I am a teacher and aspiring writer, and keep a blog to keep up with writing and document the daily moments that make up my life. Working with my students & travel writing are my biggest passions. People, art, food, wine/spirits, and culture are other writing interests. Thanks for coming by!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

What AuntieTaught Me about Leis

My return to hula class was not disappointing. I was so happy to see Auntie Anuhea and Uncle Don. The hulau is in a new place that is not as big but more cozy. The old place was also a karate dojo studio and class times were conflicting. But the new place is just down the road from the old place and it is perfect for what the hulau needs. Anyway, we spent my first class back learning about leis. Auntie was explaining the significance of ti leaf leis. They are often given for good luck and protection. Often times Hawaiians will leave a ti leaf lei draped over the front and back doors of their houses for protection. Also, the lei maker infuses his or her mana or power into the lei that he or she is making the lei for, therefore, it is considered taboo to give away a lei that has been given to you. Another taboo is to let a lei languish, it should be hung up once it is done being worn. And leis are not supposed to be thrown away. They are meant to be thrown into the ocean once someone is finished with them. Different flowers in a lei all have different significances, and different leis are used for different occasions. I loved learning all of these things. I had no idea that leis had so much significance, and that they were considered so sacred, but I was really grateful to learn these things.
When we were done with the cultural segment of the class on leis, we practiced a couple of songs, the Hukilau, and Little Grass Shack. It was nice to be dancing again, and nice to be back.

Friday, January 29, 2010

We're getting married!!!

We just booked the site today. It is: www.raggedpointinn.com, and the date is July 17, 2010.
We're so excited! Cheers!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why Keeping Dreams Alive is So Important

With Marcella, my hula sister, at our first performance, February 2007.

With Uncle Don at my first hula performance, February 2007.

I am returning to hula tonight and I am so happy about it. The reason I'm so happy is that I've been missing hula classes for the last year or so because of a combination of factors. I was too busy with school. I was wrapped up in my new relationship. Or I couldn't afford it. Or I had other plans on the weekends, and Saturdays used to be when classes were held. But putting off dreams or passions has a high price. Not going to hula last year made me feel like part of me was missing. It's such a big part of who I am. I love listening to Auntie Anuhea talk story with us, and speak pidgin to Uncle Don. I love how Uncle Don (who is in his seventies) still fumbles with the stereo when playing our hula songs, even though he's been working the same stereo for years. Then Auntie gets impatient with him, even though it happens every time. I love how we are an Ohana, a family, and I feel a part of a community, which is so often missing in modern day culture. I love the music, the Hawaiian language, and the dancing. All of is so meaningful to me and adds so much to my life and my happiness. Why is it that we so easily give up the things that make us the most happy? Especially when it's not hurting anyone else? It's so easy to put everything and everyone else first. I'm happy to do that sometimes. But I'm glad that I made the decision not to permanently give up one of the things I love to do most. To hula. Mahalo nui loa.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Snow Weekend

On Friday we drove up to the cabin that my family had rented in Tahoe Vista, and got there in no time. By the time we arrived my dad was making dinner and people were getting started with the vino too. As soon as we got there we announced our engagement, and toasted with some champagne with everyone! The rest of the nice included a nice dinner that my dad made, some Scrabble, and lots of wine! We were very happy to be there.
Saturday morning we woke up and Rob told me that he and my sister and brother-in-law were going skiing at Diamond Peak. I was on the fence: go snow shoeing with my dad, relax at the cabin with my stepmom and niece, or ski with Rob, Sam & Jorge? I couldn't make up my mind, but finally decided to go skiing because I am making an effort to have more fun and be more adventurous, even when I am afraid! Why would I be afraid of a day of skiing? Well, I hadn't skiied in 20 years or so, for one thing. For two, I am not much of a risk taker and afraid of heights and steep hills. And last but not least, I am not the most coordinated person to say the least, and I was imagining myself falling down, crashing into people, and smashing into trees....but none of that happened! Somehow, miraculously, I did great! Well, great for a beginner. It was almost like riding a bike. Even though it had been 20 years, I remembered how to ski like no time had passed at all. Rob and I took a break and drank some Heinekens and ate some lunch along with Sam & Jorge. We had a really good time.
Saturday night it was our turn to cook and Rob made his famous Pollo Arvejado. Everyone loved it. I was tired from skiing, so after dinner and some charades, I went to bed. But not Rob! He and Jorge were just getting started. After dinner they took a hot tub and got ready for the casinos, and were out at the casinos drinking, gambling, and listening to some blues until 3 am.
On Sunday I wanted to go snowshoeing but Rob was tuckered out after his never-ending Saturday night, so we just relaxed, hung out with family, and watched movies. In the end I'm glad we got that day at the cabin because we got to spend some real quality time with my adorable little niece, Maya, who I don't get to see often enough! She's 10 1/2 months old, and I hadn't spent much time with her since Summer since school was so intense during the Fall semester. So playing with Maya was great, and also it really started to snow on Saturday! It was beautiful. Honestly, it's been years since I've been in the snow. And forever since I was in the snow and actually got to watch the snow falling. It was really lovely. I caught a glimpse of Rob and he was staring so intently out the window at the snow, so enchanted. I know he'd really love to live there. Maybe at some point we will. After the movies we took a nice walk with my dad and sisters. It was nice to get outside since there were a lot of us in a little cabin we were getting a little bit of cabin fever. After dinner and another movie, everyone went to bed. Everyone was tired early.
This morning Rob made breakfast and we had to rush to get out of the cabin, because the snowstorm was quickly getting worse, and we wanted to cross Donner Pass before it got too bad. It still took 4 or 5 hours to drive a distance that shouldn't have taken more than 2 hours, but in the end we're just happy to be home safe and sound. I'd forgotten how magical falling snow was, and how much fun it was to ski. I'm grateful for these rich experiences. It's not the years in the life, but the life in the years, right?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

1. Marry the love of my life this year!!!
2. Surf with Rob in Kauai.
3. Exercise every day and either do yoga, swimming, walking or working out. But some sort of exercise every single day.
4. Learn some new recipes. Become a better cook.
5. Take Coco on a walk or to the dog park every day. Give her a good life.
6. Overcome fear of flying.
7. Return to hula classes and my Ohana family.
8. Get serious about writing again.
9. Start column for East Sac News.
10. Submit at least one other article this year - preferably a travel article!
11. Find a teaching job!
12. Get back into arts and crafts, make cards, collages, etc. for fun.
13. Lose weight/get in shape for the BIG DAY!
14. Post more on the often on my blog, do more writing/photography entries.
15. Read more books, get into reading again.
16. Decorate and make our home more cozy and inviting.
17. More magic moments and fun for the sake of fun!
18. Get into teas more and kick the coffee habit for good!
19. Stretch every day, and write, speak, or think about gratitudes every day.
20. Enjoy being alive and all of the blessings in life every day.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Day 1: We got up at 5:45 am, left Karissa & Trav's by 7 am, and crossed the border by 7:30 am. We stopped for breakfast at La Fonda, and I got banana pancakes with coconut syrup. Yum!

We met up with our other Baja buddies, Matt & Michael at La Fonda. They ended up joining us for breakfast. Matt, a friend of Karissa's that she met while working as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay, also lives in Encinitas, is a teacher, and loves to surf. His wife Paula was supposed to come but couldn't get out of work, so he brought his buddy Michael, who came from San Luis Obispo. Anyway, after meeting up with these guys and eating breakfast, we caravaned it down to Punta Cabra.

The ride to Punta Cabra was long. It was a good few hours south of where we ate breakfast, and about 5 hours south of the border. Once we arrived at Erendira, the closest town to where we planned to camp, the paved roads became dirt roads. A bumpy ride from that point on.

From Erendira we drove north up the coast. The beaches were empty and the coast was rugged. It was an incredibly beautiful coastline. I couldn't help but think that the California coast must have looked like this 50 or 100 years ago. Just open coastline, no hotels, no crowds, and no highways.

The last thing we saw before arriving at our campsite was a huge herd of goats. And we're staying at Punta Cabra, which basically means Goat Point. How appropriate!

A few minutes later we arrived at our Punta Cabra, and we were elated. Not having ever been there before, we had no idea what we were in for, but we were very happy with our new spot.

This was our first night there, and our first sunset. We were all ecstatic to be there.

The first night Rob was in rare form. He had a few rum and cokes and decided to start speaking his mind. He told Michael he was a regular Joe, he told Travis he was a grouch, he even called my best friend a sourpuss! Then he said the dog, Bungee, was a sourpuss too. At least he was being equally opportunistic! Then he asked what he was doing hanging out with all of these white guys? So needless to say, I had my hands full that night. But everyone had a good sense of humor and we all laughed about it the next day.

Day 2: we woke up, made some coffee, and headed out to the beach to watch the waves. Rob was playing guitar and we all took turns hula hooping. It was a nice morning. Matt, Travis, and Michael wanted to take off to go surfing about an hour north of where we were camping, at a place called Punta San Jose. Rob went with them to take photographs. He was really excited to use his new camera. So the guys were gone, and Karissa and I had the campsite to ourselves. K took a little nap and I took a long beach walk, read my book, "Three Cups of Tea," and wrote in my journal. When K woke up mid-afternoon, we decided to get started on some Tecates with limes. We were off to a good start with our Tecates when the guys got back. We all watched the sunset together, then Matt made some soup, and we all sat by the fire eating soup and drinking tecates. Rob was mellow and still recovering from the night before so he took it easy with the partying. The guys were playing dominoes and it was Trav's turn to get the most drunk. They were pretty funny with their dominoes. Rob won the game. I think everyone else was too drunk or confused by the game or both to know what they were doing.

Day 3: On our last day at Punta Cabra the guys decided the waves were good enough there to stay, so they headed out to catch some waves. Rob and I and Karissa walked down the beach to watch them surf. Rob was taking photos from the edge of the exposed reef, and Karissa and I were checking out the tidepools. It was so cool watching the little crabs and sea urchins cruising around their little worlds.

That night around the fire everyone was going for broke. There was no drunk guy because everyone was going all out. Rob even did a back somersault with an open beer and didn't spill the beer! There was a lot of reminiscing going on because even though it had only been a few days, friendships had been formed and many memories had been made. Rob was jealous because we had said Matt's wetsuit hoodie was cute, so we wanted to borrow it. Matt obliged so Rob was in his glory in his wetsuit hoodie bliss.

Day 4: In the morning we packed up and headed to La Salina, where we were planning to celebrate New Year's Eve. After three days of no showers or toilets or running water, we felt we'd won the lottery having a shower, a toilet, and a nice clean bed to sleep in. We had a room overlooking the ocean and our own private deck, all for $35 a night! Karissa and Trav knew everyone at La Salina, which was nice too. Our rooms were upstairs, and downstairs was a bar, a restaurant, and a dance floor. Because it was New Year's Eve, the place was packed, mostly by retired Americans, and a few younger people, but from the looks of it, it was mostly all expats.
We got some drinks, margaritas for starters, ate dinner, and hit the dance floor. The music was mostly 80's (catering to the crowd I guess) but every now and then the band would play a good one, so we'd have to hit the dance floor. Karissa is completely Mexican at heart. She didn't care about any of the American songs, but every time a Mexi song came on, she was so there! She taught me her little Mexi moves, and when we left, one guy said we were the best dancers out there! What a nice compliment. Then again, we were the only women under 50.......
We miraculously made it to midnight considering how much everyone had partied the night before, and everyone was hugging and kissing. I gave Rob a kiss and Karissa and Travis a hug, and thought about how grateful I was for living through another year. Life had its ups and downs, but it's so nice to every now and then have a moment like that to remember how lucky we are to be here, to be alive, and going through this journey we call life.

Day 5: Got some breakfast at La Fonda then hit the wine country. Because it was New Year's Day, none of the wineries were open, except for La Dona Guadalupe's. The wine was terrible, and I'm no wine snob, but it was really bad. But the area was beautiful. And wine country in Mexico? Who would have thought? So just the novelty of it alone was worth seeing. That last night we were tired so we ate an early dinner and went to bed. We'd had a good run.