Sunday, October 19, 2014

Come Alive!

"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive." 
-Howard Furman
Clown on Unicycle Juggling Royalty Free Stock Photo
Four miles on my unicycle yesterday wasn't easy, but I made it the whole way and felt CHARGED when I returned home. Charged meaning "alive."  I was tossing around the idea of riding Blanche in the Camarillo half-marathon on January 4, 2015.... something I said I'd never do again. However, The pictures from this past race show me never looking more alive. I crave to feel that again. That self-disciplined, strong and determined; ALIVE.

My reservations? The intense weekly hours of building up to 13 miles (at once) and my sore undercarriage that takes time to "toughen up" to so many hours in the saddle. It's alot of physical work! MUCHO!
I'm lazy :(

 Whether I decide to attempt it or not, my first step is short rides often that add up to 12 miles a week. That's to wake up my body that is NOT in unicycle condition before I shock her into longer distances. Admittedly, the ride from yesterday left my right inside leg raw and sore. I don't want that to stop me, but urge me to build the muscles needed to not put so much pressure on my can. Stronger legs and core reduce undercarriage stress and pain.  

Today I commit to riding another four miles and see where that leaves me in this crazy idea. Feeling "unicycle-half-marathon-alive" deserves serious consideration. It's a big commitment. I will chew on all this while keeping the balance and not falling on my face riding Blanche this morning.

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Real 20th

One last 20th anniversary plug and then we can put this monkey to bed. I promise.
Despite all this early-Maui celebrating, last Wednesday, October 15th is the REAL day we were married and I did the usual. Pulling out our pink-ten-pound wedding album evokes many feelings. Like, why is it so heavy and why would I choose a pink-colored album? Am I five?

 Every year the Big Book is reopened, another 365 days of marital ups and downs are included in the pages, but laughter and joy mark the memories of that day.
Joy? Yes! 
Would you take a a looksy at my taut skin and tiny waist? 
 Kidding. 
Joy because we are so young and in love.  We don't know any better than to be  plain-old-happy! Well, everybody in the album appears joy-filled, no one more so than my parents! When I count sixteen people from that day have died, there is still a deep joy that they were able to share in our day. We were young enough to have all "the oldies, but goodies" still alive and present; Grandpas Frank and Vito, Little Mas and Grandma Katherine, Aunt Lena and Aunt Frances to name a handful. Not to mention my Father-in-law "Big Ralph, Sr." and Cousin Larry who have unexpectedly moved on.
Laughter? Yes! 
Because I remember all the happenings of that Fall day. Giggles take over when I remember how terribly nervous my groom was, how big my dress, and the many relatives Overboard invited that I really didn't know who they were. The Big Fat Italian Wedding rides again!  I smile big because ours was the first wedding for my family and everyone was behind it and ecstatic leading up to October 15, 1994.  When it finally did arrive, all were dancing like crazy ... booties were-a-shaken. Nobody stopped until the reception had officially ended. 
 Even then, half the wedding kept it going at Alexandria's, a bar/restaurant that was adjacent to our reception in Ventura.  Not us though.  We were leaving early the next day for our Ixtapa honeymoon. But, we've heard "the stories."
The baby-faced man in these photos reminds me of that handsome, sweet Southern boy I feel in love with. He said things like "Aw,Shoot" "Shucks!" and "Fiddle Sticks!" (still does).
Our Honeymoon in Ixtapa
Twenty years ago, we were just puppies, and so clueless about the gravity of marriage.  It's a game-changer, for sure.  Our youthful looks and naivete are gone now. Wrinkles, mortgage payments and children have replaced them. This wedding album reminds us how far we have come and what a blessing it is to grow old together!
We rented a jet ski in Mexico and it broke down, not once, but twice. Stranded out
in the ocean, they had to zip us out a working one.
 We actually went through
three  different jet skis that day.
Only in Mexico, right? Si!
Okay, that concludes the "Twenty Year Anniversary Tribute." 
Sorry if it dragged on.
 I can't help it - I am genuinely thankful and happy that we are still together and healthy -- two decades later. PTL!

Cheers to 20 more :)
Clink!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Maui, Part 4


Surprise! There is a part four!
 Anything to avoid unpacking. 
Mornings in Haiku we awoke to the raucous singing of tropical birds.  However, the last morning we awoke to rain. Pouring, pounding, tropical rain. Do you know how long it has been since I've seen, heard and smelled that wet stuff? I videotaped over a minute and thirty seconds of that glorious rain. 

Wait for the rainbow, I thought. 
I stood on the patio in my robe and trusted a rainbow would arrive. 
Before we left, Beverly (our host),  came over and offered to take pictures of us in all the green lush and we didn't even ask! I have pictures of Teckie and he has many of me, but together? Nada mucho!
On our way to the airport we stopped to do souvenir shopping. There was nada of that so far and we were now leaving! This trip was made possible because of friends and family who watched our kids and kept their lives rolling. And, it wasn't a regular week.  Jenny flew in from Arizona. Lucas and she went to the Homecoming football game, dance, and on Sunday was the Music Department's Food Truck Event. My parents and sisters went along and made it a family affair (Lucas HAD TO SELL ten tickets. Or else). 


 Daniel stayed at a buddy's house four school nights last week. He moved-on-in; God bless our friends! Miss Piggy wore many hats over the weekend.  Chaperon, chauffeur, cook, dog-sitter and housekeeper to name a few. Overboard took the caboose shift and slept over Sunday night and carted Daniel to and from school. Macadamia nuts and coffee don't express the appreciation I have for what they collectively did.  
But, it's a start.
NOW ... about that unpacking ...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Maui, Part 3


Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. I Corinthians 13:7
I loved this fitting verse that was delivered to my inbox today. Perfect words to start this final Maui post with.
Love never gives up!

Our first day here we decided to get out and check the local sights. Heading to Ho'okipa Lookout, it was crowded. Ho'okipa Beach Park is located on Maui's North Shore alongside the Hana Highway. The waves were breaking 12-15 feet and  many surfers were able to negotiate that power and  provide a show. Not only surfers, but kite surfers and windsurfers catching MAJOR air, floating through the sky like the Green Goblin Glider in Spiderman.  They WERE SERIOUSLY suspended 20 feet up and riding the wind like a leaf falling UP in Autumn. It's like nothing we've ever seen before.

 All this Ho'okipa Lookout action left us hungry.

So we drove our Ford Focus to Paia Town. This has become a laid back place with local businesses and a coexistence between longtime residents and those attracted by the area’s surf.  The blend of shops, boutiques, and restaurants that make up Paia has become a destination, nestled along some of Maui’s best beaches and still surrounded by sugar cane. Lots of sugar cane :)
We were hungry and headed to "Charley's." This is the hub for musicians to stop in and resident, Willie Nelson, is a regular. Apparently he gives free concerts when in town. We ate our Linner -- as we have been eating at 4PM here. Not lunch, not dinner. 

There was this ginormous guitar that is a replica of Willie Nelson's beloved guitar named "Trigger"... after Roy Rogers dog. Biggest geeee-tar I have ever seen!
Later that afternoon we returned  to watch the surfers (again) and catch the sunset. While there, a local guy, working out of the back of his truck,  walked up and handed us a large coconut with a bamboo straw. Inside was "straight-up" coconut water. Then he handed us another "younger" coconut.  We hung out there and enjoyed this guy hacking up coconuts and  passion fruit for visitors.... tips accepted.

I asked him "Where did you grow up?"
He answered, "I haven't grown up yet, but I was born in ....."
While sipping we again watched  the crashing waves and surfers riding them like a speed train.  We met a couple, married four years (that is a topic wherever we go on Maui) from Sacramento, CA. They were young and adventurous ... we enjoyed our coconut-water-Hawaiian happy hour with them ... no rum needed :)
Oh, and then the sunset arrived over Molokai. It looked heaven sent and left us speechless. God is alive and evident in this breathtaking natural beauty.

Yesterday morning we stayed close by.
I admit that we spent time watching some NFL because my Teckie WAS still in THE Survivor Football pool -- then the Cinncinati Bengals tied in overtime and that equals a loss. He's OUT! Uncle Dave is one of six survivors left and we are depending on him to wrap it up with a big win.
Then, we walked around the property/neighborhood we are staying in. I went crazy taking pictures of the flora and fauna. We picked passion fruit, saw pineapple and bananas weighted down the tree like too many keys in your pocket. The flowers seemed fake; nothing can be THAT beautifully perfect, can it? We walked up as far as we could go, sweating the entire way due to the humidity. Gorgeous and sticky.

  Of course,  I took time to stop and smell the Plumerias along the way.  They are "THE smell" of Hawaii, as far as I'm concerned.
On top of the world, yeah!

At the mountain peak we had a near 180 degree view of Maui!  Still speechless and sticky, we stood there scheming how we could eventually move to Haiku. Longshot, I know ... but "Dreams are Free," right?
Upon arriving home, we ate the fruits, after I photographed them.
LOL! So pretty.
Dee-lish!
 Inside the Passion fruit is this sweet-slimy-goo with seeds. It is tart and seems like fruit from the Garden of Eden. Passion fruit ... Very exotic and it was so fun to pick our own. 


And, sniff. sniff. sniff.
 ... that brings us to our last afternoon here. We popped the final bottle of champagne. After mentally chewing on where to eat Linner, we decided to go back to Charley's in Paia. It was THAT good! We both ordered the same thing:) 
Here is our "final cheers" to staying married for 20 years. If you have lasted two decades you know the ups and downs are many in sharing one life. The growing intimacy, friendship and renewed love each year  feels ... well, wonderful!
 An accomplishment.
A miracle.
  We didn't stop moving toward each other (or more importantly God) when the road was rocky. That's not easy to do, as statistics show! This amazing Maui trip has been a fitting way to honor our 20 year marriage and commitment.

The Bible Verse I started with says it best:
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. --1Corinthians 13:7

Bottom line?
Love never gives up :)
ALOHA

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Maui, Part 2

The rainforest hike on Thursday was AMAZING!  We saw four waterfalls in six hours traipsing through rugged, beautiful rainforest, learning about different plants and tasting exotic fruit straight from the tree.
Engagement photos all over again. The back-drop
looks fake, like a Sear's portrait. But it's not :) 
The highlight for me was jumping from a twenty-foot waterfall.  I was terrified when I climbed to the top, actually shaking as I looked down. For a minute, I considered chickening out. However, my impulsive side became an asset (finally). I said a quick prayer and took a leap of faith.  Wow, totally free falling and my Teckie caught it all on video. Which, is great because I don't think I want to try that again.
 
After this unforgettable day, we returned with tired feet and picked up a delivery at the front desk.  A Bit O' The Bubbly with a sweet card from my parents, blisters and BILS (brother-in-laws) awaited us. What a thoughtful surprise! That is how they roll. We popped that bottle in the fridge to enjoy at our next stop.
CHEERS, clink!
Liquid Aloha :)

We spent our last night in historic Lahaina (after a long nap - the darn time change!) we visited the Old Banyan Tree which covers over an acre and was planted from one single see hundreds of years ago. These trees have the ability to slowly spread, twisting and growing out. This one takes up a city block. Amazing!
While strolling under this never-ending  tree, I told my Teckie it was starting to rain (again). A look at my arm affirmed that only bird-poo was raining. Ewww!
Yesterday morning we went swimming at 7AM because we hadn't enjoyed the beach in front of our condo, and we had to check-out at 11! It was so warm and tropical - cliché, but truth. While swimming in the warm-blue-jello, we spotted a head or coconut floating in the ocean. That's what it look like so far away. Teckie swam out and retrieved the coconut. So Hawaii, right?
Good Morning and Good-Bye Lahaina!
Yesterday, we arrived in a small village in the northern part of Maui,  and it is home to Ho'okipa Beach, also known as the windsurfing capital of the world. It's a different vibe from crowded Lahaina - it's rustic, local and we are staying in a secluded B&B retreat called the Tradewinds. We were greeted with more champagne and the most beautiful Maui flowers.
 It has a private outdoor Jacuzzi, sauna and a hammock we can't stop swinging in. We can walk through the jungle areas of the property to pick fresh fruit that I've never heard. And Haleakala, the Maui volcano, is to our left. We are in the middle of no-where, with exotic birds and lush greenery all around.
For breakfast we ate the biggest papaya I have ever seen!
 
 Delicious! We are happy to do nothing today. Or something. Not sure yet.
 ALOHA!
 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Maui, Part 1

As I spit out this blog post we are preparing for a Maui waterfall and rainforest hike. Today we will see  "Dazzling waterfalls from 10 to 40 feet high, large clear swimming pools under each of the falls, magical rainforests, and freshwater streams. It’s an exciting adventure where you can jump safely from rock ledges into several falls and learn about Maui’s wonders from our naturalist guides. End the day with a “shower” under a real Hawaiian waterfall."

As you can tell, I had to steal that hike blurb from the website... time is limited. Thre is so much to do and see on this island that a week is not nearly enough. It was hard to decide how to spend our time... here is some of what we came up with so far ...


Flying in we stopped in historic Lahaina for Linner (late lunch/early dinner) at Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co. First time here for us. Everything about that place is based around the movie Forrest Gump. After linner, our waiter spent time playing a movie trivia game with us and tables nearby. It is surprising how much we could and could NOT remember from that movie.  That was totally new and fun.
Driving to  our condo we stopped at a market  to pick up basic groceries for the next few days. In the drink isle, I noticed how stupidly-expensive water was. I said to my Teckie, "Can't we just  drink the water here? "

Then, I turned to the local hawaiian woman next to me and asked, "Can we drink the water here?" She answered, "Es not da Phillipines." Point taken, LOL!

We arrived at our condo in north Lahaina and outside our patio we have a view of the island Molokai. BEE-U-TEE-FUL! God was working over time when he created the Hawaii Islands. The first morning we were up at 4:00 AM because of the time change. That made it easy to watch the sunrise :) 
Yesterday, looking for Kapalua Bay, we were totally lost.  We walked out to this reef area where we could see where we wanted to go. Eventually we found it and had a relaxing day on the beach, siting big turtles practically on the shore and meeting a couple from Alaska. I asked how they were so tan and they admitted they fake-baked before coming so they would not stand out "Alaskan white" ...LOL (again). I remember now that one of the best things about traveling is meeting people from all over the place. 
Last night we went on a sunset dinner cruise that was infested with love birds. We met newlyweds from South Carolina and another couple celebrating 48 years of marriage.  Maui is lovers paradise, or so it seems. We shared dinner with a couple from Los Angeles which is close to our home, especially compared to Alaska.

It rained a bit at the beginning and end of the cruise, which was welcomed due to the extreme mugginess here. The air is crazy humid-thick and my hair goes its own way. That seems to be the only glitch so far, frizzy hair.  Oh, and the air conditionar to our condo didn't work when we arrived and that was NO BUENO! It was soon fixed and we were back at a comfortable 72 degrees.

We leave tomorrow to move up to Haiku on the northern part of Maui. There is still so much we want to see/do here on the west but lack the time. "Aw shoot," (as my southern teckie says)  I guess we will have to come back soon... If we must :)
ALOHA!
PS. Sorry about the ginourmous photos, it's an ipad thing I can't fix.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No vacuuming in Maui

Waiting at the American Airlines  gate we  are forthy minutes until boarding for Maui. Despite three cups of coffee, I'm pooped. My caffeine head is awake and I am thinking about how aweome it is that my sister, Miss Piggy, will be watching the kids/house.  She let me know that she might organize and clean house, and I would LOVE that. Cleaning is her therapy, although I don't understand it. The cleaning that I do and enjoy is vacuuming.

Pushing the vacuum is sort of satisfying as you hear the dust and particles being swooped up. It's like mowing the lawn where you see immediate results once you have rolled over the grass. Vacuuming also breaks a sweat which I  like most of the time. I often take my shirt off and vacuum in my bra because  it's sweaty. I do this only when I am home alone, or at least think I am. There was that time years  ago when I was in the hall vacuuming, in shorts and bra, and I missed the doorbell ring.  My Dad just walked on into my house and follwed the sound of the vaccuum. I screamed, thinking "intruder" and he shrieked thinking "shirtless daughter." Rest assured that I lock my front door before I vaccuum in my bra,  and Dad  hasn't  "walked on in" since.

A happy  thought is that there will be no vaccuming in Maui. Just feet up, suntan lotion and adventuraous spirit on thick and  lots of kissing  in paradise.

Time to board, Aloha!
PS. THANK YOU Miss Piggy for love and  help :)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ditch "The Shoulds"

There are many things I "should" be doing to prepare for our trip. I hate having a bad case of "The Shoulds." It robs me of simple joys, like blogging, because I'm burdened by obligation. So ... I am rebelling and sharing this weekend. Then, I will get back to doing more than just "mentally pack" for Maui.  
The fun started out Friday night with our friend, Bill, who was turning 49 years-young on Saturday. I have known this amazing guy since I was thirteen, so no matter what happens, he will always hold a special place in my heart. He played Santa Claus at our family Christmas party many moons ago. I sat on his Santa-lap with his fit teenage-boy legs under the red suit. Over the years we have shared priceless family memories, vacations, kid-raising, cocktails, loads of inside jokes and countless laughs. He is a unique, one-of-a-kinder that makes this world a better place. We couldn't let his birthday sneak by without recognition....
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! 
Cheers and best wishes Bill, Clink!

Friday night, he turned us on to our new favorite ice cream place. Remember the Thrifty Ice Cream Counter?  I assumed that heavenly place was long gone with Sav-on Drug Stores, Alpha Beta markets and Sprouse Ritz (with its amazing candy counter).
 But Lo!  
Cheap ice cream in those funky cylinder-scoop shapes is alive in our little town, hidden inside Rite Aid! I had no idea. And, it tastes just a wonderful as it did thirty years ago.  Muy,muy bueno :)
But wait, there's more. 

I loved that scoop of blueberry frozen yogurt "ice cream" soooo much that after buying Lucas's clothes for the homecoming dance on Saturday, I had to share this ageless-hot-spot with him. Like his father, this kid is coo-coo for ice cream. Despite his skinny frame, he packs bowls of ice cream away more often than he showers. I knew he would certainly appreciate being introduced to THE Thrifty Ice Cream Counter. His words leaving there were "This totally seems like a place that Bill would know about." 
Thanks Bill for the tip of the year :)
 "We'll be back"  (Terminator).
Last night I spent time with my blisters,  AKA: sisters. 
Miss Piggy is back from her three week Italy/France trip and had loads of pictures and great stories to share. Thanks Overboard for "pulling dinner out of your chef hat" and tossing an amazing Italian pesto pasta and "big green salad" dinner together. (There can never be too much of the greens. We have to cancel out that pasta some way). Last night Overboard's gift of cooking was exercised, many stories shared  AND  I got to see my favorite niece-dog Cinco again! She was extremely happy to see me, jumping up and licking me  (she did not piddle as usual). That big welcome made me feel loved. Few respond to me that way, so Ill take it. 
Here we are at Sunday already! Daniel has been requesting a beach trip and I promised him this weekend we would get out there so he could "fill up." So, after church we headed to Ventura. It was "vacation beautiful" on the coast, perfectly hot and there was a 5K ALS walk taking place down the boardwalk. Seeing that parade is one way to appreciate good health. There were teams of folks wearing matching shirts to support who they were pushing in the wheelchair. So touching and colorful!!!! It made me want to cheer for them when we passed. So, I did. Daniel started to join when he began to understand what was happening. 

Before I head back to "The Shoulds," I leave you  with the universal truth that is pressing in the front of this head O' mine.  
Good health is everything!
 If you have it, Praise God! If you are reaching for it, Praise God! The result is that we  all Praise God for giving us our daily bread to pull through another day on Earth!
Peace, hugs and keep the balance :)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The other "Pin It"

The term "Pin-It" piggy-backs the website Pinterest. The past month we have experienced a different sort of "Pin It." There was Benson's fourth birthday party at a bowling alley. This kid loves to bowl and he is darn good at it! This birthday was "All Things Bowling"...even the  party favors! 
They gave him his own bowling pin with a birthday greeting, and pin-shaped water bottles for all the tiny guests. The day was a strike :)
The other "Pin it" in our house is Daniel's arm with those pins that were recently removed. Never having seen anything like this, I was fully present when the cast was sawed off and pins exposed, sticking out his arm. It was mildly gruesome, so I will spare you the photo.
Daniel's arm was much smaller than the beginning of the summer when he was paddling on his surfbard and climbing trees! It will take some time to recover fully. For now, we are focusing on healing, and as of now he is at the 60% mark. 
Once "Little Arm" (a good Indian name, no?) was exposed, the doctor took a pair of pliers. This set of pliers was no "medical instrument".  It was exactly what you have hanging in your garage, sans the rust. I was surprised ... especially after watching the fancy saw that cut off the cast and  complexity of pins sticking out that were surgical placed. 
 Enter garage pliers, stage left.  

When Daniel saw the pins, I thought he'd pass out. He shrieked into the wall like he saw a ghost. This was gross, but interesting. Well ... that Doc got a strong grip on those Home Depot pliers and the first pin slid out. 
Easy-Peasy.
 One down. 

The next one seemed stuck. The Doc really had to work it, twist and pull to finally dislodge it. Of course, Daniel was shaken up - the only word I can describe the scene was "traumatic." At least, it all went quite fast and it's behind him. PTL!
The first pin is behind the Doc in pic,  upper left. He gave us the pins when it was over.
Any suggestions on how to utilize? I'm thinking Christmas ornament?  Probably trash :(
 The Doc went on and on how great Daniel did, explaining there's been two times he had to stop mid-pull because the child was uber-freaking out.  The Doc tried again -- this time outpatient with anesthesia.  Boy, am I happy that was not us! The good doctor gave Daniel  time to recuperate and then the final stage began. 

THE short cast he has waited for since August 11 was next!! He decided to go green, and a new cast was formed. Wellah! 
 Surprisingly, Daniel can't put his arm down. It has been at a 90 degree angle for so long it is stuck that way. It will take weeks for that to change. He still walks around holding his arm up, as if in a sling. Give it time.

Bowling Pins. Surgical Pins. That is our "Pin-it" story

Sidenote:  I enjoy Pinterest and look for funny things that make me laugh. There's a lot of creative humor out there.  Pulling the pins out of Daniel's arm was not that :)