should be a celebration! Well, this year, mine was.

First of all, my wonderful husband was home. For the first time in five years, my birthday managed to fall on a day when he wasn't traveling or otherwise unescapably commited. Last year, he flew to Australia. The two years before were the men's retreat. The first year we were married, he was a groomsman in our best man's wedding and the bachelor party was that night. This year? This year, he was scheduled to fly to Maui the day before my birthday. When told of the impending schedule, he told them that if he wasn't home on my birthday this year, he'd have no home to return to. (He was, of course, kidding; however, the gesture and his determination to be here was greatly appreciated!)

I received a couple of birthday greetings a day or two early. On the night before my birthday, I was playing bzflag with some friends of mine. One is in Germany (Bernie) and one in Utah (Sol). Well, it was certainly my birthdate in Germany - and Bernie was sure to let me know! He not only wished me happy birthday repeatedly, he wouldn't let me sign off until it was my birthday HERE so he could "officially" wish me a happy birthday! Finally, a while after midnight, I said goodnight to Sol & Bernie and got some sleep.

In the morning, Kirk surprised me by setting up a special playlist on iTunes - all containing songs with "birthday", "happy" and "I love you" themes, like "Birthday" (The Beatles), "A Happy Ending" (The Princess Bride Soundtrack), "Donna" (Los Lobos), "The Girl I Love" (Tony Bennett) and "So Happy Together" (The Turtles). It was incredibly sweet and fun! We chatted for a while and finally he had to head off to work. I listened to that playlist all day.

On irc, we have our own channel - it's a small little place (##essy) that a number of bzflaggers and a few other friends visit. Well, Kirk had changed the topic on the channel to let everyone know it was my birthday. Consequently, people were cheerful and fun and we had a sort of virtual party there during the day. One of my GU teammates, romfis, had spammed most of the irc channels along with each team I'm on with a link to the GU Forums, where NTH had posted a birthday topic for me. Kierra did the same on the ducati forums. I was surprised to see a greeting from one of my teammates who, just a few months ago, complained about the posting of "birthday topics". So many people went out of their way to wish me a good day - it was almost a bit overwhelming (but completely and totally appreciated)! I even discovered a voicemail (gah, I picked the wrong day to forget to turn on the ringer for my phone!) from the "Baron clan", in which they, along with my friend Val, sang me a rather muddled, off-key and completely wonderful rendition of "Happy Birthday".

In late morning, Kirk pinged me to say that my birthday present had been delivered. It was shipped to my work address, so he suggested I go pick it up. I was pretty sure I knew what it was. Last week, when we were in Berkeley, tokimi had pinged me to say that Apple had just announced an 80 gb ipod. Now, I've been complaining for months that 40 gb simply isn't big enough. I was hoping for a 150 gb the size of a nano. Yes, yes, I know - it's a bit of a pipe dream, but 80 gb is almost enough to fit about 70% of our current music library (yes, I've been collecting CDs since I was in college - Kirk was happy to marry into so much music). So, when I heard an 80 gb was available, I immediately sent the link to Kirk and said "wow! check this out!" He said "cool! I guess it's a good thing I hadn't bought your birthday present yet, huhn?" So...I was pretty sure I knew what I'd be getting. And I did!

Of course, I immediately took it home, opened it up and started loading music on it. It takes a while to load 80 gb! With the OS and software loaded on the ipod, I had 74.37 gb of usable space. I'm using every little bit and byte. Funnily, it's actually slightly smaller in size than my 40 gb, and the screen is bigger. AND in colour! Now I need a new case, as my old one doesn't fit it properly. Since my old ipod is going to Kirk (his old one died), he will inherit my case too, once I get a new case.

The DUB servers wish SportChick a happy birthdayWhile waiting for my 74.37 gb to transfer over, I played some bzflag. Pimpinella had put up a banner on the dub servers wishing me a happy birthday. (It's interesting how I was turning everything from 16 to 90-something, depending upon who was wishing me a good day! In fact, the answer to my age IS the answer.)

In the early afternoon, my doorbell rang. Now, for the last two and a half weeks (it seems longer!), we have had our lives and apartments turned upside down while they repipe the whole building. They are replacing all of our copper piping. There isn't a single room in our small apartment this isn't affected. We've been waiting for several days for them to finish our apartment (they're done with the repipe, but havne't closed up all the walls), so I presumed that the door was just one of the wallboarding guys coming back to finish up. I was shocked to see a man standing at my door with a huge bouquet of beautiful red roses! I happily accepted the delivery and discovered my wonderful husband had sent them to me!

Kirk and Donna celebrateI knew that Kirk was planning something for that evening - presumably including dinner, so I didn't have to cook. He actually arrived home a full hour earlier than I expected, but then said he had to go run an errand and left. He was home about 40 minutes later. He had a cake and a beautiful card for me! But of course, we were going to have dinner first.

Just as I was almost ready to walk out the door, the doorbell rang (again). What now? It was a delivery for me. I opened the huge box to find ANOTHER flower arrangement...I looked at Kirk quizzically and he shook his head. There was a note - my friends Dianne & Jeff had send the flowers! Cool! Kirk put the flowers in water and we headed out.

I love surprises. It's really hard for Kirk to surprise me - I'm very curious and he's a horrible liar (which is a very good thing, but not conducive to being surprised often). But in this case, I had studiously attempted not to ask him anything about what we were doing, and he had done his part by not bringing it up. I knew it couldn't be too far - we could get there within 15 minutes according to him. We drove down to Hermosa Beach, toward my old house. In fact, a block and a half from my old house! There's a beautiful, well-known little Italian restaurant (called The Bottle Inn) down there that, despite having lived right by it for 18 months and still very close for another another 4 years, I had never been. The menu was divine! It was extremely hard to make a decision, but I finally selected the Risotto Al Filetto and Kirk selected the Conchilioni. We had an appetizer of Calamari - possibly the best I've ever had. It was served in a giant martini glass. The atmosphere was both romantic and conducive to good conversation. We were at a table that was suitably secluded and in a quiet enough location to have conversation without straining our voices or our ears.

I thought we would manage to sneak out the door without any "birthday" hoopla, but (when asked if we wanted to order dessert) Kirk mentioned we were heading home to get some birthday cake and of course, they were back moments later with a small dish of chocolate mousse and loud voices.

After dinner, we took a nice walk along the strand in Hermosa Beach. It has been so long since we've done that, and despite my completely unsuitable (and clacky) shoes, we had a very nice time! All-in-all, it was a fantastic day - certainly the best birthday I can remember ever having! Thanks to everyone who made it so special!

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Monday, September 11


Need More Space

For those of you who don't know, I play an online game called ""BzFlag". It is open source (which means free) and multi-platform. In November of last year, I began playing in a couple of the leagues that they have. In order to be more "competitive", I changed up my config, including adding an extra "fire" key (for firing bullets). I mapped my space bar to fire.

My computer, which is almost 2 years old as I write this, is definitely showing wear on the keyboard. Many of the keys, especially ones I use often, no longer have the letter visible. Lucky I am not a "hunt and peck"'er. But I have an additional problem now. Recently, during a particularly tough match, I was firing and noticed something was poking my finger... I had broken my space bar! Somehow, during the "firing" of bullets from my digital tank, I had managed to crack the side of my space bar that I use to fire. Great... :-/ I guess Alienware will be getting some more of my money, soon. In the meantime, a piece of scotch tape is enough to hold the plastic together.

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Friday, August 25


The Road Less....Unpaved

After resting most of yesterday, Kirk felt like he was ready to get out and take in some sights. So, we decided to take the loop around the West end of the island. I had done this loop once before - the year we got married, Kirk came out here 2 months after our wedding for a work trip. No WAY he was going to Hawaii without his new wife! So, while he slaved away, working 16 hour days at the top of Haleakala, I played - scuba diving, snorkeling, whale watching, and, of course, long drives with fantastic scenery. I knew what was coming.

The West side of the island includes a very hairy 40-some-odd-mile stretch of "road" containing hairpin turns (enough to put Julia Robert's hair, in Pretty Woman, up and KEEP it up through 5 straight hours of high-impact aerobics), one-lane roads with long unpaved stretches, lots of roadside stands selling pineapple, banana bread, coconut candy, cold drinks and even shaved ice. In addition to it being a really fun drive, especially in a mustang convertible, it has some truly spectacular scenery.

Look out for lasers!So, we gathered our things and headed down the mountain from Kula, where we have been staying. It's about a 3500 foot drop in altitude, complete with a change in temperature to go with it. It was significantly warmer at sea level. On the way down the mountain, I had a really good laugh. For those of you who don't know, I have been playing an opensource online multiplayer game called Bzflag for a while now. It occurred to me today, that despite the fact that I'm "all grown up" now, I still have a rather vivid imagination. I saw this sign at the side of the road.
Immediately, I had visions of cars being damaged by lasers (a weapon on bzflag) - tires slashed, cut in half, engines burned...whatever it took to slow the thing down to the permissible speed. Kirk couldn't stop laughing at my silliness - and of course, one of the first things he said was "you play wayyyy too much bzflag!"

After a brief stop in Kahilui for lunch (and Kirk took his pain pill), we were on our way. Getting through Kahilui to the start of the road is quite a job for the navigator - lots of turns only 1-2 blocks apart. But Kirk is an excellent navigator and we made it without a single U-turn (I can't say the same for when I did the same trip almost 5 years ago now).

Little Red C..Mustang!Now, I told you we rented a mustang. On the whole, it's a nice little car. Certainly more convenient putting the top up and down than on Kirk's Spitfire at home (I'll let HIM explain how that works - I can't even follow the process). However, there is one little detail that really bugs me. For whatever reason, the accelerator in the mustang is not very responsive. You really have to mash it down to get any reaction out of the car, something I am not at all used to. Most sports cars have a much more sensitive accelerator. It would probably be more fun if it were a stick, but oh well.

Beautiful vistaThe scenery going from the windward to the leeward side of the island is really spectacular. Additionally, it varies from lush and green to more dry, deserty conditions (similar to California). We spent a lot of time driving up and down some rather amazing cliffs, even having to squeeze incredibly close to the edge of one so a large cement truck could get by us. He missed hitting our rear bumper by only about 4 inches. We were so close to the edge of the cliff, that Kirk had me back up before turning back onto the road to continue on.

Northern villageThere are certainly houses and farms and such along this narrow road. In fact, one of Kirk's colleagues lives in an estate development up here (for the low low price of 1.5 hour drive to work each day). We did pass a small (very cute) village about 1/2 way around the 41-mile section of road. It was colorful and quaint. Church in the Northern villageThere was a simply beautiful little church in the village. It was the first thing, really, that caught our attention.

Now, one of the odd things I particularly remembered about driving this section of the road was the coconut candy. First off, I love coconut. One of my FAVORITE ice creams (probably one of the top two, though it's hard to say which is the very very best), is Freddo's Coconut Ice Cream. There's only one problem with this being one of my favorites. Freddo's is in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I don't get to have it very often. (My other favorite is zitron ice cream, from Germany - yet another I get almost never). Rather early on, we passed a large stand (almost a small outdoor bar) that sold all sorts of things - tshirts, hats, etc. Sadly, they were out of coconut candy. But that was ok. It wasn't the place I remembered. That place had been on the inside curve of a hairpin turn, a good bit further along if I remembered rightly.

Roadside stand on MauiWell, I was right. It was still on the inside of the hairpin curve, but it was quite a bit bigger than I remembered from before. AND painted. Last time I was there (4 1/2 years ago), there was room enough for the proprietor inside, but all customers just walked up to the counter on the outside. It is substantially bigger now. We tasted the coconut candy (yum!) and the banana bread. Then we left with a single small pouch of coconut candy. This is about 1/2 of what they used to sell for almost double the price. As we walked away, the proprietor said "If you want to make it last, keep it out of reach. Aloha!"

TidepoolsA bit further on, we saw a lot of cars pulled over and figured we'd check out to see what they were all looking at. It turned out to be a nice little hike downward and then we were at an overlook, where we could see tidepools in two directions. One was completely deserted, and the other had some people wading around in it. We debated walking all the way down, but Kirk's back was already feeling some twinges and we had a long way to go yet.

Love is in the air...and on the groundMaui is certainly a place with a lot of honeymooners though. I can't help myself from wondering whenever we pass a seemingly happy-looking couple, "Are they on their honeymoon?" This road is no exception. We had spotted a blow hole from the road and as we wended our way closer, we came upon yet another large group of vehicles, parked this way and that, squeezing into whatever off-road space was available. We slipped the 'stang into a spot near some mud puddles and hopped out to see if we could get a closer view of the blowhole. Along the path, we found an area covered with rocks, that had been arranged into any variety of messages and hearts that you could imagine - sure evidence that honeymooners, whoever they may be, had been there.

Blowing upwardsThe blowhole reminded me of a quest Kirk and I once did in New Zealand. We must have hiked an hour or more to find a blowhole in the middle of some guy's field, seemingly far from the ocean. Unfortunately for us, at the time we were there, the tide was low and we saw almost nothing. What goes up, must come downThis time, we had a very nice view of the blowhole, snapping first, a photo as the water was pushed up through the hole, and another as it descended and drenched the folks who were standing way too close (or were they..? It WAS pretty hot).

Now, about now, I've begun to realize something is wrong...dreadfully wrong. We seemed to have covered a rather large distance, but we hadn't yet reached the unpaved section of the road. I remembered that section being quite long, so to not have reached it...we must not be nearly as far around as I thought. I mentioned this to Kirk and he replied - oh, they paved the whole thing a couple of years ago - there is no unpaved section anymore. What?! No WONDER we had seen so many cars coming around it today. When it was unpaved, all the rental car agency agreements basically said you weren't allowed to go on that road without voiding your agreement with them. I guess that no longer holds true.

Kirk's back was starting to hurt him quite a bit by now. It had been only 2 hours since he last took his medicine - it would be four hours before he could take it again. Our original plan was to head into Lahaina and have dinner there, then go home. The only problem was, our trip along this newly paved road took a scant 2-2.5 hours to complete. We arrived in Lahaina HOURS before dinner time. And frankly, it was hot, we were both getting a bit tired, and I knew he really needed to get home and rest his back. We settled for a nice little walk around Lahaina, some Lappert's Ice Cream, some more walking and window shopping, and a cold beverage for the ride home. I drained about 3/4 of my bottle of water before we even made it back to the car.

My gorgeous husband and Haleakala in the distanceWe hopped in and started on the homeward stretch - most of which was on the ever-popular, ever-busy Lahaina Highway. The road takes you by some really nice (locals only) surf breaks, which were hopping. A hurricane bypassed the island a couple of days before, but the swell it generated was providing some really surfable waves. We took one view point stop along with way. What looks like a separate island in the background behind Kirk is actually the southern portion of Maui - you are looking at Haleakala, the volcano on which reside the telescope and instruments Kirk has been working with.

Maui sunset approachesDespite some traffic getting out of Lahaina, we made it back to the B&B with little other delay. Kirk promptly went out to the jacuzzi for a while to try and relax his back, as he still had another hour before he could take his medicine. We decided to relax a bit around the room, order in food and just take it easy. La Provence, about 2-3 miles down the road, made us a pizza which I went and picked up. Just before I left, I snapped a photo from the deck at the B&B - looking to the North, where we had spent our day.

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Tuesday, August 8


I'm a dragon!

A friend of mine, Soraya, who loves to draw dragons, drew one for my online character! I think Soraya is VERY talented and love it!

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Saturday, December 18


Traversing South

Some of you know (or would know if you've read any of our blogs before) that Kirk and I play on online game called bzflag. We've met a number of people that we play against in person over the last few months. Puppy Power, Dodge_This, High Karate Kitty, Mozul, SportChick, ChincillaWell, it turns out there's a fairly large contingent of bzflaggers in Arizona. On our way to Tucson, we had agreed to meet a whole family of them outside of Phoenix. So, we stopped for lunch and met up with High Karate Kitty, Dodge_This, Chinchilla and Puppy Power. The whole family plays (although not all at once - that would require a LOT of computer power AND a really fast connection. They were very very nice! It's always so fun to put faces to names. After lunch and a lot of chatting, we headed out. We got all the way down to Tempe (where we stopped for some more Costco gas) when we realized Kirk's ATM card was missing out of his wallet. After much searching, we called the restaurant and they had it. We drove all the way back.

Kirk and Donna with her grandfatherNeedless to say, we arrived in Tucson a bit later than we originally planned. But it was no problem. We went straight to my grandfather's house. We hadn't seen my grandfather since before we left for our RTW. An awful lot has happened since then! We hung out and chatted and caught up and then...oh yeah, we went to dinner at Los Margaritas, a great little Mexican restaurant. It was really good to have some time to hang out with him.

Donna & her grandfather in front of Mission San Javier del Bac, which is under renovationOn Thursday, we hung with him around the house for part of the day. He took us out to Mission San Javier del Bac (also known as the "White Dove of the Desert"). I had been there once before with a friend of mine from Dallas; at that time, the interior was closed, as it was being renovated. This time, the interior was open, but portions of the exterior were being renovated. The interior was quite pretty. It was interesting to see a Spanish mission with such influence from Mexican and Native American culture.

On the way back home, we drove by the airplane graveyard. My uncle had taken me there once before, and I figured with the interest Kirk has in airplanes, he might find it interesting. Hundreds (thousands?) of airplanes dating back to WWII to present have been retired in Tucson, and are resting there in a variety of forms of disrepair. For dinner, we went to Chad's, which is a favorite of my grandparents. After Chad's, I talked my grandfather into driving through Winterhaven. Winterhaven is an entire neighborhood where they put up crowd-stopping Christmas lights! It was technically a little "early" in the season to be driving through there (which was probably better - often it's so crowded, they block the streets off to all but foot traffic), but there were plenty of displays up!

Trev & Hannahmarie (she's looking at Donna)The gang takes a photo op at a little overlook on the mountainOn Friday, Kirk and I went over to see Trev & Kristi, his cousins. We got to meet their new addition, little Hannahmarie. She was really sweet! It's so fun to meet a happy baby! After a yummy lunch that Kristi made for us, and a good deal of catching up, we decided to go out for a drive. We all piled into our jeep and we headed over the mountain near their house. Hannahmarie fell right to sleep as we started driving. When we hit the off-road stuff (not REALLY offroad - just a dirt/gravel road, really), she woke up. We stopped on the way back over the mountain at an overlook. It was beautiful, but very windy and cold!

After a quick stop, we all headed down to meet my grandfather at yet another Mexican restaurant. At this one, they made your salsa fresh at your table - made to order! The food was delicious! I was quite glad my grandfather came out to meet us! I felt bad not hanging out with him the whole time we were there. After dinner, we drove Trev & Kristi back to their house. Shortly after we arrived, some Christmas carolers came by! They sounded great and were collecting canned goods for disadvantaged families.

When we got back to my grandfather's, we had a comical series of telephone calls. I wanted for us to stay at my cousin, Marty's, on Saturday night if possible. My great-aunt (my grandfather's sister) was flying down on Sunday and Marty was going to have to drive up to Phoenix, pick her up and then drive her down to Tucson to my grandfather's. I really wanted my grandfather to come to Marty's with us and stay the night. But he didn't seem to want to. I must have talked to Marty and my grandfather 3 times each. Finally, Marty called my grandfather, and voila! He was going to drive up to Arizona City in the afternoon and spend the night with us.

The next morning, Saturday, we had brunch plans up in Phoenix. We packed everything up and headed up there. It's not a bad drive. We met some more bz-friends up in Phoenix at "The Good Egg". This time, we met up with Justin (who is not a bz player), Scipio, Nidhoggr & Theropod. Nidhoggr owns the server that we play the most often on (and assist by admining on). Justin, Scipio, Nidhoggr, SportChick, Mozul & Theropod, digesting their delicious brunch Brunch was delicious. The conversation was wildly diverse and entertaining! In addition to the great conversation and brunch, Nidhoggr gave me a wonderful homemade (by him) collection of soaps and hand creams.

After a great brunch (and another trip to get Costco gas), we headed back south to Arizona City. I had only been to my cousin's house once, but it wasn't hard to find. Marty & Robin have an amazing house. As a California convert, I have no hope of ever having anything so roomy or nice. But it was great to visit with them too. They have several children (the youngest is now in High School) and the place is always bustling with activity. Marty & Robin were actually going out that night to Robin's company Christmas party, but, once my grandfather arrived, they served us a wonderful late lunch (thank goodness) of lasagna and the fixin's. We chatted for a long while until they had to start getting ready to go out.

Kirk & Donna with Marty & his familyAfter they left, we sat around and played games with their kids - like Word Thief and Upwords and speed Scrabble. We had a great time until it was sufficiently late that we really HAD to go to sleep. We were leaving first thing in the morning!

To be continued...

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Monday, August 9


Bz meets wasabi

bz'ers - can you tell who is who?What a great week this has been! Last night, Kirk and I got to meet a bunch of the developers/players from bzflag. Several were in town for SIGGRAPH, and the others flocked to the tiny town of Redondo Beach for a gathering of nine. JBdiGriz drove up from San Diego, DTRemenak and Bozo drove down from Sacramento, Patlabor221 came in from Ventura, cappy and scanline were here from Boulder (Colorado) and learner/brlcad was in from Maryland. We started with a little sushi at Ichiriki and then headed to a nearby hovel for some coffee and tea. It was really great to meet everyone and put faces to names. Admittedly, much of what was discussed was a bit over my non-technical head, but it was fun nonetheless. See who you can identify from the photo of our gathering!

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Friday, August 6


Mozul, SportChick and hoon meet for dinner

Kirk, Donna & MichaelWell, for the third night in a row, we had the opportunity to meet someone out for dinner. Last night, it was our friend Michael (a/k/a hoon). Michael is one of our fellow admins on bzflag's secretplace server. We went to another great little restaurant in Elmwood, La Mediterranee. The food was fantastic!

Of course, the company was great as well! Michael had just bought a new house (closed on it today)! It was fun to finally put a face to the name.

As it turns out, a bunch of bzflaggers are going to be meeting up on Sunday for some sushi and Michael might be able to meet up with us (he'll be in SoCal over the weekend).

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Wednesday, August 4


Back in Berkeley

Donna, Kirk & ChrisWell, we are back in Berkeley. It's the first time in about a month for Kirk, but first time since February for me! Last night, we had the great pleasure of having dinner with Chris. We had never met him before, but had heard much of him. Years ago (11 years to be exact), he invented a little game called BZFlag that we love to play (it's available for free). He had originally invented it as a demo to show off 3-D graphics, but it was so fun to play it became much more. In fact, although Chris no longer works on the development of BZFlag, there is an entire team of folks that do! We had dinner at the Soi4 Bangkok Eatery in Rockridge (some of the best Thai food we've had since we were in Thailand). I love meeting people and we had a nice time chatting with Chris, who now works for an animation studio.

Now we are back on the 4AM to noon working shift. Ugh. But it's amazing how much you can get done that early in the morning if you try!

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Donna in Austria
Click for larger image Austria, August 2003