Monday, July 23, 2012

The Perfect Ending


Water always makes everything better.  Get in the water.  Cleanse your soul.  Wash all the dirt away.  All types of stuff.

Waves are like life.  There are days with great waves and the tide is perfect.  Catch a good wave - and you can ride it to shore.  Or catch one, and someone gets in front of you - you steer off course, you get caught in the "washing machine"  and spit out.

Up and down.  In and out.  High tides and low tides.  Sometimes you get rolled.

You hold your breath and enjoy the ride.

Our last day in Kona couldn't have been "more better".  We cleaned up.  We went to the beach.  We were starving and went to lunch with Al and Lily at the Kona Brewing Company.  I caught the PERFECT picture of the kids and the happiness of our summer.

Silliness.  Happiness and joy in every one's eyes.

It's 3:00. We need to leave our house at 6:15 at the latest.  We are all packed.  We will need to shower.  What do you we want to do we have two hours?  Go!

We want to go to the beach!  Of course!  The kids go in the back of the truck - through the town.  One more time.

I've already washed my hair.  Maybe I'll just sit on the side.  Sure.

I'll swim as far as I can.  I'll hang in the water with the man whom we can't speak to each other.  I have nothing to say - I've said all I can.  He doesn't know what to say - Actually, I don't know what he's thinking. 

We listen to the kids.  Laugh like they have never laughed before.  Like they will never laugh again.  For one more moment.

The grown-ups: they give us the boogie boards.  I road waves - waves I have ridden all summer.  Perfect waves.  In perfect moments.

Three perfect waves.  All the way in.  The kids thought I was surely going to "die".  They were "scared" for their lives.  Their mom was going to die.  "I was going to get rolled".  I was scared too.  Scared I was going to swallow a bunch of water.  Get stomped on by someone else.  Not once though.  I just rode the waves to the beach.  With someone right next to me, blue eyes smiling. And when it was time, rode the last wave in, got out by myself and went and showered. 

Showered to the music of the locals having a Sunday cook-out - playing their songs.  Cooking and playing their ukulele's.  Running into friends on the beach.  Everyone was happy.  A perfect ending to a wonderful summer.

I wish I could say this was one of those Hollywood moments and everyone was washed cleaned. And they all lived Happily Ever After.

Actually, I can.

It was three kids playing in the water.  Laughing so hard, and so pure, everything was right in the world.  It was two adults, riding some waves.  

Everyone covered in sand. Everyone arriving to shore.  Some before the others:   a little dirty, a little scratched and all still smiling. 

The End

or maybe, it's just the beginning ..

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The BEST Twenty Dollars I've EVER spent


Hawaii Jr Lifeguard program.   

If you have a 12 - 17 year old and EVER - EVER have the opportunity to put them in the Jr. Lifeguard program in Kona.  DO IT.  I don't care if your kid likes to swim or not.  It will be the BEST twenty bucks you have ever spent.  Even if they hate the class.

What does $20 get you??  TWO WEEKS Monday thru Friday (except first day is just a swim test to see if they can swim 200 yards).  Trust me, if two of the kids there passed the test, your kid can too.  It's all about water safety.  Sorry, for the tangent.  Two weeks, from nine until noon.  CPR, Board Safety, Open Water rescue, traditional Hawaiian dance (Haku - more on that in a moment), a potluck, a competition and new friends.  ALL FOR TWENTY DOLLARS. 

Truly, the class is priceless.  I happened to see a sign at the beach our second day here.  Nolan and Lily didn't want to do the class - it was two weeks, then another class was starting the week after Duncan got here.  Duncan said he wanted to do it.  Only once, did he say, "I don't want to go" and then 10 minutes later he was in the main house with his bag asking what was for breakfast.  Not a complaint in my book.

Then today was the "Jr Lifeguard Competition"  Three teams.  We were team "Kona", there was "Hapuna" (the location of the event) and the "Hilo" team (the three main areas of the island).  Several events.  1000m run; Run Swim Run; Paddle Boarding; Swim;  - all those skills you need in Life guarding.  Broken into girls/boys - then 12, 13-14; 15-17 age groups.  Duncan won the 1000m run for the 13 - 14 males. 

The state championship is in Oahu next weekend - he won a free airline ticket over there, since he came in first to compete.  (He's not going). 

AND, I haven't even begun to tell begun to tell you about the other prizes.

Give aways.  Box lunches (a box lunch here is - okay, I will have to upload this picture to do it justice, but rice, hot dogs (cut up and they are a reddish color), chicken, spam and sliced meat.  Free Gatorade and Water. 

No - there is no membership fee.  There is no entry fee.  I kept waiting for the catch.

Yes, part of it is our tax dollars at work.  Yes, both National and then their tax dollars - state at work.  Water safety.  Public Safety.

Then sponsorships.  For this event, the Alex and Duke DeRego Foundation is a big sponsor.  Ironman Foundation is another sponsor.  This is why today's event was "free".

Let me tell you about the Alex and Duke Foundation.  Of course there was a banner and I walked up to a woman with a foundation T-shirt on and asked, "What is the Alex and Duke Foundation". 

The woman explained to me that Alex had died while camping  - he fell into the water and they never recovered his body.  (I couldn't remember when, I was just trying to hold it together at this point of the story - tears had been forming in my eyes all day). Then just two years ago, Duke had died in a golf cart accident - teenagers being teenagers and he went flying.  (more of the story on their site).  Of course, by this time, I'm crying.  And just gave the woman a hug and said I'm so sorry and thank you.  For Duke, they donated his organs and this way, they could keep giving. 

Re-thinking as I'm talking to her, and I realized she had said, "we lost" - thinking this is the vernacular the organization uses to explain their cause.  Then I realize, it was their mom.  I think that's when the tears began.  Not sure.

It was after my son had won his medal.  Before we helped clean up.  And ever since.

We may be "haloe's" (white people) from the mainland, but when we find a good cause, we know it.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Newhart was a television situation comedy starring comedian Bob Newhart and actress Mary Frann as an author and wife who owned and operated an inn located in a small, rural Vermont town that was home to many eccentric characters. The show aired on the CBS network from October 25, 1982 to May 21, 1990. TV Guide, TV Land, and A&E named its series finale as one of the most memorable in television history.

(The above portion was copied from Wikipedia)

I remember watching a couple of episodes - I used to watch more TV than I do now, but I don't remember watching this series on a regular basis.  HOWEVER, I remembered a couple of things:

  • The two brothers "Darryl and my other brother Darryl" never spoke
  • The very last episode, they had it appear like the whole series had been a dream.  Suddenly, they were back in a previous series.  
Today, we picked up the owner of the house Joe (aka Captain Hook  - only he's really nice).  Of course, this was after Duncan's lifeguard training (more on that to come - I PROMISE), lunch and cleaning the house!

We have been house-sitting all summer.  This house is also for sale.  He doesn't need to sell the house.  He's bored.  He wants to move back to the mainland.  - SIDE NOTE HERE:  If you know of any single ladies 50+, PETITE (one of his requirements) and looking for love, please send them my way.  Of course, please let her know, she has to leave every summer to go to the mainland to fly around in his private plane.  (He's the pilot).  Please also tell her, I get to house-sit while they are gone.  (this portion is non-negotiable).  If we could find him someone to live here with him - he wouldn't sell the house!!!!!!  - We get to come back every summer.

Joe is a great guy.  Very funny.  Very ornery.  Nolan and I had left, leaving Duncan and Joe alone - we get back and they are arguing over something stupid like microwaves and why Joe doesn't have one.

During dinner, we are all talking about him moving, Duncan wanting to go to boarding school, and a couple of other things. He told us "we don't get a vote in this him selling the house".  He then proclaims 'Duncan, you are NOT going to boarding school" - in which Duncan replies, "you don't get a vote!!"  Then Joe pauses and says "how did I get roped into this family???"  I told him - "YOU were lucky - that's how".......

Suddenly then tonight, after dinner, I had this weird sense of deja vu.  Deja vu in the sense:  we just got here, Joe is about to leave to go to the mainland and we are just starting this adventure.  And the opposite thought:  "What are you doing here in our house?  This is our house now"

During this thought process, all I could think was "remember that show with Bob Newhart in it and how it ended???"  That everything for the last seven years was a dream?  Was this all just a dream???

The show was named Newhart.  I think I'm calling it New Heart......I might have to start wearing more sweaters......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Peter, I must go home

Peter Pan has always been one of my favorite movies.  For many reasons.

I will FOREVER be attracted to the Peter Pan type of male.  It seems a lot of women have trouble with those men.  I think, the women are trying to make them something they aren't.  Of course, my sons hockey coach is 35 years old and still couch surfing.  I'm not saying, you have to have a house on the golf course, a nice car and a country club membership to be successful in life - in fact, just the opposite.  What I'm saying is that, you need to be able to take/provide for yourself.

Me, I like Peter Pan.  He was comfortable with himself.  Why would we want to change him?

In my humble opinion, we are doing a HUGE disservice to boys/men today.  We need to empower them as much as we empower the girls/women.  After all, they have dads, they need to be proud of.  Instead, it seems to be this "woman are just as good - if not better thing going on".  Well, what if we aren't?  What if MEN really are better than women?  What if women REALLY are better than MEN?  I didn't realize this was a competition.....

Aren't we here on Earth to make everyone better?  When you step on me, to climb your way up, you are hurting both of us.  For the first time ever, we are sending more females to the 2012 Olympics than than males.  I'm not proud of that fact.

Yes, I know - blah, blah, blah - boys/men have always been given so much more.  Yes, I'm a headhunter - I'm hired to find companies find people - Yes, we want "young, aggressive" and if they could be male, well, even better.  Sorry, the same applies the other way "we need young , aggressive and go-getters" - female.  It works both ways.

It will be interesting to see the next round of workers.  Why would they work?  If it gets bad, someone will bail them out.  Mom, Dad, Step-Mom. Step-Dad - are we sure this is all bad for the kids like they tell us????

So what if they fail?  They DON"T CARE.  Why should they?   It all works out for them.  Actually, it all works out for all of us.  SO they don't want the house and the country club and the porche and all those other material things.  Maybe, they just want to continue to play... Who can blame them? 

They get it.  We might have been the ones to fail.

Then, the other reason I love Peter Pan?  I love escaping to Neverland.    Although, the visits to "Neverland" are more and more often each year.  10 years ago I could keep the "visits/escapes" to once an quarter.  Then every other month.  Then every six weeks.  I'm at once a month now.  

Maybe, it's visiting Neverland once or twice a year.  It's balance.

Let us fly to Neverland -we can go home later.  Or we might just be Peter, we might want to stay.....

For now though Peter, I'm EXHAUSTED.  Not the, "what can we do tomorrow" type of EXHAUSTED, but the real, completely raw, honest feeling of exhaustion.

I need to put my sweatpants on; turn the air conditioning on until it's cold in the house and WATCH A MOVIE type of exhausted.  (If you don't know me very well, everyone that does know me will tell you, thiss happens MAYBE once a year.  MAYBE). Living proof Gypsy Girl is not allowed to be in charge.

It's been an INCREDIBLE summer.  A summer I wanted at 13.  I got it, just 30 years later than I asked for it.  That's okay, I wouldn't change a thing.

Wendy must go home now.  Wendy went home from Neverland to grow up.  Please don't count on me doing that, but as long as I can come back and "clean" every spring. I think I can go home now.......

But first, there is a "Captain Hook" to pick up at the airport tomorrow, a lifeguard competition on Saturday and THEN a red-eye flight home on Sunday.  Didn't really think I could "just leave" now, did you????/

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Let them be kids

Let the kids play.  You know, PLAY.  Chase each other. Get on their bikes and be gone all day.  Build sand castles.  Bury each other in the sand.  Be BORED and figure something out.

The argument I'm about to present is on and on.......  I'll give you my opinion first.  First disclaimer,  I don't read the newspaper.  I don't watch TV.  I don't follow news on the internet.  I am LIGHT years behind on anything everyone else considers "important".  HOWEVER, I do know - that a few years ago (and I believe it was our current President whom made this a law - but for all I know, truly, it could have been the previous President) they changed the law where "children" could stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26.

I'm sorry, 26 is no longer a child. (this is the opinion part)   Yes, it's still "young" - depending on where you are in life.  If it helps people out, that works for me.  I don't much proclaim what my "children will or will not be like" when they are older.  We tend to eat those words.  HOWEVER, I consider, once you are out of college, it's time to help them become even more self-sufficient than I have already done.  Being on my insurance at age 26 is not something I would consider an accomplishment in MY life, if my kids are still there.

HOWEVER - between now and then - let them play SOMETIMES (and more often than not).  Yes, somethings do need to be organized.  Yes, we need routines and schedules.  Those are good things.  Just not ALL THE TIME.

One of our favorite beaches is the Mauna Kea Resort - there is a resort on one side and a public beach on the other half.  There are 40 public parking spots.  Of course, my kids swim in the pool and hang out in the hot tub.

Not that I would do any such thing at this age, but I have been into the hot tub a couple of times myself.  While there, there were also some teenage girls hanging out - I got to be the fly on the wall.

ONE, was "benched" from cheer in the fall, because she has to miss one practice to take her brother to college.  Another was kicked off her team because their family was on this vacation in Hawaii - IN JULY and would miss cheer camp.

Sorry kids life happens. But at the same time - seriously??? You are kicked off a team because you were on a vacation in July (Yes, she could have been trying to "save face", but we are giving her the benefit of the doubt here).   We SO have to schedule our lives around our children and we wonder why this generation is SO unhappy.  When we don't schedule our lives around theirs, they are "punished" by the "establishment".  Go harder, faster, sooner.  Seems to be our theme these days.  Where do you volunteer?  Where was your internship?  What is your GPA?  And it all better be perfect, or we don't want to hire you.  We don't want you on our team.  You will never play for us....... 

SO WHAT?  Their lives might turn out okay regardless.  I don't know much, but I can tell you, we live in a place where majority rules.  And I can't guarantee you anything in life, but I CAN guarantee you that, if you ARE NOT #1 in your class, #1 on your team and on and on and on - you are with the rest of us.  The majority. 

These kids don't WANT for anything.  What do you want to be when you grow up?  I don't know is the answer.  It's okay, they shouldn't.  Even if they think they do, they can change their mind.  Growing up isn't even on their list.

I have 13 year old's building sand castles, burying each other in the sand and making domino trails this summer.  We've forgotten shoes, clothes and stuff at the beach.  We have been through 3 volleyballs (one is stuck in the palm tree in front of the house - one was lost and the other got a hole in it, because, imagine this:   from throwing it at a prickly bush - to see if it would stick (it didn't)

Soon, they will have jobs, hockey/swim schedules, interships, tutoring and on and on to their organized structured lives.  Today, though, we have to go find beach glass......

For tomorrow, they will be grown and gone.  Today, we must play.......

Peaman - Part II

Update:  Couldn't leave you hanging.....

Lily and Nolan came in 4th  in the relay - OVERALL.  However, since this is an event where you can create your own categories......  If you did the RUN only, you could pick "whom" did your swim.  SO, they were beat (in respective order by)  Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.  Technically, they placed FIRST.  (and only 6 seconds behind Batman and his running partner).  For runners only, they were supposed to start 15 minutes after the swimmers started.  Lily and Duncan came in 7th or 3rd overall if we don't count Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.  Out of 103  (Just to clarify - if you wanted to run only - you were still put into the "split-pea" category (relay) - so you just had to put down a name for your "split-pea partner'.  (I would have put down Michael Phelps)

I "placed" 49th out of 69 people whom did the whole thing.  It took me an hour.  I looked up my tri times from the last few years, did about the same minus the bike time.  Plus a few a pounds and a new scar......

Al forgot to get his stick, and had to go back - he "placed" last out of all the people whom did the swim only - all 13 of them. 

This was all listed in the West Hawaii Today newspaper on Monday morning. 

We might need to take this show on the road

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Peaman

Kona, HI is known for various things.  Coffee, snorkeling, beaches - just to name a few.  If you are an athlete, Kona is know for a few other things:  THE IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP,  Kona Marathon, Boarding, Biking, just to name a few more.

What isn't known, but everyone should know:  Peaman Events  These events are free athletic events.  Remember when events didn't cost $100 to enter??  You didn't have to change your whole way of life just to participate in something?  You could JUST PARTICIPATE?  In fact, I think we need a Peaman Event in every city. 

Today, was the Red, White and Blue Biathlon.  Yes, they realize Independence Day was two weeks ago.  They also mentioned that shouldn't we celebrate our independence every chance we get????  Hard to argue with that.

1/2 mile swim, 3.5 mile run.  No registration fee.  No forms to fill out.  No numbers. No timing chips.  No medals. No t-shirts. 

Remember?  Those things you used to do, well, because you ENJOYED them?

The only rule:  If there isn't a category for you, they will create one.

Nolan, Duncan and Lily were a relay - Lily did the swim (4th out of the water over all), then the boys took off running.  Al (Lily's dad) did the swim, and I did both!!! (YES, mom is the real rock star here). 

We don't know the results yet - and you know why???  When Lily got out of the water, they handed her a Popsicle stick with a number on it, for the boys to carry on their run.  When Al, got out, he got a Popsicle stick with HIS number on it.  And me, well I was #109 - but that was for the whole thing, we will see how it breaks down into all the different categories. (The results will be published in the paper tomorrow - after they figure them out)

Then, of course, there were drawings after the race - this was probably the only normal thing about the whole event.  My name was drawn and I won a box of cookies.  (Homemade cookies).

The race director was giving away a lamp he had bought for his son, that his son never took.  (Shawn White lamp from Target).  It was the last drawing, the lady whom won it, well turned around and gave it to Nolan. 

Nolan won a LAMP at a drawing.  Who wins a LAMP????  (from Target, no less).  How the hell am I going to get this thing home?  We think it's going in Lily's room when we leave. 

Then there is a "PEA" - it's beautiful - KOA wood, about the size of a coconut, shiny, and passed from family to family at each event.  

If we didn't feel part of this community, we do now.  Not that we didn't.