First, thank you for your kind words and understanding about my mom. The internet is a pretty wonderful place, sometimes.
Now on to Mexico! We try to take one big trip a year, around our anniversary. It’s a great excuse to get away from everything and celebrate. This year we went to Mexico. Usually we are the type of travelers who want to see and do as much as possible, the idea being that it’s a huge commitment to leave Hawai’i – at minimum a 5.5 hour plane ride – so we might as well pack in as much as we can while we’re away. But with all the stress of the last 6 months we decided this year we would just relax somewhere with yummy cocktails and warm weather.
We spent 6 nights in Playa del Carmen, at the gorgeous, all-inclusive Grand Velas. Our days consisted mostly of: strolling the long, beautiful beach; lying out at the incredible pool; paddling up to the swim up bar when the mood struck us (often); eating incredibly fresh ceviche every afternoon because it was so good we couldn’t bring ourselves to try something different; and turning toasty bronze. We managed to pull ourselves away from the resort for one day to cross some things off the life list: zip-lining through the forest (not as scary as I expected), rappelling into a cenote to swim, and climbing Coba (terrifying). But really, the trip was about doing nothing. It was perfect.
(image by One Love Photo)
When you read this, we’ll be laying on the beach in Mexico somewhere, hopefully drinking margaritas. Two years. Seems like yesterday.
This is one of those posts that I’ve typed and deleted at least 10 times over the last week. My mom passed away from bladder cancer last Monday, June 25. Typing that makes it feel more real, so maybe that is part of the reason why I’ve found it so hard to do. She went quietly, in her sleep, in my sister’s home in Portland, Oregon. She was 59.
I took the photo, above, on a walk through my sister’s neighborhood, earlier last month. M and I flew to Oregon the day after my birthday and I’ve spent the last couple of weeks since we’ve been home going through these photographs trying to process it all.
It’s funny how people get stuck in our memories. I left home at 14 for boarding school and never really spent any significant amount of time there after, so in my mind, my mom is still 38. She’s wearing giant tinted sunglasses, red lipstick, skinny Bongo jeans, cracking jokes and flirting with any guy within speaking distance. I spent a lot of my childhood being painfully embarassed by my young, loud, dramatic mother. She wasn’t always the easiest person to get along with and our relationship was never an easy one, but she was never boring. I’d like to think that this is the way she would want me to remember her. Young, vibrant, bright eyes and big hand motions, telling some wild, over the top, only partially true story. The life of the party.
I have a tradition of always taking the day off on my birthday. It’s the perfect excuse for a personal day, don’t you think? So yesterday, M and I took the day off to wonder around our favorite neighborhood, the one we lived up until a year ago. Even though it’s just a short walk outside of Waikiki, it’s a world away from the touristy hustle and bustle. One day we want to own a house here, you know, after we win the lottery or something.
Today we’re back to the real world, with all it’s problems and worries. The day off was welcome.
A few years back my sister was cleaning through my mom’s old stuff and found a pile of photos stuffed in an enevelope waiting to be put in an album. This is one of my favorites. If I had to guess, I’d say I’m about 2, which would make my mom a ripe old 26 and would place this somewhere in the late 70s (if her hairstyle alone didn’t give it away).
I’ve been looking through these photos a lot lately. My mom fell sick this past December and I’ve spent the last few months trying to reconcile the frail, fragile person she’s become with the young, vibrant lady in this photo.
My mom has always been this polarizing figure to me. A demading extrovert to my solitary introvertedness. Loud and brash where I’m quiet and watchful. We haven’t always gotten along (which is putting kindly). There was always too much difference between us.
Illness has a way of clearing away all the muck that can lie between two people. If it doesn’t quite excuse the past (and really what can) it does bring into sharp focus those things that most matter. The last couple of months have been surprising, sometimes in wonderful ways.
Anyway. I don’t mean to be maudlin. Last week my mom left for Portland, both to be nearer to my sister and to receive the quality of care she needs. She’s not quite out of the woods yet, but for the first time in months I feel hopeful and life doesn’t feel like a tornado has landed on my doorstep. Which means I should finally be posting here again.
Here’s something I don’t usually admit. I make resolutions every year. Big, mind boggling ones. Ones I have no idea how (or let’s be real, motivation) to complete. There’s something about a New Year that makes me think that I’m supposed to be dreaming up great things. Plus, I like lists.
If you were to ask me, point blank, I’d deny all of this. I’m not the resolution type, I’d say. I keep my dreams close.
By February I’ve promptly forgotten two-thirds of things I had resolved to do, and am despairing over the one-third that I actually wanted to get done.
This year I thought I’d try something different. Prompted by Becca’s Values & Vision Statement post (which if you haven’t read it, go) I’ve subdued my inclination towards over the top goals that only look good on lists and am focusing on two things for 2012:
- Creating a comfortable, beautiful home.
- Generating income outside of my everyday job.
The first feels frivolous, but I am generally happier and more creative in beautiful spaces. Also, though it pains me to admit, M & I have the tendency to live like college kids, which is embarrassing when you consider that I am tip toeing towards my mid 30s. (It also pained me to write that).
The second is my first step in taking back my time. I’m not sure yet what that’s going to look like, but I do know that the prospect of sitting in a cubicle for 45 hours a week for the next 30 years feels like a long, slow death.
So there they are, my goals, big and small. What are yours?
Above is our attempt to bring Christmas cheer to our little rental. We couldn’t squeeze a tree in so instead we strung up lights across our bookshelf and bought a tiny plastic table tree. One of our friends gifted us a wreath so we still have that piney smell I love so much.
This is my favorite time of the year. Work is quiet, with most of my office on vacation, leaving me time to sit and reflect on the last year. Though I’ve been dealt some bad news this week, all in all 2011 has been a pretty good year. And in January we move in to a cute little bungalow tucked up next to a state park with views over Diamond Head and the ocean. It’ll be the first house I’ve lived in 20 years. Crazy! I can’t wait.
Although I lived a stone’s throw from the trail entrance for years (9, to be exact), it wasn’t until this past weekend that I made the hike up to the top of Diamond Head. I’m really not sure why it took me so long. Just one of those things that got pushed back for “one day” when life wasn’t feeling so busy.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about those things and making an effort to actually do them. So even though we had had a late night the night before and would have preferred to laze about the house, and even though the sky was threatening to unleash a downpour (we did, in fact get rained on a tiny bit) we set out for the hike right before lunch. It took us a little over an hour to get to the summit and back. Totally worth it.
(on the way up)
(view from the top)
(finish line for the Honolulu Marathon, Waikiki)
Welcome to foodie. For those who have followed me here from my other blog you will know this isn’t really a beginning, but rather a fresh start. This past year I fell out of the habit of writing. I didn’t know what to write about, so I stopped. When I tried to start again, I found I was at a loss for words. So I waited. I read a lot. I started half a dozen drafts and hated all of them. I waited some more. In between all of that, I also: sold a home, spent two glorious weeks in Greece, celebrated my one year wedding anniversary, turned 34. Life has a way of marching on even when all it feels like you’re doing is waiting.
Case in point, I’ve been writing this piece for a year. So. A lot of waiting. I’m still not sure the words are there. I’m not sure what this is going to be yet. What I am sure of is that I missed writing. Even when it’s imperfect and incomplete. Even when it’s unsure of where it’s going.
Which I guess makes this a not very good mission statement. I was never really good at those anyway.