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.