Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It's Leap Blog Day!

Today is Leap Blog Day ~ hooray! I have invited the very funny and very lovely Kelly from Southern Fried Children to leap from her blog to mine. So, after you read her guest post, click on over and give her blog some love. And, without further ado, please welcome Kelly!


(Thank you, Rissa – for allowing me to guest on your blog. One of my favorite things about you is your passion for music. So I knew I had to write something musical for you. I took it old school!)


There became a pattern to my afternoons: Off the school bus, rush down the block, stop abruptly at the end of the driveway, tear open the mailbox. Stare dejectedly. It hadn’t come.

Days went by and if I asked my mother once I asked her a thousand times, “When do you think it will be here?”

“They said four to six weeks, honey. It’s been 10 days.”

I had seen the advertisement during Saturday morning cartoons. I was already in a musical mood, rocking out to Josie & the Pussycats, and when the commercial came on, the sound stopped me dead in my tracks.

Donna Summer.

If ever a white bread, seven year old Southern kid could will herself into the super glam, mega-afro’d, stunning Queen of Disco, it was me. Only twenty years and unfortunate genetics separated who I was on the outside, and who I longed to be on the inside.

I ran all the way to the kitchen, repeating the number.



Digging through the junk drawer, looking for a pencil. There’s never a pencil in here! And finally, scribbling the number on an envelope with the tiny stub of a purple crayon.


“Mom! Please can I order it? Please? I saved money from my birthday and I’ll do extra chores and wash your car! Anything you want! Please?”

My mother was not a fan of disco. She had been, at one time, until my father made her trade in her Bee Gee albums and platforms for George Jones and a giant belt buckle. The final straw had been an incident involving a too-tight feathered headband and momentary loss of consciousness. Still, she acquiesced.

I don’t know that I have ever before or ever since anticipated something as much as the arrival of that 12 x 12 inch cardboard sleeve full of vinyl magic.

Finally, it arrived.

It was a Saturday morning when the mailman came to the door and I heard the words – “C.O.D.” I ran to my room and carefully opened my jewelry box and extracted the $12.99 plus shipping and handling, and ran back to the door. I handed over the cash, sweaty from my palms, and took delivery of the package.

It was the first piece of mail I’d ever received with just my name on it.

It was the first album I had ever purchased with my own money.

I raced back to my room, carefully unwrapped it, and marveled at the most singularly awesome piece of cover work I’d ever seen.

I don’t know how long I stared at the cover. I would revisit it time and again, wondering – what did it mean? Looking at those static bodies, all big boobs and leisure suits, knowing that if I stared long enough, they’d start moving. How can you look like that and not move your body? How can you listen to something by a band called ‘Natural Juices’ and not want to shake it?

I pulled the album from the sleeve and blew gently across the surface. I was careful to hold it only on the sides, like my dad had shown me. Onto the record player, the switch flipped, and it began to spin. Slowly, carefully, tentatively, with a wildly beating heart and shaking hands, I lowered the needle.

FRIDAY! Ba da da dum, da dum! thank God it’s FRIDAY!

It was amazing, it was perfect, it was disco.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


OK - here's the situation...

A new job opportunity has presented itself to me. It's not full-time guaranteed work; though, I'm fairly certain work will be steady. I'll have no medical benefits nor retirement plan. I would be able to set my own work hours/work days. The job requires I Maui. My initial reaction? I'm outta here! Without hesitation. I fell in love with Maui. I felt slow and happy and relaxed. Maui didn't feel like home; but it felt like it could be. I need more specifics re: the job and the reality of work. On my list of pros and cons, only two cons were listed: no medical benefits, no retirement. There's a slight queasy fear rolling around my stomach. And THAT gut feeling is what's pushing me, urging me to say yes, to pick up and move. Isn't that weird? My fear is compelling me to say yes instead of no. "More experiences" is on my 2012 goals's an adventure! It's something new! It's me saying yes instead of no!

I'd miss my family. My parents are older, fairly healthy but, still, they're in their 70s. I'd miss my brother's kids growing up - 8, 6, 4, 1. My great-nephew was just born last month - I'd get to know him from afar. "Island fever" is a slight concern. Though Hawaii is much more expensive than the mainland, my lifestyle would be different, wouldn't it? My way of life, quality of life would change - for the better, right?

If I were 30, I'd be gone. Gone! I'm middle-aged for fuck's sake! What the hell am I thinking?! Give up a full-time job with security and benefits and retirement and stock? Am I crazy?? I may be. I'm giving this serious thought. As much as fear is propelling me forward, practicality is reeling me in - "Whoa! Easy, Turbo." I could be successful as a wedding officiant. When it comes to destination weddings, wouldn't couples want to be married by a kama'aina or kanaka? And, with civil unions legal in Hawaii, I'm sure steady work would be mine. There are several hotels on the island, not just the one resort. I could certainly build up business - website, word of mouth, convince all of my friends to marry in Maui.

So much to consider...oh, how I would love to do this, make this move...a lot of questions need to be asked and answered...what an incredible opportunity and experience! It's exciting and terrifying!

What are your thoughts? Am I crazy?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Whitney's Homegoing

Yes, I sat here for 4 hours watching Whitney's homegoing. Incredibly moving and loving and beautiful and funny and poignant and a perfect sendoff. Kevin Costner was surprisingly touching and honest. The Winans moved me with their singing and words. Removing the flowers, preparing the casket, and the pall bearers hefting her to their shoulders all while "I Will Always Love You" played through the church? Well, I lost it.

(Friends, hear what Kevin Costner advised young girls seeking fame: "Guard your bodies.")

What an amazing send-off.

Hoping peace is yours now, Whitney.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wait. What? How can it be my last day in Maui? I didn't even get to post about Days 2, 3, or 4!

So, it is my last day. What a drag. I have had an incredible time on this island ~ a wedding, new friends, loads of love, a beautiful island, and whale watching from my balcony. I could get used to falling asleep to the sounds of wind and waves, ocean breeze blowing through screens, eating ahi tacos at Paia Fish Market.

I had a wonderful body scrub and massage on Saturday morning at Mandara Spa, onsite at the Wailea Marriott. The facility is small and simple. I found the Relaxation Lounge to be anything but. Despite the candles and bamboo decor, the chairs were much too rigid. I get that the space is merely a waiting room; but give me comfy, cushy chairs or sofas. It is a relaxation lounge. The worst part of the room is that waterfall. Ai yi yi! The waterfall takes up one length of wall. The stonework is nice, but the water rushes out too fast. It's not soothing whatsoever. The sound is not calming like ocean waves; it's loud and crashing and monotonous. I ended up sitting in the steam room.

25 minutes of body scrub, 25 minutes of massage. Heaven. After the scrub, I was taken to the shower to rinse. My skin felt foreign it felt so soft and smooth! The best part? The scalp and foot massage. Ho-lay mo-lay! I nearly wept as she worked her magic on my poor aching feet. (Sidebar: I only packed a carry-on bag for this trip, so only 2 pairs of shoes made the cut. With all of the walking I did wearing slippah, next time, I'm spending the cash to check a bag.)

After the spa, we took a trip to Paia Fish Market. This place is about as big as a 7-11. The fish is fresh, caught that morning, so the options change daily. I opted for ahi tacos - foodgasm! On a slow day, the place makes $5k. On a busy day? They rake in over $30k! Dayum! If I lived here, they'd certainly get most of my money. As a matter o'fact, the Paia Fish Market is getting the last of my cash before I hit the airport today ;)

Yesterday's wedding was absolutely fantastic. Steve and Chrissy were so calm about it, while I stressed out. I wanted to ceremony to be perfect for them - they're my friends! I ended up creating something beautiful for them that was fun and personal and even made a few people cry. The Wailea Seaside Chapel at sunset is breathtaking - the sun filtered through gorgeous stained glass into the candlelit chapel. They had chosen a harpist, which suited the room perfectly. The whole room was exquisite. Their wedding coordinator did a great job with all of the details. (Sidebar: I was told there's a job waiting for me if I decide to move to Maui. Hmm...). The ceremony was short and lovely. The reception was long and lively. The 2 of them together are wonderful to watch and their friends/family are so full of love for each other. I was so honored to be part of it. Looks like I'll be heading to Denver soon :) Steve and Chrissy ~ I wish you both a lifetime of love and happiness and an abundance of joy!

Today, I blog...I pack...I eat Paia Fish Market...and I go home. *sigh*

It's been wonderful, Maui. Let's do it again, soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Maui - Day 1 (2.10)

Day 1 ~ Maui

I'm a pretty good flyer. Sometimes turbulence happens and I'm okay with that. But, this LAX-OGG flight? I was not okay. You know it's bad when the pilot calls for the flight staff to take their jump seats 3 times during the 5+ hour flight.

We're staying at the Wailea Marriott ~ a sprawling property with an infinity pool, a water park-like pool for kids, a Starbucks, gorgeous foliage, and a spa. My room faces the ocean. I could sit on this balcony all day…I kinda want to sit on this balcony all day. Why do I not live here? *sigh*

Earlier, while getting ready for dinner, I kept hearing a lady screaming, shrieking. I didn't see any commotion outside my room, then realized the luau was going on on the other side of the building. Maybe she was scared for the fire dancers or something. Ready to go, I walked out to watch the sunset. The lady was below the landing, still screaming, still shrieking. There was an eruption of applause and screams ~ 3 whales were about 200 yards offshore, breaching! Not just once, several times in a row. It was fucking incredible! About 300 yards from that, another whale was slapping the water with its fin. Shamu? The whale was slapping the water with its fin! So incredibly moving and amazing and I felt so small yet connected and oh, how I wished there was a hand to grab at that moment and I felt lonely and started crying. Then, I got mad at the beautiful sunset because I couldn't see the whales anymore.

After a enjoying ridiculous amounts of sushi and sake, I'm back in my hotel room, sliding glass door wide open, listening to the waves crash against the rocky shore. I know whales are migrating past right now…and I want to see them…I want them to call me up and say "Hey, we'll honk as we go by!" I'm silly, I know. I am feeling so much right now! I don't understand most of it and I can't explain any of it.

The rhythm of the wind and the waves…my lullaby.