Sailboat Sunset

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Last night, I just managed to capture this sailboat sailing through the path of the sunlight on the South Pacific waters here in Maui.  The sparkling light and the warm tones make my heart smile each and every time that I am fortunate to witness these amazing sunsets!  Aloha and Mahalo:-).

Ooh, Shiny!

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Don’t

Don’t Recite someone else’s story or the one that you think others want you to….create your own!

That’s why it’s called YOUR life.

No apologies and no explanations needed.  EVER!

 

“Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs”

The Five Man Electrical Band is famous for the familiar tune, Signs.  Admittedly, I can’t say that I know much about the lyrics themselves or their meaning, so I can’t say if the song fits rightfully into this post or not, but certainly the quoted line in my title does.

As we presently vacation on the beautiful island of Maui, I am not only in awe of the scenery but also of the feel here.  The island feel, if you will.  I have written before about how much my husband and I love Hawaii, the reason we come each year, yet every visit continues to amaze us with the many new, often profound things that it offers, including the stories of the people here.  This is where the word ‘sign’ comes into play…

Yesterday, one of the management company employees checked in to see how we were enjoying our stay–a nice touch, I must say.  After leaving us with some extra, freshly laundered bath and hand towels, we chatted with her for a short bit.  In the fifteen or twenty minutes that she was here, we learned that she just up and plucked herself from her upside down world on the main land and decided to call Maui home, almost two years ago this fall.  Imagine!  Just. Like. That.  All on her own.  Sadly, her dad died, her dog died and she divorced–all in the same year.  That was enough to prompt her to sit back and take inventory of her life, and what better place to do so than a vacation in the idyllic South Pacific.  And so, the story goes that she was to visit for a month to re-evaluate her life and purpose as well as to ‘get away from it all’.  By now, I am sure that you can guess what happened next.  Indeed, at the end of her stay, she put her house in Reno up for sale and began packing up her things.  But, what you don’t know is that aside from her immediate love of this place, she felt that the Universe had provided her with a sign–the exact one that she needed to make the Solitary, steadfast decision to pick up and move, to start over again.

Days before she was to return home, she hit the beach only to find a huge heart made of coral directly in front of her path and being that hearts are her ‘thing’, that was all of the confirmation that she needed to finalize the plans she had been newly dwelling on.  Two months later, she found herself living in a long-term rental just up the street from our condo building, where she still resides today.  Was it a flat-out, easy decision for her to make?   No, it wasn’t.  Not at all.  Moving to Hawaii meant leaving behind her two grown children and grandchildren, one of whom she helped look after daily from the ages of two to eight.  She misses him dearly, as well as her new grandson and obviously the feelings are mutual, so much so that her daughter was going to move here as well; however, circumstances dictated otherwise, as does happen in life.  Of course, they visit back and forth, but it isn’t the same.  Nonetheless, these are the kind of sacrifices that we are all faced with when looking at what is really best for us, as so often we do we is best for others, especially as women.

Like others living elsewhere in the world, she admits that she does slip into the daily thralls of life, even here in paradise, but her “I am on Island Time” sign, front and center in her kitchen, helps her to stay grounded in why she gave up what she did to live the life she was meant to live.  For now.  After all, who knows what other signs are out there awaiting her, or you, or me?  Guess we’ll just have to wait and see:-).  Until then, the message in it for all of us is to keep our hearts, minds and eyes open to what could be, as often what we desire is right in front of us.

The World In a Hurry

“The world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.”

If you have ever watched Shawshank Redemption you’ll recognize this quote from the elderly character, Brooks, who after being incarcerated for decades, finally gets released back into society realizing just how different the world has become.  Both my husband and I have watched this popular 1994 movie countless times, and each viewing leaves us with another seemingly newfound realization or chance to ponder life.  Clearly, we are not the only ones who appreciate the savvy, narrative about a man (Andy, skillfully played by Tim Robbins) who is wrongfully imprisoned, learning perhaps more about himself on the inside than he did out and about in everyday life.  In fact, a quick internet search to confirm the wording in my initial quote led me straight to the following link, wherein ten of the most inspirational quotes of the storyline reside proving that others feel the same as us with respect to the movie’s numerous life lessons to be garnered:

‘Shawshank Redemption’ Lines Better Than Any Inspirational Quote You’ll Find On The Internet

It’s worth checking out the link if nothing else, or better yet, take in the flick if you haven’t already.

While this post is not intended to serve as a movie review, I use Brooks Hatlen’s quote because it remains etched in my mind and I find myself reflecting on it regularly.  For me, it’s definitely food for thought in how we go about our everyday life (at least here in North America, anyway).  Old ‘Brooksey’ makes me question why we are in such a hurry ALL the time to do EVERY. little. THING. from running errands to commuting to work to even rushing around to go on holidays and then when on holidays, people are often still zipping around here, there and everywhere busying themselves with all kinds of ‘tasks’, be it visiting the next monument or taking selfie upon selfie to prove ‘they were there’ or ‘did that’.   In my opinion, filling every minute and/or sparing none is not a healthy way to live and in many cases, I dare say it’s not necessarily a happy experience either based on what I have observed, anyway.  Or, is it?  Maybe you adamantly disagree and that’s okay too.  I certainly am in no place to judge another person’s lot in life and while some may argue that we should live life to the fullest, that is not one in the same to me as I interpret that as more of a ‘when the opportunity arises, grab it’ kind of thing, but again, feel free to dispute that.

Simply put, I am not sure that our society, as a whole, is doing ourselves any favours by not stopping more to smell the roses and enjoy the fruits of our labour.  The busy lives that we are living is a reflection of OUR own personal choices–the lives that WE have created–yet, is it the one that we really want or are we just keeping up with the Joneses, in a matter of speaking?  How many people reach/have reached a certain point in their life where suddenly they think, ‘How exactly did I end up here doing what I am doing and more importantly, why am I doing it?  Is it serving me/my family well?’.  As we approach the middle of our lives and realize more fully that each and every day REALLY does matter because you just never know, I think these questions are worth contemplating.

I will say that whether or not you agree, none of us can dispute certain things that are happening in the world around us.  Familial structures are suffering now more than ever, as is individual well-being not to mention all that we hear in the news (granted that the media has its own slant and always will) about the general welfare of all people/groups in today’s supposedly forward-thinking, 21st Century society.  Leaving out the latter, most recent concerns with government, religion, etc. (too heated to get into) just think about the number of families with struggles, be it relationship-wise, financially speaking or otherwise.  What about the vast number of addictions (drug, alcohol and others) taking hold of whole communities?  Then, there are those who are affected with disease, be it physical or mental or both, i.e. cancer rates, Alzheimer’s, depression.  How about the steady increase in incidences of crime and poverty and unemployment?  Is our hustle/bustle 24-hour a day, 7 day-a-week, ALWAYS plugged-in lifestyle serving us in the best way possible?  Is our basic human need to connect and share with each other as strong as it could/should be?  I just don’t think so.  While our ability to see into the future remains Grainy, I am hopeful.  I’m hopeful because reflection can bring about change and change is a constant:-).

These Are His Golden Days

He slowly rises from his chair,

A little wobbly, relying on his waning upper body strength to pull him up,

It’s just a regular part of life these days,

Things don’t work the same as they used to,

Certainly not pretty, but it is what it is,

And it has been that way for awhile now,

The days of ease somewhat of a blur.

 

He pours a drink into his glass,

The familiar shake of his hand persists,

It has for the past year or two,

A reminder that time is not always kind,

He’s just grateful that he can still do for himself,

He DREADS the day when he can no longer do so,

We all do!

 

He decides to tend to his garden,

Today is a day to relish for sure,

Then again, so is each day at this stage of the game,

He carefully bends in half ambling his way to his knees,

Kneeling or squatting is not a choice anymore,

Like many other things it seems,

Indeed, he must crawl between the dirt rows,

Lovingly harvesting each vegetable that he has planted.

 

At night, he settles into his rocker/recliner,

His weary body and aching bones reminding him of his day’s doings,

He shifts back and forth to find a comfortable position,

Resting is not as restful as it once used to be,

The days of true rest are behind him,

And, solid sleep is just as difficult to come by,

Up, down, down, up amidst endless tossing and turning,

Daylight usually a welcome sight for many reasons.

 

These are the ‘golden years’ they say,

He is still waiting for the golden,

Yet, he is grateful that he has made it here,

After all, some, much, much younger than he, don’t even make it to the light of day,

Life is not always fair and that is a fact,

But, he doesn’t let it hold him back,

He keeps on going, fighting the fight,

To live out each and every day and night.

Amble

Life Sans Lactose

Yesterday, I was offered up a Shimmer of hope as I strolled up and down the aisles of our local grocery store.  For the first time EVER, I came across a tub of lactose-free cottage cheese, which for a born and raised Ukrainian girl who grew up on the likes of such, was more than a welcome find.  After all of these years of searching, asking, and waiting, finally here it was in the flesh, so to speak.  In fact, after excitedly wrapping both of my hands around the green and white container, it took EVERYTHING in me to refrain from announcing my long overdue discovery to the innocent couple beside me, let alone from shouting it down the aisles for all to hear.  You see, here in the northern throes of Canada, wherein various specialty products seem slow to arrive (maybe delivery by dog sleds takes awhile? kidding!) there FINALLY seems to be ‘some’ acknowledgement in the need for lactose-free items for those of us who fall ill to the MANY hidden sources of the nasty sugar found in milk ingredients.

Indeed, the past year or two, I have been thrilled to notice the odd new item show up on shelves and/or the freezer section of major grocery chains who dare to provide necessary alternatives for those of us who suffer from this extremely common food intolerance.  How common is it exactly, you ask?  Well, according to the National Library of Medicine, “Approximately 65 percent of the human (world’s) population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy.”  Interestingly enough, the 35% of the population who can tolerate lactose is reported to be thanks only to a genetic mutation over the past 20,00 years.  Knowing this information, my question is and has long been, ‘Why has it taken so long for food manufacturers to address this issue?’ contrary to the immediate response that seems to have been given to those with gluten intolerance.  Ironically, by means of statistics, prevention.com claims that the “CDC (Celiac Disease Center) data shows that only 1% of the population has gluten sensitivity.”  Compare that percentage to the aforementioned 65%, and that’s a whopping 64% difference in persons with sensitivities and yet, the gluten-free market has literally exploded over the past few years, so much so that there are literally aisles and menus dedicated to customers/patrons who do not consume gluten.  Now, you would think that in a society where marketing and consumerism is at an all-time high that products which could benefit 65% of people vs. 1%, would be awfully appealing when it comes to good old dollar and cents in business.  Yet, nada!  When I shop or go to restaurants, I am lucky to find one or two products that suit my needs versus the plethora of gluten alternatives.  Perhaps, I am simply not well-versed enough in the psychology behind sales because I am thinking that there are billions to be made off of the backs of those of us missing the infamous lactase enzyme.  (Hmmm….maybe I should look into this market a little bit more myself?!  Afterall, who couldn’t use a few billion dollars?  I think I hear a lanai in Hawaii calling my name now….)

Meanwhile, however, I will focus on the good and that is my lonely tub of cottage cheese proudly purchased and consumed twice since yesterday:-).  Yum and most importantly, another protein source!  And, to give credit where credit is due, here is a picture of my revered cheese container, along with the other FOUR (yes, count them to be sure! five altogether:-) grocery items which happily adorn spots in our refrigerator/freezer, thanks to the manufacturers/shippers/grocers who have made them available.  Merci! Merci! Merci!

 

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A Mid-Summer’s Night Dream?

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Last night, my husband ventured out into our back pasture and came out with this beauty of a capture.  I love the rich shades of green in the foreground highlighting the feathery Textures of the grasses contrasted by the golden and deep blue clouds in the sky.  The day’s on-again, off-again rain finally relenting in time for this gorgeous sunset to take hold.  As the cool, humid evening air wore on, Foggy conditions rolled in, blanketing this scene in white, wispy waves–a sight also to be seen, though somewhat reminiscent of a typical autumn’s eve.  Being that it is only the second day of August, however, I will steadfast to my Mid-Summer’s Night Dream and leave all notions of fall for a much, MUCH later date.  Cheers:-).

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