Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Friends like that

One of the quotes recently surfacing from Robin Williams:

I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.

That quote stung when I read it. I think of so many people whom stay in "friendships" or maybe they are called "situations"or even "relationships" because they don't know how to get out. They don't understand the power of true friendships. They don't understand the situation they are in is worse than the opportunities available.  (Yoo Hoo, Peter Pan, this would be you).

I have incredible friends. Period.

Months can pass. In fact, months on months - making that years, but that doesn't change our friendships. We understand our friendships.

One one of the things you learn later on, friend the "real" friends.

The friends you care so much that they don't care.  (I hope that makes sense)  The friends whom don't care you act like an idiot, but will throw you in the car, because they know, next week, you will do the same. (And, you won't remind them what you did for them weeks or years ago. You both know it doesn't really matter).

Yes, it's easy to hang out with convenient people - those people in our everyday surroundings. Even when at our core base, we aren't comfortable. Most people try to ignore the feeling.

Maybe it's not the "popular" person.

The person whom doesn't "conform" to society. "They" don't fit "in".

Or friends that understand my life doesn't really fit "in to the norm". It sorta does. It sorta doesn't. But what is most important - I'm comfortable with the way my life looks (most of time - none of us are, all time - we only substitute it with STUFF).

My friends are old. My friends are young. My friends have kids. My friends don't have kids. Some understand, when I say I'm happy to go to the party, but I'm staying there - they don't blink an eye. Some don't understand - why would you stay here?

I have friends caught up in the "fake friend" world. Sure, it's fun. I've been there.

There are trips. Stories. Adventures. Prizes. Then at the end of the night, you are by yourself with a bunch of people whom are also alone with other people. But I figured it out over a decade ago, "it's worse to be with someone and be alone then it will EVER be to be alone."

People whom don't understand what it means when you get a call in the middle of the night for an emergency. Not an emergency of the fake kind, but the real kind.

The kind that drive 500 miles to pick up their dog. The dog that can can stay with them for 3 months.Whom might die. She's almost twelve. The kind whom will undertake the moment and embrace it. The ones that know what to do.

The friend whom stands in the parking lot and cries.  Because, you understand everything changes from this moment on.

My friends, they understand a world where you can be lonely with other people. People whom understand a change is worth it all. A world where it might end up being shorter, but will be more complete.

My friends are real. Real people whom tell you a funny story - and it makes your day. And really, for some reason, she's not your "real friend",  you might not even know her name, but SO authentic with you, why of course she is your friend. Real people.

Because, we don't have friends who make us feel all alone. No matter the age.

We have friends whom make us feel whole.  We have friends like that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


All it takes is a getaway. 

At least for me.  

I was faking it all summer.  Pretending to try really hard.  I'm not a good pretender.  I'm authentic.  In everything I do.

Pretending I wasn't miserable not being in Hawaii for the summer.  So, I went.

Then, I came back.

I arrived Saturday morning - well rested from a first class ticket home.  I came straight home and went to straight to bed.  

Waking up at 12:30.  I called a couple of friends and caught up.  Doing some chores and "trying to re-enter".  As re-entry is not always easy.

There was a "Blues & Brews Festival" in the neighborhood on Saturday night.  I put on my beach dress, my flip flops and didn't straighten my hair.  

There was humidity.  The music was great.  I ran into a bunch of friends.  (I was there with one friend).  

Finally, at 9:00, I was the walking dead.  I made my way home.

It was a beautiful night.  Good friends.  Good music.  Perfect Weather.  

My how this place now seems so nice.  Sometimes all we need is perspective.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Of course it was Jack

My first Tuesday on Oahu, I went to go paddling.

I was staying about 40 minutes from downtown.  I don't spend 20 minutes in the car on a normal basis, much less 40.

There is a Canoe Group in Oahu (actually there are many)  - and I found a recreational one near Waikiki. There wasn't one closer to me, or at least not one that I found.

SO, here is me - driving 40 minutes to an hour ONE WAY to go paddle  (I used to travel over an hour to go ski on Saturdays - so that girl still lives in me when she finds something she enjoys)

I get to Waikiki in the middle of the afternoon.  I find where I'm supposed to be at 5:30pm.  I go park and find the beach.

This is a really beautiful beach.  BUT, it's crowded.  I'm whiny.  I'm hot.  I just spent an hour in the car trying to find this place.  I'm spoiled. (Don't even get me going about finding parking!)

In the water.  Then reading my book.  Back in the water.

I think it's time for a beer.

I walk to Duke's - which is a great place in a nice hotel right on the water.  I sit there for a bit, chatting with the guys next to me.  Then another man on the other side comes and sits down.

He SOUNDS just like Jack Nicholson.  He's thinner though.  We start chatting.  (Of course we do).  I'm still in kind of a whiny mood.

"Why would you live here?  People should just live in LA.  There is traffic.  You are closer to everything.  And there is the Ocean."  I say.  (As I said, I was feeling whiny).  The man on the bar stool replies " Look kid, I live in LA, this place is nothing like it".

Mind you, this man has on a pair of khaki shorts, a collared shirt and a ball cap.

We chat for a bit.  He tells me of a couple good hikes I need to go on.  (And he says, "When your friends you are staying with don't want to take you on the hike "because it's too touristy, tell them you are going anyway". )  (BTW, we went on those hikes - more to come)

We talk for a bit more.

The whole time I'm arguing in my head "This is Jack Nicholson."; "No, it's not".

Then I stand to leave.  "I'm going to paddle now.  Paddling makes me VERY happy.".Then, he says, "I got your tab".  I reply "Thank you. I really do appreciate it."

He looks at me.  His right eyebrow arches, he replies, "You enjoy yourself".......

PS - The next day, I GOOGLE Jack - all the things he mentioned about him were exactly the same as the man I was talking to at the bar.

PSS. - My friends say, "You made his day - You didn't recognize him."

PPSS - Thanks for the drinks Jack..........

Friday, August 8, 2014

Calling it a day

At some point in life, you have to stop doing what you are doing.  Stop thinking that by doing the same thing over and over again, you are going to get different results.

We all know this.  If you do the same thing over and over - you get the same results.

Sometimes, we do the same thing, yet we tell ourselves it's going to be different.

Three days ago, I changed my direct flight from Honolulu to Denver to a flight from Kona to Denver.  I switched days.  I was going to stay a few extra days.  

Then suddenly there was a hurricane headed this way.  Then there was another one also headed this way.  

Suddenly, it's Thursday.  Maybe I should just go home.

This SOOOO goes against everything I do in my life.  Go home????  Take an earlier flight?  Whom are we kidding?  Since when do I take an earlier flight?

(And the real irony of the situation?  The only TWO people whom asked if I got an earlier flight out?  My mom and dad.  Maybe they should get to know their daughter a little better (joking!) - or I should pay attention to what my sons really want in their lives)

I cancelled my flight to Kona.  After all, really, the reason I wanted to be there?  So, I could swim my Ironman course.  So, I could paddle with my crew.  So, I could give a little girl I love a hug.

All things I couldn't do with the storm pending. Beaches were closed and the little girl can't ask to see me.

SO, today, I'm going to call it a day.

I cancelled my flight to Kona.  They re-booked me on my flight from Honolulu to Denver. Direct.

It's time to get back to Denver.

Something important happened though.  I got all the way out here - and I miss the Big Island because it still takes my breath away.  I thought it might have been that hunky Hawaiian I met a few years ago.  But really it's this place.

Sometimes you just have to call it a day.

A hui ho Hawaii - A hui ho...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hawaiian Hospitality

There is something about "Southern Hospitality" you don't really understand unless you have been to the South - or have been to Texas.  As people from Texas don't consider themselves part of the South.  They are from Texas.

Most Southerners/Texans welcome anyone and everyone.  You are stranded on the side of the road?  Here, let me call my brother-in-laws cousin and he will send his next door neighbor over to get you.

You are hungry?  Let me feed you.  Let me send you on your way with food too.

You are lost?  Head South, then make a right at Miss Mary's barn, then you will be back on the interstate.

I'm not kidding.  It's that friendly in the South.

Todd has been stationed here in Oahu for almost two years now.  He goes back and forth on if he likes this place or not.  He likes looking at the ocean, but he's not a water boy.  He likes the mountains.  He misses his horses and hunting.

I've told him over and over the last two weeks, what he is really missing is that "sense of community".  He doesn't "belong" here.

He hasn't been hunting.  He hasn't been riding.  He hasn't been roping.  He doesn't really like being in the Army.  He needs to find a group he can do these things with.

I don't blame him, I'd be pretty miserable too.

Then, yesterday, a funny thing happened.

He went BACK to the store (after I had already been), to buy more oil to deep fry a turkey.  (I stayed at the house working).  While in line, the lady behind him asked if Todd could help her grandson load some ice cream onto the belt.  "Of course" he replied.

She had on a T-shirt that had something to do with roping.  (horses and cows).  Turns out she is a local and lived here her entire life.  They start talking.

Side note here:  While Todd is no blood relation to me, I was at the hospital when he was born. I've known him his entire life.  If I were a guy, I wouldn't believe he wasn't mine.  We are still unsure if he's not really mine - somehow.  We both have that "I've never met a stranger gene" and we have this uncanny resemblance to each other.

A bit later, he pulls up in the driveway and gets out of the car.  "I met some new friends".  "Great", I reply. Then a truck pulls into the driveway too.  A lady, a little bit older than me, and her grandson get out of the truck.

Turns out she lives about two miles from his house.  Has 4 acres.  A couple horses.  Some chickens.  There are three houses on the land as all the family lives together.  She has 4 kids.  Or 6 six.  The number changes a couple of times (but I get that as I don't think I could really tell you how many kids I have in addition to the two whom I gave birth).  (It doesn't really matter to me). And 5 grand-kids.

(Come to find out she is 3 years older than me - more on this later)

I introduce myself to the little boy as "Auntie Leasa" as you don't say "Mr or Mrs" out here.  Everyone is your "Auntie or Uncle".

We end up at their land.  Todd checks out the horses.  She takes us to this great locals beach.  Tells us if we have any problems with locals tell them "Auntie Bessie" says we can come here".

It was her sons birthday, and hers tomorrow.  She later invites us over to the house for dinner.

Of course, we go.  We bring the deep-fried turkey that didn't get fried until the hour before we left for her house.

When I got out of the car, the little boy (Marcus - with blonde hair, green eyes and Hawaiian skin) jumps off the front porch and says "AUNTIE!!!!!!"  and gives me a huge hug.

There are over 20 people there.  Kids, grand-kids, other ohana (family) and us haloe's from the mainland. Horse back riding, chasing chickens and lots of good food.

We get in the car to go home and Todd gives me a look.  Then he says, "Those are some good people".

And, THAT my friend is what you have been missing.  A little Hawaiian Hospitality.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Alcohol and Armpits

When Todd picked me up at the airport, with a fresh lai in his hand - he remarked "This baggage claim area smells like booze."

Not, "You smell like booze", but the whole group of people on your plane, smell a little ripe..... A bit like alcohol and armpits.

We had all spent close to 24 hours together.  I know more about the people on that plane than I normally find out about people.  Granted, we all were a little nervous. 

We were all in the same clothes we had on the day before.  Some people, Denver had been their lay-over. They had been traveling even further.

So, some of our funny quotes from the trip:

  • Is he your son or your boyfriend?  (I didn't quite know how to answer that:)
  • The lady at Wal-Mart:  "Is she your girlfriend?"  (she asked this to Todd when I said I was visiting - she made my day!
  • Your Aunt is really hot
  • If you say that again, I will carve out your eyes with a spoon
  • She is not hot, she is my Aunt.
  • It's 3:30 on the East Coast, I think we can have a beer
  • Aunt Leasa, thank you for coming to see me.  
Wait, the last one isn't funny - it's the truth.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Can I keep ONE?

The sweet boy I'm staying with in Hawaii, I've known for his whole life.  I've just met his sweet girlfriend, but she is family now too.

Granted I'm now friends with her, in fact, she started calling me Aunt Leasa from day 1.  Works for me.  

Todd, the boy, grew up in South Texas.  Hunting, fishing, etc on ranch - in the country.  When he was 5, he was ring bearer in my wedding.  He couldn't understand why I was marrying Brian, as Brian didn't know how to rope a cow.

My oldest son has now become interested in hunting. He's been on a few turkey hunting trips, but would like to go on a deer trip.

Todd and Duncan were texting and talking about guns.  What Duncan needs, etc.  Then Duncan just calls Todd.  Back and forth - discussing guns, bullets, seasons, etc.

I send Duncan a text, "Do I get to keep any of my guy friends or are they all yours now?"  Duncan replies, "Nope, they are all mine now"........

Friday, August 1, 2014

I am

This island is busy.

As in busy roads, busy people.  Not much of the "Aloha Spirit".  It seems there are more tourists and military personnel than locals.

There are locals, they just seem a bit more hardened than the ones I know in Kona.  There are no "Aloha's" or "Mahalo's".  Just hello and thank you.

Maybe they are just a bit more like the mainland - a bit more hardened from all the people coming and going.

Don't get me wrong, I have met nice people.  These military guys and gals protecting our country - they are incredible people.  I love hearing their stories.  I even got to go on base and see bullet holes in a building from when we were attacked.  These kids know their history.

To get ANYWHERE, you spend at least 30 minutes in the car.  I know that's not a lot to some people, but for me I don't really travel much out of a 20 minute zone, so to spend an hour in the car is upserd for me.

Today, we were at the North Shore (and it is GORGEOUS, by the way), then I drive Todd back to his house.  I then leave for canoe club.  It's 20 miles.  This equals an hour drive.

What am I doing?

I'm driving over an hour to go to canoe?  Have I lost my mind?

I get to canoe club.  I'm hot.  I'm actually kinda whiny - good thing I was alone.  Seriously, I even thought of just going to the beach to swim and not going to canoe club.

I waited it out.  This group is a bit more serious than my last group.  There are also actually people my age in this group.  There were teenagers there.

We get in the canoes.  We paddle down a "canal" in Waikiki - about two miles.  Then you make a turn, and the ocean is there.  On Tuesday, we got to that point, then we turned around.

Truth be told, if I had never paddled before, I would have never gone back.  It was okay.  The people were good, it was actually just another activity I would have participated in.

But, today, we got to keep going.

The next thing I know, we were headed to the "third buoy" from the marina.  The double I was on (holding 12 paddlers) made it out first.  All other canoe's were to turn around when the first one made it to the third buoy.

I am in the middle of the ocean.  You could also see the surfers in Waikiki.  That is what the picture books are made of.

Suddenly, my canoe was the first to turn around.  On my right was downtown Waikiki - with the sun glimmering off of all the high rise building.  Shining so bright with a beautiful reflection.

On the left, the sun was beginning it's descent into the ocean.

Then, as I was paddling harder than I ever have before, to catch a swell.  I am then paddling harder.  Part of a team to catch that perfect "push" back into the harbor.

Straight ahead is Diamond Back.

Part of something that was more than even me.  As I am now a part of pictures all the tourists were taking.

I use to be one of them - watching the outriggers in the sunset.  Now, I am on the right side of the camera.