Saturday, December 31, 2011

Here Piggy Piggy Piggy

Okay, by popular request (which in my world means at least one) I am sharing a highlight from my recent trip to Maui.

For Christmas, my parents gave me and my boys a two-hour trail ride with Mendes Ranch north of Wailuku. When we saddled up, we noticed a rather large swine wandering the grounds amidst the dozens of peacocks milling about (yep, peacocks, dozens of them).

We were joined by few other families so the guide ended up splitting us into two groups. As the first group rode off down a dirt trail into the lush, tropical foliage, the pig trotted off after them.

It was finally our turn to head out, sitting high on our horses as they trudged up a steep trail. We reached a plateau overlooking a deep valley ravine that was supposedly featured in the opening scenes of Jurassic Park. After a quick glimpse of the waterfalls below, we turned around, passed the ranch, and sauntered down to the ocean shoreline where we met up again with the first group and the pig, who traded alliances and remained behind with us.

After a few souvenier photos, the pig got in line and followed our horses back to the ranch. For the longest time my horse wouldn't pass it. Of course, I was too busy laughing and trying to take a photo of to care. Eventually I got ahead, but even as we galloped the last stretch, the pig kept going, still steadily following along.

I like to think this not-so-lazy pig, between our two groups, completed the entire trail ride. I also like to think it goes on all the trail rides, twice a day, all year long.

I read today that "amazing" has been named an overused word of 2011, so I will instead use the words immortalized in the song Zuckerman's Famous Pig, from the movie Charlotte's Web:

"Oh, wow, look at him now
Zuckerman's Maui's famous pig
Suey, whaddya see?
The greatest hog in history!
Fine, swine, wish he was mine
What if he's not so big?
He's some terrific, radiant, humble thig-a-majig of a
Fine, phenomena"

And now, the photos: 

Maui Surf, Face First

The first time I took surf lessons, my surf-guru Dove and I paddled out off the shores of Malibu Beach, California and learned pretty quick that good, local surfers didn't take too kindly to newbies in their midst. It was a short lesson and I caught more insults than I did waves. In fact, I didn't get up on my board once.

Thankfully learning to surf in Maui is as common as flip-flops and fish tacos, and the locals, at least the ones we met, were more than happy to have us share the warm water and tiny waves with them. These photos of our family surf lessons were taken by Big Kahuna Adventures, but I played around with a few of my favourites to share with you.

Put your diamonds in the surf
(yes, we went to the Jay-Z and Kanye concert the day before leaving on vacation).

Kje, which means garden of the sea, shot up on the board first time, first try. Awesome!

Surf Dude

 Really, I did get up! How else would you explain going down like this?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DJ Jonnycat

I'm a few months late in posting this, but this "wicked" photo of DJ Jonnycat made its way into the South Delta Leader - a community newspaper. Nothing better than a hamburger and big headphones to represent an electronic music artist. First photo of mine that made it into the news. :)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The End and The Beginning

Grab a tea, pull up a chair, get cozy! For those of you who have been following along for the last 12 months, you will know my Year of Turning 40 is coming to an end. And what a year it has been, the last six months especially. The blog post is about putting some closure to this year so I can free up some space for the new year to enter. Here goes . . .

On Friday June 17, the day before my big 4-0 day, a few hours before I was to head out with a few dozen work friends for a sushi birthday celebration, I received an urgent meeting request from my boss. Long story short, I received my first birthday present - a choice between the opportunity of staying with the organization in a new job or the opportunity of leaving the organization to do, well, whatever I wanted.

To be straight, I loved my work, especially the people I worked with. But there were aspects of my job that just didn't fit with me any more, especially not the family and creative part of me. After a thoughtful weekend I gave my answer Monday morning. I was leaving.

Here is what I wrote on Facebook that day at 4:43 pm. "Poured tea, read Dwell magazine's beach home issue, hot tub for lunch, went for a walk, talked to a few friends, picked up Kje from school. Doing okay."

It is a big thing to turn 40. It is a big thing to leave the work and work-family you love. It is a big thing to sit at home and do nothing but read a magazine, drink tea and wait for what comes next.

I have postponed writing this post for a few reasons, but primarily because I wanted to wait until I had some perspective and could write something profound about what came next. The truth is, change is a journey and six months later I am still waiting for what comes next and still don't have anything profound to say about it all.  What I do have to say it that I am grateful for the opportunity to leave the day-to-day of working for someone else and embrace the every day of being myself, in every moment, in every little way. I am rediscovering who I am without the shell of work getting in the way. Here are a few of the every day little things that shaped me and my last six months:

  • Writing a 50,000-word novel in 20 days and then four months later reading it and liking what I created. 
  • Spending the beginning of the summer living with my son Paris in our own borrowed Penthouse Suite (thank you again Anna for being so generous with your sanctuary!)
  • Mixing it up with DJ Jonnycat, Stray Cats, CCR, and the banjo in the mini van on our BC Summer Road Trip. Gold mines. Horse rides. Log flumes. Beach reads. Ahhhh . . .
  • Hanging with the boys and Mom and Dad at the cabin on Shuswap.
  • Spending every day with my husband and still continuing our tradition of hot tub happy hours, even though I no longer needed to vent "after work".
  • Spending every day, all day, with my husband and still enjoying his company. :)
  • Packing it up at one o'clock to hit the lake for a summer swim and relaxing float on the mattress. Bliss.
  • Walking my son Kje to school. Picking him up. After school snack. Homework. Nice Routine.
  • Volunteering at the school library and having my favourite student ask me every week to help her find a book, and then hug me after I found "the perfect one".
  • Texting with Paris while he was in school and helping him with his homework via Skype.
  • Starting my business. Getting my first contract. Finishing my first contract (well, almost).
  • Spending time on the phone with family and friends engaged in relaxed conversations.
  • Waking up and putting on jeans and a t-shirt every day.
  • Making lunch at home.
  • TED once a week. Thank you TED.
  • Listening to CBC programs like Canada Live and Q with Jian Ghomeshi.
  • Enjoying the morning sunlight.
  • Reading in the day time between 9 and 5. In bed. In my pyjamas.
  • Becoming comfortable saying I am a consultant, contractor, writer and photographer, not an ADM.
  • Writing and sending out a whole bunch of story proposals.
  • Going for 3 hour walks around Elk Lake in the middle of a work day.
  • Connecting with my work friends and turning them into friend friends.
So, Turning 40. A great year packed with tons of intense moments and lasting memories. I started the year saying I was going to do anything and everything I wanted and pay for the fun when I was 41. And yes, for the first six months that was true. I grabbed life, heaved it over my shoulders and took it for a ride. But the last six months have been about putting life down and curling up with a it and a good book. Slowing down. Doing less. Simplifying. Enjoying my family. Enjoying what I have. Enjoying routines and local connections. Being here in the moment. But more importantly, creating a new base from which I could  head into the next decade. And with that . . . off I go.