Saturday, August 27, 2011

Writing and Sweating

Walking Baxter, during the morning sunrise.

Whew! I am pooped. I have been writing since 8 a.m., and we have a restaurant to do tonight. It’s at the Hyatt in Poipu, an upscale resort serving Italian food with an ocean view. Sucks to be me! But, that’s in two hours and Dan still has to come home from his photo tour.
I hired a writing coach, and she is the real deal. I bought her book, “Will Write For Food” in 2005, when I was thinking about switching careers. Somehow, the book made it to Hawaii. I have been reading it because it covers restaurant reviews. I decided I needed to hire a big gun to help me take my writing to the next level. Sure, I could have done what most writers do, send out pitch after pitch, and saving up to 100 rejection letters like a badge of honor, but I really don’t have time for that.

It looks cold in this picture but it isn't. I interviewed a local commercial fisherman for my Farmers Markets column. He is going to take us out on his boat in two weeks and we'll learn about fishing!

She’s got me coming up with ideas and condensing them to two sentence pitches. I need to find markets for those ideas and explain why each market is appropriate. In the meantime, I have my two MidWeek columns due, and Thursday night I helped a friend cook for the monthly Chamber of Commerce mixer—Hawaii style; outside, no shoes and lots of aloha.

My gluten-free baker friend and I hiked Sleeping Giant last Sunday. It's an awesome workout as it's mostly uphill. For my friends in Colorado, it reminds me of Mt Falcon in Morrison. It's a two hour hike that burns 800 to 1000 calories! Our goal is to do it every Sunday. I'll have her take my picture in this same spot so you can watch me lose weight, and grow my hair back out!

I also hired a personal trainer. I love going to her house because she has a girlie gym. It’s tough and soft at the same time.  Weights and weight machines fill two rooms, colored tapestries and scarves hang from walls and windows, upbeat music plays from her iPad, and older women work out. I’m older now! My workout partner last Thursday was 69-years-old! Awesome! It’s a real communal feeling, and the women are so nurturing. They all support, and recommend each others services. I’m hoping I can lose weight, build muscle, make some friends and get some work! Bummer is, I may have to quit if I can’t find a way to pay for my new habit. Speaking of, yes! We are still smoke-free, but still depending on e-cigs!
Well, I have to get cleaned up and do a little research before we go. It’s been hot here, not as hot as on the Mainland, but the trade winds have subsided so sweat drips down my body as I write. Ew! Good thing I work from home, alone.
Enjoy the pictures, we had some fun this week!

Sending lots of love and light to those on the East coast dealing with hurricane Irene.

 The owners of Kauai Photo Tours and Dan's bosses, Michele and Vince. Last Saturday, they took their employee's and their wives/girlfriends out to a nice dinner. 

Dan and his fellow tour guide Matt. 

 Levi is the third photo tour guy, he's sitting next to Corene, she pays the bills.

Michele and Vinces son Scott with his girlfriend.

Chris is the new guy. He and his girlfriend got here last week, and he got hired this week.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Thoughts Become Things

Dan's panorama of Hanalei Bay.

Two years ago, we returned from our vacation in Kauai and began the process of moving. In the six months it took us to move, I spent every night “feeling” how my new life would be. 
This week we went to a cafe for a restaurant profile. There was a jazz band, it's a charming place to eat!

I didn’t get into specifics like, “On April 25, 2012, I wrote an awesome book and earned $2,000,000,000.00.” But, I was specific about how I wanted to feel, and what my life would be like. 
Dan always takes the pictures for my articles, and while we waited for our food, he took pictures of the table! Here's what he shot.

I believe thoughts become things. Thoughts reflect how you see the world, and how you see the world informs your actions. Everyone faces the same stresses, fears and insecurities. It’s what you tell yourself that makes the difference. If you say to your self, “I could never do that!” Then you’ve already decided. It’s like my mom used to say, “If you don’t ask, you already have no for an answer.”
I also interviewed a farmer who grows green chilies! YES! I do miss the green chilies that are going off right now in Colorado!

In order for me to get some really juicy thoughts going, I have to feel really good. Luckily, I have a dog who likes to snuggle. I move the sheets back, pat the side of the bed and he silently hops in. 
John tells me about Breadfruit.

I’m on my side, and he is on his—we are both facing the wall. He cinches himself closer until there is no space between my skin and his fur. Soon, he is softly snoring, and I am happily feeling his love.

I also believe that love is the most powerful emotion, and the only thing worth living for. You can give love to your cat, neighbor, spouse or a stranger. It’s as simple as a heartfelt wish for the other to be happy, a thanks for making you happy.  
I ended up doing two weeks of stories this week, Dan got this shot at a cake tasting we went to.

I love my dog very much, and petting his soft fur while he nuzzles next to me makes my heart and spirit soar into realms of possibility. I feel what it would be like to be creative everyday. To be challenged in my work; to have interesting work; to have days filled with fun and laughter; to have more money than I need to pay for my life; to make connections; to see the beauty that surrounds me; to be curious and adventurous; to rely on my instincts—of how I feel, to dictate my decisions. If it feels bad, I won’t do it. No matter how good it sounds.
We went to Kilohana Plantation to do a story on a train ride.

Every morning I wake to the sun rising, the roosters crowing, and somewhere in the night, Baxter has jumped back up to my side. I think about all I have to be grateful for. A loving husband; two awesome dogs; a warm, safe and dry roof over my head; health; work I am passionate about; new friends; a fridge loaded with fresh, local food; the rugged glory of the mountains and the tranquil power of the sea; a soft bed and warm water.
Dan listens to his instincts.

Everyday is a gift. I’ve always known this, but living my dreams makes life delicious. Everyday I get to wake when I want, write about what I like, love and be loved, I get paid to be me, and walk in the astounding nature that surrounds me. It’s amazing, and I created it!

My book club meets at Lydgate Beach Park. This month's book was called Infidel. You can see my shadow in the picture.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Friday was an amazing day at the beach. Yes, they pretty much are all amazing, but normally there is a haze in the air, and cloudy skies. It was crystal clear, the sky was bright blue, and the water was perfect.

Besides death and taxes, the only thing you can be sure of is change. As you might imagine, my relationship with my folks has changed significantly since I left. What was once punctuated with misunderstanding and hurt feelings blossomed into strong connection and a better understanding of the other.

The distance has enabled me to see how much my parents cared for me. I am able to see the sacrifices they made, the good and steady home they maintained, and the love they gave; all in the spirit of doing the best they knew how.

The dogs had a great time at the beach.
I’m not sure, but I think my folks have a renewed respect for me as person. I think they see me as courageous instead of crazy. It’s not like they have said they are proud of me or anything, but I can tell by my mom’s voice that she is kind of living vicariously through me. My dad’s judgmental concerns have softened into curiosities. 
Just as I was basking in this new—and deeply longed for—relationship with my parents, a bittersweet change came along. 
About six months ago, my mom began seeing a massage therapist. Because her body is bound up in 82-years’ worth of knots, she needed a lot of massage. A lot of massage is expensive. My mother’s massage therapist is an angle on earth, and she and her husband have provided more than massage for my folks.

Last weekend Dan decided to get his surfboard wet.
She has been very generous with her time, giving them hour massages for $25. He helps dad with his computer, and she straightened out dad’s affairs when he thought he lost his checkbook and closed the account. 
The four of them spend a lot of time together. The angels take care of things around the house and mom makes them dinner. Recently, they have been going to restaurants and celebrating birthdays. Today as I spoke with my mom, she was eagerly awaiting their arrival. This afternoon they are going to lunch by the lake.
I am extremely grateful that these angels are there to help my folks. And, the angel says she is happy to do it, hoping someone is doing the same for her folks who are in another state. 

He's one of those little dots out there.

I know my folks miss me, and I miss them. When the four of them are together, mom calls to say hi. Lots of laughter make it difficult for me to hear. This is how I got to meet their angel. One time the angel said she wanted to come to Hawaii, and that she and her husband were planning a visit. Since my folks wanted to come again, I suggested they come together. They decided on September 2012.
My brother has a lot of frequent flyer miles, and offered to pay for their flight, as long as it was a family affair. Meaning, as long as he and his family and my folks were the only ones going. 

Dan is explaining Bokeh in his blog, and needed a picture for it.

Mom is heartbroken. She does consider their angels to be part of the family, (as do I), and said they acted more like family than my brother. 
My brother’s strong reaction unearthed emotions I had been repressing. Those of being replaced. It stung a little deeper while I was on the phone with mom. After I spoke with her for a while, she asked dad if he wanted to talk to me. He said, “Nah.”

After a hot day at the shop, Dan matts his prints. 
I hung up the phone and tried to be a big girl. I thought, “It is what it is. I left. They have someone who is in their lives everyday. I am glad for the angels, they easy my worries because I know my folks are being taken care of.” Despite my efforts, tears blurred my vision as I told Dan that my mom’s solution to my brother’s demand is to not come. 

Happy at home with a cold tangerine juice cocktail.
So, I have been mourning the loss of my parents. It seems a bit premature I guess, they are still here. I can’t decide if I’m being too dramatic, childish; a victim maybe? I mean, I understand I live across the ocean, but still, it hurts. I need a good two hours on my yoga matt.
Last night we were chasing the sunset.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Simple Gifts

This is my phavorite Pono Photo this week.

Dan and I are settling into our downsized lifestyle more and more every week. Just when it seems like we’ve got it down, another little gift shows up. Showing that for us, living with less offers many blessings. 
The dogs were groomed twice a year in Colorado, and we could see they were going to need three times that here. After spending over $100 for one grooming session, we peppered our old groomer with questions, and bought some gear.
Armed with the tools of the trade, Dan and I have been shaving them regularly, and the clippers have more than paid for themselves. Dan usually does the clipping, while I comfort the dogs and try to keep them still.
Between his day job, setting up his company Pono Photo, and tending to my needs, Dan has been busy. So I decided I’d give him the gift of time, and shave the dogs myself. Something he thought would be impossible! It turned out to be one of the most treasured times I have had with them, and I think they enjoyed it as well. I got into a meditative state of mind, and as I watched Baxter’s silky fur fall from the clippers, I heard him snore! 

Dan's phavorite Pono Photo shot of the week.
While Dan is in the process of setting up his website, he is finding that he needs more pictures for prints. So we went up to Queen’s Bath for a sunset shoot.  Other than offering some suggestions for angles, and giving my opinion on a shot, I didn’t have much to do. I cozied up to a boulder, and watched the sun go down over the clear, blue sea. As the waves crashed against enormous black lava rocks, a turtle came up for air, his head and neck a silhouette against the darkening sky. 
I love to watch the orange-pink glow dance on the water while the sun sets, but I really get excited when a big wave crashes, sending cascades of foamy water across the rocks and sand. It’s like I’m watching a football game, “WHOA! Did you see that? Here comes another one! Wow! That was awesome!” The power and beauty completely take me over, and it’s better than dinner and a movie anytime!

Sunset at Queen's Bath

I have been fortunate to make a friend who was the editor at Kauai People, the weekly paper that is now MidWeek Kauai. Last night, she had all her girlfriends over. We were asked to bring a pupu, some clothes that we liked but no longer wore, and any good books or knick knacks. The idea was to swap clothes, books, or hair-clips, while drinking, eating and having girl time.
It was a creative way to get new clothes without spending a dime, and everyone brought really nice stuff. I got rid of all that  when I left Colorado, a short 18 months ago. My offerings were slim, but I did have two cute, barley worn capris to contribute. I knew they were too small, but I lugged them across the pacific anyway. I had visions of loosing weight because I was going to be on an island, eating fruit and romping around beaches all day! This has not been the case. 
Being the biggest person there was only slightly depressing. Most of the women were over 50, in very good shape, and very actively living their lives. So, it was an inspiration to be with them. I was able to fit into a shirt. I also got a yoga DVD, and three books—one on writing.
We started smoking electronic cigarettes on Friday, and they seem like a fantastic replacement. You just put nicotine juice into a cartridge and push this little button on the “atomizer”, and bam! it’s like you’re smoking. They have some juice without nicotine, so you can add a drop of that, and eventually taper down to no nicotine. We are happy because we already feel better, and the dent in out wallet is significantly less!

Modern day smoking

I met with the baker this morning and we signed a contract/non disclosure agreement. She won’t have to worry about me telling everyone on the island her secret recipes, and I won’t have to worry about getting paid. This lady dreams big, and she has plans for me to write her cookbook, and for Dan to take the pictures.

Standing on the baker's driveway, looking down at Sleeping Giant
Right now, I’ve got 6 weeks of good work, and she’s put Dan to work fixing her computers and designing the packaging for her products. And that’s good enough for us. It’s tricky not making plans, and going with the flow, but it turns out that life is juicier that way!

She adopted three birds. On your left is Lola, Shakespeare is looking at the camera. Hoppy, a Mynah bird, is off screen hopping around on one leg. The birds enjoy people food, on glass plates!
We’re off to Kalapaki Beach. Dan has decided it’s time to use his surfboard, and I’m going to read a good book while he’s at it. Life is a beach =)