We arrived at the Halualoa Inn (pronounced halualoa <smile>) the day of the wedding with a bit of apprehension and optimism.  The previous days had been very windy putting low probability on the small bit of choreography during the ceremony of lighting four candles in honor of the kids.  We also had never seen the Inn…relying completely on the internet and reviews to pick this secluded spot on the hillside above Kona.  (Then there was my knee.  Healing well, but still fidgety, my torn MCL seemed to be on the mend and all things pointed toward being able to go ‘braceless’ for the ceremony.)

Everything came into place perfectly.  The inn was fantastic – I would recommend it to anyone that would like a welcome break from the polished resort-chaos on the shores of Kona.  It was meticulously crafted with beautiful wood furnishings and open layout that let the tropical breezes waft through with a 180-degree view of the ocean and exquisite rooms.  The staff was charming and very helpful.  After feeling the zen-like vibe of the Inn that we were hoping for, everything else felt easy.

The week of tirelessly looking for a Conch shell for Gus to blow to begin the ceremony, was finally located the day before (whew!).  Nina, Marianne and I had time in the morning for a 30 minute mini-rehearsal just to finalize the flow and a few details. Nina and I put the finishing touches (in our seperate rooms) on our vows – writing them on paper to give over to Marianne before things began (image on right is a shot of my vows I took after I finally declared them done.)   Jennifer Reid was the perfect friend to Nina, helping her get ready and shuttling messages between us and the Inn staff for last minute logistics.

Flowers were delivered and picked up on time, cake came in perfect condition (also due to the great handiwork of our guests who we had sent out on errands in every direction that day).  The wind calmed down an hour before the ceremony began, all guests were accounted for and the photographer showed up on time (and to my delight with a second shooter)!

And, to my amazement, Nina did not second-guessed her decision to take the Simonds name (I dared not to mention anything for fear of jinxing it).

Marianne did a wonderful – fantastic – unbelievable job presiding over the ceremony.  It was filled with lots of Hawaiian ceremonial tradition and spirtuality and everything just felt perfect in every way.Her attention to detail and ability to mind-meld perfectly with what Nina and I wanted, created a meaningful ceremony. Gus started off the ceremony by giving four big blows (the fourth taking a couple extra tries ;)) on the Conch shell to honor the 4 elements – earth, air, water and fire.  Both Nina and I said a few words about the kids and lighted the candles without a hitch.  It was meaningful for us since we were very conflicted/sad about not being able to take them out of school to have them present.  We said our vows to each other, which we both hoped were personal and humorous at the same time.  Marianne moved things along with lots of great symbolism and Hawaiian tradition.  Jennifer had the audacious task of reading a great David Whyte poem – she did it perfectly.  A small Elephant statue sat on a lava rock to the side watching quitely in honor of, of course, the Elephants who we missed, but if they were there probably wouldn’t have been as quiet as the statue.

Gus even said that it was the first wedding he attended that he didn’t want to end!

We finished up with a Champagne toast pool side looking over the ocean then retired to the dinning room for a great dinner!  A playlist packed full of great, meaningful songs Nina and I shared with each other over the last few years played over dinner.  Toasts were made, we cut cake and enjoyed watching the sun set over the Pacific.  It was hard to see the evening end, but we enjoyed a relaxing and quiet honeymoon with the Inn almost completely to ourselves until Saturday morning when it was time to return to the mainland.

We are anxiously waiting to see the photos taken by the pro (a few weeks before we get them).  We also had a video camera sitting on a tripod recording the whole thing, so we should have a video to share too.

Great thanks to Marianne, Susan, Gus, Lisa, Mom, Dad, David & Jennifer for joining us in this remote location for such a special occasion.

Andy and Nina (Simonds)

Wedding Program



Zoey is getting bigger and bigger.  Nina and I think she is at the perfect size right now, but we know that she is only half way to her full size.  She is in puppy classes right now and her wicked intellect makes that easy for her and us – but at the same time she uses that big brain to also rebel and destroy whatever she wants.  But we are winning that battle slowly.  She has now learned to catch a frisbee which is great.  In the park the other day for a round of frisbee throwing with Dexter, she ran into a couple of cocker spaniels and we had never seen the hair on her back go up the way it did when she ran into those dogs.  They got along just fine after the first greeting.

I was going to post this on FB/Twit with the caption “I told Zoey to never trust a dog with the word ‘cock’ in its’ name” –  but I was too shy to do that.

Zoey’s own personal photo gallery is here:

And you can visit her Facebook page here (I know it’s completely nuts):!/pages/Zoey/147404992026747

Books to Check Out

A few Simonds-oriented books have come out in the last year.  Check them out:

Graceland Cemetery: A Design History just came out which covers O.C. Simonds role in the landscape design of the cemetery.  Sadly I have never been to this cemetary (keep having it on my list when I visit Chicago), and have not read the book yet.

Graceland Cemetery: A Design History

Mountain by Sandy Hill is a great (and huge) coffee table photo book that just came out all about mountains and the history of mountain climbing. Sandy Hill is a famous climber who also barely escaped death on Everest in 1996 captured in the book Into Thin Air.  I was approached more than a year ago to include a photo in the book.  Great to see it finaly come out.

Mountain: Portraits of High Places

Low-Key Genius is a biography of the work of O.C. Simonds by Barbara Geiger which came out in May, 2011.

Low-Key Genius: The Life and Work of Landscape-Gardener O.C. Simonds

Tunefest 2011

<updated w/Gus and Brian’s entries>

We had an annual tunefest up at the DeWeirdt cabin this holiday break.  It had been too long since we had gathered. Present were Brian, Mark, Gus, Tom and myself.  I thought it worthwhile to document the songs played that evening.

Here is my list:

  • Rush – Hope
  • Dick Dale & His Del-Tones – Miserlou
  • They Might Be Giants – Cloisonné
  • Raphael  Saadiq – Day Dreams
  • Paul Simon – Rewrite
  • The Rolling Stones – Loving Cup (with Jack White)
  • Cage the Elephant – Back Against The Wall
  • System of a Down – Radio/Video
  • Tenacious D – Classico
  • Ennio Morricone – L’Estasi Dell’Oro
  • Ennio Morricone – Il Buono, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo
  • California Guitar Trio – Ghost Riders In The Storm
  • tUnE-yArDs – Gangsta
  • Glen Hansard – Say It to Me Now
  • Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke
  • Sir Mix A Lot – Seattle Ain’t Bullshittin’
  • Dread Zeppelin – Going to California
  • Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Possess Your Heart

Artists I had cued up but never had the time to get to (so sad)

Beck,The Smashing Pumpkins, Black Joe Lewis, Young the Giant, Mark Knopfler, Cake, Otis Taylor, Steve Miller Band, Steve Howe, Roxy Music, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Ben Harper, Robert Plant

Brian’s List:

  • Jake Shimabukuro – The star spangled banner
  • Flight of the bumblebee – The Frank and Joe Show
  • The Frank and Joe Show – Sweet Rhythm
  • Hayes Carll – She left me for Jesus
  • Martin Harley  – Chocolate Jesus
  • Tim O’brien – Hoss Race
  • John Butler Trio – Used to get high
  • Dennis Caplinger  – Eruption
  • Hayseed Dixie  – Fat Bottomed girls
  • Gillian Welch – Elvis Presley Blues
  • Government Mule – Broke down on the brazos
  • Anders Osborne  – Ohio
  • Those Poor Bastards  – Is this Hell

Gus’s List:

  • Airplane – over the sea
  • Presidents of the United States -Lump
  • Hayssses Cart- She Left Me For Jesus
  • Martin Herley – Chocolate Jesus
  • Tim Obrien -Hoss Race
  • Dawn Tyler Watson -Cold Shot
  • Jerry Garcia Pizza Tapes -Gimme Shelter
  • Neil Young Live 1971 -Old Man and The Damage Done
  • Chickenfoot – Dubai Blues
  • Ted Nugent- Great White Buffalo – Live
  • Califonia Chocolate Drops – Do em right
  • Steve Martin -Rare bird alert and Athiests have no songs.
  • The Who – God speaks to Marty Robbins

Caddy for Hire

This last weekend I had the pleasure to caddy for Dexter in his first ‘real’ golf tournament.  I say ‘real’ because this was a tournament of the best players in the state, 36-holes on a very difficult course.  He’s getting some good experience playing for his High School team for the first time this year, but 9-hole tournaments on slow greens doesn’t quite compare to what we had this weekend.

The new Palouse Ridge course at WSU was incredible.   Although playing short for the tournament (6200 yards), the greens were lightning fast and holding the greens with an approach shot was a huge challenge.   Dexter’s play was amazing.  He shot 84-85 over the two rounds and although that was not competitive with the top players in the state, it was incredible for his first big tournament of his career.  It was a pleasure to caddie for him.  He stayed focused every moment of the tournament.  He was hitting huge drives right down the middle consistently and displaying a touch in his short game I have never seen.  He nearly holed-out two bunker shots!  He never gave up, even doing amazing things like draining a 25 foot putt for double-bogie on a hole.  That may not be the leading story he would want to share, but it showed how even when a hard hole got the best of him, he never gave up, lost his temper or his focus.

His short game was incredible totalling up 11 1-putt greens for the weekend helping him stay in the hunt as it was very hard to keep the ball on the rock-hard greens.

A great highlight was #3 on the 2nd day that had the pin tucked way over on the left side of the green.  Huge bunkers and a huge cliff on the left side of the green made it impossible to go at the pin.  Dex had the great insight to not just hit to the right side of the green, but to hit it toward the very far right of the green, catch a kicker slope and let the ball feed all the way over.  He hit a perfect 6-iron that, as-planned, took the slope, ran through the green, to a hill behind the green, then kicking violently to the left and feeding down to the tiny left part of the green cozying up to 10 feet from the pin.  We had all sorts of great moments like that.  Working out distances, club selection and mostly me sitting on a hill next to the green (caddies weren’t allowed on the green surface) pumping my fist as he dropped another clutch putt.

A lot of work – hauling the clubs up and down those big hills and also working with Dexter on being a good caddie (yes, we had a few holes of discontent where we were not on the same page with club selection and distances).  Overall though, we worked very well together and really enjoyed the two days.  Nina took the photos as she followed along with us. Photos are here.  Unfortunately we never got a chance to really enjoy the WSU campus as the time we spent playing (6-hour rounds) and working on the driving range and putting green took up all of our time.

I never got a tip. Maybe next time.


We arrived at Zion with one more camping night before ending our trip w/two nights at a great B&B.  A real bed + hotub.  It was great because our night camping in the Zion canyon was not very restful as the winds blew a steady 30-40mph.  Big gusts rolling off the canyon walls, spilling into the canyon and rattling our tent all night.

After a short hike on the busy Emerald Pools trail (boring), our first real excursion was into the Zion Narrows at the end of the canyon.  I have no photos of that trip.  The message ‘No CF card’ showed on my camera when I first pushed the shutter about an hour into our hike.  I could have thrown my camera into the river.  Regardless we had a good adventure hiking up the Virgin river, at one point we had to put our packs over our head and wade through a deep pool up to our chests.  Refreshing!

The next morning I did a solo hike up an un-named canyon (although later I found that some people call the area ‘muddy pools’) on the east side of Zion.  It was a spectacular area full of amazing cross-bedded sandstone and little pools of water sculpted out of the rock.  A great photo every hundred feet – and I took a lot of shots.  Some our already printed and up on our wall.  Later in the afternoon we drove up to the west side of the park to the Kolab Plateau to experience some more high-country, but taking an easy hike (we were hiked-out at this point) to an area called Northgate peaks.  A great area of Zion and mostly deserted of people unlike the main canyon.

We finished off the trip with a real meal at a great restaurant in Springdale and then headed home the next morning.  We had a little time before the flight so on the way up I convinced Nina to take a little detour and find a fossil quarry that lets you hunt for trilobite fossils.  No luck, turns out the place you go to pay and the actual place where the quarry is were very far apart.  No time for that.

Zion photos are here:

A great trip.  Many things we didn’t get to do that were on my list for the next trip:  Antelope Canyon, The Wave, Wawheep Hoodoos, The Subway and many more.  We have to go back!