Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mommas Love Their Babies

 Last night was Hospice Supper Club and
 I always make quiche for my 91-year-old friend. 

 Hospice asked me  to cook for another family. I said yes, however, baking  three quiches at once was a lot of work ... because each has different ingredients due to dietary restrictions.  I know that my regular-old friend looks forward to her quiche, so I was torn. I hate to let people down. Especially the old ones.
Saved by the nuts :)

After mental debate I decided to make a Vat O'Chili! Turkey chili to be exact. I was sure she wouldn't care, plus  I thought of her in Maui and brought her a box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts. 

Upon arriving with chili, I asked how she was doing. She paused, slumped and said "not good." She explained that her 65-year-old son just died. Then, she said what every Mother thinks ... "a child isn't supposed to die before their parent." I could tell she was in the dumps so I "loved on" her. She told me sweet stories about him and even had me follow her to the hallway to see various old photos on the wall. That made her sorrow so real to me. Especially the picture of her son at 11 months, in his crib, big baby smile on his round face and Mickey Mouse wallpaper in the background. Though we are 35 years apart, in that moment, we were the same ... just two Mothers who love their babies.
 I needed a Kleenex too.
Much more happened, but, in a (macadamia) nut shell, I stopped by today unannounced (yes a "drop in" ... she LOVED IT) to share persimmons. She has enjoyed persimmons her whole life and that happens to be THE one thing that we are bursting with this time of year. Seeing her happy makes me happy.
 It's contagious. 

When God gives you persimmons, share them.
 What else?
Earlier today I rode, walked and fell with Blanche for 6 miles today. Scraped up my knee good, although nothing hurts more than my ego
when I fall on my face, or knees.
Training takes time, right?
I have a ways to go to get my macaroni-shaky legs prepared! Lucas and I scooted up north to tour UC Santa Barbara this afternoon. Spending a chunk of time with him is always fun. He is full of light, so creative and is blessed with humor in abundance.
 
Pleasantly busy, it was a good day.
 Especially to remember and appreciate that
our children mean so much.... no matter how old or young they are.
Here or not.
Mommas love their babies.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Serious Unicycle Business

Did I mention that I retired my corny-broken-15-year-old bike helmet?   I recall how fun it was to "bling and pimp-it-Unicycle-Rose-style" years ago. Laughing at the thought of those red, white and blue star stickers with my silver-sparkling name on the side (since faded), I realize this relic can never be upstaged. Nor should it. The new one has an awesome-snug fit. My melon feels simple and safer now!

Friday afternoon Teckie and I did a four-mile run/ride. It's been a while since trying to keep my unicycle pedals  going as fast as his long legs can run. Being that I had clocked 12 miles for the week, I was able to keep up, most of the time. Wouldn't it be fun to train with Teckie for a half-marathon? Rolling alongside him and chatting when possible (breathing has priority) could make for interesting marital dynamics.  I wonder if we would drive each other crazy, like couples who work together? 

I mentioned it to him and he didn't say
"no thanks" as he has to past invitations.
My goal this week (and everyone needs a goal - or life stagnates like an atrophied leg) is to ride 12-16 miles again. If I can meet that goal ... "Pleased to meet you Mr. Goal " (I envision shaking hands with a smiling diploma while introducing myself) then it might be time to sign up for the half-marathon. Then! Then, I must get down to "serious unicycle business!"

Wait, is that an oxymoron? Those three words don't belong in the same sentence, unless ... one owns a bike shop that specializes in stocking and selling unicycles, not for clowns. Then, yes, that would be serious unicycle business. It would be best to say that if this week's goal is attained, long-distance-one-wheelie-training can officially begin! For today, this is not serious unicycle business, just a four-mile ride in my new helmet.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Fall Inside

Our home is feeling "The Fall" inside ... in a good way.
 We are loving the cool mornings and chilly nights. Finally.
Happy Halloweenie :)

May the nations praise you, O God.
Yes, may all the nations praise you.
Then the earth will yield its harvests,
and God, our God, will richly bless us.
Psalm 67:5-6
Overboard's persimmon tree is chock full. I have to eat a
minimum of two-a-day to keep up! They are THE taste of Fall, like candy corn,
only healthier!
 
This black cat with pumpkin holds mucho meaning. It's something
 I would never buy to decorate our casa.
 However, in 1997, on Lucas's first Halloween, we  were on a long term stay in the UCLA Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.
That first Halloween was anything but ideal.
He was breathing on a ventilator, with a tracheostomy and g-tube, (no cute costume) and not going anywhere other than the metal hospital bed on October 31st! However, the pediatric third floor had a raffle and Overboard bought some tickets. The prize was this huge basket, beautifully wrapped and filled with all things Autumn and Halloween ...lota of seasonal chochka and  decorations. Overboard won ... and this 17-year-old  black kitty has been with us ever since. I admit I was disappointed that first Halloween, but "THE BLACK CAT" reminds me every Fall season that what  REALLY makes any holiday memorable is love, togetherness and the winning raffle ticket :)
 
Pumpkin on hearth:
a classic for hundreds of years. It's a great decoration
through Thanksgiving! I toss ours in the trash come December. Some folks make pumpkin pie. I'm not one of them.
 
A pumpkin jar filled with assorted candy. Another classic even us big-kids love!
From persimmons, pumpkins, love and health, our God has richly blessed us.
Oh, Praise Him! 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Casts and Coconuts

Daniel's "cast removal" day arrived!
We  clicked our heels at the thought of it!  
He healed in such an overly-amazing way the doctor was not going to require he wear a splint. After discussion of Daniel's skateboarding goals, it was agreed he wear extra support when active. It's unbelievable how his arm (with the help of metal pins) healed and is stronger than ever before. It's bionic :)
Look at that beauty!
After that smelly-green-cocoon was cut off his arm, we walked on the beach with Miss Piggy and Lui. Santa Barbara is spectacular any time of year.
On the unicycle front?
Yesterday, with soreness lifted, I hopped on. About mile, two I reached behind to grab my water bottle and it was gone! I should have just "let it go," but it wasn't any old water, but Coconut Water. Did you know that key nutrients in Coconut Water include Lauric acid, Chloride, and Iron, as well as important electrolytes such as Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium, and Phosphorous? In fact, the potassium content in Coconut Water is close to twice the amount in a banana! 
 And, when ingesting coconut water, 
the taste bursts visions of Maui.
Bonus!
Now do you understand why I had to make a U-turn and find my coconut water? 
FYI ... a Unicycle-U-turn is ... hop off Blanche, turn wheel in other direction, then hop back on without falling on face. It's nothing close to rocket science or juggling tennis balls! Easy-peasy!
 Then, peddling in the opposite direction, I back-tracked the extra mile to retrieve my water bottle off the street!  I flipped another Unicycle-U-Turn and I continued on  ... making an unexpected five-mile ride in the middle of a very hot Southern California Fall Day. Sweat dripping and flushed cheeks reminded me that this wasn't easy. 
THEN! 
The bottle-of-coconut-water-detour threw off my timing and I was passing an elementary school as it was getting out. 
FARUMPH!
I try to avoid that sort of thing, makes me nervous. Anyways, kids love seeing a unicycle in action. I smiled and rode Blanche past the children as they pointed in awe. It made me feel like a celebrity or leper.
 I carefully waved back like a prom queen and kept "the balance."

Today some milestones were made!
1.Daniel's cast-less arm can breath! Ten weeks later, it is free!
2. Unexpectedly, I rode Blanche five miles. Only accomplished as an indirect benefit of lost coconut water!

I would like to thank coconuts and arm 
casts for making this post possible :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The joy of sore-healthy legs.

I rode my unicycle four miles, two days in a row! 
I recall why that is NOT a good idea when your body is not "unicycle ready." I am sore in the inner legs and can!  Taking days off in between rides is critical. Ask my legs. 

So, I took a Unicycle Sabbath. 
No riding. Must heal. 
Try again tomorrow? Perhaps.

I have been thinking that my legs work and I'm healthy -- so it feels like I should get back on Blanche and GO! Life changes so fast, the voice inside says to enjoy the simple gift of working legs.
Speaking of that, I was lucky enough to spend time with one of my favorite family peeps. She just received a phone-nee, or faux-knee, or phony.... okay, a knee replacement. While in rehab, I surprised her with a visit. The light of love and compassion shines through Patty Lu like the most beautiful of sunsets. She doesn't even have to try. She is a natural born encouraging-tender-hearted-fighter! I look forward to supporting her while she puts that new-knee to work.
Did I mention  what a contraption her leg was locked in? It was slowly rotating like a rotisserie chicken. 
CRAZY SIDENOTE:
Seeing her knee-machine, I thought of Dr. Seuss. This knee-fixer attached to her leg was like a "Borfin" that goes "shlump in the night." Remember, Poor Mr. Bix every morning at six? Poor Mr. Bix has a Borfin to fix. It just doesn't seem fair, it just doesn't seem right, his borfin just seems to go shlump in the night?

Honestly, I loooove the good Doctor Seuss. 
Good Lordy, I am having a rush of Dr. Seuss memories in the middle of this post. Ya know, sometime in the late 1970's I memorized the entire book "Did I ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?" Mr. Potter and Mr. Bix were two favs.
 (Perhaps more on that later) 

Now, back to functioning legs and Sweet Patty Lu's knee replacement. 
Our visit reminded me what a blessing it is to have short healthy legs! My glorious God-made-stilts are attached to extra wide hips that all work together in healthy unison.  How could I NOT consider pushing them through a half-marathon?  You know, they may not always work like I want them too. Ask Patty Lu, who played tennis like a pro "back in the day!"
So, Yes! 
I'm still considering riding Blanche in the January half-marathon. I mentioned the race/ride to my BIL, (brother-in-law) Lui. 

 I am hoping he might run in it, like we trained for years ago.
 Remember the Camarillo half-marathon was cancelled in October 2011? 
 Of course you don't! 
And then...
 Then!
 Then, it was  PUSHED back three months! 
FARUMPH!
We decided to not go on as we were all "trained-out" and VERY disappointed. I was sad ... all that unicycle-work for nada. 

For today, let's focus on the blessings right under you and me. 
Literally. 
I thank God for working-sore legs and pray for Patty Lu's speedy recovery.
 That is enough for now ;0)

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!