Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fire pit

We have a fire pit in the front yard.  Yes, I know, most people have them in the back yard.  This yard is more of a wrap around lawn, so the fire pit is in the front yard.

It's a great fire pit.  There is a gas line, so you can get the fire going with propane, then shut off the propane and let the wood burn.  The best of both worlds.

Six chairs around the fire.

Tonight the teenage girls were over for hot dogs and s'mores.  My stomach hurts.  Roasted marshmallows are great, just make you feel a bit full later.

Some cute things about the fire pit:

  • It's much like a campfire
  • Stories are told
  • Food is dropped into the fire
  • Marshmallows are burned
  • Bugs still bite
  • Smoke gets in your face
  • It's a nice way to relax
  • The teenagers don't understand the irony of playing the song "Summer Nights" from Grease.  They still think it's just a song from Grease.
  • They totally forget that I'm actually the grown-up
And the cutest thing:
  • These teenagers are still kids - after all, "I dropped my wiener" makes them laugh until they cry - on the first time and on the 50th time.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It's nice when things are near.  They are convenient.  Easy to get to.  Make life easy. 

I tend to exist within a four mile radius of my house.  Both houses, that is.  The stores I do shop in (I'm not a big shopper - most people whom are big shoppers, just by things they don't need), are close.  The restaurants I like are near.  My friends also live close.  Except of course for the ones whom live across the country and world.  Although with technology now, you don't realize friends live so far apart.

Speaking of friends, I would hate to also think my friends were only my friends because they were convenient to me.  Yes, there are local friendships - those people you know at the stores, or you have drinks with because you all live near each other.  But true friends, they know no matter where you live, you are friends.  I see Carolyn at least 3 times a year - she lives in Houston.  I would also hate to think that one of my friends whom live far away was so needy that they think we aren't really friends because we don't see each other but once a year.  I don't have friends like that.

The kids friendships from the summer will live on.  Now they have Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram - these kids are connected throughout the year.  Even if they don't get to see each other they know they will always be friends. 

Sometimes life isn't convenient.  Life can separate you from the ones you love.  But instead of just going with what's convenient, remember it's okay to drive/bike/fly out of your radius to be with whom you really love.

I'd hate to think I had missed out on the best restaurant in town, because it took a little extra effort.  I'd also hate to think I was hanging out with mediocre people in just "ok" places just because it was convenient.  I would have missed so much in life.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

How many summers?

How many summers are you going to do this?

I've been asked this question before.  And by this, they mean swap my house in Denver for the house in Kona.

The same answer has always been my reply:  "For as long as I can".  Meaning for as many summers as they want to switch.  Each summer becomes a bit longer of a trade.  It would even be okay if the trades became a little shorter, as long as we get to come over.

Two days ago though I was asked this question again.  "How many summers are you going to do this?"  This was asked by one of the local girls whom is friends with Lily.  The one whom has had some problems.  I had her at the house with just me the other day.  A few hours of me working, her working on a puzzle.  The other kids were off with Lily's dad running.

I realized though most of her problems are not her fault.  It's not her fault she hasn't been raised well.  She doesn't have good role models.  That's not her fault.  I think she is finally realizing it though.  She is now becoming aware of what she doesn't have.

The other night at dinner, I told her to do a couple of things.(put your knee down at the table, and no I won't braid your hair at a restaurant).  She helped me pack the cooler and make lunches.

And today, while she was off with Lily at the beach, she wanted to know why they weren't seeing me.  Not the boys, but me.  I guess it's true, children do crave discipline.

She has matured.  I'm still unsure my level of trust with her, as she has tended to lie about things.  The lies were little and stupid and last summer.  So far this summer, she's been honest with me.  And I now realize others lie to her, so she has learned this is normal behavior.

While people may have misbehaved in the past, people do learn to do things better.  I also know how to forgive.

She's the one whom asked me last "How many summers do you plan to do this?" A different answer was uttered,  I answered "One".   She looks at me funny and says "Huh?".  "I only planned to do this one summer.  I didn't know my whole life was going to change and this was my new old way of life." 

She replies, "You have to keep coming back.  You are my "white summer mom", and us kids are supposed to grow up together".

I think she is maturing.  I think Lily's friend will be okay.  I think the kids (I guess I have four now) are already growing up together. 

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Rowing and Paddling are two different things. 

First, paddling is not hitting.  When I hear the word "paddle", I used to think, of a child being punished.  "If you don't behave, you are going to get a paddling".  Of course, now, the adult would go to jail for "paddling a child".

Rowing is a different instrument.  Also, a different type of stroke.  By stroke, I mean what you do with the instrument in your hand. 

Yes, it is a paddle - there are different types of paddles. Steering or stroking.  Wood or fiberglass.  T-grip or palm.  Different lengths too. 

You want to sit in a chair, reach your arm straight up in the air, put your hand around the top (t-grip or palm) and have the shaft sitting on your knee.  Then your paddle is the correct length.

If you are in a double canoe - there are 12 people.  A single canoe - 6 people.  You stroke 14 times on one side.  Someone is a "caller" they count the strokes.  On the 13th stroke, the caller says "Hut".  The entire crew replies "HO" at the start of the next stroke,  then you change sides.  The stroking on the other side of the canoe.

There is a "stroker"  This is the person whom everyone else follows.  The person that sits in the first seat on the boat.  Everyone "enters" the water with their paddle at the same time. Everyone stroking at the same time.

There are different "drills" you can do.  For example, the person whom is steering, may say "Ok, on the next switch, give the first 5 strokes 100%, then 80% for the rest.  Do this for two sets."  Meaning, stroke as hard as you can for the first five times (not faster, but more strength), then 80%, then switch sides and do it again."  Then on each side one more time.

We go to the "recreational" paddling group.  Which means we paddle for 1.5 miles (20 or so minutes), then hang out and swim for a bit, then paddle back.

I've "paddled".  I've called.  I've even stroked. 

I'm the youngest one there most of the time.  There are first timers, there are those whom have been paddling for years.  There were a group of tourist hotties there a few weeks ago.  A cute guy my age was there the other day too (I'm hoping he is back tomorrow!)
Then of course, there is my entourage.  For two weeks, the boys didn't go.  There was life guarding.  Their days were pretty full.   I either went by myself or with Mary down the street. Now, well there is me.  My neighbor Mary (whom is in her late 50's) is gone to the mainland for a month - her cousin, Donna, is staying at her house.  Donna had a daughter and son-in-law here (they came with us on Tuesday).  But Thursday, I have me, my 70 year old neighbor's cousin and 3 teenagers. 

Are we going paddling?  This is our conversation everyday.  I will pick up Donna - she offered to drive, but well, we have to go get the girl.  She said she would drive.

So tomorrow,  I will drive.   Leave the house at 5:45am Pick up my neighbors cousin (at 6).  Pick up my summer daughter (at 6:10) then go paddle.  Me and my entourage.

Not sure when you had people begging you to pick them up at 6 am, but I have a group of them.  My tribe may not look the way I thought it would, but we are one loyal tribe.  Following each other one paddle at a time.

Friday, July 26, 2013


We ONLY have 12 days left. 

When did 12 days in Hawaii become ONLY?  We've all started to experience a bit of sadness.  ONLY, I think it's ridiculous that we have 12 incredible, wonderful FULL days left in paradise, and we are all starting to get a bit sad. 

Two years ago, the boys had 14 days here - TOTAL.  And now, basically, that same amount of time, is well, ONLY. 

I was going to ramble on here a bit.  Make some comparisons, give other examples.  But I can't.

I have to run.  I ONLY have 10 days left now.  I'll write more later.  In the short time I have left on this island, I have to go swim, paddle, breathe. 

I have to go be thankful I GET 10 more days.  Feel it in my whole body and soul.  If I could only truly hold on to this feeling I have for this place.  Then I would be ONLY too lucky.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Decline of a Civilization

Week one on the island:  I was a tourist with my Granny, so tourist life and rules applied.  We did tourist things.  We had a bit of a schedule.  We went out to eat quite a bit.  I went grocery shopping before she arrived so we had food ready. It was a tourist vacation.  It was wonderful.

Week Two:  Nolan arrives.  Then Lily arrives.  We have a few things scheduled. I had gone to the store before they arrived. Eggs and Bagels and Portuguese Sausage and some fresh fruit for breakfast every day. The "Dry Bag" is packed every day when we go to the beach.  Fresh clothes to put on at the end of the day.  Dry towels.  The cooler is packed with homemade trail mix, sandwiches, plenty of water (bottle that have been filled the night before and frozen) and fresh fruit.  There are clean beach towels in the car. 

Week Three:  Duncan arrives.  Life-guarding starts.  Back packs are packed the night before.  Running shoes, goggles, towels, a snack.  Grab a frozen water bottle in the morning.  Grab a bagel and cream cheese and head out.  I will go to the grocery store while they are at life guarding, the food supply is getting a little low.  I pack up the cooler while they are at Life Guarding.  The dry bag is good to go.  We hang at the beach after.

Week Four:  No new arrivals.  We still have life guarding.  Dry clothes and towels are grabbed on the way out the door.  Fill a water bottle before we leave.  Please eat something and grab a snack.  The cooler is still being packed by mom while they are at training. 

Week Five:  Life guarding is over.  Sandy damp towels are grabbed on the way to the car.  The cooler has warm water bottles (ALWAYS have water), some ice, lunch meat, bread and chips have been thrown in - all in their original packaging.  Please wear something over your swim suit - as we don't know where the "dry bag is".  There is no food in the house, we are now staying at the beach past sunset.  Fresh lasagna from a road side stand and dinner out the last two nights.  Let's see I have on a summer dress.  Duncan appears to have a shirt on, a swimsuit and no shoes, Lily's clothes were wet and left at the house, she has one of my summer dresses on - it had been left in the car, Nolan has a sweatshirt on, as it was left in the car from a few days ago and his swimsuit - we went out to eat.

We have a few more days left in week 5.  There is no longer a routine or a schedule. There are no dry clothes or towels. And I guess, I should really go to the store.

There is water, pure joy, happiness and silliness

Week 6:  I'm hoping we remember to come back to the house to sleep. 

So as this group "slowly declines" in the order of the world and joins the ranks of chaos, we celebrate our happiness. 

Monday, July 22, 2013


For the next TWO weeks, there is NOTHING on the schedule.  And by NOTHING, I mean NOTHING.  We don't have to be any where.  We don't have to do anything.  We are free to play.  Ahhhh.......

I wonder what this is going to be like?  I don't know how to be unscheduled.  Or not make a list.  Or not plan some activity or event. 

Life guarding is over.  The boys did not qualify to go to the state competition.  Both are a little bummed as it would have been a free trip to Maui.  But that also means they don't have to spend this week training. 

Paddling is still on the schedule, but that is voluntary, and I GET to paddle.  I don't HAVE to paddle. 

Yesterday we competed in a biathlon.  I swam and ran.  The boys both ran.  Lily swam.  Lily and I won t-shirts at the raffle.  No lamp this year. 

After the biathlon, I brought the kids back to the house.  An additional girl came too.  She lives here full time.  She's a bit of a challenging girl, but has actually matured a little bit.  She still is way too interested in babies and doesn't seem to think drugs are as bad as we all think they are, but there might be some hope for her yet.  She loved all the puzzle games the house holds.

We cooked pancakes on the Lanai (on a griddle), bacon and eggs too.  We later all cooked home-made macaroni and cheese.  (Not sure how much home-made cooking the girls actually get here on the island).  We worked on a puzzle.  The kids sat in the hot tub.  Then teenagers just hung out on the back Lanai, with music playing and silly conversations.  It was relaxing. 

We were going to go back to town around 1.  I think we finally made it into town around 4:30.  No one wanted to leave.  It was peaceful.  We were all happy. 

When we finally did leave the house, it took us at least 30 minutes to get moving and get in the car.  How nice.

So for the next two weeks - that is exactly how this house is living.  Puzzles, games, swimming, cooking, paddling and a couple of planned hikes. 


Sunday, July 21, 2013


I finally now know a disadvantage to Hawaii - it's really far away from anything.  Normally, I would think that is good thing.  I'm good at wanting to escape.  Get away from it all.  Yesterday I was able to realize it's not always a good thing.

My best friend's mom died yesterday morning.  I'm a long way from Houston right now.  I'm a long way from my best friend.  She understands.  Of course she would.  I may send a proxy - a close girlfriend lives in Houston, I may see if she can go stand next to Carolyn for me.  Or just be there.  Carolyn will be fine.  It will be a hard week, but she is strong, she can handle this.  I know she can, because let me tell you about her mom.

I met "Mom Frusco" my junior year in college.  I showed up over Christmas break at their house.  I was raised in a WASPy family.  Always loved, but family dinners never involved alcohol or singing.  When Uncle Larry broke out into song, I'm not sure I knew what do.  She knew I would be fine, I probably just joined in.

I was immediately welcomed in, and later was told I could stay.  So, I stayed.

She taught me to love Pasta Fagioli.  Although, for years, she said I wouldn't be able to cook it, because it would "take hours and hours".  I did finally get the recipe.  It doesn't taste as good as hers, but I always knew it never would.  Carolyn and I would wake up in the middle of night and go to raid the kitchen - we ate plenty of Pasta Figioli in the middle of the night.

She was always there to listen.  Give advice.  (We now refer to that advice as WWFD - What Would Fran Do). It was fun to help her in the kitchen. Or just hang out on the bar stools with.   Or watch movies in the TV room - as we would sometimes have movie marathons and she would join us to laugh and cry.  Maybe that's why I like to join the kids when they are all hanging out.  Or talk about books.  She loved to read.

Things I remember, that won't make any sense to anyone but Carolyn:
  • Sometimes you need to just get in the closet
  • Find yourself a "nerd" (and this could be a dork, but I'm thinking it was a nerd)  They rule the world.
  • Writing "hi mom" on the memo section of the checks Carolyn would write as she would balance her account.
  • I think you two were a little "tipsy" - okay, tipsy is not the word she used.  I will think of it in the middle of the night.
  • "A pitcher" is the usual???"
  • Coming to see us at college
  • Easter baskets - where you don't use a basket.  You use shorts, or something else.  A tradition I carried on with my sons.
  •  Hearing stories of her teen years.  While driving barefoot and using her forged birth certificate as a fake id on the Jersey Shore.  
  • Shopping at Sam's club for "spring break supplies" or for the New Year's Eve parties we through at the house. 
  • Laying on the bed and telling her our grand idea of Carolyn having the girls, me having the boys and deciding that one of them could marry the other.  Her replying "And that would be the end of a beautiful friendship".  (ironically, Carolyn has the girls, I have the boys)
  • Teaching us that the song "YMCA" actually has a movie!
  • Her singing "Achy Breaky Heart" on the karaoke machine when we had a pool party after college.
  • Her losing weight and us all sharing clothes for a time. 
  • Love her referring to changing her hair color as "Visine ing" her hair - as in "getting the red out".
  • She was the expert "tooth puller" and Duncan remembers her pulling one of his teeth

She was at my college graduation.  My wedding.  I think she actually knew before anyone I was pregnant with Duncan - she and Dad Frusco were in California visiting and we were all out to dinner. I didn't like my wine.  I didn't figure it out, but I think she did.  She was on the phone with me at the hospital when I was in labor with Duncan, as Carolyn was in Mexico.  The first flowers to arrive at the hospital were from her.

She had a stroke 15 years ago.  And while, she was still "Mom Frusco" she became a different "Mom Frusco".

Twenty-five years is a long time to know someone. I could go on and on with stories.

They told us she went in her sleep.  We'd like to think she went telling someone what to do and God finally said, "That's enough Frances, come home".

I'm missing the services.  I'm missing being there for her daughter.  And I will always miss her.

Rest in Peace Mom.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How did we get here?

I've been here a month already.  From date to date - exactly a month.  From the calendar, I've been here for 4 weeks and two days. 

How the heck did that happen?  No wonder I woke up one day in Colorado and realized I've been living there 21 years.  I woke up today, and it's been three summers in Kona. 

I asked the boys if they were ready to go back.  This time last year, this was our last full day.  The lifeguard competition was today, and we left the next night. 

The first summer was filled with adventure and wonder.  What will happen?  There is so much we want to do.

The second summer was filled with a routine and bit of unwanted drama. But still the adventure of what will happen and what can we do.

This summer?  We've settled into our life here on the island.  We have routines.  Habits.  Friends.  We are doing things we have done before.  But also new things. 

Why is it in our own town, we stop exploring the new things?  I KNOW I haven't done everything there is to do in Colorado, much less Denver.  Our town becomes HERE, rather than THERE.  We feel we must go THERE, to try something new. When there are plenty of adventures to be had in our own backyard. 

Well, we are now HERE doing old things.  Still trying new things.  Not sure when THERE became HERE.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Things I never thought I would say

Here are some things I've said, out loud, that I never thought I would:

  • Would you like guacamole on that?  And by that, I mean anything as we have now run out of ideas of what to use avocado's for.  I did find a recipe for stuffed avocados - still have to try that.
  • What else can we do with bananas?   The bananas in the backyard are about to be ripe - and we will have approximately 1 week to consume 50 or so bananas.  I know, I know, we will freeze some, but seriously 50 plus bananas.
  • Did you get all the sand out of the hot tub?
  • I think there is something growing in my hair.  Seriously, I can't get a brush through this curly mop and if it's not growing, something might be living there.
  • I GET to wake up at 5:45am (it's sleeping in) and to start my day by paddling.  
  • Did anyone bring a dry towel?  
  • You have to pack the cooler, unload the dishwasher and shake the sand out of your bed, before going to bed.
  • Anyone know what happened to the "dry clothes" bag?  
AND probably the one that has shocked me the most:
  • Teenagers are pretty darn cute when they are in love.  Not sure I'll say the same thing next summer, but for now, I'm sticking with my statement.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Monday in Paradise

There are seven days a week here in paradise.  Much like every place else in life. 

As a society, we all tend to view "Monday" well, as the start of "work".  I try to balance life and work.  Understanding, there are no distinct lines in my life.  My life blurs between work and play.  It seems to work for me.

But I do have "Mondays", sometimes they arrive on Wednesday.  Sometimes they arrive, well, on Monday. 

Why do people dread Monday?  Most people I know wouldn't want to spend all week doing what they do on the weekends?  Yard work. Shopping.  Riding their bike.

Okay, maybe I lie.  Maybe I do know a few people whom would like to do what they do on the weekends all week.  But we have to pay the bills.  So, Monday comes and people go work doing something they don't love or even like.

They do it for money.  Only money doesn't buy us happiness, it buys us freedom.  Then the habits form.  People work, because that is what they "need" to do.  What society tells us to do.  "Have a career".  "Make something of your life".  We've all followed that dream. 

Luckily, I've done both.  I had an incredible wonderful industrious career.  I had a start up that broke even.  I've been out on my own for many years now.  I just helped a start-up get up and running.

Today, though, was a Monday in July.  The time of year I always make changes.  July that is.  Not Mondays.

Although, I was here a year ago February - I had a Monday then too.  That February, I had a deal fall through, been chased by goats, the dog I was dog sitting got head butted and bit by the neighbor dog - ALL BY EIGHT AM HAWAII time.  Seriously.  If that isn't a Monday, I don't know what is.

Well, I had another Monday today.  It actually started on Sunday.  Seems my beautiful summer daughter gets in trouble for bringing us up.  For wanting to see us.  So, we all "were at the same beach yesterday".  Oh, yeah, we were all there today too.  I'm thinking I should put signs up saying "Warning:  There are boys and ex-girlfriends at this beach".

But, well, it's going to happen.  So, I'm not fighting it.  I'm just here to enjoy my summer.  At least the new old girlfriend seems to be on the summer daughter's side.  Her moves are a little transparent in the girl can see she's just trying to win her over.  But we will take what we can get at the moment.

This morning, the company I've been consulting with, my e-mail no longer would let me log in.  Seriously?  This is how we are going to break up????  I text the owner:  "Do we need to talk?".  "Yes" he replies, "did you get my e-mail".  "well, you shut down my e-mail, so no I didn't".  "Please re-send it to my personal e-mail".  Next text to him:  "I thought we were mates?"  'We are, we just need to figure out what's next". 

I haven't told him, but he knows.  I don't have a non-compete or a non-disclosure.  I'm not signing one either.  Wait, I will, it's just going to cost you.....

And by now, it's 8am.  I have to wake the boys up.

It's Monday afternoon on the mainland and you have one pissed off Mama.

"Hell hath no fiery like a woman scorned".

See Monday's exist even in paradise.  Don't mess with my kids or my money and we will be fine.  After all, I'm a woman from Texas.  We all have bad days, but trust me, you want us on your side. 

And as a mama, I have two teenagers in love.  And there are two moms whom are actually encouraging this situation.  Well, whom can blame us?  Doesn't someone get the Hollywood version of love?  Someone does.  Even on a Monday.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Living in the jungle

Where we live in Hawaii is tropical.  On some land, on the side of a mountain.  Coffee trees in the back yard.  A couple of lime trees.  Bamboo, green grass, wild orchids, a small pond.  A fire pit.  Wild turkeys and chickens roam through the yard - not always, just sometimes.  The rooster hasn't been so annoying this trip. 

Either I'm used to the sound now, or there aren't as many roosters.

There are also these animals called mongoose.  They are a rodent type creature whom you usually only see on the side of the road, or crossing the road.  The story goes:  the mongoose were brought to Hawaii to kill all the wild cats.  Only someone didn't do their research - cats are nocturnal. Mongoose are not.

Needless to say, the wild cats and the mongoose live nicely together on the island.

They say you can finally call yourself a local when you've run over a mongoose (they are pretty darn fast).  Well, I could have run over two this week, only I couldn't do it.

I was able to chase the cat away off the front porch while he still had the mouse IN his mouth.  This morning, we ran the cat off, while the bird was still in his mouth. 

Needless to say, it's a little "wild" around here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

You can't get there from here

You know when you have a moment you really want to capture?  Only there is no way to capture.  No picture would do it justice.  No word could describe it.  It's a just a moment you want to hold on to forever. 

I hope I can describe a moment I want to remember forever.  Really, it's two moments.  Each boy.  But it was the same reaction from each of them.

The night after I picked up Nolan from the airport - we had spent the day at the beach and we were headed home.  You can drive down the highway - which is really a two way road (sometimes there are three lanes, maybe four at one point, but not far.  Granny was surprised the roads were paved  (I digress)) home, then make a left turn, go up a windy road for about a mile and then there is the house.


You can take the back road.  You turn off the main road, on to the "road in front of the house" - only it's 6 miles from the house.  It's windy.  There are huge trees.  Hairpin turns.  Chickens crossing the road.  It's plush, it's green (it's paved) and it's beautiful.  If you look out between the trees through the passenger side window, you can see the sun and the ocean.  Our house is at about 1500 feet elevation, so you are also climbing as you are curving. 

There is this one point, about a half mile from the house and I look over at Nolan.  There was a smile from EAR TO EAR.  There are really no words.  A picture wouldn't have done it justice. The biggest smile ever.

A week later, I pick up Duncan.  Same sequence of events - airport, beach, back road home.  Another smile from EAR TO EAR.  I literally could feel him about to explode.  I seriously thought he was just going to burst right there in the car. 

You could feel the happiness.  The joy.  The excitement.

One day, I hope wherever they are, they can remember this moment and "get there".  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Pied Piper

You know the bulletin board at the grocery store?  Or the community center or inside your favorite fish market.  You know the place in the middle of nowhere has a bulletin board too.

On those bulletin boards, or taped to counters or to walls there are announcements.  Things for sales.  Missing pets.  Upcoming activities.  Services offered.  Some of them have those "tear off" slips with a phone number.  Others just tell you when and where to go to do/get/see whatever it is.  I guess Craigslist is life's ultimate "bulletin board" - and it changed my life.

I'm the person whom stops and looks at those.  Not all the time.  Not every time.  Not only do I look at them, I then act upon those little "callings" in life.  I call.  I show up.

Example One:  Jr Lifeguard training.  There was a half of a piece of paper taped to the wall between the public bathrooms on the public beach last summer.

Example Two:  Craigslist - I could list a million things here, but that's an older blog.

Example Three:  Last week in a place called "The Poke Shack"  (pronounced Po-kee), there was a flyer on the counter about a "FREE BOOTCAMP"  Three weeks - every Wednesday and Saturday.

I had gone paddling on Saturday morning, so I missed the first Saturday.  I went on Wednesday.  There were 5 of us plus the instructor and her husband.  The boot camp is on the same lawn as the bay where I go paddle.  It was a good work out.  When it was almost over, I asked, "So, why are you doing this for free".  She answered, "well, we are in town for 3 weeks and I don't want to work out alone.  That way I have people to work out with.".  Okay, I'm now in love with the best idea ever.

What a great idea!!! Find something you like to do.  Tell others that you are offering it "for free" - boom, you suddenly have a group of people all doing what you like to do!

Yes, we all spoke about how it hard to go do something on your own, by yourself.  It's always easier when you have someone else.  Yet, here we were, a group of individuals, going to do something by ourselves with other people.

Then in turn, I told them about me and the Canoe Club.  "It's right here, Tues/Thurs/Sat at 6:30am or 8am - be about ten minutes early.  It's a great group.  Everyone is very friendly and it's free."  (If you want to join the club you can, which I did today - the dues are good for a year)

One of the women from boot camp showed up this morning for paddling, and she brought a friend.  Another one showed up for the 8am group.

And so it continues.....

Being the Bigger Person

It's hard to be the bigger person.  Not give into pettiness.  I believe it's a daily challenge for most people NOT to play the game.

What is easy?  To fight fire with fire.  I'm good at winning things.  Only most of the time, you realize if you have to fight for something, it's really not fighting for.  Standing up for what you believe in, is worth fighting it.

SO, we have an ex-boyfriend's current girlfriend whom just cringes when I walk up.  Rightly so, I think I would cringe as well if I had to see a boyfriends ex-girlfriend every day.  Wait, scratch that.  I wouldn't cringe.  After all, if I'm the one with the boyfriend, why would an EX girlfriend of MY boyfriend cause me any concern?  I'm living with him after all.

If I were insecure and immature, maybe.  As mentioned previously, the teenagers around here are acting more mature than some adults.

Aren't we all a bit insecure?  Of course we are.  Everyone has different levels of insecurity -

Maybe it's:
  •  trying something new
  • calling someone for the first time
  • asking a stranger directions
  • Admitting you miss someone
  • Making a right turn, instead of a left, because you've always made a left.
  • leaving the house some days
  • leaving the house without your car
  • trusting yourself - as you know you have failed yourself before.
The list could go on and on.  On and on for different people and different things.

But from someone on the OUTSIDE of your problems, it would be easy for me to tell you what to do.

(Don't you hate it when people do that???)  You know, tell you the way you SHOULD behave and the way you SHOULD act.

I think that is the problem.  We listen to other people.  Instead of acting with kindness and realizing even if they did hurt us, that's the past, and there is nothing we can do about it now.

Most of the time, other people don't really disappoint us, it's OUR expectation of others that disappoints us.  Yes, sometimes people do disappoint.  They tell you they will do something and they don't do it.  That is disappointing. 

A dear friend of mine didn't come to my grandfathers funeral.  He told me he would.  It still hurts me that he didn't show up.  He lived in the same town.  He disappointed me. 

I keep trying to be the bigger person and let it go, but I can't.  He knows it too.  We don't need to talk about it.  But an apology sure would be nice.  But that's MY expectation on the friendship situation.  Not his.

Isn't that funny?  Or is it just me?  A simple apology is all I want.  I'll either get the apology one day, or it will fade into the background of our friendship.  I'm sure he thinks I owe him an apology for something else.

But tomorrow, I can't apologize to anyone for being the ex-girlfriend.  Or apologize for being the mom of the boys whom the teenage girl loves.  I can be kind - even if it is not returned. 

I can be the bigger person.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

What makes me me

I read a quote yesterday and it really made me think:

"Seduce my mind, and you can have my body,
Find my soul and I'm yours forever."
Maybe it was reading this quote yesterday that made me realize something today.

I was on the water this morning with the Canoe Club.  I ended up with in a OC3  (6 seats and something that keeps us balanced - yes there is a name for it, don't remember what it is called).  I normally paddle with a group of 12 (two 6 seaters connected).  At first I felt a bit like the fat kid whom gets chosen last for kickball - I'm not very experienced and it takes a little more skill.

The people are nice, so I wasn't really worried, it was just a new thing.  As we get out the bay, there is a school of dolphins asleep.  They are just floating up and down.  It was beautiful.

Then on the way in, they were awake.  They were playing.  There was a baby.  There was a show-off.  He was jumping and spinning.  Then there was one on his back, flapping his tail at us.  They were making dolphin noises.   "Good morning to you too", I replied.  We stopped paddling.  We watched.

Denver, you will always have my heart, but Kona you have my soul.....

Monday, July 8, 2013

Repeat Business

The try-outs for Jr Lifeguards were a little different this year.  There was actually a limit on how many could get in the class.  They don't have as many instructors.

We go there early.  There was still quite a line. Turns out - the city (I think the city, it could be county) didn't allot enough money for the extra instructors, so they are short on instructors.  They limited the class to 25 kids - they signed up 30 (knowing some will drop off), and have 5 "Jr Lifeguard Leaders".  "Jr Lifeguard Leaders" - those whom have done the class before.

First thing - this class is TWENTY DOLLARS.  AND, they get a t-shirt at the end of the two weeks.  That being said - PLEASE, charge me $100 or even $50.  Then you could pay an extra lifeguard to teach this PRICELESS class.  I can guarantee you, I've never told anyone to charge me more for ANYTHING.  I'm telling you now.

They test a bunch of kids.  About 12 didn't make the first session.  We are about 2 kids from the table when they told us all the class was full.  Very sad, as we had two extra girls ready for the class too.

I had spoken to one of the instructors, and noticed an instructor from last year - Uncle Hoku.  I said "My son, Duncan was in the class last year, he wants to be one of your "leaders" this year."  Uncle Hoku, looks over at the other guard, and says "That's Duncan's mom - he can be one of our leaders".  And well, since he has a little brother, we will put him in the class too"  He looks at Lily and asks if this is his Little Sister, and as much as I wanted to say yes, I shook my head.  (I'm not sure why her dad is so grumpy, he's supposed to be happy - don't relationships make you happy???)

We are going to call her in the morning if there is an extra spot. 

So, we can write the mayor of Kona and tell them our opinion of this great program.  I know we are lucky.

The lifeguard didn't have extra paperwork, so we will fill it out in the morning.  He asked if I still minded paying.  Are you kidding?  No, I have NO problem paying.  I have no problem paying for them or a problem bringing the instructors lunch for the next two weeks!  What is it that you want me to pay????

I've wondered for years if it's best to go to the same place or try new places?  I'm beginning to think you try new places, then keep going there again and again and again......

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Things you learn from teenagers

I'm learning bunches this trip.  Did you know?

  • If your sheets are filled with dead skin and sand, you just need to shake them - they don't really need washing?
  • It is possible to send/receive approximately 500 texts in less than 3 days - to one person?  (this one really makes no sense to me as texting is available year round, but seems to be much more popular when you are in the same town (or even the same car) as this person.)
  • It's completely possible to forget to wear shoes, shirts, towels and anything else you left the house with.
  • Coral pieces can work to play toss.  And adults aren't very good at toss (I was told maybe it was just me)
  • It's possible to have 1400 "followers" on Instagram.  And if you didn't know what Instagram was, teenagers can have to set up in minutes (word of warning though, the median age of your "followers" will be about 14)
  •  Shaved ice, a soda and a sandwich don't count as a meal or a snack.  I guess it's just something that holds you over until the next grazing.
  • It's completely possible for you to remember the name of the dog (Sherrie) of the guy at the beach from last year.  
  • That it is completely possible for some adults to age, yet still act less mature than the real teenagers.   Even the teenagers recognize it.
  • And the highest compliment you could ever be paid is:  "We all want to go with you, we don't want to hang out with the adults".  At least I think that was a compliment.

Your Happy Place

Find your happy place.  Mine's on an island.  Although you've probably figured that out by now. 

I keep trying to make this place - well, normal.  Regular.  You know the place.  The place where you do laundry.  You run errands.  You run into old grumpy boyfriends. You take the kids to their practices.  You go to the grocery store.  You drop off recycling.  A place where you want to escape FROM.  Not TO.  Really, I try.

I keep trying to make this "life" - you know "just like at home".  Well, I'm succeeding at that part.  I joined the Canoe Club - I paddle on Tues, Thurs and Saturday mornings at 6:30am.  We have to leave the house at 6:10.  (Nolan's gone twice).  Thursday we swam with dolphins in the ocean while out there paddling. 

I work early in the mornings, I go paddle, I come home and work some more. The only time I do get annoyed?  When I have to work.  Well, I have to work.  I figured it out though, Gypsy Girl lives stifled and a bit hidden nine months out of the year - so PLEASE, career woman, could you just go away for a couple of months? 

Next week I will take some kids to Jr Life guarding - it's starts Monday.  Pick them up at noon and then, well, we will go to the beach.  Lunches have to be made.  Laundry done.

Pretty much sounds like my life on the mainland.  Hectic.  Busy.  Scheduled - the dreaded word.  Only here, well, it doesn't make me sad or stressed or well any of those things.  It makes me happy.  I guess this would be my happy place.

Please, everyone, go find your happy place.  You know - that stroll down the street - the one you love best - and go there.  The quilt shop, the hike, the place that helps you be well you.   Hang on to it for as long as you can.  But not long enough to be afraid that there isn't another happy place to discover.  Shhhh..... There might be more than one.

I'm envisioning a group of condos I'm going to own and manage one day.  I'm calling my company "Happy Place".  Come find it - it will be on VRBO.  While this might not be YOUR Happy Place.  It's mine.  Go find yours too.  Only don't get to hung up on the way you "think" your happy place should look.  Never in a million years, could I have created this in my mind.  It was larger than that.  I wasn't capable of thinking I could create THIS happy place.  I'm also sure I can't even imagine the vision of my "next" happy place.  I am just here to enjoy this one.

PS.  My imaginary dog's named Mango.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Flashback on Fantasy Island

At the end of last season - that would be the summer season - it felt a little bit like we had been living in soap opera.  Something antiquated, a bit like high school and lots of drama.

I decided a better name was really "Fantasy Island".  Everyone arrives on the island with a wish and a fantasy to play out.  Everyone gets a chance to live a bit different than normal lives and see the outcome.  Sometimes the outcome doesn't look like you think it would.  Other times it's a really bad decision.  Or maybe, just maybe, it turns out even better.

In the season premiere today, well, the same cast of characters have arrived on the island.  We are still missing a key actor, but he gets here Monday. 

The old boyfriend whom let the old girlfriend move in last season - well, they are still living together.  And quite honestly, they both don't look good.  She actually looks a bit thinner, but doesn't smile.  He has gained some weight and he's not smiling either.  So, if that is what happiness looks like - well, it's not my kind of happy.  We will let them have it.

We have two teenagers whom have been waiting a whole year to see each other.  This time, the awkwardness only lasted a few minutes, versus a few days last summer.  Although the girl was quite sad and nervous that her dad wasn't going to let us all see each other "the girlfriend got her feelings hurt last summer".  She figured out how to get us all at the beach today at the same time.  (that's my girl!).  All was good in the water.

As I watched the teenagers playing in the water.  As I played in the water and a bit of volleyball, I'm truly happy with my life.  Happy there is no drama.  Happy some teenagers can play.

I was also very happy at the end of the day when I was finally able to say hi to the dad. Just us. He said, "we will all get together.  I know she has really missed you."  Mahalo.

We've missed her too. 

Patience dear teenagers, all in deux time.......

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Teenage Freedom

4th of July is my FAVORITE holiday.  It's a "No Guilt" holiday.  No presents to buy.  No dinners to attend.  It's all about enjoying our freedom.  Literally.  Our freedom as Americans.  Our freedom from family pressures.  Freedom to watch, observe and participate. Or the freedom to do none of the above and stay home.

I was prepared to write about the arrival of my summer daughter - she gets here tonight.  She's so excited.  So am I.  And I know a teenage boy who's pretty excited too.  But last year there was drama with the dad and his old girlfriend. Something I don't want to write about.  Drama I'm not participating in this year.  Any man whom wouldn't put his daughter's feelings first, over an old girlfriends, well, he's not the man for me.  While he might still make a really good friend, I don't have friends like that.  And freedom, for me, comes free.  For others it comes at a cost.

As the onslaught of summer teenagers are about to begin.  She arrives tonight.  Duncan on Monday.  Then I feel, I will have no freedom, but will be the camp director.  It's okay though, I chose to live this way.  I'm free.  (Plus, it really is bunches of fun!)

I've received approximately 20 texts in a span of 24 hours - plus a bunch of pictures, plus a bunch of e-mails from a very excited girl.  She posted the sweetest post ever on Instagram about Nolan to Nolan for his birthday.  I was told she actually is going to miss the house from last summer - we stayed next door.  Of course you are, I replied, there is no Ohana (guest house) for all you kids to have a sleep over.  (Momma is no fool).  At least she told me I was right.

So yesterday, I enjoyed my drama FREE day. My day of an incredible hike with my son to a memorial of Captain Cook.  Also, the memorial of a boy whom was swept out to sea last year on this very day at the very spot we were.  Paying homage to people whom risked it all for freedom.

Freedom of theirs.  Freedom of ours.

But today, we are going to go paddle.  Then go watch some turtles being set free (more on this story later), then a parade and fireworks.  A day of freedom.

Thankful we are all free to make our own choices even if we are no longer teenagers.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


"Why must we have an "owie" tradition on the island?" - a friend asked me last year after I had cut my foot open. 

First summer:  Black eye (surfing accident)

Second trip:  Slipped and fell - just a little scratch

Second summer:  Nine stitches in the bottom of my foot (sliding off the paddle board, cutting it open on the coral

I replied "Pele is testing me"  Pele is the Goddess of the Volcano.  Her arch enemy was the snow queen.  She wants to make sure I'm worthy of staying on her island.

I've told everyone this summer, "Pele and I have made our peace"  "It's HER island, but I'm here to visit - I've become a part of the island.  I'm here to enjoy it - and while I love it here - it's YOUR island." 

So this summer, I've made it a record 13 days here with only a few little bumps and bruises.   A little slice on the big toe.  A big bruise on the back of my leg from the way I climbed into my canoe after paddling the first time.  A sunburn. 

But most of all - my heart is whole.  I'm happy and content with the island that I love.  Pele - you are welcome to be in charge....

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Adventures of a blind date

I guess I was on a blind date.  Only I didn't know I was on a blind date.

Nolan and I spent the morning paddling with the Canoe team, then me working, then us at the beach.  Today is his birthday, so at "happy hour" he wanted to go to Huggo's for Virgin Pina Colada's and fish tacos.

We arrive at Huggos.  There is music about to play.  The temperature is perfect.  We are seated at a table in the sand.  (The only restaurant I know of that ALMOST encourages you to take your shoes off while at the table).

While coming back from the restroom, I look across the bar and this guy waves at me.  In a minute, he shows up at the table with a big grin on his face and gives me a hug.  I hug back.  Everyone here is very friendly and it's not surprising to receive a hug or a kiss on the cheek from a total stranger.  He sits down.  I introduce Nolan.  Only this guy at the table doesn't say his name.  He talks like we know each other, so I just go along with it.  The waitress comes by - he orders a drink and some food.  (Yes, put it on a separate check I tell the waitress).  I finally say "I'm sorry, what is your name again?"  He tells me "Bill"  - it still doesn't sound familiar.  After a little bit, he stands up and says, "I'm going to let you two eat.  I'll be back".  He leaves.

I look at Nolan and say "I've never seen that guy before, I have no IDEA who he was!" "REALLY?" replies Nolan.  "You should be up for best actress!".  "I didn't want to embarrass the guy - I just went along with it."

We enjoy our drinks and our food.  We were finishing up - he comes back and says "Save me!"  "I'm on a blind date - it's not going well.  I tried "Plenty of Fish" (a dating site) and I'm on a blind date."  I replied, "What are you doing on a blind date on a Tuesday afternoon?"  He says, "I know, hey kid, don't ever date".  He says "what do I do?".  I told him "Man up.  Be gracious, but tell her this isn't going well."  "Well, can I use the line 'we can be friends'?"  No, I replied.  Just say the truth.  "But what if her best friend is the girl of my dreams?"  "Well, she will tell you that"  "If she's a real woman".  Then he leaves again.

Nolan and I just laugh.  How funny.

Then as we are walking to the car, we see the "blind date couple" at the bar.  She has long blonde curly hair.  He waves.

As we get in the car, Nolan says to me "I figured it out".  Me, "Figured what out?".  "The blind date", "he thought the blind date was supposed to be you"

Oh.  Light bulb moment - thanks Nolan for helping me in on the puzzle. Because, I'm thinking I always bring my son on a blind date with me. I just thought I was out celebrating my sons birthday - turns out I was on a blind date.....