Sunday, July 30, 2017

A different set of problems

We turned in our Service Dog in Training in February. We had him for 18 months, then he has spent the last six months in "Advanced Training" - or "Olympic Training" as I like to call it.

Training. Working hard. Learning skills and tasks to help someone who can't do the things he has been training in helping them to do.

The last two weeks, he spends "rotating" to different people who might need his help.

He didn't find his match this time.

Meaning, he will stay at 'Olympic Training' for one more 'semester'  - another three months.

OR at anytime, he can come back here.

He might not have it in him.

Either way he wins.

He goes on to be a service dog. OR he comes home, he turns into a "dog"

He's no longer allowed in restaurants, on airplanes, etc.

HOWEVER, he is allowed:


  • on  the bed
  • out of his kennel
  • to dog parks
  • to become a hunting dog
  • to become a snuggling dog
  • to do things that well, dogs get to do.
Which brings us to......

  • He now knows how to open doors, 
  • Turn on light switches
  • Open drawers
  • Fetch your slippers and beer......
Former puppy raisers whom have told me they had their "service dog in training returned" - well, you come home (they no longer have to stay in the kennel if you don't want them too) - and all the lights are on.

OR

The door from the family room to the garage is open. The lid to the dog food container is open and empty.

They know how to do all these things.

If he doesn't make this program, he will be a really good "therapy" dog to someone. Don't we all need a different 'set' of problems?


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Going offline

I arrived on the mainland ten days ago.

Making it now a couple of days without crying, but making it all the same.

When I think of my island time, it's a time I can't even describe to anyone. I actually don't mind working there - working my corporate job - as it allows me the release I need from the real world.

But, back here? Here in the world of structure, order, shoes, and schedules....Work is something I loathe. It's a chore - a much needed chore, like cleaning the bathroom. No one likes to clean the bathroom, butt someone has to clean......

We've passed the anniversary of the first child's death - rapidly approaching the second. Rapidly approaching a time in my life I wish would have been something different.

One day.

There will be a summer camp.

A flip phone

Some flip flops

I won't even know what a computer was supposed to do......

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Sand in my shoe

A natural pearl begins its life inside an oyster's shell when an intruder, such as a grain of sand or bit of floating food, slips in between one of the two shells of the oyster, a type of mollusk, and the protective layer that covers the mollusk's organs, called the mantle.
In order to protect itself from irritation, the oyster will quickly begin covering the uninvited visitor with layers of nacre — the mineral substance that fashions the mollusk's shells. Layer upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coat the grain of sand until the iridescent gem is formed.
Cultured pearls are made in the same way. The only difference is that instead of accidental circumstances, a "pearl farmer" embeds a grain of sand into the mollusk.

Oh Peter, Oh Peter Pan - all this time, I had hope you would grow into the "pearl" I knew you would become. However, not all grains of sand turn into pearls.

Sometimes, you have to empty your shoe of all that sand.

Only then, can you find an already formed pearl.



Friday, July 7, 2017

Camp Counselor

For the most part, I have tried to stay out of the teenagers way.

Made suggessions. Let Duncan make suggestions based on his memories here. Given my opinion - heck, I even told them to hitchhike a couple of times.

One of the best weeks of my life.

One of the boys, his parents arrived on the 4th, they alll went fishing on the 5th - caught a 100 pound tuna, two ono's weighing about 30 pounds each.

These here are good boys.

Everyone should have to go to summer camp.

Even a camp of introverts - they could all go do their own thing at their own time, but be here together.

I received the ULTIMATE compliment from one of the kids. As I'm dropping them all off at the airport. He says to me, "Life changing week. Mahalo".

I nearly cried. Actually, I cried the whole way home from the airport.

THEN, the boys post a picture on Instagram, telling me thank you.

My heart was so full, I thought it might actually burst.

Oh Hawaiii, you could have sent me a letter telling me to get over here.

There was an old poem I remember someone reading me while I was at camp many years ago.

I don't remember it all, but what I do remember:

Being a counselor is the closest thing to celebrity status that I will ever achieve. I'm exhausted. Worn out - in the best possible way. Happier than I can ever remember. At the same time thinking "what the hell was I thinking" - I loved my little life....... Oh, that's right. With tears in my eyes I say to anyone whom will listen.

"See you next year"


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Damn you Kona

Right at that moment. You know the place between sleeping and awake.

Not quite awake. Yet not sound asleep either.

The moment between dreaming and real life.

So close.

I was kinda ready to go back to Denver.

It was a rough year last year. I so realized what a good community I have in Denver. My "support" system. The people whom have helped "raise" me.

I miss them.

Then you send me, a friend of mine's dad - a friend (Laurel - not her dad) we have traveled all over the world together. Dad went paddling with me. Twice. He's a widower.  He met me for the parade and fireworks. (I left him sitting next to a friend of mine from paddle club - she's a widow).

I went to volunteer at the kids race (canoe club earned money for us volunteering), just before the parade.

Then all the boys and girls are at Humpy's - they were awesome. We all sat and had pizza. After the fireworks.

All of us. Lily's dad, his girlfriend, his cousin, all the kids. One of the kids parents arrived last night too.

My friends dad said several times "This is a place you could get used to."

Oh, you have no idea......




Saturday, July 1, 2017

Dear Lily

Dear Lily,

My sweet daughter from another mother. What can I say?

What can I say to the beautiful young woman I have known since you were "a girl".

A girl I talked into wearing a hula outfit to meet her "brothers". "Brothers" none of us knew you had at the time.

A daughter I will love like no other - as YOU were "loaned" to me.

You have a mom and a dad. But the "Souls" of the world thought we should connect. 

And am I SOOOO glad.

You bring me joy. You make my heart smile. And the guilt I feel for breaking your heart is something I will always have to bare.

In my little world, I didn't break your heart until a few weeks ago. Before that, it was on your dad. 

But, what I realized in these last few days.......

We (meaning you and I) aren't going any place in life without each other. 

Flashback,

I LOVE how you tell the story of how we all meet. Your Uncle Barney, Me, Your Dad, You, Trudee, The girls, then the boys.
"It was love at first sight"

I soooo remember you standing there saying those words. Looking at your dad and I. With all the hopes and dreams a 12 year old can muster.

I believed it too. I still do believe it.

Only, we had the souls misaligned.

For you see my dear girl, it was your soul speaking to mine. "It was love at first sight".

Life sometimes has a way of tarnishing things, but not this one. This is one promise I can keep.

It was our souls (meaning you and me) whom were meant to meet.

Your summer mama forever.

Olive Juice,

Me

(my sweet girl, I know. This isn't the ending you wanted. But I CAN promise you, this one is forever....)


http://shlta.blogspot.com/2017/07/dear-lily.html

The Sirens

One of the first books I picked up this summer was entitled "The Sirens".

It sounded like a mermaid book to me. Only half way through, I relized it was teen-lit and also about a whole different subject.

I had never heard of "Sirens" - completely different than mermaids. They were/are sirens.

Maybe instead of dying, my "siren" let me come to shore.




Friday, June 30, 2017

The joy of summer mornings

I do have other stories to tell from the craziness of the last week.

BUT, this morning.......

I woke up with 4 teenage boys here - well, really young men. Some young ladies down the street walking over for breakfast.

Last night I was wondering what I was thinking having all these teenagers come visit. What was wrong with me? Didn't I learn this already?

I woke up to joy. Happiness. Chaos. Moments I love so dear.

And I did learn this already. I learned I love this. That being alone here on the island is not what belongs. These moments are to be shared. These moments that are now their memories too.

This doesn't happen in the real world. This happens here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Oh

One day, this will be a place I 'live"

But for now, it's a place a see new wrinkles on my hands. I see thee scar I EARNED years ago.

I miss the the teenagers. I miss the moments, the summers, that made us well us.

No.

Take that back.

They made me me.

It's funny, out here, when people ask about me. I reply,, "I have two sons and a daughter."

I can't imagine replying any other way..

We are WAAAY past "Summer Daughter"........

When we were young.....



One Day

One day, when I am old, I will tell stories of my time on the island.

I would love to tell, how this island truly stole my heart. You either get it or you don't. You don't live ON this island, you live WITH this island.

I would love to tell the tale of the moment at the restaurant of the woman whom lost her finance last year and was here to celebrate his life on the anniversary of his death. She's paddling with me tomorrow.

I would love to tell the story of the real estate agent whom pulled over as I was walking home. Asking if I needed a ride. I'm sure he thought I was a lot younger and probably disappointed when I got in the car. :-) Oh boy, was he cute!!!!

I would love to tell all the stories of the island majic. To tell the real stories of how the island guy and how his girlfriend is so insecure that we can't be friends.

I would love to tell the truth about the majic.

But that is something only YOU can feel.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Our Age

Almost a year ago, I started dating someone. He lives in Austin. I live in Denver/Kona. It works for us. So far

He came to visit Kona for a week.

He's still getting used to my "gypsy way" of life. Although, he has a bit of it himself. Only he doesn't have a bitter ex-girlfriend whom doesn't understand we all want to friends. Life is simple out here.

He's not a morning person. Which is fine - we all have different "time schedules". Only paddling is at 6:30am. We have to leave the house at 6. Which for me is waking up at 5:45.

Sunrise to Sunset - that's my schedule. Only I have to be up at 3:45 to "start my day"

He paddled with me three days a week. Knowing that someone whom is NOT a morning person, gets up that early, well, that must be some kinda love.....

We paddle. He loves it - or at least tells me he loves it.

We are on a boat - with another fellow Aggie - whom was in school at the same time as me. He works mainland time. He's learned to play the game. Only he's two years older than me.

The guy I'm dating - he states later - you were the youngest one on the boat.

I reply

"I've been the youngest one on the boat for the last 6 years - except for guests"

Hmmm, "Well, where are the people our age?"

"Do they forget about paddling?"
"Do they get lazy?"

Nah, I replied - although I know plenty of lazy people whom don't come to canoe club.....

"They haven't figured out the whole work/life balance"

"They are at work."



Monday, June 19, 2017

My right arm

Paddling helps me breathe.

Not sure if Paddling helps Gypsy. Or The Hockey Mom/Career Woman and/or any of the other personalities whom make me me.

Even if I think I don't want to go, when I'm on the water, I never regret the decision.

Tomorrow, there was a MANDATORY conference call set for the middle of paddling. HOW DARE THEY?

Doesn't work know??? Paddling fills my soul.

I blocked out the time on my calendar for the whole month. Maybe I have the time wrong? Maybe I can still make paddling.

I checked. Checked again.

Nearly faked a doctors appointment - because somehow a meeting with a shrink might be excused, but no one quite understands a meeting with mother nature.

Then, the grown up in me came to terms with the fact that I can miss ONE day of paddling.

You would have thought they had asked me to amputate my arm.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Grammy

There is another story to write before this one, but this one, well, gets first place.

I had a friend I've been dating for awhile here for a week. He left last night. I stayed in. I was exhausted. Emotional. Among other feelings.

It was a great week we had together. Ohana and new places. I came home from the airport and went to bed.

Today, I kept trying to fit a million things into my day of "recovery". You know, the day that sucks, but you must go on and figure out how to make it through the day.

I went to Majics. I went to the pier. I walked. Then I walked some more. I was angry. Sad. I swam. I ran. I yelled. I got excited about the teenagers coming to the island.

THEN,

I went to Huggo's.

This little resturant on the beach. I met a new friend. She has been married for 17 years - she can't decide to leave her husband or not. She can't decide some other things too. She's finishing up law school. We talk about chances. We talk about missing the chances we don't take.

There was a group at the end of the bar. Turns out my new friend is in love with the singer.

Oh, that's why you needed to sit next to me. You have been married for a very long time, but the love of your life is sitting on stage.......

Gyspsy girl says to her new friend,

Let's go dance. Grammy - there. In the sweater and long pants is dying to dance.

Grammy tells us she is 84. I told her the story of my Granny coming to Kona with me. Of her being 84 and traveling all this way.

Grammy danced. Danced with me. My new friend. Our 88 old friend on the deck.

She danced.

It was all of 7:30 when I left (after all - the sun had set).

A truck, going the other way, hollered "Do you need a ride"

"No thank you, I'm almost there."

I keep walking.

A few minutes later.....

Grammy would have none of that.

They gave me a ride home.

I told her granddaughter, if Grammy is not an  "internet sensation" when I wake up in the morning, please let me know......



Saturday, June 10, 2017

May I invite a friend?

While I am by myself here at "summer camp", sometimes other people get invites.

Nolan came a couple of years ago - I told him he could invite a friend. Evidently, I didn't say it in a manner (or enough times) for him to realize he could have asked someone to come with him.

Pretty much every year, we have also met up with friends from Denver while in Kona. It's a small world, but a Big Island.

This year, a family arrives on July 4th whom their son has played hockey with the boys for years. We are all meeting for fireworks after their plane lands.

Duncan is coming this year. Lily is too. So is her cousin. Her cousin might be bringing a friend.

Duncan asks if he can bring a friend. Sure, but this place is smaller and we will have to get an airbed or a float for him to sleep on.

"Mom, would you mind if Jack comes?"

"No, that's a not a problem at all."

Great. We are all set.

Duncan and Jack here. Lily, her cousin and her friend at Lily's dad's house - not sure if the girlfriend will be there or not - as she told me years ago, she didn't really want to hang out with kids. So their house will be full and so will ours as the teenagers will want to spend lots of time together. (Good thing they are now all old enough to walk to the beach without adults).

"Hey mom, would you mind if "Butters" came too?"

"He's already coming with his family??"

"He can come in a couple days early, then meet up with them on the 4th."

That's fine. It will be tight, but we will manage.

"Mom, Max wants to come too"; "So does Dom" His parents work for United, Max and Dom can fly out for free.

"We are outta space"

"They don't care, we aren't at the place much anyway."

"What about Jack?" "Oh, he can't come now. He didn't save his money."

Okay, so what is count now? Including you? We are at 4.

The text I receive today (I'm already out here!!): Call me please.

"Okay, I promise this is the last one - can Avi come too???""

DUNCAN, there is no room. I can't afford to feed all these kids.

MOM, I have it taken care of. We will all sleep on air floats, bring sleeping bags and each kid has to have their own meal money PLUS give you $50 each to go to the grocery store for the week.

How can I say no to that?

My son planning something I actually love - the chaos of it all. Something I've been missing and will miss terribly in the fall......

I always did want to run a summer camp.

I have a feeling this summer is not going to be like the one when they were 13......

Friday, June 9, 2017

Emotions

Emotions and grief are strange "bedfellows"

bed·fel·low
ˈbedˌfelō/
noun
plural noun: bedfellows
  1. a person who shares a bed with another.
    • a person or thing allied or closely connected with another.
      "the treaty will make strange bedfellows of a number of enemies"

A term I remember from some independent film I watched. But then what is life, but made up of emotions???

I guess grief is an emotion. We have no control over our emotions. We can learn how to manage the emotions, deal with them, ignore them.

Yesterday, at my favorite restaurant/bar in the whole world. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, live music flowing in the background. People you know, yet, don't know at all.

Suddenly, I'm sitting watching the sunset. Crying like a baby. Crying because I'm SOOOO lucky. I'm still SOOO sad for my friends who lost their sons. Sad and Happy all at the exact moment for my kids and the new adventures in which they will soon embark. Happy that I have figured out how to work my life - work and play all at the same moment. SOOO happy that when I wake up in the morning, I get to go paddle.

The lady two seats down finally asked if I was okay.

I nodded. Through the tears, I explained I needed a second. But I wasn't sure if I would ever make it back here.

Then explained my last year. (she might be sorry she asked :-)) Her husband passed 13 years ago. They were married for 45 years. She moved out in January to be close to her daughter, as well, it was time to make a change. Her daughter is my age. I might even have someone I can set her up with..... Hmmmm.....

I invited her to canoe club. She's not done it before. She's excited to try a new thing.

But I had to make an agreement: If she goes to canoe club, I have to go swim laps on the off days with her - and I have to pass the 5th buoy.

After all, I will have a buddy. (As you shouldn't swim by yourself)

Emotions connect all sorts of people.





Thursday, June 8, 2017

When did you get back?

I landed in Kona yesterday.

Ready to go. A "hot mess" is the phrase they use these days.

I wanted to "relax". But there were errands to do. Unpack. Get settled.

Let Gypsy girl come out.

And she did.....

I walked into Huggo's - a bar in town that is right on the sand.

There is a lady sitting at the corner of the bar. Swear to you, two years ago, that is where she was sitting when I left.

There are several locals. A place where it seemed a time warp had occured.

Dj (the lady at the corner) says to me, "Do you know Dennis? He's the bartender."

Dennis looks up and says to me, "When did you get back?"

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We've missed each other

Dear Gypsy,

There is SO much to tell. I left you on this island two years ago. You said you weren't going back with me,

I let you stay.

I let you know it was okay.

I also was told no matter what I thought/did/felt, you weren't coming back.

Maybe one of the hardest things about parenting. My opinion was "nice", but not needed.

Oh how so much has changed since I last left you. Tons that make me happy. Tons that have hardened my heart in a way that will never heal. But, you, might sweet girl, might just understand.

I needed you. And, sadly for me, you didn't quite need me in the way I needed you. That actually makes me happy.

What kind of mom would I be if I couldn't let my Gypsy Soul go fly like she should?

I'll be fine. Don't worry about me.

Thanks for the HUGE welcome home today. I didn't realize how much I had missed you.

I landed on the island. One of your Craigslist friends rented me their car for the summer. They picked me up. I had to drop them off.

It took me hours to realize all we had of each other was a phone number. No insurance. No id's. Two people trading cash for a car. I'm trusting you to believe this car isn't stolen.

I guess, they are trusting you, everything is going to be okay.

I wanted the beach. I wanted shit done. I wanted to be back in a moment that no longer exists.

They weren't the best summers of the boys lives. They were the best summers of my life.

You looked at me, with those big blues eyes and said:

Mama, have you learned nothing over the years?
We will be there shortly. 

Oh, Gypsy Girl, I've missed you....



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Scheduling

Today, Thursday, June 1, 2017, I was on a conference call.

A conference call with a client "hiring manager". The roles have been very difficult to fill. In over a year, this group has not hired one person.

In the last two months, we've hired two people.

The team is finally in our groove. Making things happen.

We have 6 new positions opening up, for different departments, but the same person is going to be in charge.

DAMN.

I thought we were almost there.  A "reprieve" so to speak.

The hiring manager says to me today, "Arrange a call for us to speak next week to discuss the requirements of the new positions."

Last week my youngest son graduated from high school. I hosted a party at my house. Tons of out of town company. A way over scheduled - and committed to things I couldn't keep, couple of weeks.

The house is almost ready to go for the summer. I'm running out of daylight. A phrase I have loved for years.

In corporate America, you can look and see when someone has things blocked out on their schedule. You know what works with yours, and if they are blocked out or have time available.

It sounds pretty complex, but does make life much easier. Let me look at your calendar.

SO, I look......

Well, he has some time on Mon & Tues, but I'm in California those days and I'm not quite sure what we will be doing yet. I want to work, but make sure it's early so we have the day free.

I can't do Wednesday as I'm traveling that day.

Thursday looks good - Oh, he has some time too.

BUT WAIT!!!!! I can't do Thursday morning - BECAUSE, I WILL BE AT CANOE CLUB!!

There have been many happy moments these last few weeks. As in the happiest moments in a year.

BUT, this one was my favorite.

Good thing there was some time available Thursday afternoon. No one has to know I'll have my swimsuit on......



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prom Night Stress

Senior prom for East High School was last week.

It it a day the almost/half-way grown "kids" play grown up.


  • Tuxedos
  • Formal gowns
  • Pictures
  • Pre-Prom Pictures
  • Limos
  • Party Buses
  • Groups of friends all going out to have dinner/dance/party
Not sure if this is strictly an American custom, but at East High, the "young adults" all meet at this beautiful park to take pictures. All the parents are there. 

Of course, these are generalizations. I'm sure some kid is sitting at home. Didn't want to go. Wasn't invited. To nervous to ask someone. Not part of any "group". Easier to sit home alone. Or not go and go do other things.

As I was walking away from pre-prom pictures. In the middle of a city park. In the middle of Denver. A guy stopped me.

German accent asking me what was going on.

I explained. 

He had no idea how to relate. I guess. Or maybe there was a longing in his eyes of a different time.

Then some parents of other prom attendees went to dinner. We then went to the "after-prom" while the kids were at the real prom.

The school is transformed into a magical place.

About a week before prom, at a hockey game, Nolan's date was there. I asked her if she was "ready for prom".

The reply:

I'm really stressed. I hope I can get it all done.

All I could do was smile.

Oh, how I would love to be stressed about prom.

A day or so after prom, I was talking to the mom down the street whom 14-year old son was killed last summer.

I was telling her the story of the "prom stress" and how I "would love to be stressed about prom".

We all have different stresses.

She goes on to tell me.

It's always prom day to someone.

It took me a minute.

My stresses can be complex, but they are nothing compared to hers.

Hers are nothing (as she told me), are nothing compared to another neighbor whom has a mentally and physically disabled child. The child is now 26 and still wears a diaper. Yet, her neighbor is the most positive person she knows.

And yet those are "nothing" (if we are going to compare) to someone in Africa whom lives in a mud hut and doesn't have running water.

It will always be prom night to someone - from someones perspective.

SO, may I wish each and everyone of you - Prom Night Stress.




 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trying

Truly now understand when someone says "I can't write"

The words are there, they just won't come out in an order anyone might be able to comprehend. I have a few good story ideas,

Not ideas that may be formulated into full sentences.

Maybet that's the problem.

Quit trying.

Do.

But, oh, there is so much alive that the world needs to hear.

My favorite question lately:

What are you doing next?

I have crafted my response:

I'm moving to Hollywood. I'm going to be the next Diana Keaton. Then Betty White.

Life is JUST begining.......


 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What's in it for me?

As a society (generalizing here), we have become more and more self-centered.

Expectations of customer service have gone through the roof. I'm not just talking about at high end places, but fast food restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies.

  • What's in it for me?
  • Am I going to be inconvenienced?
  • Why should I sacrifice something for you?
  • Everything really needs to be perfect. 
ALL THE TIME

We now want what we want, right now. And perfect.

Several months ago a candidate reached out to me to see if I could help her secure and interview with my employer. I got her information to the correct people. She didn't get the job. I did what I could to help.

Fast forward a month later, I called her to see if she would be interested in a couple of different recruiting opportunities.

Not a word from her.

A month so later, she reached out. Apologized for not calling me back. Then asked if I could help her husband out. She sent me his resume.

I sent her e-mail to one person, then let it go. She called me when she needed something, but when I called her, it didn't fit her needs.

Today, I received an e-mail again asking me if I can help her.

Relationships - both professional and personal - they are two way streets. We have to give in order to get. Not the other way around.

When I call candidates, the first thing I ask is "what can I do for you??"

We've forgotten this as a society.

With the latest United debacle, I think this is part of the case.

Yes, United was wrong. So was the passenger. Sorry, my needs are greater than yours.

Remember this the next time you ask for a favor. Perhaps, start with, "I really appreciate all your help. Ask for your favor." - then respond with "What may I do for you?"

And when you are in line and the clerk is slow, your food arrives a couple of minutes late - sit and breathe. We aren't starving after all.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

That Spirit

I was in Moab, Utah for a long weekend. This is the 10th anniversary of the original "Puppy Party".

The Puppy Party was actually started 20 years ago, but only 10 years ago did they realize they had a name for the group of people. It started 20 years ago by two guys - one living in Utah, the other living in Ohio. They decided to meet in Moab for a camping weekend.

It started with two guys and two tents.



This was the group this year.


  • 5 RZR all wheel drives
  • 7 motorcycles
  • Over 45 people
  • 6 dogs
  • One drone - picture courtesy of the drone
  • One campfire
Not everyone stays the whole week. Some show up at the beginning of the week. Others during the middle. Another group at the end - or a little bit of all of this.

Campfires, nerf gun wars, a shooting range, hikes, bikes (both motor and manual), sight-seeing tours, boche ball, a movie on the side of the rocks. You name it, it probably happens in Moab.

On Saturday afternoon, a big group loads up in the 5 RZR's and two Toyota Four Runners. We all head down into the canyon. We are on the edge of a cliff. I'm in no way qualified to be driving one of these things - especially down the side of a canyon with a 500 foot drop.

We go down. We make it to the bottom. Blue skies. Like standing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

As we head up, I was driving and had my friend with me, but two 12 year old girls wanted to ride in the RZR instead of the car.

We double buckle them in. (Two kids in one seat). We all head out of the canyon.

As we get to the top, the RZR in front of me pulls over - they are going to take some pictures. My RZR is first in line. 

We are 10 miles from the campsite.

2 miles in, it begins to sprinkle. Then rain. Then pour. Then hail.

Okay, this is me. Basically, on an off rode vehicle with doors, a windshield but no windows. And TWO 12 year old girls who don't belong to me.

We see lighting strike a few miles away. We are being pelted with hail and rain. 

I look over and say, 
Do you want me to pull over and you can get in one of the cars?

NO!!!, was their response.

We do want a jacket, but this is SO MUCH more fun than being in the car.

We pulled over. We grabbed a jacket from the car.

We raced back to the campsite. In the rain. In the hail.

As we pulled into the campsite, drenched, freezing and covered with mud, I looked over at the girls. Smiling, shivering, and soaking wet.

"Ladies," I said, "Don't you EVER lose this spirit! Hang on to it with all your might".

We ran into the camper to put on dry clothes and try to warm up.

Spirits that can't be and shouldn't be tamed.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Starting Fresh

The spring is a time of renewal. It's a time the earth tells us, we will begin again.

Flowers start to bloom. The grass begins to turn green. There are green buds on the tree. Dirt in the air. Dirt due to the fact that it's still dry - we are waiting on our April showers.

Many people equate spring to "cleaning". Spring Cleaning.

It's time to clean - get rid of the dead.The clutter. The baggage you've been carrying around.

You can plant new stuff, but the stuff you plant in the spring - those are annuals. Things that only bloom once.

One spring and summer - that's all you get.

But first, you must get rid of the winter. The dead leaves that never left the yard. The winter clothes you haven't liked in years, but keep because well, they are easy to wear when it's dark and grey. The toys that are no longer played with. The snow blower you haven't used in years.

I had a juniper bush removed today. It ran the length of my drive-way. Figured it was planted lated 70's or early 80's when those things were popular. There was also a small one in the back yard taken out.

They are HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE plants. They take over. You can't trim them and stuff collects in them.

I also took the trampoline in my backyard down last week. Tomorrow is "big trash" day - and most of the pieces are already gone.

As I took the trampoline down, the memories kept leaking out my eyes. From the boys saving their money to buy it, to sleep overs, to man on the moon stories, too......

The bushes, I've hated for a long time. Although at the end of the day, the final count:


  • 15 hockey pucks
  • 13 tennis balls
  • 12 lacrosse balls
  • 2 frisbees 
  • 1 water bottle
(and I really can't believe a beer bottle or two wasnt' stashed in there, but if it was, the tree guy didn't let me know). All hiding in the bushes.

Hiding no more. 


After all, it's spring, start fresh. Like the Earth.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I want the one....

Are you going to get another puppy??

No. I'm going to be proud with the one whom went on to great things. I'm going to be happy knowing I did an incredible thing. We helped someone.

Well, maybe.

Maybe, if you have one that is a "re-home". Someone whom thought they could do this, then they turned out, well, they couldn't.

This isn't an easy job. You raise a puppy and have to give it up.

Or maybe, the one, that someone, at the last minute, couldn't/wouldn't/can't commit.

That's the one I want.

The one that needs you, more, well, than you need them.

I don't want to know, "in six months, on such and such date, you will get a puppy."

That's SO not how my life works. Well, it does. It works better though when I get a call on a Monday morning after a horiffic week, that says,

"Will you take a blonde male next Wednesday???"

Yes.

Yes, I will.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

At Some Point

A term "Binge Watching" has now been around for a bit.

It is when, a "television/book series" has been on-going, and you can sit down and watch/read the whole series.

I've understood this from books for a bit.

The Hunger Games

The Twilight Series

I skipped Harry Potter

(I guess I like teen lit more than I will ever admit)

The "binge" watching of TV is something I JUST DON'T get. Why in the world would I sit in front of the TV for HOURS/DAY/WEEKS watching TV. (Yes, I watched bunches of TV earlier in life, but have completely forgotten)

Until a couple of weeks ago.

My friend Joellen was living at my house and we discovered a show called "Shameless" had been watched on Netflix.

Whomever was watching it, was on Season One, Episode 5. 

(For those whom have never "started" a series (me!!!). You can start at the beginning and not quit watching until it is all over).

We started at Episode 1. Season 1.

This series was a 'bit' risque. Good acting. Relateability on some levels.

I think we stopped at Episode 3 (yes, the same day - this is called "binge" watching)

Lily came to visit. Evidently, this is huge among the teenagers as we found out it had been Nolan watching the series.

The boys went to school/classes, L and I sat and watched WAY to much TV.

We must have skipped a few seasons, as when she left I was somehow on Season 4.

Truly, this show is messed up. It gets better. I'm still not sure it's not some type of pornographic, but addictive no less. 

It's a messed up family from the South side of Chicago. You really empathize with the bunch.

Empathy. With them. With us. 

Making sure we all know how fortunate we have(had) it in life.

This group of people never stood a chance in life. They were given breaks.

We are all given breaks in life, you have to seize those moments when you get them.

At some point, you have to understand, YOU can be the own difference in your life.



BTW, I've probably watched more TV in the last couple of weeks, than in the previous YEARS. I'm OUT. Someone let me know if I should do this again one day.....



Saturday, February 18, 2017

Love is all around us

Friday, February 10, 2017 we had to turn our puppy in.

When we received him, he was 8 weeks old. We knew this day would come. Otherwise, we would have never gotten a puppy. I don't really like things when they are young. 

Give them to me at 10 or above - that's my place.

Ambrose/Brodie arrived at our house October 2015. He lived with us until last Friday. He's now at "Olympic Training". Of course he is, one of my kids had to make it to the Olympics. 

Last Friday, the ceremony:

They start with the Breeders. The people whom are put in charge of the CCI puppies whom have the baby puppies.
They recognize the Puppy Raisers (us).
The trainers of the puppies in Olympic training then talk.
The stories of the people whom need the puppies.
The matches: the matching of the puppies whom have made it through Olympic Training to the people whom need them

The ceremony is a hour and a half. It all flows quickly.

At some point, you realize you are sitting in a room of at LEAST 300 people and over a hundred dogs.

Then at the next point, you realize (as Ed's wife pointed out to me), you are sitting in a room with nothing but love.

Every single person was there because of love.

Through all the happiness.

All the tears.

Love was all around us.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

February 12, 2017

February 12, 2007 we lost a friend. http://dnlsumeradventures.blogspot.com/2012/02/fasinating-person-1-2012.html

I wrote the story 5 years ago. But the murder happened ten.

As with life, it goes on. And it should. Vanessa wouldn't have wanted us around moping for her loss. She would have wanted us out their living.

Of course, February 13, 2017 - our friend whom is now married to Vanessa's former husband posted pictures on the day of her death of their family skiing. She still can't handle the fact that everyone misses someones. It's a weird, messed up kinda place. For her. The rest of us, we understand, "she's not our kind of crazy."

For me, I crawled into bed Sunday night, February 12, 2017.

We had just returned from California to turn in our puppy. A day we knew would come. A beautiful, horrible day - all at once.

People we had just met 10 years ago, yet had know for years. With people we had know for longer than 10 years, and we all knew we would be there on this day.

I'll write more about puppy turn in. Because as I said, it was beautiful and horrible all at once.

BUT, on Sunday night, February 12, 2017.......

I crawled into bed with:


  • DNL all under one roof
  • Silliness of summers past 
  • Heartaches of summers too
  • Peace
  • Wholeness
As I closed my eyes, and thought of the last ten years, I smiled.

Very, very thankful of every minute and every person whom has entered my life in the last 10 years.

So very lucky.

And I slept........




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Digging deep

We live in a big world.

Miles. Oceans. Land.

Places. People. Experiences.

When you look back at all of those things in your life? You realize what/who has added to your life. 

Chances.

Moments.

What I've realized lately is life is very, VERY short. 

My lip still trembles for the boys we lost last summer. It could have as easily been me.. 

We are not guaranteed 65 and healthy.

Heck, we aren't even guaranteed tomorrow. Much less tomorrow and healthy. 

I'm going back to Kona in June. Or at least that is planned. 

I'm going to dig deep. 


Find the Good

Lots of turmoil in the world to the start of the Christian calendar 2017.

Agree with some. Disagree with some.

I've gone back and forth on what I do believe in. What I don't believe in. What I'm willing to fight for, what I'm not willing to fight for.

But,

What I do think? About all the turmoil in the world?

IT TAKES NOTHING TO BE KIND

Yes, there are people whom will take advantage of your kindness.

There are people whom will not have the same values as you.

BUT,

You can't change them. You can only be you.

Yes, there are people in our country illegally. There are also citizens in our country whom live off of social services or other people to pay for their way to survive.

We could go on and on.

All I do know??

Be kind to one another.

Go find the good.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vision

The love/hate battle about eyes began as early as I can remember.
You're eyes are SO blueI 
You're eyes are so big
You have BUG eyes
Do your eyelashes hit your eyeball when you talk
Your eyes are bigger than your face

I never even knew what I had:

Bright.
Stunning Blue Eyes

Yes, the eyes that blink at you and you don't ask anymore questions, because, those eyes are looking into your soul.
'
My eyes have never been good for vision. I joke, my best accesory ever. Or the other thing I say: They are only good for decoration.

2000 I had the eye surgery that repared the degentrative eyes I was given. That's okay - many people I love have eye problems, I'm one of them.


They warned me about this

My close up vision would begin to slip. BUT, when it happens, your far away vision will become closer.

I'm not sure if it's the diet. The life. The vision to see thing better, BUT

At dusk, then later in the evening - I can now suddenly see things. Things I've had trouble seeing for years.

My vision has changed


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Expenses

Eating non-processed food is EXPENSIVE.

This whole:


  • No processed foods
  • No fake stuff
  • No sugar (includes honey)
  • No alcohol
stuff is actually expensive!

I had a little bet/goal with myself. "Every night I don't buy any alcohol or go out to eat, I'll put that money into my 'travel' savings." A reward for my determination and sticking to my goals.

WELL, that's all fine and good, but I'm not saving any money! My normal "Wednesday night out" cost me $50. I don't go out every Wednesday, but that is the night I will go have dinner and cocktails. Then there is wine I have at home.

Surely, I can save TONS of money. Okay, granted it's only been two weeks - but my grocery bill has doubled.

My sweet potato chips - the kind with no sugar??? $4.00 (which isn't bad), but it's TEN ounces. You know how many ounces of Doritios I could buy for $4.00??????? More than TEN ounces!!!

Meat, fish, salad stuff - easy things to grab at the store and not have to look at labels.

What was I eating before???

I've always thought of myself as a "healthy eater", but watching my waistline has me watching my bank account.......

Wishing my waist would shrink as fast......

Sunday, January 15, 2017

15 days

In 15 days, I haven't had:

  • Sugar
  • Processed Foods (Pasta, chips, bread, etc)
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Grains
  • Legumes
  • Alcohol
Okay, it's really only been 13 days, but I was supposed to start my rendition of Whole 30 at the start of January - due to travel (or that is my excuse any way), I started on the 3rd of January. 

You are also not supposed to have any artificial sweetners. HOWEVER, I don't drink coffee. I could drink tea, but I really do like my morning "boost" of a sugar free energy drink. I figure I'm giving up everything else, I can only do so much. (Maybe next month).

The goal is to see how you feel (your joints, your muscles, your brain) at the end of the month. Then add one thing in for two days, and see how you feel.

The list above makes one think, "Well, what CAN I eat?"

  • Meat
  • Vegetables
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Eggs
And with those four things, there are a ton of meals to make! Omeletes, salads, steak and pretty much any vegetable you want. 

I haven't been hungry at all - it's the habits of eating/drinking things, not because I really want them, it's the habit. The habit of pouring a glass of wine while cooking dinner. The habit of having cheese toast for breakfast. Etc......

The not having wine or chips has been the hardest challenge. Although, there are some great sweet potato chips with no added sugar. The wine, well, sparkling water has helped me trick my mind.

So, far, I've lost 4.5 pounds. But more importantly, I have a ring that was tight, it now fits without a problem (a four pound weight loss wouldn't do that - it's the puffiness from processed food and sugar that does that). AND, I'm sleeping!! My middle of the night panic attacks (that I attributed to everything that went on with the kids we lost last summer) are all but gone.

I'm drinking sleepytime tea at night instead of my wine. It's amazing what 8 stratight hours of sleep does for a person! Something that I haven't done in years on a regular basis.

Pilates and Hot Yoga Sculpt don't seem as hard either. 3 days a week for the last two weeks.

I may add things back in, as I want them, but the goal at the moment is to make it another 15 days.