Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Middle

For years, I've always had trouble with the "middle" of things.  I like new adventures.  New starts.  And in a way, I also like endings.  Things are wrapped up.  Not always nicely, but at least you know where to start.  Because without an ending, there would be no start.

It's the "middle" of things that become confusing.  Or boring.  Or stale.  The same thing.  Day after day.  Although, there is comfort in the "middle" - it's safe there.  You know what to expect.

My Granny left on Thursday.  We spent our last day in Oahu, at Pearl Harbor.  She had trouble believing she was actually there.  She remembers the day distinctly - not our day.  The day Pearl Harbor was bombed.  She was 12 years old.  She was looking for her lost kitty and when she got home everyone was very sad.

It was an emotional day (Thursday, as I'm sure it was years ago).  "Papo would have enjoyed seeing this", she said several times.

Then as we were getting off the boat from seeing the USS Arizona, well, I got to run and get the biggest hug in the world from a little boy.  Only, the little boy turned 25 today.  A little boy I met at a hospital 25 years ago today.  The beginning of his life.  During the "middle" of mine.  I baby-sat for his family all those years ago.  Then he joined us - a start.  Yet a middle.  He's now stationed in Oahu in the Army. 

We all went to Waikiki for some cocktails and food.

Two years ago when I ended up with a black-eye, I received a call from his father.  The message was:

Leasa, this is Tim Darter.  I understand you are not looking your prettiest at the moment.  I'm just calling to make sure you are okay.  Also, I need to know if Todd and I need to get in our truck and come to Denver to take care of anyone who is hurting you.  Please call me back.

You need to read the above portion very slowly, with a southern drawl.  That's how the message sounded.

Only he didn't know I was in Hawaii when the surfing accident happened.  But, he knew I was in the middle of something, and I might need help. 

So while at the end of Granny's visit, the middle of my life - in the middle of Todd's, the ending of one journey, another one will begin. 

Right here in the middle of the ocean. 

I'm thinking the middle might not be such a bad place to start.

 “There are no happy endings.
Endings are the saddest part,
So just give me a happy middle
And a very happy start.”
Shel Silverstein, Every Thing on It

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Trying new things

She's been a trooper.  We've kept busy, but a bit of rest too.

Yesterday, I went to paddle on the outriggers early in the morning.  She stayed home.  Upon my return, I worked, she painted, she slept and we left the house about 3pm.  A nice relaxing day.

Every day, I've "pushed" her a bit.  "Try" something new.  I receive the response I always receive:  "I don't like that".  Then, well, she does it anyway.  She tries.  I'm so proud of her.  She may complain a bit, fight it a bit, but she has always tried whatever I asked of her.

Poke - raw tuna

Poi - tarrow leaves (not sure whom really likes this)

Getting in the water

Avocado straight from the tree - nothing added but a bit of salt.

Sitting at a table where the floor is actually sand.

And, on and on.

She tried.  She let me know she didn't like things, but that's okay - what a great big boring world it would be if we all liked the same stuff.

But I know she has memories of things she would have never done before.  We all need someone just to "push" us in life.  At times.

Tonight, we went and picked up a pound of coffee from a neighbor for her to take home.  It was roasted tonight.  It doesn't get much fresher than that!

Oh, and the "her and she" I speak of?  Well, isn't that really just me?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Emotions of a Luau

Granny and I went to a Luau tonight.

Dancers, flame throwers, pig cooking, too much food and lots of fun.

I've been to a Luau before.  I knew what to expect.  I also knew there would be a very difficult part of the evening.  You see, in Hawaii, there are many honeymooners.  Many people celebrating their anniversary's.  During part of the show, they recognize this.  They ask for all the honeymooners to stand up.  They then ask for those married up to 5 years to stand up.  Then the 5-25 years.  Then those from 26-49.  Then those whom have been married over 50.

I told her to stand-up.  She didn't want to.  Papo wasn't here.  But, if he were still here - well, you wouldn't be HERE.  She wouldn't stand up.  But, then being the grand-daughter I am, well, I had already told them.  They asked for Mr. & Mrs Walls to stand up.  Only she stood up by herself.  Even without him here standing next to us, but standing in our hearts - they were married 66 years.  She deserved to stand up.  She received a CD of Hawaiian music as the couple whom had been married the longest.  They beat everyone in the crowd by at least 15 years.  She deserved to stand up.

Then as the young guy of the couple sitting next to us was going to ask her to dance.  They had asked for all the anniversary couples to dance.... The man whom had been standing next to us in line, came and asked my Granny to dance.  She asked me later if I had asked him to do that, but I really hadn't.  You see, Granny had told him our whole life story while in line.  Turns out, he lives on the island, he's re-married, but the love of his life is buried in Mt Vernon, Texas.  A place not far from a place that helped raise my Papo.

Sometimes we travel a very long way to learn to stand up.

Monday, June 24, 2013

My imaginary dog

Every morning I go for a walk in the neighborhood.  Only my "neighborhood" isn't in the suburbs - it's more of a farming community.  I walk down the road.  Or rather, up the hill, down the next road and back.

Through coffee farms, leche orchards and finally turn around at a former chicken factory.  I encounter wild turkeys, chicken's crossing the roads and various cats and dogs.  Cars pass at times, all giving the "hang loose" sign as they pass.

On the first morning, I called Joe - whom used to live next door - asking him "Where the heck is my dog??"  "She's missing her walks with her Auntie".  Dakota (Joe's golden retriever) is now in Arizona with Joe.  I have not met the new couple next door - I hear they have two dogs.  They aren't very friendly - I've heard that about the dogs.  From what I know, the people aren't too friendly either.

I sent the neighbors a text letting them know I was their neighbor for the summer and to let me know if they needed anything.  First reply: "Thanks, but we are fine"  Okay, I thought.  Second text: "Thank you so much!  Please do the same"  I then responded my Granny was in town, but we should get together when she leaves.  Not the fun people I was hoping for next door.  Oh well. 

Yesterday was morning number three.  I'm on my morning walk and a dog appears - one I've never seen before.  It's a Golden Lab.  He has a collar, but no tags.  He won't let me get close enough to him to see if his collar has his number in the stitching.  He did sniff my hand.  So we go on our walk, just like I do every morning.

About half way up the road I turn on, there are people in the middle of the road.  One lady with a dog.  A man and a woman drinking their coffee.  Now, I know all the dogs in the area, but very few of the people.  When I see the other dog, I let the people know I'm not sure if this dog is friendly or not - I just found him.  "Is he Joe's dog, someone replies?".  "No, Joe moved to Arizona replies the lady".  "I know, I called Joe yesterday morning telling him I was missing my dog to walk.

I learn Shelia has the dog and lives around the corner.  I reply, "Are you missing a dog?", "Yes, that one went to another house - he had been staying with me for a while.  We determine it's not Anthony's dog (the mean dog house that had puppies last summer - this dog is too old to only be a year old).

I continue on with my walk with the dog and we are headed back down the hill towards the house.  We (meaning me and my dog) run into Mary and Michael - the couple that had been in the middle of the street.  We talk some more, and I explain I'm here for the summer.

Mary replies, "What are you going to do?".  "Well, I work from home, so I work and my teenage sons will be here soon".  She asks, "Would you like to go rowing?"  "We go on Tues, Thurs and Sat morning.  It's all donations".  "Yes, Yes, I would.  I've wanted to do that, only I haven't these past summers.  I'm also grounded from the surf board, so my goal was to row this year (outriggers in the sunset)".  Perfect.  Okay, it's Tuesday morning at Keahou."  Mary then explains some more details, cost, etc.  I let her know I had looked it up.  "Oh, so you really do want to row".  Yes, I do.  "How about if I pick you up and we can ride together."  "That works for me - oh I'll be gone on Thursday".  "That's okay - at least after you are there once, you will know more".

Smiling as I'm walking back to the house, my dog turns off at the path to the house next to Joe's.  One just East, on the same side of the road.  I little shack of a house. I've never seen the people, the house or the dog.

This morning, I run into Shelia.  "Did you ever find out where that dog lived?"  "Yes, it went into the yard one East of Joe's".  She replied, "That's funny, I've never seen that dog before".  I replied, "That is kind of how I was feeling, like I had made the dog up, I'm so glad you, Mary and Michael actually saw the dog too".  "I was beginning to feel like I had imagined the dog".  She smiled.

The people whom are staying in my house sent a text yesterday asking a couple of things (She may take piano lessons while in our house).  I was telling her I was going to go rowing with some of the neighbors I had met.

She replies "How do you do that?  Go meeting the neighbors up the street?"

"Well, you see, I was walking my dog.....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

"Do you like my hat?"

"Go, Dog, Go".  A children's book written Dr Seuss style - only Dr. Seuss didn't write it.  He may have illustrated it.  I'm not sure why it's in the same format as the Dr. Seuss books, but it is one of those style of books.

Go, Dog, Go.  Stop, Dog, Stop.  I think I read this book for at LEAST three straight years every night with the boys.  I still have the book memorized.  Throughout the book, two dogs meet.  The female dog asks the male dog "Do you like my hat?"  He consistently replies the entire book:  "I do not like your hat".

She tries, the entire book.

Granny got off the plane today in Kona.  With her green hat on.  She told me how my compliments she received her entire way to Kona.  A friend of mine met Granny at LAX - there was a four hour lay-over.  My friend tells me, "Granny, get offs the plane, the flight attendant gave her a bottle of wine.  She has two new friends and everyone loves her hat.  She's adorable.  And you say, you have never met a stranger".  I reply, "In case you were wondering where I got it from"......

Bless her.  Mahalo to her.

Granny makes it to Kona and says "You should always wear a hat"  "You get so much attention and people remember you".  I'm sure everyone remembers Granny.  I'm also sure everyone on the entire 180 degree circle within Granny knows the story of why she is traveling to see me in Kona.

We will let her keep thinking it's all about her hat.  Maybe it is.

At the very end of "Go Dog Go", the female dog try's one more time:  "Do you like my hat?"  He replies, "Yes, yes, I do, I like your party hat".  Of course he does.  Whom wouldn't like the party hat?  Maybe it's just another lesson.

Wear hats.  You get lots of attention.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Deja Vu

This all seems so very familiar.  Yet, I don't know if this is the dream or my life in Colorado is the dream.

Back in Kona for the summer!  Back sleeping at the cutest house in the whole world.  I'm not sure I really slept last night or not.  In and out.  Maybe I was time traveling.

I arrived last night with straight hair and dry skin.  Directly to a house, that I didn't even get lost trying to get here. This morning when I woke up, the hair is curly and the skin feels so soft.  AND my nose isn't dry from the smoke from the fires in Colorado.

The cats acted like they recognized me.

Yesterday at approximately, 12:35 mountain time, two very special people from Hawaii arrived in Denver.  I received the text "just landed" - my eyes watered up.  That was my queue to leave my lunch and get to the airport.  I dropped my bags at the curb, got checked in.  Drove the loop through the airport and went to passenger pick up.

There at passenger pick up, I handed the couple whom is going to live in my house for the summer the key to the car.  They gave me the key to theirs.

As they drove off to "their" Denver home, I went to board my plane.

This morning I had to call to get the internet password.  I asked about the cat.  "Oh, he's following me around"  I said, "He's probably, "oh where have you been???""  Yes, he said, it's like he never knew I was gone.

It's funny, I have had this dream for years - I'm living in Colorado, raising some boys.  I'm living in Kona, raising some boys, only here there is a girl too.  Hmmm, not sure which is the Deja Vu.....

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I gave birth today

Deadline driven.  It would describe my personality.  Well, at least one of my personalities.

I work best when I can work with an end date in sight.  You know, it has to happen on July 1.  Not, if it doesn't happen on July 1 - you can extended it.  I need a "you have no choice".  Not, "oh, well, if you miss the test on Tuesday, there is a make-up test on Thursday.  Cause?  Guess what, I will take the Thursday test.

Waiting to the last minute?  Not me.  I'm a gatherer of sorts.  Gather what you need.  Take what you can - then just before the deadline - get your "ducks in a row"  (your stuff together).  Then, turn it in.

Both my sons were born two days before their "due" date.  I had everything done.  Everything was ready.  Work was finished.  Okay now, I can go have a baby.

Today, I gave birth again.  And starting Thursday, I'm on maternity leave.  Only this time my baby isn't a human.  It's a company.  Funding came through.  Into the bank account through.  As in, I've NEVER seen so many commas when it comes to cash.

I needed to throw up.  When that feeling passed, my eyes wanted to water up.  Alas, I was at work - no tears there.

We set a huge goal.  We accomplished it in 9 months.  I leave two days from today.  AND today, I gave birth.  Right on schedule.  Right on track.  All in duex time.    This time, I got a text saying "you are a superstar.  Couldn't have done it without you."  Maybe I've finally learned something.


"Maternity" leave starts Thursday.

Sunday, June 16, 2013


The movie "Caddyshack" debuted in 1980.  I was eleven.  I didn't see the movie.  I do remember watching bits and pieces of it at summer camp on a VCR.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, I don't think I've seen the movie all the way through, from beginning to end.  I know many of the great lines and remember the "candy bar in the pool scene", but hmm, now I'm going to have to watch it.

My oldest son is a caddy now for the second summer at a local country club.  Only this is the oldest country club in Denver - you can't just join.  A member must extend an invitation - then there is a wait list.  I hear the wait list is over two years before you can become a member.  They have an incredible caddy program.  You must be 14.  They put you through a 3 Saturday training.  The kids earn $14 per "Loop" (18 holes) then a tip on top of that.  Tips range from $10 - $50 per loop.  The older men (p70+) usually are bad tippers, but it's understandable.  They remember when they were paid $4 per loop plus a dollar tip. 

We aren't members at the club - the caddy program is open to the public.  There is even a scholarship available for college.

The golfers treat the caddy's well - they buy them Gatorade.  There are "Caddy Meals" available for three dollars.  Not a bad gig for a first job.  It's tax free.  It's not a set schedule and they make pretty good money.  They learn how to connect and network.  Us parents also get good stories.

Duncan gets in the car on Friday so excited he can't even stand himself.  I'm on the phone.  I pause and ask "how was your loop?"  He replied, "It was GREAT - I have some stuff to tell you about it."  I finish my call then ask "so, do tell".  "Well, first, in my foursome, the younger guys were sons of the member - they had played  Lacrosse and coached at Notre Dame.  We got to talk sports and college playing stuff."

He goes on, "BUT, guess who was in the foursome in front of us???"  "I have NO idea."  Guess, just guess.  "Michael Jackson??".  "MOM!!!  No, it was Peyton Manning!!!"  "He's HUGE"  He goes on and on about "Mr. Manning" for a bit.  He didn't get to meet him, but he was definitely star struck for the day.

WELL, the next day, it turns out, one of his friends was caddying with the foursome in front of Duncan  - yes, the Peyton Manning foursome.

They teach the boys to be polite, interact, have conversation, but also stay in the "shadows".  Turns out Duncan's friend is walking with Peyton and they are talking about golf.   Then Gus says to "Mr. Manning", so "Do you play any other sports?"  Smile.  They said he laughed all afternoon.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Here we go again

Today was packing/cleaning/organizing day.  It happens once a year.

Sometimes I think we should do it a bit at a time - but the ONE day method works well around here.  Works well, but is VERY tiring! VERY.

We leave on Thursday for Hawaii.  Actually, I leave Thursday.  Nolan to follow in 9 days, Duncan in 16 days.  Our annual house swap.  Yes, just like the movie "The Holiday".  We trade lives for a summer.  That is what the blog was originally about.  Stories from our adventure.

Not that the house is super dirty or super cluttered - we just box up some things - move clothes around.  Then wash the stuff that doesn't get washed on a regular basis.  Like:  The duvets on the beds, the shower curtains, the baseboards, the tops of the ceiling fans, and on and on and on......

At the end of "cleaning day" the first summer, the boys said "I'm not sure this is going to be worth it".  They had been in Hawaii less than 12 hours when I heard "It was SO worth it".

So today, we cleaned.  We organized.  We did lots and lots of laundry.  The last load is drying now.  The repairs have been done around the house.  The car still needs a tune up and an oil change.  We still have to "un clutter" the kitchen" But today, there was not ONE complaint.  Not one gripe.  We had music playing. We worked as a team and are almost there.  This time we all know, it will be SO worth it.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wrong Numbers

This isn't my story.  I have to share though, because it's good story.

My mom calls on Monday and says "you have to hear this story.  It's a YOU story".  A friend of hers for YEARS, at least 30 - her daughter is one of "mine" so, well, we've all known each other for a very long time. 

The friend receives a text saying "You can have the Professional League Baseball tickets and the parking pass if you want them".  It was from a number she didn't recognize.  She texts back with the reply "You haven't reached the person you thought you were trying to reach, I just wanted to let you know. "  She sends the text.  The random phone number replies:  "thanks for letting me know". 

She then replies, "well, if he doesn't want them, well, I will take them."  Smile now.

See, now isn't that 90% of life???  Taking ONE more step.  What is the worst thing that could have happened?  Random ticket person wouldn't have responded.

Yes, they met at a Starbucks and Random Ticket person gave her the tickets.  My mom called from the game to tell me the story.  They were sitting on the 25th row behind the dugout. 

Take chances in life.  There is no such thing as a wrong number.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I don't remember loving you

A funny thing happened on the way home from New York.

This trip was booked last minute.  And guess what?  The flights both ways were sold out.  So, booking last minute, guess where I got to sit??  Yes, the middle seat.  Both there and back.  I can't even remember the last time I sat sin a middle seat?  At LEAST 15 years.  AT LEAST.  The nice thing about traveling with kids, is, well, you get your own row.  Guess what, I'm not sitting in the middle with my kids. I'm an aisle kind of girl.  I have long legs.  I do miss the view from the window.  There are moments I wish I was in a window seat (now that has happened before), but I'm usually quite content in the aisle seat.

The flight out was uneventful.  Couldn't even tell you what the people looked like whom were sitting with me in my row.  Take that back, the guy sitting next to me was Middle Eastern - young, and both of us kept falling asleep.  You know how when you doze "in and out" your body sometimes "jerks"?  That kept happening to both of us.  Once, he hit me. 

The flight home?  The adorable 23 year old girl (born in 1990) sitting by the window proceeded to tell me her life story (imagine that!).  Summary:  She was adopted, living in a very wealthy part of New York (my knowing where that was - I have friends from there), flying to spend a week with the woman whom gave birth to her.  This was her third trip (So, very glad it wasn't her first trip by herself - otherwise, I would be in Wyoming now, being the support she needed).  I digress.

The guy to my right?  Business guy.  Sales guy.  Lives in Denver.  (And I know where you are all going now, but hang in there...) We start talking.  "What do you do?" , I ask him.  He goes on and on and I reply "now does your company do all of that or do you outsource the "extra" services?  He replies " No, that's us".  I say, "Oh, blah blah blah services, as in X company?"   "How do you know X company"  "I've recruited for them for the last two years."  We continue our conversation and knew many common people (only I only know them via phone and e-mail).  I did ask if he was someone I might have met.  He wasn't.  I didn't have the heart to ask if he needed help recruiting people to his team. 

In fact, for the last two years, I've HATED recruiting for his company.  I don't like them.  We broke up. 

We have more conversations and it turns out he's a nice guy, been with the company 15 years.  I've never even heard his name.  He's pretty high up there too.  There offices are moving - we were talking NYC real estate.  Oh yeah, their headquarters are in NYC. 

I knew this once a upon a time.  Once upon a time, I would have remembered that, and even though I was there on someone else's dime, I would have gone to see them.

This time, I didn't even remember ever loving them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Shoes are fun.  There are the expensive shoes.  The Jimmy Choo's, Manolo Blahnik's of the world. Then the cheap shoes.  Payless.  Target shoes.  Everything in between.

Me personally, I like fun shoes.  Cute shoes.  Comfortable shoes.  Shoes that match my outfits.  Not my purse.  THAT is just too much for me.  Always has been.  I'm not that girl.  For years, I've always been a "seasonal" shoe kind of girl.  I've worn boots in the winter, sandals in the summer.  You don't wear white shoes before Memorial Day.  Every Labor Day, I TRY, to just throw those shoes away.  Get rid of the temptation to wear them later or even worse, earlier than Memorial Day.

Confessional:  I've been pretty strict on the whole white thing, but well, the other shoes - they tend to cross seasons.  As for example, I've been know to show up, with snow on the ground, in flip flops - during the day.  At night, those dreaded heels, with open toes - I wear those too.  Boots are for the day.  Or for other people at night.

I was in New York City yesterday and today.  My feet are swollen from all the walking.  My toes are perfectly pedicured - only every toe is a different color.  I had to buy a pair of flip flops at the bottom of the Empire State Building.   They were $9.  I thought that was a great deal.  They are actually comfortable.

As I walked around the city this morning.  Me in my sundress and flip flops.  Curly hair - slept on wet, no make up on.  Avatar sunglasses on.  I felt like a movie star.  The girl whom landed amongst all these "real" people".  Watching the people chase their dreams.

Could have I been that girl?  You know, the one whom walked past me in the designer suit.  With the $700 pair of shoes?  No.  Yes, I could have tried to be her.  I would failed miserably.  I was never that girl.  Thankfully, I never tried.  I can see why we would want to try.  Isn't that "the dream"  "I'm going to make it in New York City"  "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere"

Not only would I have failed miserably.  The world would be short two incredible people.  My life would be short many incredible people.  Yes, I know, I would have met other incredible people.  No, I wouldn't have.  That wasn't me.  This is.

As I the career woman/hockey mom woke up this morning in New York City at 6 am, ready to take on the world.  The gypsy girl quietly whispered in her ear "Shhhhhh, soon enough.  It's only 4 am in Denver.  Go back to sleep.  You have plenty of time.  And your flip flops are by the door"

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

An IRONMAN would be easier than this

I thought I was exhausted last summer.  Every December, I think I'm exhausted again.  But, this time I know, truly, I'M EXHAUSTED.

My house is dirty.  So is my laundry.  Thank goodness, my kids can bathe themselves - or we all know, they would be dirty too. Scratch that, they are dirty.  No, not really.  They are not smelly, but their rooms are a mess.

My mom and my sister have been in town.  Nolan's continuation was on Monday.  Friday night was the "end of the year party" down the street.  Seven boys spent the night.  I went to bed early.  I woke up at 1:30 and asked if they wanted pizza.  I turned the oven on and poured myself a bottle of wine..... ;-)  Oh, I'm sorry, that was a glass of wine.  At 4am, it was bedtime.  I slept til 8.  They slept til 10.

I"M TIRED.  I'm also not complaining.  Well, yes, I am, but I'm thankful I can complain.  I do love the chaos.  The craziness.  This last year has helped put it all in perspective.

For continuation, this group of kids, actually planned ahead - TP'd the school - and slept on the field in their tents.  Quite honestly, it was a proud, sad, happy moment.  Wow.  What a great group of kids.  What a great group of dads whom volunteered to chaperone.

School is over.  I have to go to New York tomorrow for A DAY.  Seriously?  A four hour flight for a two hour meeting??? Who is this girl?

My mom is here.  My sister is with my cousin. I have an intern in the office.  Boys to dads.  Leaving in the morning for New York.  I'm TIRED.  OF ALL THIS.

Oh Gypsy Girl where are you?????  I didn't miss all this.  Or maybe, I did. For a moment.

It's all going to be worth it.  Right?  If you are unsure of what an IRONMAN is - look it up.  Because, that would make my life look like a walk in the park.  And, I wouldn't trade it for anything.