Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday: A Birthday and Iselle

Fact: August have been a happening month so far with both a birthday and Iselle the Hurricane (and of course some running, beach time, camping, farmers market visits etc etc etc too)!

August 4th was my birthday! I am now a whole year older, at least in numbers. I am 32 (THIRTY-TWO?!). I really don’t have any anxiety caused by my age, but I find it amazing that I am 32 – where did the time actually go? I feel like it was yesterday I moved from home (at age 17), but of course.. At the same time, a lot of water have been running under the bridge since then – I have done a lot, seen a lot, laughed a lot, cried a lot, loved a lot, LIVED a lot. I fully embrace this new year and number (because after all age isn’t much more than a number?) and will try to make it a good one. No, I will do my VERY best to make it a good, great, AWESOME year!

Random pics from the day:

Birthday AM

Started the day feeling lonely due to husband working and no phone call from the family, but the cat immediately took care of that with some love and cuddles <3

Birthday Treats

Since nobody was around to celebrate me (and it seemed like husband wouldn’t have any time/energy to do so after work) I made sure to treat myself – rode the bike to Island Naturals and filled my backpack up with vegan food and treats like German Chocolate Cake. Oh YUM!

Birthday and Iselle Beach

Liliuokalani Garden Beach Time


Husband got home EARLY from work, bringing both roses..

Birthday Cake

..and a lit up vegan chocolate cake. Plus kombucha (which I had already treated myself to earlier. He knows me oh so well)!

Come Wednesday August 6th and things got real.

A Birthday and Iselle

Hurricane Warning and my family back home was worried. I admit, I was a bit worried too. I spent Wednesday packing up our evacuation kit and making sure our home was hurricane safe (well, as hurricane safe as can be) and we were planning on evacuating during Thursday if necessary.

Iselle check in

Didn’t sleep very well Wednesday night and woke up to the news that Iselle was still a hurricane and she was still heading toward the Big Island. We had breakfast, did the last storm preps and headed to the hurricane shelter, situated at a High School a bit further inland here in Hilo.

Iselle High School living

At the shelter things were pretty much as messy as you would expect them to be. Volunteers were working hard to organize things, and while I definitely was expecting a shelter run by the Red Cross to be a lot more organized I give the volunteers a big high five for keeping calm and positive in the middle of everything (people can be very demanding in stressful situations, huh?).

Iselle parted

The first thing that happened after we signed into the shelter was that they forced me to part with my baby. Cat, that is. The Humane Society had taken over the High School’s Agriculture Department and that’s where pets where staying at the shelter. To be completely honest, I hated that I had to part with my baby, and I don’t really understand the whole arrangement with the Humane Society, because the volunteers up there did nothing for the pets. I thought that they’d at least give the pets some water and food and maybe even potty the dogs/cats when possible, but nope.. That was up to us owners, who stayed at another part of the High School to do!

However in the end, Oscar was the only cat and even though he had to listen to dogs barking pretty much the whole time he was such a good boy – staying calm, sleeping a lot, leaving no messes in the carrier for me to deal with PLUS he TOTALLY charmed the HS volunteers so they actually gave in and tried to give Oscar some water even though they weren’t supposed to. They actually even “set up camp” for the night just below Oscar’s table. They LOVED our huge orange well behaved cat. (Yup, proud mama!)

Iselle Shelter Work

While Oscar was being a good boy at his shelter, C and I were doing our best to stay sane. Well, I was calm. Mostly just bored. My husband has a slight case of claustrophobia and did not like the shelter. However he had work to do so he stayed busy on the phone and I guess that was good as he got to focus on something else than being trapped in a High School classroom with strangers. A few photos from the shelter:

Iselle Prison

Iselle Shelter life

Iselle Waiting

Iselle Oscar Watch

Heading back from the animal shelter with tears in my eyes after seeing my little boy. He was such a trooper! #proudcatmama

Iselle Tea o'clock

Tea O’Clock after a stroll. Waiting, waiting.

Settled in under a table for the night. Hydrating with CocoGo.

Settled in under a table for the night. Hydrating with CocoGo.

So, Hurricane Iselle was coming for us. The news reports kept saying that she was still at hurricane force and that we should buck up and get ready for the hit. However the estimated time kept changing and when Iselle finally hit the Big Island she was no longer a hurricane, but a strong Tropical Storm. We actually never had to do a lockdown at the shelter, but were advised to stay inside. I believe that was a good idea as I once ran to the car and nearly blew away (and I’m not that lightweight)?! C and I were playing monopoly and tried watching a movie, but to be honest the shelter wasn’t a great movie-watching-spot so we decided to try to sleep instead..

As the morning came around we had been getting a bit of sleep and they actually started closing the shelter up and telling people to head homeward around 5-6am. Since we live right on the water and had heard/seen updates about the area being very flooded we decided to leave Oscar at the shelter and head for a drive to see if we could safely return home. Water levels were down and there were still some flooding, but mostly there were signs of major flooding and broke of tree branches all over the place. We quickly returned to the Humane Society shelter to check out our baby, head home and RELAX.

I had never really been through anything like this before. Sure, I’ve been in gnarly winter storms and once we had to evacuate from our cabin on skis in full storm (I was 10 and it was a great adventure as the wind did all the “skiing” for me), but this was something else. At least I now know what to expect in case we need to evacuate for tsunamis/hurricanes in the future.

Even though Iselle didn’t his as bad as she was expected to (great thing!) the island was still hit hard and many people are still, weeks later, suffering from the devastation Iselle brought along. I’m keeping them in my thoughts, especially since that same area hit by Iselle is now threatened by the lava flow from the Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent. Fingers crossed the flow will stop and the people in Puna will get a chance to relax.

Nature huh? The force is strong with that one.

Thank You

I want to take the opportunity to thank all of you who kept us in your thoughts and checked in with me to see that we were ok when Iselle was coming at us. Both my husband and I are so very thankful for the smiles, the cheers and the love you gave!


Do you live in an area that is at risk for nature disasters? 

If so, is this something you think about a lot or do you just live life like normal without fear?