Well, I’m back!! And…….lo and behold, I’ve hit the big SIX..FOUR!! That’s right, I turned 64 years old two days ago. So THIS is what it feels like? To tell you the truth, I can’t really complain. More than a year and a half ago, I blogged about looking ahead to being sixty three and having become a vegetarian. I haven’t strayed from the vegetarian way of life I’m proud to say, I’m eating “organic” as much as possible, and up until a few weeks ago, we were juicing veggies in the morning as part of a healthy regimen. Our Jack Lalanne juicer got overworked so we purchased a Hamilton Beach model, used it for a long time and switched to a Nutri-bullet processor. The advantage of this switch is of course that nothing gets thrown away. Everything that goes in gets used. Vey nice indeed. I must admit it took some time to get used to the thick consistency of processed veggies but we’ve adapted to this more practical, economical alternative. For me, sixty four is a good place to be. I decided to go gluten-free as my next step toward clean eating and I’m learning about how many things I had been eating have wheat as an ingredient. I used to think wheat bread was the healthy choice over white bread but you would be very surprised to learn that the gluten in wheat contributes to many negative health issues. I’m not going there right now but do some research on your own and decide for yourself. So, who would have thought that they make gluten-free bread. I didn’t back then but it was nice to discover this alternative. Admittedly, it’s a different eating experience and yet, I can have my morning toast and make sandwiches (veggie sandwiches, of course). Speaking of veggie sandwiches, I would dare to try grilled zucchini, yellow squash, onions with sliced tomato and avocado on gluten-free bread with mayo and a little mustard. Add a side of rice chips and you’ve got a very tasty and healthy meal. I haven’t crossed over to becoming totally vegan, so I still consume milk and eggs (organic, of course). A wise person said “Let your food be your medicine and let your medicine be your food”. I’m uncertain who it was that spoke those words originally, but my wife shared this bit of wisdom with me. I must give her credit for lighting my path in a different direction and I can give thanks to her for my being 64 and healthy. As a matter of fact, I spent part of the afternoon enjoying an invigorating cruise down at the Riverside, “land surfing” with my Kahuna Big Stick land paddle and longboard. Ahhhhhh, life IS good. Eat healthy and live well.
To say that we’re having a mild winter is an understatement here in the Bible Belt.The temperature has dropped as fall gave way to winter but as the days slowly start to get a wee bit longer and the sun rises just a little bit earlier and sets a little later, I’m still waiting for the first real indicator that winter has arrived. I can remember just one day so far when we had a thin layer of snow on the ground which quickly diasappeared but that’s it! Last year and almost exactly one year ago, we were hit by a huge snow storm.
We were warned that it was coming. That weekend before the blizzard, I was making the rounds, going from dealership to dealership all over town, searching for a good deal on a Honda Ridgeline. I had a Honda Civic Si then and I can still remember how cold it was out there. Sunday, dealerships are closed and time is running out. Found a bargain, closed the deal and the next day (Tuesday) the sky fell and dumped a seemingly endless amount of snow on us. The north wind was vicious and as fast as my freezing hands could shovel the snow off the driveway, new snow took it’s place. In the aftermath of the storm, travel on residential streets and on the highway was at a standstill and snow accumulation was knee deep and deeper. Snow on the roof of the house was so deep, I was very concerned that the roof would cave in. I even “engineered” a long shovel/scoop from scrap wood so I could drag some of the snow off the roof. On the plus side, the Honda Ridgeline, newly purchased, was the perfect solution to the deep snow. Slowly, but surely I was able to back out and plow over the snow and get around town. Nice!! I passed many cars trapped, buried, upside down, stuck and out of luck every where I went. But……that was last year. You couldn’t go far and snow shovels disappeared from every store shelf in town. So, we’re waiting and each day that passes without snow brings us a little closer to Spring. February’s just around the corner, sounds like another mild week coming up according to the local weather guessers but one can never be sure. Sixty one degrees as the “high” today. Can you believe it? Throw in some palm trees, ocean breezes, sugar cane and pineapple fields and you could be enduring what would be a cold day in Hawaii. But it’s not Hawaii and a shift in the wind direction could bring some serious snowfall and ice. So, the four-wheel drive truck, front wheel drive car (Honda Fit) and the new, never-used snow shovel wait for whatever may come between now and April because you just never know…….mild can turn to wild weather overnight. Bring it on!!!
Sssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don’t tell my body that it’s turning 63 this year. Can you BELIEVE it? Senior citizen, elgible for Social Security and Medicare? Get outa here! I’m sitting here watching the Pro Bowl being played back home and it’s really making me miss being back on “the Rock”. Surfing on the north shore, hiking back up in the hills behind our house, singing in public for the first time at the Pupukea recreation center ( “House of the Rising Sun”), taking karate lessons from big Al Kahalekulu, singing in our band at the Kahuku High School dances, and especially that summer of 65, when at a tender age of 16, I learned what it felt like to be in love. Sweet memories indeed! Like old photos rediscovered in a storage container pulled down from a shelf in the garage, reflections of days gone by are somewhat faded but never forgotten. Depending on who you ask, I’m either middle-aged or in the twilight years of my life. Am I complaining about “getting old”? Heck, no!! Things have changed. I’m still working out, I’ve become a vegetarian, showing a little gray in my quckly-getting-longer hair, have no visible wrinkles, take NO medications of any kind, ride that Harley when I can and bowl once or twice a week. I work full time, three days on and four days off, live a relatively stress-free existence and….what can I say except…Life is good! Who would’ve guessed, growing up on a country farm on Hawaii’s north shore, when pork, beef or fish was a part of almost every meal, that I would give it all up and become a vegetarian, juicing and eating organic at this stage in my life. Doesn’t seem like a big deal at this point to have made that change but one quickly finds out how expensive eating organic can be. A worthwhile investment in continued good health and worth every dollar, for sure.
It’s 2012, a new year, the weather’s great, I’m happy, life is good and after an extended period of silence ( no blog entries, I mean), I AM BACK!!
When destiny, choice, opportunity or circumstance finds you living in an area of the United States known as “tornado alley”, particularly at this time of the year, inclement weather including severe thunderstorms, damaging hail and tornadoes become things that you expect to experience. The day can start with deep blue, cloudless skies and transform into overcast, cold, windy, rainy evenings as signals of even worst things to come. Yesterday was such a day and early on, the local tv stations were spreading the news of impending “doom” and gloom as radars followed a severe storm that was moving into and across the state. Like a long, wide blade of yellow, orange, red sprinkled with swirls to indicate where tornadoes might be forming, the images filled the screen, no matter which station you switched to. Scenes, somewhat obscured as they were recorded through the windshields of the stormchasers showed flashes of lightning, trees leaning away, as if in retreat ,from the force of the wind, debris flying to destinations unknown, and occasionally a telephone pole, snapped in half and flying like a kite, held only by the wires it used to support before tasting the wrath of Mother Nature. As we followed the news, switching from time to time to a different channel, our little Shih-Tzu’s debated on whether going outside was feasible or not. Sophie sat at the front door, scratching the storm door with one paw, and then the other until I finally stood up and let her out. But I think Ishi (the male) had already decided that if he just had to “go”, it wasn’t going to be out there in the wind and rain. How funny to watch her go out, take a peak through the dog door on the covered front porch, come back and peer in to see if Ishi was coming and then scratch to come back in when she was convinced that he choose “warm and dry” over “cold and wet”. Through the evening, the front moved in, the wind picked up, the nasty clouds rolled over dumping rain on ground still saturated from the previous storm. Tornadoes touched down in different part of the state but fortunately for us, not here in our area and as the morning sun revealed blue skies and roses still blooming along the street in front of our house, the worse thing that happened was that one of the dogs did “go” on the living room carpet. Neither one’s confessing responsibility but I’m pretty sure that one of them did it. You can’t really tell though, because dogs have a “poker face” that looks the same most of the time. Oh well,…..all’s well…..that ends well. The storm passed and we’re still here. Did I mention that this region of the country is also part of the so-called “Bible Belt”?
Okay….so the first thing I must mention is that I just woke up a few minutes ago. My job makes it necessary to sleep during the day and it’s not often that I remember a complete dream. In fact, this may be the first time. So I popped out of bed thinking that I’d better get this one down on “paper” before it fades and never comes back. Here it goes!
I’m with some of my co-workers (we’re at the top floor in this building), we’re just sitting around talking and someone makes a comment about something funny I said to one of our patients that had to do with a comb. (Can’t explain…remember, it’s a dream) I stand up and walk away (they’re still laughing) and I go over to another part of the office, pass two women that I recognize (couldn’t tell you they’re names now if I tried but I remembered that one of them was naked) and stop to talk briefly to someone who must have been our receptionist. I say that because I was commenting about how nice her new “office area” looked. Then I took a flight of stairs down to the next floor, crowded with people and ran into a lady holding a stack of papers who asked me if I knew where my wife was. I said “no”, we went seperate ways. Well, I must have had the urge to “go” and right in the middle of this huge room, with all these office people, headed to who-knows-where, and almost at floor level I saw a toilet. So I sat down and started to do my business. I guess logic and good sense go out the window in dreams. People are passing by and talking all around me but I don’t remember that anyone was particularly aware that I was sitting there, pants down and relieving myself (you can’t smell anything in a dream, either). But anyway, in the midst of all this, I realize that there’s no roll of toilet paper around. I couldn’t just stand and pull my pants back up! I look over and see a partial roll that someone must have stepped on, out of reach. Crap! (no pun) I’m getting desperate. There’s a guy nearby and I see he’s carrying something on his arm ( a book?) but he also has what appears to be some napkins. As he walks by I ask him for some, and he tosses a couple to me and says something (not sure what it was). Now I have something but I’m a little too embarassed to take care of my business in front of all these people. But then a conscious thought must have sneaked in because it dawned on me that I could make all these people “disappear” from this room and I’d be alone to do what I needed to do. But once I was able to change my dream and was now alone in the room, I knew I didn’t have to do what I thought I had to do before I could stand and pull my pants back up because, hey, I hadn’t really done ANYTHING AT ALL……it was just a dream.
It’s the BIG SIX ONE. Yes, I’m seven years old today. Ha! Ha! Not really….. it’s actually sixty one years down the tubes today.Where did that last year go? I feel like I’m being hurled through space and time with Medicare waiting on the horizon. Should I feel a little older? Well, I don’t! I looked in the restroom mirror today, while we were at T.G.I. Fridays, I thought, ” I sure am looking more and more like my dad”. He’s been gone for quite a few years now and I remembered that image of him in the picture on our mantel, sitting there with his rubber boots, shorts and ballcap tending his orchid plants at our house at Sunset Beach.
Not much has changed over the last year. If I moving a little slower, I haven’t noticed. If I have a few more grey hairs on my head, I couldn’t tell since I’ve been keeping my hair short and close to the scalp. I have gained a few pounds over the year, a situation I’m trying to reverse with a re-introduction of running into my fitness regimen. On days like today, when the heat index hovering right around 115 degrees, it’s nice to have a treadmill in the den.
I tried to get the day off tonight. That’s right… my hours are from 8 in the evening to around 6 in the morning. So, when most people are thinking bedtime, I’m headed down the road to work. Doesn’t seem right to be working on my birthday, but I have to keep the proper perspective on the situation; the birthday happens only one day a year and the job?….well, that’s every day of the year, including the birthday. There’s a difference in the way logic works differently between being young and turning sixty one. You’re less impulsive and see the “bigger picture”, if you know what I mean.
Anywayyyyyyyyy……….life IS good today on my special day. God has granted me with good health (a life free of any medications), a great home life (sixteen years and NOT counting), a job that many would “kill” to have, two great Shih-Tzu’s, Ishi and Sophie and generally, it’s ALL good. So, what’s all this talk about aging gracefully? Not for me. Sixty one is just another number.
There’s at least fifteen pairs of shoes in my closet, twelve suspended in rows on the inside of the closet door, like soldiers standing at attention, silently waiting to be called upon to serve. The others lay scattered in the closet, lounging amidst wooden hangers, a bowling ball and a retired computer monitor.
My latest acquisition is a new pair of “Shape-ups”. You’ve seen them….the top looks alot like your average running shoe but the soles, thicker on the back half, heavier, and curved from toe to heel. “Get in shape without setting foot in a gym!” it says on the front of the box. Haven’t I heard this before? Take a pill. Lose the weight. Oh, yeah? Manufacturer promises these shoes will promote weight loss, tone muscles, improve posture, tighten abdominal muscles and firm calf and buttock muscles. All THAT in one pair of shoes? I was skeptical. But I took the plunge…because I’m a daredevil, a risk-taker and I live life on the edge. Not really! My curiousity got the best of me and I bought a pair.
So, after just a few days of wearing my Skechers Shape-ups, I’ve come to a “pre-conclusion”. Nothing replaces the benefits of going to the gym. With my 61st birthday on the horizon and many years of working out behind me, I can’t be convinced that a pair of shoes will replace the gym. HOWEVER, I’m happy to admit that I have nothing bad to report about the new shoes. It’s too early to tell how many of the claims are true but when I first put them on, walking was just a little strange. But only for a minute and I think that this is where a slight adjustment in your posture and your stride becomes smoother and more natural. The curvature of the soles seem to minimize the impact of each step on your knees and the rest of your body. I can definitely tell that it’s making my calf muscles work harder, haven’t noticed any abdominal improvement but my butt muscles are so tight, I’m starting to squeak when I walk. Not really! But overall, the shoes fit and feel great and I am satisfied that they were a good investment in my fitness lifestyle. So, between juicing daily, eating wisely, working out regularly and the benefits of a good pair of “shape-ups”, I’m confident I’m continuing in the right direction.
Well, folks…..I did it!! The last time I got my driver’s license renewed, I had no hair……..bald, down to the scalp. Since then it had grown until the ends dropped halfway down my back. It took a couple of years and quite a few bad-hair days to get from there to here and several times along the way, I considered getting a trim. But it never happened! Healthy hair is nice to have, naturally curly which seemed to draw the envy of some. Is it not just like people to want wavy hair if yours is straight and straight hair if yours is curly. We want what we don’t have. I’ll admit, there were times when I wished my hair was straight. But, I guess I won’t be spending any time thinking about THAT anymore because it’s ALL gone now. That’s right. After all the shampoo, conditioner, brushing, putting up in a ponytail (to keep it out of my face) and untangling after a ride on my Harley “Fatboy”, I said to myself, “That’s IT, I’ve had enough. No…..I didn’t go from real long to just a little trim, or a shorter, more conservative style. I whacked it! Down to the scalp…..see ya’…..goodbye.
But just like the last time, I cut it all off and then a few minutes later, when I’m standing, looking at myself in the mirror, a lump rises in my throat and I think, “Whoa, why did I do THAT!” and “Maybe, just getting a trim would have been a better choice”. That’s all behind me now. Well, most of it. But the reaction of others who have only seen me with long hair was everything that I had anticipated. Suprise, shock, disbelief…..it was pretty funny! After the initial reaction and questions “Why?” most of the comments were favorable. Some said I looked better, others “younger” with the only painful comment coming from my boss. “What happened, did you have lice?” But I laughed it off. She was kidding,……I think!
It’s minimal maintenance now……no shampoo, no conditioner, no brushing and no hair ties. My hair grows so fast, too. Why…..it’s already at least TWICE as long as it was when I scalped myself. In less than a week, I went from bowling ball stage, to course sandpaper stage, and now I’m moving into the “velcro” stage of growth. Where did I put that bottle of shampoo, anyway? I may need it soon.
Okay….this one has to be short and to the point. I’ve asked those I knew who might have the answer and done internet searches with no sucess so now I’m throwing the question out to you……who took the time to stop here. Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a copy of the Hawaii version of “Little Red Riding Hood”, more well known as (and forgive me if this isn’t exactly right) “Little Lei Puahi and the Wild Pua’a”. Surely some of you out there have heard this tale and know where one might find a copy of it. So,…..come on folks! Can you help a brother out? I know part of it but sure would like to know the rest of it so I can pass it on, retell the tale for the enjoyment of others.
I should be sleeping right now but after working all night and coming home tired, these fingers just can’t seem to resist banging on this keyboard and sharing these thoughts racing around in my mind as Big Tuesday looms on the horizon. The name-calling, mudslinging, finger-pointing, flag-waving, reputation-smearing, candidate-endorsing, poll-taking, obvious-winner predicting , he-said, she-said storytelling, big buck spending and informercial buying are coming to an end in less than a week. And when the dust settles as people line up to cast their votes, one thing is perfectly clear. NO ONE KNOWS for sure until the polls are closed and the votes are tabulated……. WHO THE WINNER WILL BE.
Will it be the “new kid on the block”, promising hope, new direction, an end to the same-0, same-0 of the last eight…………….or will it be the old man, war veteran and hero, seasoned, and admittedly a ”maverick” who is also promising changes and an end the way things have been handled by the current administration? If you believe the reports of what the many different polls seem to indicate, then you’re apt to believe that one candidate is well ahead of the other. You may also be inclined to believe that TV and radio are impartial, middle of the road and fair in their reporting of the daily news. How about the tooth fairy, and the likelihood of the “fat guy” in the red suit sliding down YOUR chimney in a couple of months?
“Politicians” and “honesty”………….if you’re someone who aspires to become the next mayor, governor, senator, congressman…….or President of these United States…..is it even possible to NOT tell people what you think they want to HEAR, make promises you may not be able to keep, exaggerate your strengths, play down your weaknesses, convince them that you are the better choice not based how good you make yourself look and how bad you can make your opponent appear to be. The choice is not as clear as somc may tell you it is. And it’s NOT over until it IS over.
So, know this……that we are not a nation of sheep, or fools and when the chips are down and the curtain is pulled close behind us in the voting booth, in our quiet contemplation before we make our choice, some of these thoughts and others, not mentioned here, may find their way to our place of reasoning and ask us……..
1) BASED SOLEY ON EXPERIENCE, WHO IS MORE QUALIFIED AND MORE CAPABLE OF CHANGING OUR DIRECTION AND DELIVERING ON PROMISES OF A BETTER DAY FOR US ALL?
2) WHO IS TELLING US MORE OF WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR AND AND NOT MUCH OF WHAT WE NEED TO HEAR?
3) ALL POLL RESULTS ASIDE, LOOK AT THE NEWS AND ASK YOURSELF…..BASED ON THE “LAST MINUTE” ACTIONS AND ACTIVITIES LEADING TO NEXT TUESDAY, WHICH CANDIDATE IS DOING AND SAYING WHAT REALLY MAY BE A REFLECTION OF CONCERNS , IF NOT DESPERATION (AT THIS STAGE) ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF NOT BEING ABLE TO SWAY ENOUGH VOTES HIS WAY?
4) WHEN CONSIDERING THAT BOTH SIDES ALLEGEDLY HAVE CANDIDATES WHO ARE TOO INEXPERIENCED FOR THIS “JOB”, WILL WE CHOOSE THE SIDE WITH THE ONE WHO WILL BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT OR THE OTHER WHO, AS VICE PRESIDENT, COULD POSSIBLY FIND HERSELF IN A SITUATION OF HAVING TO ASSUME THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES OF THE PRESIDENCY?
5) WILL YOU CHOOSE BASED ON PROMISES WITHOUT KNOWING THE DETAILS ON HOW THOSE PROMISES WILL BE DELIVERED AND HOW MUCH IT WILL COST YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?
THINK TWICE……..AND CHOOSE WISELY!!!! I HAVE TO SLEEP ON THIS ONE!