Relationship retirement…..

Do you even remember a time before you got interested in the opposite sex? I do. Just one.

This is the way I remember it, some 54 years ago:

I was in the fifth grade, age 10, and was rumored to have the most beautiful blue eyes and a smile that could melt your heart by two girls in my class of 18  kids. I could have cared less. Well, this went on for the whole year of fifth grade, the mooning and giggling I mean, and then came summer vacation. I kept myself gloriously busy with farm stuff, shooting BB guns, throwing knives, cracking a bullwhip, chopping down trees in the woods. You know, fun stuff. Then came the fair. It was a small local fair with rides, games, cow barns, bunny judging (which I won plenty of blue ribbons), and the works that came to town the 3rd week of August, just before we went back to school. Being the 60’s, it was ok to drop a ten-year-old boy off by himself and pick him up when the fair closed.

Well, these two poor girls hadn’t seen me all summer. It just happened that the three of us ended up at the fair the same night. That’s when the chasing started. Those two chased me from barn to barn, ride to ride, game to game. I wasn’t sure what they wanted from me, but I didn’t want any part of it. I was pretty quick and lost them plenty, but they finally caught up to me at the Chuck-a-Luck game. It was then that I had to break it to them, I hated girls. And leave me alone. I might just as well hit them over the head with a bat. It was the first time I broke a girls heart  (two in fact). Didn’t matter to me, cause I hated girls, but to them, I am sure it was a big deal.

p8-6

Sixth grade started, same kids. They wouldn’t give me the time of day (like I cared anyway). I was glad they were off my back. But still, I had this new feeling like I had done something wrong like my Mom was disappointed in me. Little did I know a lifetime of chasing and being chased had just begun.

This memory came back to me yesterday. After school, I took my son to the beach to go boogie boarding. As I sat in my chair a few yards away, I could see him having a great time, fully absorbed in what he was doing. After we had been there a while, a family set up chairs next to me. Mom, Dad, and two kids, one of them a cute little girl about my son’s age. Somehow she noticed my son on his board and tried to get his attention, even getting in his way a few times. You could see she wanted to meet him. My son couldn’t have cared less. If it was a boy with a Boogie Board, they would have become best friends in about 10 minutes. He is in the pre-relationship zone.

The first time I fell in love was when I was about 12. Funny how a couple of years changes things. I went with my parents on a vacation to Las Vegas (a lot different in those days) and we stayed in a hotel not far from downtown, 2 blocks maybe, that had a pool. My parents would head to the casinos in the morning, bring me lunch at noon, then head back to the casinos until dark. I played in the pool or stayed in the room. A girl staying there at the same time and seemed to have the same schedule as me. She was at the pool alone every day. Every day I became more interested in her, but never said a word. I thought she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen.Then after about 5 days, she was gone. I was heartbroken. Not only did I never tell her how I felt, but she was gone, and I didn’t know who she was. When I got home, unknown to my parents, I looked up the hotel on a postcard we got from there and wrote them a letter explaining who I was, and I just wanted to know who she was, so I could contact her and tell her how I felt. They never wrote back. It was the first time a girl broke my heart. I was heartbroken for months, and never told a soul what I was going through.

I got my first girlfriend at age 16, the day I turned 16. It was on a Friday, the same day I took my driver’s license test, passed, and got to drive the family car alone. That was our first date. We dated for a year until some hot pants wearing girl from California moved to our town and came to our school. I was smitten and got a slap in the face at a football game by my first girlfriend.  It was over and I didn’t care. Hot pants became my second, and there has been many over the years. Some I have married, some I have lived with, others dated, and some, well, let’s not talk about it.

I look at some of my friends who have been married for countless years, their whole lives really, and feel a tinge of envy. How did you get it right the first time out of the gate? But was it really right? Commitment is hard work and lot of sacrifice. When is it too much?  I would not be the same person I am today if my relationships had been different. Successes, failures, challenges, acquiesces, joy and hurt all gave me the perspective that I now look at life with.  Some I have stayed in touch with, others not so much. Ok, here’s the question always asked. “If you had the opportunity to do things differently…”. Of course, I would. I did plenty wrong. Sometimes I think I should have grabbed one of those fifth-grade girls and held them tight my whole life.

The last visit I had with my sister, the talented artist who painted the pictures for Imagine Me, I told her I was going into Relationship Retirement. “What on earth is that”? she inquired. “It means that after 50 years of trying to get it right with women, I am giving up. I am retiring from relationships”. Of course, it made perfect sense to me, given my track record and prospects. And her being close to my troubles agreed.  Trouble is, I am not ten years old anymore.

At ten, I didn’t know how valuable it is to have someone at your side. I didn’t know that you would give your life for someone else. I didn’t know that 1 plus 1 equals an unstoppable team. I didn’t know how healthy it is to be loved and love. I didn’t know that someone else might feel about you the same way you feel about them. At ten, I didn’t know that life might be better with a partner than being alone. How could I know at ten?

54 years later, I still don’t know the answer. Have I passed the relationship age?  Have I missed those passionate years? I tried to find those answers after my last relationship but left me with more questions than answers.

So I put myself on Relationship Retirement. Like a ten-year-old boy, without a clue about the opposite sex. “I am never getting into another relationship, ever again.” Seems so simple and easy. Would solve a lot of problems. Post relationship.

It’s not that simple.

If I had never tasted a raspberry, I wouldn’t know how it tasted?  If I had never gone on a roller coaster, how would I know the feeling in my stomach? If I had never had my first kiss, what would I miss? If I never waited until she breathlessly said I do at the altar, how would I know how it would affect my whole life? If I never heard my child say” Daddy”, how would I know my life is secondary? How would I know if these things didn’t happen?

I have had my heart broken countless times. I’m sure I have inflicted that pain on others. Could I have avoided all of this? No.  Well yes. if I had died at age 10. Love and the euphoria and pain that comes with it are part of the human experience. I would advise you not to miss it.

I’m thinking that getting a job might be good for me in retirement, to meet people and keep me involved. Maybe it might not be a bad idea to come out of relationship retirement just once, to meet someone and keep me involved. Or maybe an opportunity missed in the past, revisited. You just never know…

d8e5158c8ddd3dfa766777a00aa33693--cute-old-couples-forever-love

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intentional grounding…..

You thought I was going to talk about a football penalty (if you know anything about football). I’m not.

Ok, I got sucked in today to one of those outrageous Facebook ads that show up in your timeline, like “Baby eats Great White” or “Man holds breath underwater for 16 days”. Have you ever wondered why people put those on there? It’s called affiliate marketing. You click on the ad, it brings you to their page, and along with the article, gives you links to products and services. If one interests you, you click on it, and if you buy it, the affiliate (or person who generated the sale by directing you from their website) gets paid a commission. I want to talk about this at another time because I am actually looking into it. It’s a legitimate business model and has been around since the nineties. Don’t think I will be making outrageous claims, however. This is what caught my attention today.

Studies Show What Happens To The Human Body When We Walk Barefoot On Earth

It’s called grounding. Another name is Earthing, but that sounds too “Hippie”.  It does rhyme with birthing, however, and babies are born barefoot, and it feels like you are reborn when you connect with nature and the Earth.

I read the article, then to a link to an actual study by the Institutes of Health which goes into more detail and has actual science to back it up. It didn’t take much convincing for me to agree. Google it yourself if you want to know more.

In a nutshell, the Earth has an electron charge which transfers to you when you walk barefoot on soil, sand, grass, or anything natural. It will not transfer through man-made materials. When this transfer happens, there are all sorts of health benefits. Better sleep and less pain, stress, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, fatigue, and the list goes on.

Let’s think about it for a minute. Who are the least stressed out people you can think of? Yogi’s, Buddha’s, nature lovers, campers, people who live on tropical islands (that one I threw in there).  But really, it’s people without shoes on, connecting with nature. I would run out right now and find some bare ground to stand on.

When was the last time you really walked barefoot on Mother Earth? Other than running out at midnight in my bare feet to throw something in the trash before pickup day, I never did in Minnesota. Sure, I walked barefoot, but in the house, or on my porch or deck. That doesn’t count. You know what I was in Minnesota? Stressed out. And I had a very good life going there. Thinking back, I felt somewhat disconnected to it all. Maybe that’s why I spent thousands of dollars going on vacations to beach locations every year, to feel better.

You don’t have to hook me up to some fancy brain reading machine to know I feel a lot better now. I go barefoot all the time. And even before I was even aware of the existence of this study, I called it grounding in my mind when I went for my walks on the beach. To me, it meant bringing out my creativity,  and now I see it probably reduced my stress which in turn brings out creativity. There is no other way it can be done.

They say there is a lot of depression and mental illness in northern climates. They talk about the lack of light and being closed up inside for months. (Cabin Fever). But maybe this hits the mark more. When was the last time you didn’t have anything between you and Earth? No shoes, no socks, no floor, no car (I wonder if Fred Flintstone ever got road rage),  no deck, no driveway. I know it’s summer now but think about the long time when it’s not.

flintstonescar.jpg.size.custom.crop.1086x613

For thousands, millions, of years man has walked barefoot on the Earth. And he has survived really against unbelievable odds. Doesn’t the world seem to be getting crazier all the time? I never see TV coverage of barefoot vacationers or primitive tribes throwing rocks and looting. It’s always people with shoes on. Think about it.

I am convinced we have developed a phobia about going barefoot. It leaves us vulnerable, weak and inadequate. You might get hurt stepping on glass or a bug, catch a disease, or stub our toe. Shoes make you taller and give you a feeling of superiority. And since we can’t connect and recharge with the Earth, we develop more phobias. So you put your shoe armor on, protect yourself with concrete and wood, comfort yourself with carpet, and drift farther away from your connection with nature. Listen, I don’t have a foot fetish, but the foot is an amazing anatomical miracle. It’s a shame we feel the need to hide it.

I want to be closer to the Earth. I want my kids to be closer too. The Eclipse was a not so subtle reminder of just how magnificent these orbs in the universe really are.

So I didn’t buy anything from the Facebook link. But it did give me something of value. I can stop feeling guilty now about going to the beach because it’s good for me.

In fact, I am going to head down there right now, and do a little Intentional Grounding.

FBB09C05-52F2-4871-9DA4-AB9336D78621

Just a side note. This is an interesting picture that was hanging in the bathroom of a resort I stayed in a few years ago. Every time I looked at the picture, either the footprints showed as imprints in the sand, and other times they were inverted like they were raised out of the sand. I still can’t make it do both. It just happens.

 

A Giant problem…..

My son is a Seattle Seahawks fan. He became one on the way to Hawaii from Minnesota one year when the Seahawks were in the Superbowl, and we happened to be in the Seattle airport on a layover at that exact time. I guess he got caught up in with the enthusiasm of all the people there. I like them too, but consider myself an on again/off again long suffering Vikings fan. I was there for all of their Superbowl losses, and many disappointing playoffs, not to mention some Jim Dandy seasons. They acted like they won the Superbowl last Sunday when they won a preseason game over the 49er’s by one point. I guess you take what you can get.

vikings two

This morning on the way to school, he announced to me that he has a second favorite team, the New York Giants. The conversation went something like this:

“Dad, I think I have a new team that I like, but I still like the Seahawks more.” He said.

“Who is that, buddy?” I questioned.

“I think I like the Giants. I think they are a pretty good team”. he happily answered.

“You don’t want to like them because they play dirty. They are not a nice team” was my reply.

“But Dad, you don’t even watch them. Why would you say that?”

He, of course, was right. I haven’t watched them play for I don’t remember how long, but I have been carrying a grudge ever since I thought they carried out what I considered to be dirty football on the hapless Vikings. That was many years ago. Any reasonable person would be thinking they don’t have one single person on the roster or in management now that was there then. That makes me unreasonable. In this case, as in many others, it’s true.

Now I am teaching my son how to hold a grudge.

It’s funny how we hang on to things that no longer are true. Much of the World is in disharmony because of it. Long standing grievances, injustices, misinformation, or just plain stupidity. I need look no further than myself to see that I am a bundle of judgments and opinions based on my perception of an event or events in the past. They may not even have been mine but planted into my head by the misinformed opinion of someone else. (Like I am now doing with my son).

This is very similar to living in the moment. If you are truly living in the moment, then past judgment is gone, because you now acquiring new judgments in the moment, not dragging them from the past. I have a hard time living in the moment. If I am not thinking of some future event which I think I have control over (but I don’t), I am mulling over something that happened in the past (again, which I have no control over). Living in the present doesn’t mean just stopping to smell the flowers. It’s more about being aware of what’s real or not, what’s happening right now, and not a future or past event. Having control of your opinions. Having the wisdom when to talk, and when to listen.

They say with age you gain wisdom, but is it the right kind. My guess is that it takes real wisdom to know the difference.

It was a real eye opener for me this morning. Instead of a Father interested in his son’s discoveries and having a positive discussion about it, I was teaching him to hold grudges,  give opinions without merit, and start to question his ability to make a good decision.

In hindsight, the conversation should have gone something like this:

“Dad, I think I have a new team that I like, but I still like the Seahawks more.” He said.

“Who is that, buddy?” I questioned.

“I think I like the Giants. I think they are a pretty good team”. he happily answered.

I would answer “That’s great buddy, I hear they are a pretty good team too. Why don’t you tell me about them. Maybe next time they play, we could watch them together.”

“I would like that, Dad.”

“Me too buddy.”

should_i_quit_watching_football_for_my_kids

Creating memories is a huge responsibility. Like a first impression, it can’t be changed.

I thought it was a Giant problem, but it was mine all along….

 

 

 

 

 

Dog gone it….Update.

I bet you were expecting me to tell you I got a dog today. I didn’t, and now there’s a twist. I went to the beach today for a walk, no sitting and thinking, no walking and  thinking. Just walking. Being a Monday, it was very quiet with few people and fewer dogs. When I got back to my car and proceeded out of the parking lot, an animal enforcement truck from the Humane Society pulled in. I watched as he parked the truck facing the beach, and I assumed he was there to eat his lunch in the truck, being noon time. I was curious because of my big spiel on my blog the day before so turned around and parked in the lot also. I guess you could say I was watching him watch.

Soon enough came a guy with an unleashed dog.  I recognized him as a sort of a fixture at this beach. He is there, every day, all day, and lives in an old conversion van. (You could say he is homeless, not minivan homeless). Comes early in the morning and leaves before they close the gate for the night. Always has a big smile for everyone, very tan, and very lean and fit. (I figure he doesn’t eat much). After my two month trip back to Minnesota, upon again seeing him at the beach, he had acquired a dog (or a dog acquired him, hard to say). The steely eyed dog detective watched him carefully as he made his way back to his van. Then he sped over to the van, rolled his window down, and called him over.

I watched as the van guy leashed his dog, climbed into his van and came out with what appeared to be his license (surprised he had one), and handed it to the dog catcher. I figured that was enough snooping, so with a last look at him standing at the window of the truck, I left. I imagine something transpired. Either a warning, a ticket, or maybe shared his lunch. I’m guessing he couldn’t scrape up money for a soda, let alone a ticket. Regardless, I came away with a different feeling than the day before.

It didn’t help either that I was followed the entire 15 miles from dropping my son at his school this morning by a police car. The roads are two lanes, and very hilly with lots of curves. The speed limit is 20 to 30 miles per hour. That is tough to maintain, as about 30 cars behind us by the time we reached the four lane will attest to. Another one followed me from the market to my house. I was thinking today must be the day.

I have never gone to prison, spent a night in jail (or even a minute), or have gotten into any real trouble. That’s not to say I don’t pucker up when a cop follows me. I think it goes back more to my youth. Growing up when I did, it was fashionable to be anti-establishment, and I embraced that role fully. These were the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon, Kent State days. Big government, the police, and the militia were definitely not in favor. It shaped my thinking then, and it still does.

No, I am not a big protester, hate the police, try to overthrow the government, chain my self to a tree kind of person. But I do favor the underdog (get it) when I see injustice. I think the dogs should be allowed to run free on the beach. I get it that some people might find it offensive, or scared of them, or just plain annoyed. Can you imagine how that dog would feel, get on the expansive beach, room to run free, frolick in the water, and be tied up and have to be controlled by the speed of the owner? Now that’s a crime.

They have a couple of dog parks here where dogs can be unleashed. But for me, I’m out. It seems to be that the dog owners are required to huddle together and talk about their dogs. I don’t want to talk about everyone’s dog. I want to watch my dog run as fast as they can, jump in the air, swim in the sea. And I don’t have to chit chat with someone.

I think I am going to start a beach dog watch. If I see the over zealous dog napper pull in, I will warn people walking their dogs, just like the drivers flash their lights to oncoming traffic when there is a cop lurking nearby. Who knows, if I put it on Youtube and get a million views, it might change the world, one dog at a time.

dog catcher

 

Dog gone it…..

My son wants me to get a dog. He says I need one because I’m lonely. I’m not lonely (well, maybe sometimes), but I don’t think I’m ready for that level of commitment. I know, because I have had lots of dogs in my life. And I loved them all. Some were only in my life for a short time, only months, and some were for many years. My last dog was a white Westie named Lily. Her ashes are on the desk in front of me as I write this. She lived 14 years. There really is no good argument about not getting one. I’m using the fact I can’t have one at my rental house as my excuse for now.

IMG_1390

Maui has a leash law, meant to protect people, animals, and property. It’s a good idea of course. Very few people follow the law. There are always dogs on the beach. Maybe 1 out of 50 is on a leash. I think that’s ok, especially since it is surprising how all the dogs are so well behaved. Sometimes they will come up to you as you sit or walk, but most of the time they are enjoying running, swimming, and digging so much they pretty much ignore other people. And there are all kinds of dogs, more Pit Bulls than anything else. Seem to be popular in Maui, although it must be popular to get rid of them too, because they are also the most populous dog at the shelter. The morning and late afternoon is when there are more dogs on the beach than during the day. It appears that people will take their dog out for a run before and after work, and I don’t think many tourists bring their dogs with them on vacation.

Word of warning:  Be careful if you want to rest on one of the few logs on the beach. They are the frequent rest stops for many a male. (Dog that is)

 

Yesterday, I met a dog named Ranger. Mixed breed, long hair, about the size of collie. He was with his owner about 75 feet away from me, and ran over to see me (maybe he thought I had a snack for him). He sat down, leaned against my chair, and pretty much stayed that way for about a half an hour. I think his owner was glad he wasn’t getting into any mischief, so was apparently in no hurry to come get him. I didn’t mind either. I was at the beach alone, and I enjoyed having the company. Eventually he got called to go, and with a backward glance and a smile for me, he was gone. It did get me thinking that maybe my son was right, maybe I should get a dog.

If I did, I would get one at the Maui Humane Society. My kids belong (I need to do that too), and we go down and see the cats and dogs every couple of weeks or so. It is a great facility for the pets, and they have a caring philosophy.

Mission Statement:
The Maui Humane Society’s mission is to protect and save the lives of Maui’s animals; accepting all in need, educating the community, and inspiring respect and compassion towards all animals.
4a19ba7e-4218-4d02-b45e-38f34b2d25ee
I always wear sunglasses when I go. I shed a few tears every time, and don’t want the
kids to wonder what’s wrong with me.      I know they try to place them all, but can’t help
thinking of why and how that pet came to be here.     And I hope they find a good home
where they will be loved and not mistreated.
For now I am enjoying watching the dogs on the beach.     They are all grinning ear to ear
running on the sand and jumping in the water.      It’s probably as close to doggy paradise
as you could get.
Getting another pet is a big decision.  It has to for all the right reasons. I am going to go to
the beach today as soon as I am done with this post.    The beach is a good place to think
and sort out your life.    Volunteers bring the shelter dogs to the beach with adopt me
collars.      Who knows, I might not be coming home alone. Dog gone it….

 

Just one more light…..

I share duties bringing the kids to their schools, which are a 20 minute drive apart. It takes about an hour in the morning, and the same in the afternoon for the entire round trip home again. Eats up a big chunk of time in the day. Bus service is scarce here, and worse this year as there is a shortage of bus drivers, so more parents have to drive their kids to school, which creates a worse traffic problem at peak times. (I asked my son if I should be a bus driver, and he say “No way Dad. I can’t tell my friends that my Dad is a school bus driver.” That ended that dream. Sorry Jon (a friend of mine who drives a bus.)

At those peak time, traffic is literally backed up for miles, and it’s because there are 3 stoplights that separate the 3 upcountry towns from the 4 lane going into the main city. One thing I have to say about Maui drivers, they are polite, and always, I mean always, stop and let cars in the lane from the side roads or merging. May not always make the person behind them happy, but nice if you trying to get in. I have always looked stoplights and miles ahead when driving. I even scour the parking lot I am going to before I even turn in to see the traffic pattern and all available open spots.  I think that’s a good driving habit. My bad one is that I really judge bad drivers, or at least ones that don’t live up to my expectations. I am trying to get over that.

This morning, as I was slowly moving from stoplight to stoplight, there is always an odd driver blocking your way to getting through the next one. These are the people you wonder why they are on the road at that time. It is obvious they don’t need to get anywhere at a specific time like everyone else. They just slow the whole thing down. I pictured it all from above, and thought of ants, heading to food and the nest, food and the nest, food and the nest.

Flickr_-_ggallice_-_Spoils_of_the_raid

I have a lot of ants where I live now. They just appear out of nowhere. I left my breakfast plate on the counter this morning, and after my shower, it had ants all over it. I just walked into my daughters bedroom, and the place was covered with ants. Apparently the air conditioner I installed yesterday imported ants from the place I got it. I sprayed the room and closed the door. Going to be a cleaning project later. Maybe the two families of ants will get in a big fight, and destroy each other.

After looking at the ants, I decided they aren’t a good description for the traffic flow. Too disorganized and scurrying everywhere. Would be like if we had no roads, and drivers going to work just headed out on big open fields. So I decided on Sheep.

2016_6$largeimg203_Jun_2016_155213653

Mindless of their fate. One in front of the other, the speed of one determines the speed of the other. Occasionally,  one with self awareness (like the one in the picture) knows what’s happening, tries to break free, runs from the crush, and for a brief instant is unfettered. That incident on the road might end in road rage, an accident, or at the least, a ticket.

As you look and study the nameless faces in the numberless cars around you, all facing the same direction like being at a movie, you think how little has changed since Henry Ford produced cars for the sheep, I mean masses.

587276

.Is this then our fate for the next 100 years. You can be sure it isn’t.

Hawaii probably has more Tesla’s than any state. People here are very aware of the environmental impact of combustion, and moving towards being totally green. Futurists say that in 15 years, if a better battery storage system is developed, gas burning cars will be a thing of the past. Except for collectibles, which I’m beginning to think no one collects anything anymore. So everyone is in an electric car. Big deal. You just can’t hear the car as you sit in traffic.

But technology being what it is, the self driving car will also be as commonplace then as ants are on my counter now.  Does that mean you just tell Alexa or Google you want to be picked up at 7:00 for your ride to work, then again at 5:00 to get home? The computer will know the traffic flow and ride time estimates, so even if a few other people clamor in for their ride too, it won’t affect your arrival. It won’t be a regular car anyway. It may have pods for privacy, or rear facing seats (you don’t need to look ahead) so you can visit or do your work on a built in workstation. You may have a car in your garage, for going on errands, but your work commute will go smoothly. Every car will drive the same speed, and with shared rides, will lessen the traffic problem. It would be like being Donald Trump. “I need a ride to the airport. Call my chauffeur”. Who wouldn’t want to take the stress of the ride to work away.

Let’s not stop there, because you can’t stop progress. Flying cars are here now, and you may be picked up in a flier. Same theoretical process, only now on predetermined air routes to shorten yet the time. Now we are moving away from the sheep, and going back to a more organized ant infestation.

0c40ba8ce0a1be7e6e3a73b095000e12

So that should take us the next 25 years or so to become reality. But what after that? What will be our form of transportation be in 100 years. I don’t think I will get to see it, but I know my kids will. I am excited for them. We know interstellar travel is on the doorstep, secrets of the universe will be discovered, huge leaps in human maximum lifespan is almost here now, jobs and work as we know it now will not exist.

If the human race can keep themselves from blowing themselves out of existence, just think of the things to come.  My half full thinking is seeing the positive outcome, the better way of life, where everyone benefits. Sickness is no more, death is but a form change, all unknowns are known. Then again, maybe it’s the musings of a madman.

One thing is for sure. The human spirit is always looking for a better way. That’s the way humans are. I wonder if sheep and ants think that too.

A lot to think about as the car in front of me starts to move. If I can just get through one more light…………..

 

 

 

The Aloha Spirit………….

First I want to say thank you for all the encouragement and positive feedback from my Facebook post today. It’s one thing to be writing down a bunch of stuff for strangers or thin air, but quite another to your friends, loved ones, and peers. I agonized for months whether I should expose my secret blog, and even my book, to my closest friends. You would think after 64 years, I couldn’t care less, but I do. Today you showed me your Aloha Spirit. What is the Aloha Spirit? Good question. Even Google couldn’t give me a straight answer without a lot of boring Hawaiian explanations. What happened to me today might explain.

Believe it or not, Maui has seasons. There is the hot season, and the not so hot season. Hot means low 90’s at sea level. Not so hot, in the low 80’s. We are in the hot season right now. Where I live, at 1400 feet above sea level, it’s a bit cooler, but can still get hot during the day in my house.  My daughter has a 14th Birthday on Saturday, and I thought it would be nice to get her an air conditioner for her room, being the Scandinavian cold blooded descendants we are ( the other half is Greek, so you get what you get). I have been looking on Craigslist for one, and picked out someone that had two for sale. (Needed one for the living room too). I sold a lot of stuff on Craigslist in Minnesota trying to get rid of my stuff, and knew a lot of interested buyers simply never showed up. So this wise person put a time, 10:00 AM to Noon, first come first served.

Traffic and roads being what they are here, I followed a slow truck and showed up at the house at 10:05. There were two women in the garage. I stepped out of my car and said I was here for the two air conditioners. The younger of the two, with a very cute baby strapped to her said, someone just bought them, sorry. No problem, I said, wasn’t meant to be (Always hated that phrase in the car business. Meant no sale).

As I opened my car door to leave, the girl with the baby asked me if I could help load them in the buyers car. Turns out the other lady was the buyer. Of course I said yes, and proceeded to put them in the back of her car. When I was done, the buyer told me she had two air conditioners that she was replacing with these because they had no window vents, and if I would follow her to her house, I could look at them. As the buyer was backing out of the driveway, the seller turned to me and said that the Spirit of Aloha was there today. I helped her, and in turn, will help me.

I followed her.  About 15 minutes later, we arrived at her house. It was in a neighborhood I had never been in before. Very cool mix of old Hawaiian with more modern houses. When I say that, picture $500,000 houses to $10,000,000 houses. She had me back my car into the garage, which was very steep, to load the two air conditioners. Assumed the sale, I like that.  There was a helmet and scooter very similar to my son’s in the garage. I asked the age of her son, and turns out to be the same age as mine. She turned out to be a child psychologist, and we had a long discussion about kids that age while she showed me her house, which was rented, which they were giving up and moving to a new one. A million dollar view for sure. My next place to live, I thought, as we headed back down to the garage.  We agreed upon a price for the two air conditioners. The ones she bought, and the ones I was going to buy, were $365 for the both of them. She sold me hers for $120. I was feeling very good about my purchase as I got into my car to leave, and she asked me one more question. Could I follow her to her new house to help her bring the ones she just bought into their new rental. Of course I said yes.

The new place was more fantastic than the last, and I can see why they are moving. Turns out the rent is the same as my current place, and a lot more house for the money. It opened my eyes to a lot more choices.  I helped her carry her stuff in, and as I pulled away with my purchase, felt the Spirit of Aloha. Help others not for profit or gain, but for the enjoyment of the gesture. I helped out with no expectation. If someone is in need, help them.  Patti, it was a pleasure to meet and help you today.

It really worked out for me today, saving almost $250 bucks, and helping the environment, but is it really that simple? Of course it isn’t.

I have given and gotten burned to the ground. I have supported and gotten crushed in the process. I have expected and gotten nothing. We all have. The Spirit of Aloha, Karma, Cause and Effect, or you get what’s coming to you. One of my friends call me a half full kind of guy, always looking for the best of any situation. I have always considered myself a Realist. There’s a very thin line separating the two.

Today I was blessed with the Spirit of Aloha twice. Once from you, and the other from a complete set of random events.

Is this my Waterloo? The first post that is really read from my friends and fails the test. As I sit at my desk (yes, the Hemingway one), and contemplate the cause and effect, should I hit publish or not, my gut, which is all a writer has, tells me to hit publish, says yes.

PS: Don’t forget to download the free book, Imagine Me, tomorrow.  🙂

 

Don’t think old………….

Yesterday I had an old friend fly in from Honolulu, he was vacationing there, just for lunch. It was great to see and visit with him. I went to school with Mark from K-12th grade, and in my thirties, he owned the dealership I started my career in the car business at. We are talking small town, everyone knew everyone, and these are people who have impacted each other’s lives so much, it doesn’t matter the time in between, friends for life. Last time I saw him was 5 years ago. Felt like a month. Time moves so quickly.

IMG_0087

Mark was always ahead of his time in his thinking, and he was the one who introduced me to an organization called Life Extension. I joined in the early nineties, and have read every article about health they have produced. I have also taken a lot of vitamins, herbs, and supplements. Maybe or maybe not, I believe they have had a profound impact on my health during my lifetime. I forgot to thank him for that, so if you get a chance to read this, thank you Mark.

While we were catching up on people we knew, things that have changed or not changed, and other chit chat, he mentioned we were getting old. (We are both the same age).  I agreed and made the ridiculous comment that we were only half way there, to 120 or so, theoretic maximum human lifespan. We both kind of smirked at each other, neither one of us thinking we would ever live that long.

I dropped Mark off at the airport after a great visit, picked up my son from school, and came home. The Maui Wrap, the island paper which is about 6 pages long, and lots of grocery store ads, was waiting for me. When I opened it to read it, the first thing I saw was a short article about a lady living here in Maui who just celebrated her 102nd birthday. She was born in 1915, and lived her whole very active life in California until she was 96, then moved here to Maui to be with her son. I figured it out quicker than she did, I moved here over 30 years younger than her. She is still active in organizations, and the picture of her on her birthday doesn’t show some crippled up old lady, but a healthy, vibrant woman.

Her recipe for life: “Don’t think old”.  I find myself doing and saying that a lot more than I should. I was also saying and thinking that when I was 30, and 40, and 50. The point is, if you feel old, you are. If you act old, you are. Now don’t think that buying the latest fashions or driving a sports car will bring back time, but your mind is a powerful tool that can help delay the disease of aging. How you take care of yourself also has a tremendous impact on your biological age. Your body needs nourishment, it needs rest, and probably the most important thing, is to live your life without a lot of negative stress. Turn off the TV, learn something new every day, get involved, love, laugh, care, enjoy your life. ENJOY YOUR LIFE.

Do you think she thought about getting old? I doubt it. She probably never even thought about it. That’s how I want to live the rest of my life. None of us know how long we get to be here. I would like to think I have a lot of years left. But one thing I know I need to do for sure. Today I’m going to stop thinking old.

I wonder what it will be like in 2073.

 

Eclipse the Eclipse……

IMG_0079 (1)

Yes, the picture is real. No, I didn’t take it.

You want bigger news than the Eclipse? Here it is, and as I told you, you are the first to know.  In fact, even my sister Nikki doesn’t know it’s published yet. And she illustrated it and has followed it’s birth every step of the way.  Her phone and internet lines were dug up this week on the North Shore, so is completely off the grid. Let’s keep it our little secret.

Our book, Imagine Me, is now published and available on Amazon as a download.  Not available as a physical book yet. Still some work to do if we do one at all.  Here is the cover.

imagine_me_kindle

It’s easy to find on Amazon. Just type in Imagine Me, or my name, and it should be right there. I know you are anxious, and if you want to shell out the 8 bucks that’s fine, but we will probably be doing a free promotion in the next week. I will let you know and you can download it for nothing on your device.

How it all started. I was writing my “How to buy a car book” when my sister mentioned I should write a children’s book, and she would illustrate it. This was back in March of this year. I sent her a few poems, she liked them, and a few months later we had an illustrated children’s book. I had to put everything on hold as I went back and sold my house, but jumped right back in when I returned. This isn’t her first rodeo. She has done this 3 times before. Look her up: http://www.lakesuperiorwatercolor.com/user/njohnson. An amazing artist, and I am proud to have her a huge part of this book.

We went the digital route as that’s where we see the world going. I spend many hours in retail stores, and seldom see anyone cruising the book aisles. I know it’s nice to have a glossy hardcover book on the shelf, but most are upwards of $15 or more, and that’s a bunch of money to spend, and I know what they are worth at a garage sale. Zip…

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, and Nikki enjoyed painting the original watercolors specifically for the stories.

 

Deja Vu………….

Another beautiful day in Maui, and we are heading to the beach. Problem is, we all like different beaches. My son likes a Beach called Kam 3 because he likes the waves there for boogie boarding. My daughter doesn’t really like the beach but she went with her friends to a beach she hadn’t been before a few days ago, and  she wanted to go back there. My son didn’t. I prefer Baldwin Beach, few people and great for walking, but it’s windy and the kids don’t like it at all. I wanted to see the beach my daughter was talking about, so after a lot of “discussion” we ended up heading that way.

They weren’t really sure exactly where it was, but they knew it was past the beaches we normally went to on our weekend expeditions. So we drove past the beaches, past the upscale Shops at Wailea and followed the road along fancy resorts until we came to a small sign that said shoreline access. I had been by that sign hundreds of times, and assumed it was a path down to the water between the resorts and condo’s built there. We turned and followed a very nice road about a quarter mile long, right next to the service side of a resort, where the employees park, and they get the tons of supplies needed to run them every day. At the end was a shaded parking area, looked like hotel parking to me, and a small park with toilet, showers, and two grilling areas. A small path led us to the beach, about 2 football fields long, with a bunch of beachgoers sitting under hotel umbrellas and chairs on the north half, and barely a person on the south half. Welcome to Polo Beach.

We set up camp on the wide beautiful white sand southern non occupied end, don’t like crowds. Go figure. The water was crystal clear, and a nice easy flat slope going into warm water. No rocks, shells or anything else you could step on. The waves were average (about a foot), and my son immediately grabbed his new boogie board and ran in. My daughter settled with me under my big beach umbrella, which I always sit under. Grabbed some water and a snack out of the cooler bag, and put myself in day off mode.

After a bit, I thought it might be a good beach to write about in my blog. Took a few pictures.

IMG_0077

Looking south.

IMG_0076

North toward the hotel.

Sometime a memory hits you so hard it almost knocks you down. I just got knocked down.

In 1993, I was the General Sales Manager of a small dealership in Northern Minnesota doing impressive numbers, I had been there five years, three as a salesperson, and two as a manager. One of the new car franchises we had was Chevrolet, and they decided to have a contest for dealership managers that year. A five day, four night all expense paid trip to Hawaii. Contests are always good to boost numbers, both for the dealer and the manufacturer. I was one of maybe a hundred who won the trip.

I had never been to Hawaii, and always wanted to go having caught Island Fever years before living in Key West, Florida. I imagined everyone lived on the beach in grass huts, the ladies wore grass skirts, and the men fished all day. Then the brochure of the hotel came. It was a Moroccan style resort, multiple swimming pools, massage cabanas, open bars to the ocean, and the most beautiful beach. I knew five days wasn’t enough so extended the trip another five on my own money.  When the day came, I traveled with my girlfriend at the time, rented a convertible at the airport, drove the 15 miles to the resort, checked in, walked down to the beach, and fell in love. With Maui that is.

That picture of the hotel people on the beach, that is the beach. The resort, The Kea Lani. I had come full circle. In the 24 years since I set my toes in that sandy beach, I had never been back. In fact, I thought that it was only accessible to resort guests. And it was my children who never knew the story who brought me here.

The details of that trip are like many. Sightseeing, eating well, relaxing on the beach. But a few things were memorable. One night Carlos Santana picked up a spare guitar in the resort lobby bar, and played a while with the house band. Another time at breakfast there were only four people dining. The two of us at one table, and next to us Helen Hunt and a guest. Alongside the beach was a paved path that went to the other big resorts. I used to get up early and walk. One day I happened upon a huge rat eating grass on the path. There was no one else around, and I stopped to decide whether I should walk around him, scare him away, or turn around and go back. I walked around him. He never stopped eating and didn’t even bother to look at me. Even the rats were special here, I thought. One day I walked up to the biggest resort on the island, The Grand Wailea, stopped to use their very fancy pool restroom (On my top 5 for sure), and ran into a young guy I had just sold a car to a few months before. He was there for a convention. A small world, meant to be, kind of feeling came over me.

If you look at the picture of the hotel end of the beach, you will see some condos. The path went very close to them, and you could see occupants, and there weren’t many, living there. Every day in a ground floor condo, the one closest to the ocean, there was an old man in a wheelchair looking out towards the water. Behind him sat a nurse. I never said a word, nor did they, but I conjured up his story in my mind. I also made a decision based on him. I was someday going to move to Maui before I was old, before I was in a wheelchair, before I needed a nurse and could enjoy life unencumbered by pain. That thought had never left me in 24 years.

Now maybe I’m not living in a ten million dollar condo on the beach, but every day I wake up and give blessing that I can walk a beautiful beach, breathe fresh ocean air, enjoy my kids, and feel the sun on my face. We all have our dreams. Mine came true.

I made it………….

 

We stayed there about 3 hours, the wind and waves picked up about half way through and my kids had a blast in the water. My son even got to swim alongside a big Sea Turtle with his mask on.  On the ride home we all agreed on one thing. Polo beach was now all of our favorite beach. You don’t know how happy that makes me.