Chris and I just got back from a babymoon in Maui. Ah, it is so nice to be home, but ah, it was just so nice to be away.
The last time we were on that island, we were on our honeymoon 12 years ago. We found quite a few new areas that we fell in love with this time and asked ourselves why did we not find them before? Ah, yes, the Internet. After Chris and I ran off to Kauai all those years ago and got married on a beach, we spent a few hours posting photos from our wedding in Kauai to our website for friends and family to see. We remembered how slow it was and how long it took over what was not called dial-up but should have been, and how expensive it was because we were paying by the minute. Since the Internet was not a big thing in all Hawaii resorts at the time, we were at the mercy of guidebooks, maps, and word of mouth.
This time we had word of mouth from friends that frequent Maui often AND the Internet. We found two little towns on the road to Hana that were perfect for us. No, we did not drive the road all the way to Hana. I am not sure I could have handled it with how many times I have to pee per hour, and sometimes the winding turns makes my big belly a bit queasy. 12 years ago we never explored the east side of the island (only the west and south parts). This time we found: Paia and Makawao.
Paia is on the way to Hana and is on the Hana Highway. It is right on the water and the beaches that neighbor this small strip of a town are ones that in the winter have the massive waves that attract surfers from all over. So Paia could be called a surfer town, but without all the cheese and touristy feel of say a Lahaina (sorry for those of you Maui buffs that love Lahaina). It is an old sugar plantation town. I kept trying to rack my brain for what Paia felt like to me. It was like an Ojai, California in Hawaii with more shops and restaurants. It felt natural and real without the pretentiousness of the shops in Wailea that bring those from the neighboring Four Seasons resort. It inspired my senses and creativity.
Then we drove down Baldwin Ave to Makawao. I had heard about Makawao because of the famous “malasadas” known mostly in Honolulu at Leonard’s Bakery. Since we were not going to Honolulu, I wanted to try what I could in Maui. A little Internet research told me that T Komoda Bakery was one of the places to go to try their version. So of course I wanted to continue south on Baldwin to explore Makawao and get a malasada. I found another interesting little town, inland, but just as charming. Almost as though you were going to be in wine country, only you are actually in cattle country. Galleries, boutiques, and restaurants down another cute strip.
Oh, and guess what? T Komoda Bakery was on vacation from the day we arrived for 3 weeks. So no malasadas, but we found two great towns that will be on the list the next time we are back in Maui. And yes we still got malasadas – thank you to Home Maid Bakery. They do not start making their evening batch until 4 pm, and on our way back from Paia and Makawao were an hour early and they still made us a dozen!
I am glad to be home in my bed, but I do already miss paradise and my daily dose of shave ice!
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of talking to my seat mates on an airplane. I am more of the put-on-my-headphones and check-out-of-the-world passenger. Call me snobby, an introvert, or selfish, but I just do not like to engage in dialogue on an airplane. I am fine with the quick “where is your final destination” or other banter that only lasts for a few minutes.
So when I was flying back from Chicago late last week, I had quite the experience on my flight – in a good way. I was in a middle seat, which is my least favorite. I am more of an aisle girl, which gives me more freedom to get up whenever I want, and no one on one side of me. The flight was completely booked, and my ticket did not allow me to select my seat until I checked in. At the time of check-in there were only middle seats left, and I was a bit bummed. It meant being stuck if the individual in the aisle was asleep, etc.
So back to my flight. I settle into my middle seat and look to the man at my left who is in the window seat and is asleep. He looks familiar to me. For awhile I cannot place him, but my intuition tells me that I know him, but just cannot place him yet. I am wiped out after a full week of meetings in Chicago, and know I may sleep most of the flight. I close my eyes for a while as we take off, and eventually my neck hurts based on the horrible seat on the old plane and how I am sitting. The man to the right of me, in the aisle seat, brings his laptop down from the overhead bin, and based on the tag on the bottom of his laptop I knew he worked at my same company. I decided to ask him where he worked within our company, and we ended up talking for the first half of the flight.
I then was able to place the man in the window seat. He is the father of a good friend’s daughter’s husband. I know a few degrees of separation, but I met him about a year ago. We ended up talking until the end of the flight, and near the time of our descent into the Portland area, both of my seat mates began talking to each other about surfing in Oregon, California, and Hawaii.
I remarked to each of them that it was a first for me to sit between two people on a flight that I knew or was connected to in some way (of course other than someone I am specifically traveling with). I told them that I generally try to sit in my own bubble during a flight and not talk to others. They each remarked that our row of three seats were some of their best traveling companions. Such an interesting flight – it went by fast. You never know who might be sitting right next to you!
Independence Day brings a song to my thought and an image of my dad singing along. It brings tears to my eyes, because as much as my father had his crazy differences with the world and sometimes the government, that man was patriotic, and he loved his country.
Every Fourth of July we would get together as a family and usually go to the local reservoir, have a picnic, or BBQ, play games outside and wait for it to get dark to watch the fireworks. I never got into the thrill of fireworks. While I have seen some amazing firework displays in Michigan, Boston, and Hawaii, I never got crazy excited about them. I mean, as a little kid, sparklers scared me. I always felt my hand was going to catch on fire.
I digress. The song that makes me think of my dad. It is not America the Beautiful, or the National Anthem that reminds me of Independence Day, it is Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” I can picture the emotion in my dad’s face whenever that song came on the radio, so much so that when I hear it I cannot control the tears that come to my eyes. It makes me proud to know that his emotion was shared with me.
Whether you are watching fireworks on the Charles River Esplanade while listening to the Boston Pops, or are on a boat on a lake in the middle of our country, at the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C. or camping at one of our national parks on Thursday, or comfortable at home on your patio, I hope you take a moment to enjoy your family, friends, and be grateful to all the men and women who have fought and defended our country and given us incredible freedoms.
Take a moment to think about all the ways you are free.
“It’s great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” -Rita Rudner
Oh have I found that one person. Today is my tenth wedding anniversary, and boy have I had the time of my life. For those of you that might have read my blog for the past year and a half, you would not be shocked to hear me ooh and ah about my husband. I have often written about how I am addicted to him, and how our marriage works, but today I can hardly believe that ten years ago we stood on a beach in Hawaii, barefoot in the sand at sunset, just the two of us, starting our life together.
Of course Chris is my special person that I enjoy annoying. Mostly through the times when I (or we) are being silly. I love to get under his skin, as long as it means that at the end of the playful moment I have him laughing or happily rolling his eyes. Without laughter, what is the point?
Christopher, I look forward to the next ten years where we laugh, play, and grow together. You are my favorite person, and the one I love waking up next to each morning, and the one I hope I fall asleep before at night. You are the one I love texting in the middle of the day to find out how your day is going. I love that you laugh at my often made up words, and somehow you still understand me. We push each other to look at life differently each day, and I am honored that I get to spend my life with you.
Here is to another ten years that I get to annoy you. Happy Anniversary!
Another year has gone by and Sunday is, yet again, another Mother’s Day. I am still not yet a mother myself. Each year, I have a bit of nostalgia and a bit of numbness for a day that comes each year. It has been 19 years since I have celebrated Mother’s Day with my mom. It is hard to believe that it has been almost two decades. How is that even possible? I struggle with the concept that I have spent more of my life without my mom then I ever spent with her in my life.
Has it made me independent? Hell yeah. Has it made me miss her? Hell yeah. I have often been asked by others: “What is the hardest part about losing a loved one?” Many think it is the days and weeks surrounding their passing. Yes, that part is hard. What is harder? The months later. For a child, it might be a future “bring mom to school” day. For a teenager, it might be going to prom and wishing their mom was there to see them off, or wishing their loved one was there to watch them receive their diploma. Whatever the situation, it can be incredibly hard months and often years later when the depths of pain and sadness rip you apart in ways you never expected.
I can tell you this from experience. The day before my wedding, Chris and I made the decision to get married — just the two of us on a beach in Hawaii. It felt so right for us to start this stage of our life together, just us saying our vows together. No fluff, no commitments to others, just two lives joining together. That day, before we got married, I got sad. I had no idea I would miss my mom so much. Just thinking about it almost ten years later I have tears streaming down my face. I wanted her to be able to watch me with pride join my life with Chris, and yet I had no idea her absence would be so hard for me until that moment when I was preparing for my special day.
Chris might have thought my oddness that day meant I was afraid of getting married and that I might back out of our wedding. Yet, I was not afraid of marrying Chris, I was just sad. I had no idea the absence of my mom would hit me so hard on such a happy time in my life. I do not remember if I missed my dad that day, only that my mom should have been there and watched me marry this wonderful man.
Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I hope you can see all that I have become in life and all that I have. I am a grateful daughter with so much to be thankful for every day. Life has not always been easy, but I have learned so much along the way. It has made me speak up, say what is on my mind (whether Chris likes it or not) and I think you would be proud.