Archive | January, 2014

The Aloha Spirit

29 Jan

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I am on vacation in Hawaii and since arriving here I have certainly felt something other than the bright sun shining.  I have felt an abnormal sense of friendliness and community.  Everyone says “Aloha” to you, people wave when you pass them on the road, the radio announcers say “make sure you are kind to others today” and on the holiday last week they said “enjoy this day – get outside and be sure to go visit with your neighbors”!  There are hitchhikers that people actually stop to pick up. Dogs run into the yards of neighbors and no one seems to mind. Obviously this is a vacation destination so locals are used to people from other places being here, but everyone we have met takes a really genuine interest in finding out more about us and where we are from.  I also have been shocked at this fact – only 2 people that we’ve met did not know where Nova Scotia is.  I mean this amazes me because Hawaiian’s are American after all. 

In the state of Hawaii there is a bylaw against light pollution as lights at night confuse many of the seabirds. Their migration paths get messed up as they think the lights are the sun/moon. We are staying in a very populated beach area on the island of Kauai, but once the sun goes down it is as if you are in the country.  Very dark. I have noticed a funny vehicle that buzzes around this area.  It looks something like a trolley car you would see at an amusement park, but this one has a grass skirt as a roof and a ‘free shuttle’ sign on this side.  The night before last we walked to dinner as we wanted to have some wine and therefore not drive.  As we were trotting down the very dark road on our way back home the trolley came along, beeped at us and pulled up.  “Aloha, do you need a ride home?”   We said “sure”!  So this retired guy runs this free shuttle all through this area.  He has music playing and his Cairn Terrier named Aussie sits with a great view in the front beside him.  He says that he goes by the “Aloha Spirit” meaning what you put out into the world you get back.  Of course his offering of a free ride results in a tip from most people he picks up.  What a great thing he is doing – cruises around in the warm air, playing music, meeting new people, doing a good deed, hanging with his dog and making some coin in return.  I love it.

I’ve done a little Aloha research and I love what I’ve found.  Aloha is the essence of relationships – each person is important to every other person for collective existence.  I heard about a town on Kauai that exists in this manner.  In days gone by those escaping development/Capitalism moved to this area and created a community of people who live off the land and maintain Hawaiian traditions.  It is one of the poorest areas on the island.  In the late 1800’s a rich scottish woman acquired an enormous plot of land (somewhere around 50,000 acres) from the King on the promise that the land would never be developed commercially.  Now, this land could make them millions and millions of dollars, but instead they are barely able to pay the taxes on the plot because they have stayed true to their promise to the community. Most of the land is a conservation area and a small portion has allowance for certain tourism helicopters to land at certain waterfalls for a fee – one of the ways they raise money for the taxes. I am sure it is bizarre and obscene to most but in many ways it is beautiful.  The movie the Descendants tells a story that I am sure involves influence from the history of the land and the Robinson family.

I think we all need to come here and let the “Aloha Spirit” hit us over the head and bring it back to wherever we call home. Not to think that we are all going to run a free shuttle or donate our land to conservation efforts, but we all can be a bit kinder, more patient, more considerate, more open, more generous, more charitable, more understanding and a bit more community minded.  A collective effort results in a big effect. 

The next time someone does something in traffic that annoys you – think ‘I have been that annoying person before’ and don’t blow your horn, give finger, or call them an idiot.  Invite your neighbors over or even shovel their driveway.  Say “Hello” to people you meet. Reach out to a friend that you’ve been ‘too busy’ to see.  Call not text someone. Volunteer. You get the picture…

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Idea: Better Beach Attire Revolution

25 Jan

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I always marvel at what I see when I hit the beach.  I am a huge believer in the fact that any body type/size can look great… with the right clothes.  I am also a believer in the fact that you don’t need deep pockets to get clothing that emphasizes your good bits instead of your not-so-good bits.  Our society is all about liberation, but liberation doesn’t mean you need to look trashy while doing so.   Fashion don’ts seem to be more prevalent at the beach. I love people watching; the beach is a breeding ground for sights that just sink my battle ship.

Yesterday, we hit the beach and within minutes I was amazed at what I saw.  Right off the bat there is a guy that is so tanned his skin looked like  a leather jacket I had in high school wearing tightie short shorts and a rocking a metal detector and giant headphones. I guess he was seeking his fortune on the shores of Poipu.  Not even a minute later I saw something that amazed me.  There was a woman who was (hmmmm what is the best way to describe her) “VERY rotund” wearing a bikini bent over with legs spread apart trying to put on flippers. Poor Maurice was stunned and shocked.  It literally stopped me in my tracks. I am still scarred by that one.  Around the bend there was a woman on the rocks wearing a hat that was literally the size of an umbrella. I have no idea where she got this hat.  The only thing I could figure it is good at is keeping people away because it had a 4 foot circumference.   It was quite a windy day yesterday so it kind of looked like Dumbo trying to take flight – she was holding onto it trying to not fly away.

A few years ago I hit Spain with 2 of my girlfriends where there are nude beaches.  In an effort to get away from the all the solicitors (massages, beer, coconuts, etc) at the “non nude” beaches we hit the nude beach… clothed.  There we were 3 non tanned conservative (in comparison) Canadian girls wearing bathing suits on a nude beach.  We couldn’t have stood out anymore.  I honestly thought we were going to die laughing.  Lara inconspicously zoomed in on body parts of others on the beach and snapped some doozies.  Saggy asses, saggy boobs, huge fake boobs, saggy man parts… you get the picture. There was a short portly woman who didn’t have a top on who was wearing a thong bikini bottom… backwards.  Oddly the nude beach was better because there is no “style” to being naked. There is no “bad fit” when you are naked.  

As much as I would love to start a “better beach attire revolution” I kind of don’t want  things to change because it gives me great material.  Once I post this I am going to go put on my bathing suit as I am going to hit the beach… a nice one piecer that covers up my not-so-good bits and holds my not-so-small boobs in place. 

The truth is…

22 Jan

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Seeing as I am Canadian I sometimes feel pressed to say that I like winter.  In truth: I hate it.  It makes me feel like less of a Canadian but I can’t hide it anymore.  As I type this post I am sitting in sunny Hawaii soaking in vitamin D and feeling fabulous.  I just received an email from my mother saying that a foot of snow is expected this evening and that today the local plough shed burnt down along with 3 ploughs.  Isn’t that bad timing?  I clearly remember being a kid and on the days that it was storming we would wait by the radio to hear if school had been cancelled or at the very minimum that our bus was going to be late.  This is the time in my life when my hatred for winter began…

I grew up in a community called Maryvale (the department of highways moved the sign once and for 2 years we lived in North Grant)  and where my parents house is we call it Hell’s Gates (original I know).  There is a weird combination of a small mountain, a 200 acre open field across the road and some kind of wind tunnel.  From November until March our entire life was controlled by the weather.  I remember waking up and thinking the bloody Apocalypse happened – our windows would be covered in snow, the car was buried in snow and wind howled like crazy.  Whatever plans I had that morning were at the very least delayed or even cancelled.  We would need to wait for someone to come and clear our driveway out and that could take hours.  After a few storms snowbanks would pile up higher than the roofline of our house.  So after waiting 2 hours, pulling on snow attire, warming the car up, and clearing the car off we would attempt to get out of the driveway (this was a whole other challenge).  My Mom would throw her aside her conservative ways – she would turn into Mario Andretti in an attempt to get out.  The end of the driveway was usually a total whiteout in both directions.  Someone would have to get out of the car and stand in a place where they wouldn’t get hit in order to see if any cars were coming.  The wind would be blowing so strong that this already hateful event was made worse. So, Mom would hammer the gas down, we would fishtail out of the driveway and spin down the road.  We would think Old Man Winter had lost his mind, however, when we got a mile over the road all would be relatively peaceful.  I can’t tell you how many people went off the road in the front of our house – we always had knocks at the door from forlorn travelers stuck in the ditch.  There was a few years when the military actually came in with some sort of a machine that blew the snow so high/far I think it ended up at the North Pole. The Department of Highways for many years put a snow fence across the road in an attempt to block some of the blowing snow. Waiting for the school bus was a brutal cruelty – it would get so windy and wild that my brothers (probably begrudgingly) had to hold my hands so that I wouldn’t blow away into the great white abyss.  Seeing that big orange school bus pull up was the most amazing feeling. We got so much snow at our house that we would jump off the roof of the house into drifts.  I think David lost his boots on one plunge and they weren’t recovered until the spring.  When we were kids we had so much fun outside – playing in the snow, jumping off the house, cross country skiing, but that was when I didn’t know what day of the week it was, I didn’t have to run errands, I didn’t cook my own food, I didn’t have to clean, I didn’t have to work – i didn’t have anything to do other than play. Now, all winter brings me is shoveling, a dog full of snowballs and cold hands and feet. 

Fashion is a big part of winter that is a challenge for me as well – salt stains make my blood boil, when I put on a pair of pantyhose/tights I nearly have an allergic reaction, my head is too big for most fashionable hats and I detest how pasty my poor legs become due to not seeing sunlight for 5 months.

The good bits of being a Canadian exceed my strong feelings about winter and thus I have not given up my citizenship, but I think we need to add another province to Canada (one that is sunny all year round) – let’s trade in our worst province for Turks and Caicos.  I would volunteer to be the first resident.