Sticking Close to Island Time

We have been home from our Hawaiian holiday for one week. I am back to work and going through the usual paces, but every now and again I take a mental leap back to the beautiful island of Kauai.


When the wedding couple came to us last fall stating they wanted their parents and siblings to join them, sharing one big historic farm-house on Hanalei Bay for eight days, I wondered just how that was going to work out. All of us together? Ten adults and four children ages seven, five, three and one? One house you say? Eight days?


Could we really all step away from our daily roles and responsibilities without too many pretzel-like twists? Or would we simply decide the pretzel-like twists were worth it?

I take my responsibilities very seriously. Maybe a little too seriously, I’m thinking now that I’ve had a delicious dose of island time.

I certainly had an opportunity to catch an unflattering glimpse of my distinctly “NOT Hawaiian” temperament while visiting a Costco not long after arrival. We swooped in to purchase some food and supplies to take back to the house–remember now, ten adults and four children, that’s a lot of supplies–and working from lists we’d prepared from home, we made it through the store with efficiency. That is until we got into the line.


I felt a surge of impatience with a check-out hiccup. An item didn’t scan properly and instead of just replacing the item with another,  the original was handed to someone else to look up the appropriate scanning codes and issue a whole new label.   This seemed irritatingly inefficient to me. The line grew longer behind me and my party was also waiting on me to get everything to the car. The Costco employees weren’t the least bit flustered and definitely not in a hurry. That was my first reminder that we were not in Los Angeles. Welcome to Island Time.



And welcome it was.

From the moment we left the airport our drought-tolerant senses were bombarded with the luxury of green. Flowers and foliage familiar to me in Southern California were easily fifty times the size.I have thousands of photos to prove it. Raise your hand if you want to see them ALL…I seriously couldn’t stop myself.


We’ve previously visited Hawaii, but this was our first time on Kauai and we shared a nearly private beach on Hanalei Bay. It was quite magical. Unless we can travel again as a large pack, I doubt we will personally have this kind of experience again, but saying that something was once in a lifetime is pretty great, too.

I am far from ready to jump back into the pace that I kept prior to our beautiful island experience. And there’s been a wedding that brings me great joy with many happy memories I want to fully savor.

A part of living in Southern California is learning how to stay with the flow of traffic–literally and figuratively– or you’re run over, and the “flow” here is rapid-paced and often aggressive.

It’s hard to go very far without stress in many forms lurking about the perimeter of our lives, but at least for now,  I have refused to meet its eye.



Whenever I choose I can call back the feeling of refreshment and bring back a little of the island’s warmth, charm and tranquility. That will always help me to breathe lighter.











Memorizing the snapshots of a very special week


“Why do they not teach you that time is a finger snap and an eye blink, and that you should not allow a moment to pass you by without taking joyous, ecstatic note of it, not wasting a single moment of its swift, breakneck circuit?” ― Pat Conroy

I don’t know what I was thinking. I honestly thought I’d be able to move through the month of January with ordinary rhythms. I don’t know myself as well as I purport.

My son is getting married this week. He and his bride-to-be have ambitiously coordinated events to bring their parents and siblings together in joint activities that have surprised me from the very first mention. He was born with an independent nature and I somehow missed many of the clues that would have prepared me for his desire to closely meld two families.

This hasn’t been hard for me.  We have known the other half of our now larger family, although there were large gaps of time when we didn’t, for more than two decades. I have a photo of the bride and groom that dates back to high school prom night twenty years ago. Sometimes it takes awhile for stars to align.

So back to my belief that I could be fully present for this special time and also share it. I can’t. Or maybe it’s really that I don’t want to. Every now and then I think about the joy of this union and I realize it’s impossible to capture it in photos. And parents take these things in with a special lens that doesn’t translate anyway.

So I don’t know what you’ll see or hear from me this week. I have every intention of sharing details later. But for now, my only awareness is to open up to the experience and be as conscious as possible through each small moment. We don’t get them back.

The big day is Thursday. The only detail I’ll share for now is that there will be sand under our feet. I don’t think he had his mother in mind when he chose a beach wedding, but he is my son after all…he loves the ocean as much as I do.

For this one week, life will not be rushed. No “break neck circuit” for me.

Breathing lighter…Debra

Some loose ends as we jump into a new week…and a few puddles!

Maybe it’s because we’re moving so quickly towards the end of the year, but I feel like I have too many things on my mind to focus. Waiting for inspiration to hit and then write a cohesive, well-composed post and I might be sitting here for a while. I’ll just jump in!

When I last left you I was planning to share my little collection of World War I “mystery objects,” but it feels out-of-place for the week before Christmas–not a very cheery subject. My personal items are actually quite “upbeat” considering subject matter, but I’ll get back to them in the new year. Still no guesses on what they might be?

I do want to thank each one of you who took the time to respond to my last post with very personal thoughts about the way the First World War is remembered outside of the United States, and some thoughts on why. I learned a lot from your comments and intend to follow-up on your suggested reading.

Tilly asked me if I was aware of the Christmas truce of 1914. I probably would not have known except that I did see the movie, War Horse.

One hundred years ago German and British soldiers left their trenches along the Western Front and shared Christmas Day without guns, instead, opting for football. UEFA–the official website for European football–created a video marking the centenary of the Christmas truce.

I’m only marginally familiar with ANY football players, American or European, but those of you who know English football, you may enjoy Wayne Rooney, Sir Bobby Charlton, Philipp Lahm and Gareth Bale reading soldiers’ letters from this unique moment in history. I think it’s worth a few moments of reflection.

I also wanted to thank those of you who contacted me to ask about the recent California storms. So you heard about the Pineapple Express? This storm dumped up to 5 inches of rain on Southern California and although it did bring havoc and chaos in some areas, we didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary and we just enjoyed!

Our local weatherman, Dallas Raines, shared this video on his Facebook page–just for fun! Here’s your opportunity to visit the Southland in under one minute!

Two more storms are lining up and set to bring more rain and mountain snow. For those living in mudslide areas this is not good news, but these next storms don’t appear to be as strong, yet may stay with us for most of the week. I can’t remember when I’ve heard that kind of forecast!

After more than three years without any significant rainfall, this is a great start!


If this keeps up I may actually have a reason to buy some rain boots! Imagine!