Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lucky We Live Kauai

Dan went back out Tuesday morning to catch the sunrise.

I am so grateful to Kauai for taking my dreams and spinning them into reality. Things are lining up so nicely, I couldn’t have planned it better myself! A big concern of mine, and a recurring theme on this blog, has been money. Not only are we sustainable, but we can actually save. Plus, we both have health insurance. We will be staying in the treehouse for another year or so, and stockpile money and toys, before we find a bigger place.

After I post this, I’m going to get cleaned up and head down to the farmers market in Lihue. I’m going to pick up some locally made feta cheese (made with goat milk-Greek style) and do some networking. My client Larry works there, he is part of the farm bureau. I can't remember if I wrote about it, but I cook 10 meals every two weeks for him. It pays for my twice weekly workouts with Paula.

Here’s some of the feed back I’ve been getting from Larry. They come in the form of a quick email and go like this, “The pork chop dinner was to die for. It's like living in a restaurant and you don't have to talk to or tip the waiter and there is no dress code . . . The chicken dish was fabulous last night. Now, instead of thinking of dinner as something I need to do in order to survive, it gets my attention and I stop every now and then and think about the wonderful taste, texture, aroma, etc. It is like culinary sex. This was such a smart idea!”

How excellent is that! Of course I’m happy that he likes my food, that he thinks it’s worth the money, but to know that he is enjoying it so thoroughly is really satisfying! He’s the perfect client; easy, easy, easy. He likes all kinds of food, so I get to cook what I like and not worry about it. 

I got a ton of ginger last week from the farmer, so I made some ginger popsicles. A great way to cool off in the heat.
People are starting to contact me to cover their restaurant or event. Last week I got an email from the Hawaii Hotel and Lodging Association. They were having a fund-raiser (they’re a non profit) and they were showcasing local food. The president of the Kauai chapter happens to read my column, so she knew I was into local food, and she asked if I could cover it.

Working out is paying off as I am able to get into this dress again! This is what I wore when I met the former mayor.
I got to sit with the former mayor of Honolulu Mufi Hannemann, and a farmer from Oahu who works with Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, two legendary Hawaiian chefs. I also sat with the president of the Kauai County Farm Bureau, and I got to interview local boy and executive chef of the Kauai Marriott resort. It was an awesome night, and Dan and I ate really good.
Now, I get to decide who I want to write about for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! Fun, Fun! 

Lucy being her amazingly cute self! I was making dinner and I turned around and saw this, I had to get a shot!
Thanks to Facebook, and my weekly chats with mom and dad, I know the weather is turning for cooler temps on the mainland. Here on Kauai, as summer turns to fall, I don’t notice a difference in temperature. I am basking in sunshine and trade winds in the land of Forever Summer. 

Baxter basking in the morning sun.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Fine Balance

Sunrise at the top of Sleeping Giant

Next to less money, balance is the biggest adjustment for me to make on my path to actualizing dreams. Since we are recreating our lives with intention, it helps when I pay attention. I have yet to cultivate patience and have crammed the last six weeks with change, and yesterday it came to a head. 

Whoever came before me, scattered rose petals. They brightened the trail from top to bottom.

Six weeks ago, we quit smoking. Yea! It finally stuck. The trick for us was electronic cigarettes, and now I find myself using it less. When we quit, I immediately felt more energy, maybe because the stress of feeling so bad about smoking was eased. Plus, I am getting more oxygen. 

Baxter enjoying the morning sun 
Five weeks ago, I started seeing Paula, a personal trainer. I lift weights twice a week for 90 minutes, and try to hike Sleeping Giant three times a week. I didn’t get a picture of me to post, but I do feel like the weight is coming off. Although there is no need to buy smaller clothes yet!

Fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice made with grapefruit from a friend's tree. 

Three weeks ago, I hired a writing coach. She really got me focused, and I worked hard to find local publishers, their writing guidelines, and a list of ideas to pitch to each of them. I crafted a few letters and sent them to magazines, but I ended up firing her because she was trying to poach work that I had found for myself. 

One thing Dan and I are not going to do, is go hungry. Between the restaurant articles, farmers giving us food, and friends giving us food, we have plenty! This is a salsa I made with all local ingredients: lime, ginger, lilikoi, avocado, papaya, tomatoes, tomatillos, red onion, and basil. It doesn't look that great but it was yummy!
Wednesday, I went with Dan's boss Michele, to a Women Empowering Women networking meeting. It was really great to meet women in my community, but the pupus were atrocious. I was invited to cook for the next one, as long as I bought all the food!

Freshly harvested ginger

Thursday, Dan and I went to interview a farmer. He farms on 45 acres and gave us about 30 pounds of papayas that he just picked off the tree, along with some limes, avocados, and about 10 pounds of ginger. We had to stop by Tutu's Soup Hale and give them some ginger and avos! I made ginger-ale, and ginger popsicles. 

On September 11th, we spent our time on a boat for my farmers markets column.

Leaving Nawiliwili Harbor

Darrell, on the left, is a bail bondsman. But on Sundays, he is a commercial fisherman. Bruce, on the right, is a friend who helps him out. 

Dan got seasick, and din't appreciate me taking his picture on the "worst day of his entire life."

I, on the other hand, had a fantastic day! It reminded me of my uncle Manel and my mother, both loved to fish. Plus, Bruce is my dad's name.
First, we caught live bait.

The bait gets put in a bucket that has a hose attached to it. The hose pumps in fresh sea water and air. By the end of the trip, it was my job to get the bait and give it to Bruce. 

Friday I cooked all day for a new client. He is a bachelor and wants 10 healthy meals every other week. Before me, he lived off veggie burgers and steamed broccoli. I cooked my butt off, and I loved every minute of it! It makes me happy to cook meals that are good for him with ingredients that are good for the planet. I gave him some of my ginger-ale for a special treat.

We were doing a story on Uku, or green snapper, and Bruce caught a big one!

Yesterday, I was supposed to go to maha`ulepu for a beach clean up, stop at a farmers market for some networking, and go to a friends party. But when I got up, I felt like I was getting sick. I think someone at Paula’s said they were getting sick. So I decided I would write this blog post, and two articles for the paper, and make sure I called my niece to wish her happy birthday. 

Unfortunately, on the way up, a reef shark took most of it.

None of that happened. I crashed hard. After breakfast, I fell asleep. I did a little restorative yoga after Dan went to work, had lunch, and fell asleep until he came home. I just didn’t have anything left. 

The fish was about this big before it got ate by the shark.

Fortunately for me, and despite what I sometimes think, my husband does pay attention! He could see this coming, and tried to gently warn me. But like him, I am stubborn, and I had my mind set. I needed to earn more money dammit! Before he left for work, he asked, “What do you have to get done today?” I thought for a second and petulantly said, “Nothing.” So he said, “Don’t do anything then.” 

Darrell did catch a 7 pound one, so we met him later that night at his restaurant The Jailhouse Pub, and he cooked it up and gave it to us!

Going forward, I need to remember to slow down, and enjoy paradise. My life was out of balance before, that’s why I came packing to Shangri-la. Without the overhead that we had in Colorado, I can afford to say, “Hey! Slow down. Stop and smell the plumerias.” 

The whole fish was steamed, then topped with thinly sliced fresh ginger and green onions. Darrell poured hot peanut oil over the top to crisp things up, then warm say sauce for flavor. YUM!

But I wonder, why is it so hard to be happy with what I have. Wanting more always steals my joy, my time, and my energy. Has anyone out there figured out how to create balance in their lives?

This morning, Dan got up at 4:30 to catch the sunrise.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Forgot To Be Grateful

me at the farmers market with my new shirt. I've got wing beans in my left hand and ginger in the right.

I forgot to be grateful for what I have. And I learned that when you want something you can’t have, it’s easy to forget about what you do have.
Thursday morning I woke up feeling blue. I spent a lot of energy doing the homework my writing coach assigned me. On Tuesday, I submitted a cover letter and resume for a local food magazine. My coach says I’m perfect for the job, but I still haven’t heard from them. Fine, I know freelance writing is going to be tough, and I know I need to do something else to supplement writing.

Wing beans taste like green beans
I wasn’t going to be able to keep seeing my trainer, I can’t afford it. An idea came to me last week when I went to my trainer’s house, and a client of hers jokingly suggested I go upstairs and make them all lunch. On the drive home I thought I could make healthy lunches for the ladies, and that would pay for my classes and then some.

Paula, my trainer, with Jen
I made flyers and dropped them off. I had visions of my email box filling up, and the money for Thursday’s class appearing. It didn’t happen. So Thursday morning I lay in bed, mourning the loss of the class. It didn’t work out, it would be my last day.
I snuggled closer to Dan. He has always been super tuned into how I’m feeling, and he could tell something was up. He didn’t say anything. He just held me, caressed my face, stroked my hair. He looked me in the eye, his bright blue eyes blazing with love and concern.

On the hike up Sleeping Giant, there are towering pine trees.
I had a check in my hand, and when I walked in Paula was in the other room finishing up with Beatrice. I set the check on the counter and began my stretches. I noticed that my flyers were set out.

A grove of eucalyptus trees means I'm close to the top

Susanna was on the chi machine, the last part of the work out. You lay on your back with an eye pillow, and you get slowly vibrated—it’s supposed to move the lactic acid from your system so you don’t get sore. I guess it works because I haven’t gotten sore. 

Wailua River

Jen and Helen came bustling in, full of energy and catching up on two days worth of events—we’re the Monday/Thursday ladies. Paula and Beatrice joined us and Paula said, “Marta has something she’d like to tell you ladies.” Uh, I do? Ok cool, I can step up. So, I gave them my spiel. Beatrice ordered a lunch for next Thursday!

The Wailua Homesteads is where Dan and I hope to live one day

While we were working out, Paula told me of a client in Princeville. She is 68 years old and walks every day, swims four times a week, and plays golf two or three times a week. She is seeing Paula to introduce weights and stretching to her routine. Paula suggested to her that I could make her some healthy meals. 

The Houselots

As Jen, Helen and I prepared to leave. Dixie and another lady came in, and Paula had me explain my idea to them. Dixie is leaving to Peru next week, and the other lady sounded interested but didn’t order.
After the exercise and support I felt better. I came home to get the dogs and take them to hike Sleeping Giant, when I found love notes all over the house, six of them. On my mirror, on the bathroom morror, in the shower, inside my laptop, in the book I’m reading, and on the water pitcher in the fridge! 

And then I realized, I have everything I need.