Oh, no.  I’ve got plenty of vacay photos with which to burden you.  Basically, I am entitling our week in Maui as the best one of my life (no offense to Getting Married or Birthing My Children, but let’s face it:  neither of those events took place on a tropical island.)  The weather was perfect, the water warm, the marine life vibrant, the hotel fabulous, the food delicious, the sights spectacular, the hazelnut gelato to die for. (Tastes just like Nutella.  Seriously.)  Most importantly, I had my husband’s devoted, undivided attention for one whole week.  He didn’t even bring his laptop, which was painful for him but delightful for me.  And we’ve both decided that we like Vacation Derrick much better than Kennewick Derrick.  Vacation Derrick is open with his time, his heart and, most happily, his wallet.  He stays up late to read and chat, gets up early to hit the beach, and spends countless hours in overpriced boutiques helping his wife find the perfect sundress.  Vacation Derrick is sort of like the butterfly who finally escapes the cocoon.  He’s beautiful and breathtaking, but lives only for a few days.  Eight, to be exact.  But what days they were…

The view from our balcony.  After being in the water all day, we’d just sit out here at night and listen to the ocean.  It was so nice.  And yes, that’s a fresh, fragrant lei that Vacation Derrick bought for me immediately upon arrival.  I sniffed it all day long, like the classy broad that I am.

Look at that sky.  Every morning.

On the “Highway to Hana,” which is a tiny curved road that takes you to the lush, rainy side of the island.  We bought a CD that talks you through the four-hour drive, telling you the best places to stop and the history of the island as you go along.  It was so much fun.  I announced at each stop:  “This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!” and then at the next stop I’d say, “No, actually, this is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen!” and on and on it went all day.  The pictures, of course, don’t do any of it justice–especially when factoring in my no makeup/humidified-hair look.  Sorry, but trying to look good in Hawaii just wastes precious snorkeling time in the morning.  Here’s a few more Hana photos:

Driving up to the Haleakala Volcano to watch the sunrise was another grand adventure.  We woke up at 3:30 am to do it, but it was worth every lost minute of shuteye.  Haleakala really was the most spectacular thing I’ve ever seen.  We stood high above the clouds and looked down as the sun rose to paint the clouds pink and then orange over the purple crater and the cool blue sky.

The only downside?  We were freezing!  We pulled up and saw people covered in puffy coats and heavy blankets while we stood numbly in our thin jackets and flip-flops at 10,000 feet above sea level.  (Hmm…too bad I didn’t have anyone who knows anything about mountain climbing with me.)  After the two-hour drive up, we oohed and aahhed for roughly fifteen minutes, then got the heck out of there and raced back to our heated car.  We made it back to our room at about 8:00, flopped into bed, and slept another few hours before rolling down to the pool for the rest of the afternoon.  Oh, the luxury of childless travel!

And now, ladies, I am pausing in my travelogue to make this next photo my personal gift to you.  Frame it and put it by the mirror in your bathroom.  Then, any morning that you wake up feeling ugly and frumpy, you can look at this picture and tell yourself:  “It could always be worse.  I could be that girl.”

You are welcome.

After Hana and Haleakala, we decided to carpe diem and take a helicopter ride over Maui and Molekai.  It was gorgeous, although pictures taken through thick windows are a wicked, wicked mockery of the real thing:

Our pilot was ultracool and started the trip with the theme song to Magnum P.I.  (This was totally lost on me, much to Derrick’s horror.  Have I mentioned my husband’s mancrush on Tom Selleck?)  And no, that is not me sitting in the front seat.  It is a skinnier girl.  Let me explain:  When we bought our tickets, we were told that we would be sitting in the front seat–with its prime view–unless somebody “lighter” came along.  They were not kidding.  When we arrived at the heliport, the first thing they did was put each passenger on a scale to determine where we would be positioned in the helicopter.  They said nothing, just made us line up, thinnest to fattest, then filed us into the chopper.

It’s a brutal system.

The upside is that although we ended up behind this lady and her husband, we were in front of a conspicuously larger couple.  Derrick and I just looked at each other and shrugged.  “Semifat?” we thought.  “We can live with it.”  This acceptance of mediocrity is becoming a frighteningly comfortable mantra in our lives.

Celebrating our safe return to land.  Air-Maui has a perfect seventeen-year safety record, but you can’t help thinking you may be the first to break it.

We became big promoters of the “hang loose,” or shaka shaka sign.  We felt like we pulled it off very nicely.  I don’t think anyone suspected we were tourists.

I know this post is getting long.  Just a few random images to wrap up:

Best fish taco I’ve ever had.  Geeeooood.

Tastiest breakfast ever at The Gazebo, which is actually an open gazebo sitting right on the beach.  Kahula omelet and macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup:  need I say more? (And by the way, what is up with my chin?  Jay Leno’s got nothin’ on me.)

Loveliest landscaping just outside the restaurant.

Funniest magic/comedy show I’ve ever been to.  (Notice the shaka shaka sign.  Oh yeah.)

Cutest Vacation Hubby on the island.  Need I even point out what he’s doing with both hands?

Dorkiest couple taking a picture of themselves on a hike to the tidepools.

Saddest couple checking out of the hotel.

Happiest couple celebrating their fifteenth wedding anniversary with gratitude and joy.

And to all you who endured this lengthy post:  Shaka Shaka!

(I’m doing it with my hand.  I’m doing it right now.  Can you feel the love?)

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