No Bad Days

EAD9485A-CDA3-4C72-B462-D99769FC21D2When friends inquire about our spring break vacation, I should just show them my Google search history to help provide some insight:

things to do in Maui when it rains
address Maui urgent care center
cancellation policy, Molokini snorkel tour
how to get a trapped bird out of a house
how to photoshop six-pack abs
can I buy Koloa Coconut Rum in California

Turns out, Ono is not only a fish commonly found off the coast in Hawaii, it’s also a good mascot for our recent vacation, albeit with a slight spelling modification: Oh. No.

Oh no, the weather forecast calls for rain the entire week we’re here. Oh no, the kid woke up with an eye infection. Oh no, the kid now appears to have both an eye infection and strep throat. Oh no, the other kid squished my arm while I was wearing a sleeveless dress and started calling me ‘Lil Beefer.

It would have been easy to slip into a sullen mood when I was greeted every morning by grey skies, steady rain, and hunched palm trees seeking protection from the pummeling wind. But I was in Hawaii, dammit, and there are no bad days in Hawaii.

So I forced myself to be happy.

I would cut myself off mid-thought if I was going negative. It felt ridiculous at first, but then it became a weird little game. Something like:

I can’t believe I’m sitting on the beach under a cloud cover so thick, it makes my skin look blue. But… think of how happy the dermatologist will be when I show up for my next skin cancer check without a hint of a tan. Besides, my pale skin would sizzle like a slice of spam on a flattop if I were outside in the tropical sunshine on a cloudless day. It’s better this way.

Undeterred, I floated in saltwater while being pelted with rainwater, all while keeping an eye out for lightening because with the way things were going, I couldn’t be too careful. Fortunately, the ocean was warm and the giant sea turtle that surfaced for a breath right next to me was friendly. Good things happen all the time. Even in the rain.

I learned that my new wide-brimmed sun hat also works well as an umbrella, that rum cocktails are delicious in any weather, and that the sound of ocean waves can still shush you to sleep even after the stormiest of days.

Despite the minor disasters that befell us, most things worked out in the end. Antibiotics got my daughter feeling better and back on the beach in less than a day. The wayward bird found his way out of the house with minimal drama. The canceled snorkel tour was replaced by an epic hiking adventure involving waterfalls and rope swings. Lunardi’s carries my new favorite rum. And I’ve only been called ‘Lil Beefer once since returning to the mainland.

The trick will be learning to apply my stubborn cheerfulness back in the real world. It can be harder to look for the good amidst the mundane, but I’m trying. Just as I was grateful to be waking up on a tropical island, I’m also trying to be grateful waking up to a life filled with laundry, carpools and orthodontist appointments. It’s all a gift and it’s all fleeting.

Enough days have passed that I’m only dwelling on the good memories from our trip. Ono is once again a fish instead of a vacation catch phrase. And as I search for the moments of joy in my everyday life, I realize that although I didn’t leave the island with a deep dark tan, I did leave with a change in perspective that will hopefully last longer than bronzed skin.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

The big picture is overrated.  It is uncertain.  It can be messy.  It is rarely understood, never controlled and frequently overwhelming.  I like the little picture instead.  Focusing attention on small details adds beauty to days that could otherwise slip by unnoticed, obscured by looming shadows of the big picture.  Life’s details are here now: bright, beautiful and begging to be seen.

* Post inspired by WordPress’ weekly photo challenge. This week’s theme is color.  

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

jan pics 028-1Although I don’t make resolutions in January, I do like to choose a word to guide me through the upcoming 12 months.  I’ve done this the past few years and I’m always surprised at how often my word perfectly fits with what I experience during the year.

2013 will see the launch of several projects, including a few for the house and a few for me.  I think it has the potential to be a very transformative year but also one where I’m pulled in a million directions.  So the word I choose for 2013 is: focus.

Focus on the goal and embrace the work it takes to get there.  Focus on what’s truly important and let the rest slide.  Pause, breathe, focus.

What about you?  Any words to guide you in 2013?  Share in the comments section.

* Inspired by WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge.  This week, we’re invited to post a photo that exemplifies our New Year’s resolution…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry

Pulling open the heavy doors, we peered into the tasting room.

“Can I help you?”

“We’re big fans of your wine — any chance we could do a tasting today?”

“Oh, that’s too bad, tastings are by appointment only,” she replied, punctuating her statement with a wince as if the news pained her.

We looked past the petite gatekeeper into the room that appeared fully staffed but lacking customers.  “Um, can we make an appointment for right now?” we sheepishly offered.

“Um, no.”

As we headed back to the car, I snapped a picture of the winery’s roofline against a bright blue sky.  I wouldn’t be taking home bottles of wine that day, but at least I could leave with an interesting photo.

Years have passed, but I still dream of having a Pretty Woman moment where I revisit the tasting room as the author of a best-selling cookbook featuring photos and recipes from Napa’s favorite wineries.  “Remember me?  You wouldn’t let me taste your wine.  Big mistake.  Big.  Huge!” I’d say with a head tilt and a Julia Roberts smile.

* Post inspired by WordPress’ weekly photo challenge.  The theme for this week is geometry in photography.   Since I’m posting daily in November, I need all the creative prompts I can get…

Watch This!

Although the Tebowing trend has probably run its course, we live in the ‘burbs, where cool things go to die.  Slowly.

“MOM!  Mom mom mom mom mom mom mom.  WATCH THIS!”

When I’m interrupted in this manner, it’s usually for something along the lines of hey-stop-what-you’re-doing-and-cheer-for-me-while-I-put-peanut-butter-on-my-sandwich.

But this time?  Totally worth it.