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why normal is the new scary

Turn up volume for full effect

How to explain to mom

This post is dedicated to my guy friends. Don’t start with the Harry Met Sally quotes, I don’t care if they see me as a sex object, I do care that they are among the best people I’ve ever met. Go ahead fellas, tag yourself in this post and show yer mama :) Disclaimer: not saying I don’t have any good girl friends. You know who you are. But we’re letting the guys have their 60 seconds of fame here.

I won’t display the abundance of links to excellent music, how to fix the ipad, youtube links of some twisted stuff, countless photos, and just general cackling fun my guy friends have provided, just use your imagination. Guys are funny. Think JackAss. Not stuff I would do but it’s funny to watch them do it. I guess my “sick” sense of humor stemmed from my father, a rather conservative quiet Colonel in the army. Did the right thing. Reliable. A great leader. But not scared at all to teach us at a young age that humor is good, it’s healthy. It may disturb others. It may raise eyebrows. That’s kinda why it’s funny.

Ladies, you know the guys who seem intriguing at first but then YAAAAAAAWWWWNNNN huh? The kind of guy who puts on his pants one leg at a time and dutifully shows up for work. Well ok they have a paycheck. But money can’t buy sanity. Don’t you remember the one who made you laugh all the time? It didn’t matter what he looked like (well it did a little) ..he was just..funny…and not scared of what the others thought.

The normal ones are the ones you have to watch out for. What’s brewing under that clean cut focused goal oriented pay my bills on time exterior? Hacked up body parts in the closet? Ok maybe not. But you know who I mean. They may have the common sense to pour piss out of a boot (favorite expression learned from my father) but THEN what. (Did anyone ever find the boots I left in the fountain on Kuhio.. there was no piss in them but those suckers filled with water quick and I couldn’t walk. They were on their last leg anyways. Leg. Lol.)

Nah I like my sicko buddies. I can depend on them. They know me and my sicknesses too. They can be outrageous but their crazy is predictable, and harmless. They don’t walk through life with a straight face. They invent cool shit. They have cool chick friends like me.

Guys, you make my life better. Keep sending..
your beloved fan and friend,
“she aint right in the head”

tape2

Full Circle

Image

 

Considering how often I post on various nurse forums and facebook, it surprises me that I did not keep up with my original goal of maintaining a blog.  My writing hands are out of touch, save for the quick mini posts that don’t require sitting still for too long or trying to correct grammar (which many of you know, I don’t always abide by..) . 

I could recount the steps of the last year, or two, but so much growth has come from those years and my focus became one of physical experience dominating over the more creative writing process.  Because during those two years my health was seriously messed up.  Some time in late September 2013, the cosmos tossed me a pillow.  With the steady kind words of a very special tiger that I met (think Life of Pi), I started turning again, the momentum grew, and I was able to cushion the blow from the last two years with endless spinning.  And.. I picked up the hoop again.  On those many restless evenings while I waited in Arizona, I would drown in music and used the hoop as a guiding crutch to regain balance in spinning again.  It’s hard to describe spinning, some picture the Whirling Dervishes, others may think of ballroom dance.  Those of us who gravitate into its force know that the term spinning is only a simple way to describe something that photos, videos, and songs cannot capture.  I had stopped spinning when I left the mainland, mainly because I stopped attending festivals.  Despite the disasters in Arizona, it led me back to spinning, so in a way it was worth it.  I’ll introduce you to Eddie another day.  He appeared like magic when my body was drained and I was so off balance I had to lean on the back gate.  But a gentle encouraging pull of the hand and got me twirling again.  It was difficult to spin without him, at the time my body remembered “how” to do it, but the will wasn’t there.  Every Sunday I would spin with Eddie, then during the week I would use the hoop as my dance partner.  I had enjoyed hooping before as an exercise but it wasn’t until I started spinning again that I understood how it could balance me and become almost an alternate ??? dance partner? 

Once the momentum started, I didn’t lose interest in other creative pursuits, I had regained my strength back so I was focused on agility, flexibility, and the euphoria came from dance and movement again. 

Everything I sought in Arizona ended up being right here on the island.  But I had to hit the reboot.  And sometimes I may need to run off to plug in that battery, but I’m so happy to be home again.  It feels good to fly when there’s firm sand to touch down again. 

Cute photo I found on the net from a fellow hooping chick.  Not sure I can bend like that just yet but will work on it.

sailing and whale season

joy of sailing

joy of sailing

Life has been a whirlwind lately…I fell into a new group of friends who sail every Friday night in Waikiki. For the seven years I have lived here, I used to watch on Fridays at sunset this battalion of boats that would cross the water ..I thought it was the most romantic sight. I met a group of sailors and have been an active, ecstatic participant on the Coyote every Friday evening. Watching the choreography of the crew work together (and we win often) leaves me in awe. The tip of the boat as the wind fills the sail and we start racing..

So of course I had to learn for myself. Michael is teaching me on a small sailboat, just basics right now, but I love it. On to windsurfing next. I’ve never been the type to lay on the beach or build sand castles, I love the involvement with the water. There’s a beauty to watching my hands gather rope and point the sails, to study the winds.

Last night we witnessed an incredible whale breach. And then their tails rise up over and over again. I’ve seen this before and it never gets old, I cling to the side of the boat and feel elated. Water life is soooooo for this girl.

change is inevitable for growth

You know when you get back from a vacation and you immediately have to start up your job again, and those beautiful memories of where you were start to fade? And pretty soon it seems like a distant dream wtih floating images, but the messages that were abundant start to show up in dreams or hints, but you dismiss them as you get back to work?

I have been guilty of this.  After a few days on the big island and then a fabulous trip to Costa Rica, I don’t even allow much time to look back at the photos anymore.  Every inspiration and discovery, idea, plan, was washed away quickly as I resumed work , stepped back on the treadmill that just seems to run in place.  I forgot.

And then almost by magic you start to get these reminders.  I have this very simple necklace that I bought from a Tican at Playa Tamarindo, he needed money badly after the big quake.  I’ve worn the necklace ever since.  I had a dream the other night that I had lost it.  I’ve spent so much time lately looking at the job I have as a nurse and wondering, is this what I want ten years from now?  A solid paycheck that pays for a tiny apartment and covers the cost of car repairs (which have been costly lately)..maintaining a shadow of what is really out there to explore..possibly give my child a chance to live in a different world and not endure the 7 hour a day desktop learning experience.

I was hoping the time off from work, I’d have some momentum to explore different ideas.  For a week I was stationary.  Trying to encourage creativity is not easy, it’s almost like a gift that is given to you at the right time.

Through a recent series of events and meeting “the right people” things fell into place this morning.  A blue morpho butterfly landed on my shoulder and whispered..don’t you remember?  I started researching websites, the stories of others, gaining inspiration from those who took the leap and did it, and probably look at the rest of us like, what are you waiting for.

All great things take time and patience (I’m not always good at the patience thing) but there it is, the rainbow that leads back to what I left behind in Costa Rica.  It’s as if I tied a ribbon on a tree and said, I’ll be back.  But the old idea I had of doing it is, like the butterfly, emerging into something else..which still holds part of the old idea but has a garden of new ones to play with.

At my nurse job I work frequently with people who have had a recent discharge from the hospital.  Unfortunately they end up right back in the hospital.  An illustration of how life can be..do we cure symptoms (or mask them) or do we cure the cause?  I’m gonna put my money on curing the cause.

This should be an exciting journey.

how to stave off the copycats

It’s another typical day in paradise, hazelnut espresso in hand and I have multiple projects going on at once.  A fellow artist emailed me as she has a unique idea, she asked my thoughts about how to avoid copycats.  Here’s a few tips that I have in my book that I’ll share…

You can’t avoid copycats.  If you are selling on a venue such as ebay or etsy, your feedback and sales record is on public display.  Use this to your advantage.  Do others have a record of 200 sales, or 2000?  Who do you think a customer will buy from?  Don’t have much of a feedback yet?  Consider offering your item at an introductory price, get it out there, get feedback..see if the item is a winner.  Listen to customer feedback, use it to improve your item.  Building feedback will build your credibility.

Build a branding image.  I cover this in more detail in the book.  Yes, you can create logos and such but your photos should be used to visually display your items in a very stand out, different way.  I believe there is a way to search ebay listings ( I will look into it and I can show you how my branding images evolved, and show you the very first listings on ebay with a date of when they were first released) .  Don’t just brand an item, brand a lifestyle.  When I first starting doing photos, I thought about how I could make my thumbnails in an ebay auction stand out from the others.  Of course this was easy at the time, only two other sellers on ebay were selling veils and one of them was not selling silk..the silk seller had a very different way of taking her photos.  What’s going to catch the eye and draw them in?  Use additional photos as closeups but your thumbnail should be something that catches the eye.

DOCUMENT.  As a nurse I can’t stress this enough.  In the nursing world we call this cover your ass.  Make sure the setting on your camera has the date displayed.  Save multiple copies of EVERY image you use in its raw and cropped version.  Try to organize your photos in albums chronologically (I need to do this and have it published) , date them according to when they were taken.  This is also helpful when, years later, you look back and see your progression.  Make it public.  Publish on facebook, your website, your blog.  Get screenshots of your website with the date when it was published, keep all of this information in a file.

Of course, people are going to copy anyways.  If you are doing something that sells well, they will pick up on it and likely copy and paste your description and also ‘adopt’ your photo style.  It’s up to you if you want to pursue intellectual property rights.  It’s a long, frustrating expensive road.  The easiest thing you can do is document your work, and publish it.

Every successful seller has a knockoff.  I know you’ve heard it before, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  But use your original mojo to look forward and don’t worry about what the followers are doing.  They will burn out eventually and you will be light years ahead.

ps I’m in the process of collecting thousands of images from the past 12 years of my published photos, giving them dates and writing a description about each.  It will be a big project.  It will be posted as a chronology of business evolution on the facebook page.

 

Shine bright..

There’s no other point to this post than to remind everyone to SHINE BRIGHT and run towards your dream.  No excuses.

watch?v=5T2Jq3CwtA8&feature=related

falling into autumn gypsy

Even though we don’t really have seasons here in Hawaii, every autumn my Arizona roots tug on me and I break out the moccasins, feathered earrings, thigh hi stockings, and an array of much loved gypsy skirts.  My mind starts racing with fall colors..copper, chocolate latte, soft creamy golds, turquoise, rusty corals, and of course the witchy colors of deep purple, burgundy, blood red, Christmas spruce.  More more more!  The dyes start flying and I can’t keep up with myself.  I close my eyes and see trails of spinning skirts, long off the shoulder bell sleeves tops, fringy ponchos, velvet cloaks ..  I have to create autumn in Hawaii.

I usually visit Sedona Arizona in fall and spring to soak in the dry desert air and make a trip to the canyons.  My last visit was in March 2012.  But even if I don’t make it this month, I can channel the colors.  I know what will be in store windows.  I know what my desert sisters like.  We looooove gypsy, witchy, tattered edge skirts, layers of color, fuzzy warm things.  One wouldn’t think the desert can get cold but it bites like a rattlesnake.

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So as I slow down on certain areas of creating, the cauldrons are bubbling with freshness.  The winter clothes are unpacked and adorned with copper bangles. Hair is tied back with fringey pirate scarves.  Floor length capes, graceful burnout Scarchos, velvet neck warmers.  Pecan pie.  Boots did I mention boots.  I have a poncho and boots fetish.  My credit card burns my hand until I use it.

There’s lots to do today.  Photos are coming..along with a quick surf in the rumor’ed waves we have on south shore.  Light the sage, ignite the candles..fall is here and there will be a spiral of new goodies.

Sunshine Daydream with a Scarlet Begonia

Dedicated to Karin and Jeanette, I know you are out there somewhere

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6Cdli3VqAQ

There’s cover bands and there’s the originals, and sometimes that original is so good that other cover bands become successful from the following CREATED by that original.  That kicks ass.  If it wasn’t for experiencing both the original and falling in to step with a cover band years later to feed the fire, I don’t know if A’Kai would have been here.

It may surprise you but I was not originally influenced by bellydance to create veils.  Later, when I picked it up again to make a business from it, the bellydance scene was very much a part of it, as was my teachings under Adnan Sarhan at www.sufi.org .

But the original inklings in the mind came from no other than the Grateful Dead.

Both my college roommate and a dear DEAR friend I met in psych 101 were deadheads.  A happy coincidence that  I was introduced on both sides.  I shared a dorm room with a nurse student at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff (damn I’m feeling homesick ) we used to fall asleep at night rotating our tapes from Grateful Dead to Bob Dylan, to Pink Floyd and occasionally she’d let me throw on the Doors.  I had a thing for Jim Morrison.  Who didn’t.

My dear friend Eric and I became inseparable, sharing that once in a lifetime friendship (and thanks to facebook I found him again).  He introduced me to excellent sound systems.  We heard about the Grateful Dead playing in Las Vegas..he wasn’t able to go but I tore across the desert with some dude and watched Santana open for the Dead for my first real concert.  I then started hitting every show in the area, I was in college and couldn’t get on the road with the band..if I could go back and change time would I have become a roadie? Damn straight.  Daaaaamn straight. But a strict father always told me to do the ‘right’ thing.  Lol like he knew what that might be.  Just kidding dad. RIP .

No instead I applied and got in to nursing school in Mesa Arizona.  My now 17 year old was a toddler.  At the daycare I met the loveliest hippie girl named Karin and she invited me up to Bostons on Thursday nights.  Dead cover band.  I was hesitant but then Thursdays became my once a week solace to the grind of school.  Classes were every day, and I worked on the weekend first as a CNA then as an LPN.  Dancing at the dead shows was my release.

I met Jeanette, a spinning top if the world ever saw one, I was in awe with her serpent like kundalini coil.  She wasn’t just a twirler, she was a flame.  I would secretly watch her, mesmerized by her furious spinning.  In the evenings when the house was empty and the boy was asleep I started teaching the feet how to rotate. I used the reflection in the large window to spot and find balance.  I practiced every night.  I found that wearing a gypsy skirt with a bit of weight to the fabric helped ground me..I watched the fabric spiral open like a flower blooming.

One evening I heard the familiar plink of China Cat Sunflower and mindfully started spinning..in a large open space and as if no one was watching. I spun the entire song.  As the band slipped into I Know you Rider, Jeanette ran up to me and grabbed my hands.  Do you remember that scene in Titanic when Leo and Kate are spinning by holding hands at that Irish dance?  That’s what she did, she grabbed my hands and started spinning me.  She shouted to me I WON’T LET GO OF YOU haha but I was not sure if my feet agreed.  We both leaned back and went faster and faster. I let go of the fear of falling.  My feet seemed to touch down on the ground only to propel me back up .  “She can wade in a drop of dew”

Thursdays became my favorite night of the week.  I started haunting the western stores in Arizona looking for bigger and bigger spinning skirts.  We were two dancing flowers ( another nicknamed earned) with tiny tank tops and yards of fabric like bells.  On a breezy night I had the issue of spinning so fast the skirt would catch in the wind.  Panty issue.  So I started layering my skirts..hmmm double colors.  Not being a seamstress and committed to nursing school I started browsing the web looking for skirts, and fell into bellydance costuming sites.  The chiffon skirts I found too whimsy for my needs but the tribal skirts fit purpose.

And so the obsession grew with building layers of spinning fabric.  We need wings I thought.  Silk.  Done deal.  I didn’t offer silk to the bellydancers at the time, chronologically that didn’t come til later.  Their purpose was a toy for a twirler.

I spent many happy years going to concerts and spinning so much my then husband would have to carry me out after the show.  I’ll post another time about spinning itself.  A joy that also naturally led to bellydance, a style of dance I truly love but honestly didn’t hold the same fiery free no rules thrill of spinning.  Even my brush with Sufi whirling didn’t hold quite the wild abandon as red hair and spinning skirts, anklets with bells, feathers and stones, sage and music, love and freedom…

It’s time again to start the rotation.  I don’t know why I ever quit.  Light some candles and iron out the old skirts and start the path of flame again.  A path that has led to many excellent side stops along the way.  Wish I had pictures of all those blessed years.  But the memories are still there and it’s a frequent subject of dreams.

shake n quake

redheads always find the water

I’m slowly backtracking thru the trip to Costa Rica with my travel companion whom I refer to as Pepper.  We were in Monteverde during the quake, having spent a couple of days ziplining and hiking around in the jungles at night, I had always been curious to see the Tamarindo area of Costa Rica so on a last minute change of plans we boarded a shuttle and headed to the coast (pepper is game for anything making him a darn nice companion who carries my suitcase)

Here’s info on the quake http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/09/05/earthquake-tsunami-warning-costa-rica-pacific.html

We were headed down the unpaved road leading to the remote Monteverde and our shuttle driver pulled to the side of the road to make a phone call.  God bless the man for cell phones.  Within a minute of pulling over the van started rocking back and forth.  Somebody in the backseat said jeez is that a wind.  Having grown up in southern California I said huh uh that’s a quake.  But we were away from all communication other than our drivers cell phone and he wasn’t alerted of anything.. our only evidence was the shaking of the van and the sudden tumbling of rocks down the hillside towards our van.

What can one do but just proceed down the hill?  We saw multiple rock slides on the way down like this

The monkeys had retreated and were not making any noise, I tried to get a photo but they just sat there

monkeys in the trees

I wondered about my intuition heading TOWARDS the epicenter of the quake.  We reached a transfer station and loaded up on strong coffee and started our final drive towards Tamarindo.  Pepper was shaking his head and asked where’s the beach?  How should I know?  The signs said this way.  I REALLY wanted to get in the water.  At the transfer station I guess news hadn’t hit yet cuz we were all busy grabbing pastries.  Our driver said something that sounded like volcano and “boom” then laughed excitedly.  I thought oh darn did Arenal just blow? And here we are heading in the opposite direction, which is bad news for a lava junkie like me.  But we were only an hour from our destination.

Arrival to Tamarindo, boy was it humid. I rather liked the forested but more arid desert landscape but we were still about 10 km from the beach.  It took me five minutes to shed the mountain girl clothing and grab beach wear..not knowing yet what we were going to do and no plan other than the curiousity to see another beach.  The hotel grabbed us a taxi which was a teenager driving a honda , see the door handle?  Hey it works!

costa rican door handle

We were dropped off at the smoothie shop.  The town seemed a bit quiet and a couple of surfers waved as they sped off on mopeds.  Huh.  It still didnt’ reach my brilliant mind that tsunamis follow earthquakes.  We hadn’t heard of any warnings.  No one on the beach said anything.  Duhhh.

Finally the view opened up to the coastline and I was deeply impressed

Long stretches of sand, lots of new seashells, boats out in the water, happy happy!  I didn’t pause to start running about exploring the tide pools and climbing around on the rocks.  Pepper had been wanting sun and a chair and found it quick.  Here ya go ladies, courtesy of Jes.  Look he even watches your stuff so you can run off and play.

Like any mermaid would do I headed into the water which seemed to me warmer than even our perfect Hawaii water.

Pepper had a tiring day chasing a redhead around Costa Rica see him in the background

The surf shops were all closed up, the tsunami warning had just recently been lifted.  It still seemed a bit eerie to be in such flat place.  There’s no high rises here in case the water decides to roll in.  I took a few more photos, we grabbed some burritos and decided to head back to the hotel to nap in the air conditioned room.  Not usually my choice of activity but we’d both had enough for the day and I knew it wasn’t a good idea to surf that day.

 

Tamarindo was hotter than I imagined it to be with a humidity that could only be satisfied by swimming, which unfortunately I had no opportunity to do.  Tsunami warning and all.  I hear it’s a great place to surf.  Next time.  I’m sure Pepper will watch my stuff .

how to live like a millionaire in Waikiki

As I wander home from hours of walking the streets of Waikiki, licking the sticky Teddie’s Bigger Burger sauce off my hands, I once again thank the great islands for allowing a mortal like me to live here.

An exciting day it was!  Some of my friends question why I like living in loud congested Waikiki.  Well..cuz I can.  After spending my first two months on the island in Pearl City and taking the bus to Waikiki every day, I found a  cheap tiny apartment over on Paolakalakalulu (ok that’s not really the street name) , bought a surfboard, and planted roots in Waiks.  Over the years I’ve gravitated in and around Hawaii to different areas, and even lived on the big island for a year, but I always seem to come back to Waikiki.

Hell yes it’s pricey, I pay more for a one bedroom than my friends pay for a three bedroom house on the mainland.  My food bill can feed a small country.  But those costs are offset by benefits such as not needing heat or air conditioning, not needing a winter wardrobe, not needing a car (our bus system rules..but I do own a teal green spyder convertible that was my midlife crisis car and she’s fun as shit for cruising the island) .

And consider this.  With a world class beach a ten minute walk from my apartment, well guess what..beaches are FREE!  I’m not the type to lug down ice chests and chairs, I usually bring a small backpack with a tube of sunscreen and a bottle of water.  The rest takes care of itself.

Waikiki as you may know is lined with fancy hotels and resorts.  One of the best things about living here is pretending to be a tourist and visiting the resorts.  It’s easy to look like a tourist;  wear socks and hang a camera around your neck.  Also, wear a lei.  Dead giveaway.

Now below is a description or excerpts from facebook posted from a typical day in Waikiki from a dirty island girl.  Meaning I don’t condone this behavior and hope I don’t get caught.  Ladies, keep in mind that indulging in these activities solo, while wearing a big smile and ‘not knowing any better’ works like a charm when you don’t have a man with you.  Just be all smiles and pleasing to look at and if all else fails fake an accent and pretend you don’t speak English.  Always, always smile.  Act like you belong there but not in a snobby way.

Let me also say taht while there are tons of security cameras around Waikiki, chances are no one will ever see you again.  They’re tourists.  They go home.  They might post a photo of you on facebook and at that point pat yourself on the back for a job well done.  Sign autographs.  Trust me the cops are much too busy dealing with drunks than to worry about chicks in bikinis.  If you doubt me, call me and we’ll arrange a Jes customized tour de action when you arrive.  If we get arrested I’ll buy you dinner (once we’re bailed..but I know a cop, no bigs).

The adventure started by a trip to Victorias Secret.  This is sort of a tangent but I am allowed to get pissed off about skinny perfect Brazilian models.  Body  by  Victoria my ass.  How about Body by Jesennia complete with a curvy stomach and big enhanced tits.  Yes I said tits.

After getting worked up over the discrimination about normal women I headed over to the Rumfire area, I’m not even sure which hotel it is because they all merge together.  There’s an infinity pool there and I don’t normally like chlorine but the view is nice and it’s great for people who like to float with drinks and pretend they are in the ocean but prefer the pool cuz they are scared of sharks.  Which..in this area you are more likely to suffer a staph infection than get bit by a shark.  Not the cleanest area.  But I digress..

I was kickin back on a floaty when a uniformed lady asked to see my id bracelet.  I lost it, I replied.  She says what room are you staying in.  I told her I didn’t remember and that I was someone’s wife but he ran off to north shore for the day.  She saw my hand with no wedding ring and told me the pool was for hotel guests only.  I asked her how much for a room.  I reluctantly left my floaty with a delighted child and shaka’d the pool attendant (male) who obviously had no problem that I was pool hoppin in a black bikini and a Parris Hilton set of sunglasses.  Better luck next time he grins at me.  It’s always the women who ruin a moment (ps my cop buddy says it’s always women who turn in other women at the beach who are topless..the men NEVER complain).  So..next time I’ll go to Party City and get an arm bracelet in every color.  Problem solved.

Now don’t let this get out to the public but I have a fake turd, it’s actually soap.  I took it all the way to Costa Rica to play a joke on the cop.  I carry it with me for the odd occasion that I can make a prank.  I do realize I am mentally ill but not bothered in the least by that.  Wouldn’t it be fun to let the turd float in a pool?  Who could prove who released it? Can you IMAGINE the scuffle of people as they got out of the pool?  Hey..freedom of speech.  (I also want to take it to a restaurant, put it on my plate after the waiter delivers food and ask him if I received the wrong order).

Object of Concern

I dried off by wandering over to the Hilton to get a bag of chocolate covered coffee beans.  And paid $20 for a jar of honey.  Oh but this is supposed to be an article on free stuff.  Scratch that part.  The honey by the way is fabulous, good enough to eat out of the jar.  I sat on the sidewalk dipping coffee beans in the honey and giggling like a loon.  The Hilton ducks were downright aggressive and tried to pickpocket me but I don’t want to be responsible for OD’ing  a damn duck on chocolate and honey so I wouldn’t give them any.

I had a point to this..OH!!  Many gift shops with edibles will give out free samples if it looks like you might purchase something.  At the Kona coffee store I was fed two cups of kona coffee (the first one I guzzled but pretended not to like it so she let me try the dark roast).  She then treated me to four different types of chocolate, macadamia nuts, and two spoonfuls of honey.  I was full.  Ok so I bought the honey and some chocolate beans.  But samples are a good thing.  You can also get free samples at the Honolua Cookie company (in fact there’s like 8 different kinds so you can munch out on multiple samples) also the Yogurt place over by McDonalds gives you taster cups, you can stand over by the machines and taste all 12 flavors.  Full belly.  The things you learn from the homeless I tell ya.

After getting jacked up on kona roast I wandered back to the Sheraton because along the narrow boardwalk if you are lucky you can grab a hammock, and never have they checked for an armband.  Along the way was the usual assortment of free entertainment.  The hairy European guy in a speedo bending over.  A large wave washing Gramma up on shore (she was fiiiiine all smiles), a non-English speaking couple taking out stand up boards for the first time and well..you fill in the gaps.  Sunburnt dads getting buried in sand by their kids.  The beach is what many of us live for.  What we dream about.  It’s therapy.

The female pool lady wasn’t around but I passed by anyways, on the other side of Rumfire there are a collection of large hammocks.  To my delight one was available, the one on the end, so I climbed in with my chocolate beans and enjoyed the view.

Off to my left there is a gorgeous view of the ocean but I would have had to move the chocolate to lift an arm to take a picture and that was a lot of work considering it’s a Saturday.  We live for hammocks in Hawaii.  We wish we could sleep in them.  Which reminds me I need to have a strong guy come over and drill holes in the wall out on the lanai so I can hang a hammock.  Or maybe get one of those tripod ones but I’m sensing a collapse.  At the current rate of rent now I’m wondering if I could stick a cot out there and rent it out.

So, the Sheraton security was politely ushering everyone out and hauling in tables and speaker systems.  I used the opportunity to strip down to my black bikini and pretend to sleep.  I was left alone.  I noticed I was the only one left in the area.  After getting hammock face I turned around and a guy was rolling a huge amp or something past me.  I smiled sweetly and asked if I had to leave. Nah..you good you not in da way.  Maybe lates when da event starts.  Oh cool, I say, is Obama here?  Free food?  He laughs and says if I can find a way to sneak in, he’ll look the other way.

If you are a girl in a bikini security won’t make you leave

Now I’ll tangent again and say it’s nothing I encourage but I have ‘heard about’ some of my ahem friends catching wind of a wedding going on (people are always getting married, if only the marriage ended up being paradise like the wedding lol just kidding) anyways they either peek at the guest list or start up a conversation with one of the guests and I’ll be diggity damned if they end up inside having seared ahi and cheering the bride and groom.  Huh uh I’ve never done it.  Points finger at Dirty Island Boys.

I finally have my fill of hammock time and decide to go to Walls to watch the waves then head to Teddies for an ultimate calorie burger.  I thank the guards and notice one is a manager.  Hey, I say..I’m local do you mind if I come back with my mermaid tail and swim in the pool?  And..(I knew I was pushing my luck) can I go down the waterslide head first with the tail on?   He didn’t even blink an eye and said sure, and even mentioned he might have to put me on the payroll.

Look close it’s a water slide

So..again free hammock time and free swimming pool use at a top resort.  See how easy it is.  Again I give guided tours.

After a lot of walking you may want to cool off in the turquoise waters of Waikiki.  Take note, many tourists have to head to the airport around 1pm.  They leave abandoned boogie boards and plastic floaties all over the beach (why do you think our population of homeless by choice is so large).  Grab your favorite color and you have a free floatie for an hour.  Dump a mai tai in an empty Menehune bottle and you have yourself a calming dip in da wada.  FREE.  Gather enough of those floaters and you may well have a house.

Free Floaties

 

That ends my saga for the day.  As you can tell life is rough on the island.  My body aches from too much laying in the hammock.  Massages are not free unless you know the wrong people.  I won’t go there.  Netflix was kind enough to deliver a documentary on surfing in Bali to me.  Time to climb in the sack with a jar of honey and plan the next outing.

Until then, be well mates and don’t take life too seriously

 

slow and steady wins the race

Imagine this mostly turquoise with a brilliant pink and orange bottom hem. Bird of Paradise on a princess top.

It’s a difficult task for a Gemini to focus on one thing..aside from starting to dye bamboo fabrics and start up the silk wheel again, I have started offering in collaboration with a dear friend rayon and batik dresses.  I vouch for the quality as I own five of them.  They are not only sewn beautifully but the fabric is excellent quality and sturdy.  The princess design is perfect for any body type.  You wouldn’t believe what we are stuck with for shopping options in Hawaii.  It kinda stinks, so I buy a lot of clothes online.  When I find something nice I try to pass it on to others.  The dresses (and soon added tops and jackets) are perfect for us round hipped and well endowed gals and I am hoping to dress our plus size Goddesses.

Right now some of the dresses are listed here under the Jeminai section http://www.etsy.com/shop/akaisilks?section_id=8159632

In each listing you can choose your size (just indicate at checkout).

There are other resellers offering the same items but the ones I list come with a color coordinated silk scarf (or wrap if you desire to pay a bit more) ..an excellent value offered at cost so that you can see for yourself the quality of these items.

I’m also finally clearing the palette and will be dyeing samples to send to Bali so that the same dresses and tops can be dyed in popular A’Kai colors.  Along with the tropical brights I’ll also be offering more classic rich colors such as burgundy, chocolate, sage green, deep plum.  Colors that won’t shock everyone at the office.  If you can imagine for a moment this teal dress but dyed so that there is a bright band of turquoise and bright green along the bottom hem..to give it a flirty color boost.  A la A’Kai.

Teal dress

These are the color styles I’ll be starting with..top sellers for A’Kai for many years.  If there’s a color scheme you’d like to see, let me know.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152131973760001.883615.10150097521895001&type=3

Along with offering the dresses again I’m working on bamboo/cotton fabrics, something I fell in love with during a recent trip to Costa Rica.  I am experimenting not only with natural dyes but also the same brilliant colors you love.  Simple items such as sleeveless cardigans, loose fitting tops, and ponchos.  An absolute must for humid environments.   I learned this while hiking the jungles of Costa Rica , pleased to discover the bamboo fabric absorbs sweat and is easily laundered.

 

Ok friends, silk is drying now and I’m about to mix up some dark fall colors.  Check back here for updates!

Flying and Floating

Flying

Today, Zack’s dad and I took Zack on a hike, Twu called it Tom Tom? Not sure I have the spelling correct.  Somewhere in Hawaii Kai is the trailhead, I couldn’t tell ya how we got there as usual I wasn’t paying attention.  I was just glad the van made it.  I should know from experience when Twu says it’s a short hike it usually means under four miles and uphill..he’s quite the accomplished hiker..I myself am more of a water sprite but was game to see something new.  We left early so the sun wasn’t too intense over the rather desert landscape.  Zack was a champ, if I had  his energy… and today I did.

Family

The top rewards one of a sweeping view of east side but most memorable is the beauty of the reef below.  This is the place many hangliders take flight (I’ll be paragliding soon but from a different location ).

We are coming back to do some veil photos for A’Kai Silks, probably without the kid.  I have a vision of being wrapped in yards of plain white silk and long lengths billowing into the sky.  Timeless.  No jewelry, no makeup, maybe just a flower.

I felt electric, fully energized from a decent cardio lift.  We took the five year old to the bouncy houses at the Windward Mall until he was nearly collapsed from activity.

They went back to daddy’s house.  I ran into a friend who lives in the building and he treated me to a cup of Israeli coffee. Zoooom!!  I had been feeling that lofty sleepiness after being in the sun but checked the surf report, called another friend and met him on the beach an hour later.  Budddds for life!

This was important because I can’t remember the last time I felt motivated to go to the beach in the afternoon to surf the evening set.  Generous 2 to 4 ft waves blessed us with blue heaven, I felt like I’d never lost a day and my body felt at ease and caught waves as if it was second nature, and it is.  It’s impossible to not see old friends and meet new ones.  C and I played in the waves then did something else I have not done in a while, watched sunset at the beach.  End to a lovely day.  I also met a new gal pal, a fiery redhead who likes to surf.  Spells trouble in Waikiki!

Walking home, board in hand, I felt a great satisfaction about being back at home in Waikiki.  A block party drew in thousands of people, food, vendors, fragrant meals, live music.  Some might be annoyed navigating a busy street but I love the energy of my city and smiled brightly the entire time.  I love living in a place where a bikini and a board is considered proper attire.

Might have to take an hour or two to get out in the surf again tomorrow.  Rumor has it waves will be bigger.  I’ll put aside the tie dye and catch them.  It feels like summer is just starting..oh but in Hawaii it’s always summer.

Thank you great island for your beauty and strength.

Healing secrets of the big island

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Stretching along the eastern side of the Big island of Hawaii is my refuge, from Kapoho to Kalapana..when I am feeling the need for quiet and solitude, I book a ticket on Hawaiian Air and head off the grid.  For months before leaving, I had been broken.  A few health issues that left me flat, unable to do much, downright blue, I needed the escape from tall buildings and the clash of Waikiki noise.  I had to force myself out of bed with a recovering fever to get on the one hour flight.  I was supposed to be in Costa Rica but my gut told me I wasn’t feeling the energy needed to travel to another country yet.  A dose of the jungle filled my soul with much needed sleep, simplicity, beauty, art, inspiration, old friends..and by Sunday I was able to rebook my flight with my friend to go to Costa Rica.

In many ways I did exactly on BI what I would have done with my original cabin booking in Costa Rica.  I rented a studio cabin in a quiet area with a floor to ceiling screen that backed the jungle.  I showered outdoors under mango trees.  I rose with the sunrise and wrote by ipad in the evening hours to the sound of rain.  My pain disappeared.  My stress diminished.

As I look at pictures of the Banyan Nook I feel nostalgia but a comfort knowing it’s just an hour away.  Jeff and Seneca are two of the kindest people you could ever meet.  The nook was perfect, it had the essentials for a recluse.  Find out more about their Nook here https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/229809

Familiar with the roads and beaches, I spent time enjoying simple things.  An egg and papaya breakfast at Uncle Roberts, a hike over the lava beds with Jose, a lesson on tie dyeing with SolAr, a blue moon prayer, a visit to Kapoho tide pools swimming alone with the fish, a sunny day at Poiiki snorkeling in lava warmed water.

I’ve put some highlighted photos together in a gallery.  Below are isolated posts I made on facebook during my stay.  I left the island speaking softer, being less hurried, almost nervous to return to the city and populated areas.  But also with a breath of fresh renewal and perspective about where I lived.  If the big island trip had a theme song, it would be this one, Deepest Blue by Karsh Kale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wkWEJ2z20c

1) live for today right ? I have a one way ticket for one destination today, and an open schedule til the 9th.  We’ll see where I end up :)  living true to gypsy blood ..

2) That life on Oahu is precariously built with a stack of dominoes . But now I have arrived to a place of trees with fresh wind and no hi rise and I’m waking up

3) Dear friends I’m about five miles out of kalapana on big island perhaps one of the most pristine areas of the world . When I’m broken I come back to this familiar retreat area and feel the aina again. My cottage is open screen backed to the jungle now. No tv and spotty internet. The lava flow is minimal I saw the smoke curling from the mountainside but nothing like what I saw in the past ..needless its still an incredible feeling to be so close to lava and new earth forming right this minute.  As I always do I drove straight out of rainy Hilo towards mystic sunny kalapana. Found my friend Jose as I always do , he takes his boat out and gets insanely close to the lava spilling into the ocean and sells his photos to visitors. I have a funny story to share some other time. We’ve wanted to do veil photos on the boat ,me in a red dress with smoke gray and red veils. Someday. The black sand always glitters and the ocean smells like ocean not suntan oil. There’s a wildness to kalapana that is like no other place. Tourists may not realize how different the islands are from one another. A friend asked why don’t you go to Maui or somewhere new . I say because the big island is new every time I come back.  It’s my Bali close by. It’s familiar and I feel safe . I was once fire red and then under stress I turned to black ash. And hardened. But if you see one of the photos down a ways you will see that new green life springs from black rock. That is the magic here. Thermal ponds and large football field sized tide pools. Rough dark blue country waves. Fresh plump fruit. Everything breathes and is fragrant. I had a shower outside. I highly recommend those. A blessing to rinse under a canopy of trees. It started to rain when I was showering. I forgot about recent pains and smiled at the sky. I’m sleepy but have no pain no depression no clock. Orchids grow wild in the garden . There’s a spirit here I feel his protection. I have come home to rest yet I feel more energy than I have in months. I FEEL like going in the water. I have no plan. I may head to poiiki or kapoho tide pools tomorrow . I crave both the warm waters of poiiki and the abundant fish life at kapoho. I tend to stay put on this side. Waimea is beautiful . Akaka falls is not far.  Kona is alright . But right now I would have been in Manuel Antonio costa rica in a very similar cottage. No hotel. Something on the edge of the jungle . Just an iPad to write and a bottle of water. Im here instead and getting exactly what I had hoped for in CR. it’s raining on the thin roof and a gecko just ran over the ceiling. The coqui have a quartet going. It’s almost dark . I can see the ocean. If I lived here I’d have endless space to dye veils. An open garden. Affordable rent . A summer home. It’s never too late to make changes . My cottage host he told me he used to work in Vegas. He threw his suit and tie in a trash can and came to Hawaii. Now he makes stained glass and takes naps. There’s a young male cat named zephyr here. We have fallen in love. Kalia would love it here . We could visit Oahu on weekends. I could hire a few artists. The guy up the way makes some of the best tie dyes I’ve seen. Even if it’s a temporary vision of what could be. It’s nice to know there’s options.

5) Rain should paSs by noon, filling up with a country breakfast at uncles packing a sandwich and rain poncho heading to lava tree park weird voodoo like structures in rainforest . Tide is up by noon then heading to thermal ponds heated by lava or kapoho tide pools. Plenty of time.

6) Soft coral and pink clouds over a daybreak ocean. My bed is slightly damp from the rain that misted thru last night. From now on I need a chorus of coqui frog to help me sleep. The sun is up and the rainforest is starting to expand and crack from its warmth. There’s a black sand clothing optional beach a five minute walk from here. No traffic no noise. I’m on the far eastern edge of the island if I took a few steps right I’d be in the water.

7) I have a private tie dye lesson on Saturday with a local genius at his bungalow :) so stoked

8) There’s a goddess made from fresh dirt in the jungle I was just invited to a full moon ceremony with mushrooms where we chant and get half buried hahaha

9) Theres still light out but I’m sleepy from a snorkel at world class kapoho ..saw so many colorful fish my brain is whirling. High tide so the pools were inflated I swam all the way out to open ocean but the waves were rough. Interesting array of people today some content to live here others plotting their escape. I do consider this one of my favorite areas on any of the islands but stepping away from a busy life to take a breath also validates that the busy life is not so bad. It’s me that has to change not the location. Need to do some major cleaning when I get home it will unload stress to downsize. Stop being so OCD about the nurse job and just accept that it’s good income not always convenient for the dreamer but a cushion. I like the fresh influx of people in to Waikiki daily. I like the energy . Just lost some motivation to enjoy it. Get bored easy. Even in paradise. Everything I want to run from is exactly what I’d seek somewhere else. Even Bali. Cost is relative. Survival is necessary everywhere just in different forms. Damn I’m sleepy. The coqui frogs are starting up but seem kinda lazy tonight. Full moon tomorrow and there plenty of hippie activity but I’m happy to chill in the jungle cabin and recluse. No plan tomorrow other than to get these acrylic nails shaves down and maybe pick up a couple of skirts. Still no idea when I’m going home. I like that part the best.

10) The rainfoRest is quite lovely but I’m kinda achy from the damp. I hope I’m not a snowbird when I’m old. Tropical girl needs sun today. May travel in to town and get this horrid acrylics fixed and do some Hilo browsing. They are in need of some fresh art I have de decided. If it decides to continue to rain I may spend a day at hapuna beach . They once spotted fifteen tiger sharks in the area should be an exciting swim. Neeeeed sun ..I’m so dysthymic.

11) Dear friends, I have new neighbors, a cute but fast talking Asian couple from california. It’s their first night ever in Hawaii. I hope they didn’t expect the Hilton lol. They are puzzled by the coqui and even though our cabins are separated I can hear loud chatter. It’s become obvious to Me how loud and fast I speak. It’s funny how those of us on the big island think people in Oahu are fast and those of us in Oahu think that mainlanders are fast. My dear pepper was so loud on the phone today I had to get off. Hilo was gloomy and gray but I had to step back on the grid. Many people seem tired and gray like the skies. I’d rather hang myself than live there and hurried thru my activities to head back to sunny quiet kapoho. It was a nice break though from the continuous offers from the jungle folk to sit around and get stoned. Not that anything is wrong with that. Here resides most certainly the puffiest bright green fragrant bud. But I decline. Its dark and I’m naturally sleepy . I have no urge to join the ecstatic dance under the blue moon. Instead I burn sage around my cabin and ward off any weirdness. Thers a definite spirit in the garden but he smiles and watches. My hosts have a beautiful ocean view house and are very friendly. I’ll write about the location once I’ve left. If you seek simplicity, an outdoor shower, using a flashlight to pee at night, boiling water for coffee, sleeping with the door unlocked, being hidden and turning green like the trees, feeling the forest in front of you, this is the place. I think when I get home I’m going to paint the walls green and put in a stereo sound with coqui and rain. My bedroom sanctuary. The other pArt of my post disappeared. I give them ten minutes til lights out then I’m taking a machete and disconnecting the electricity. Oh! The first rat landed on my roof. I hear curly the tabby cat creeping in the bushes to get him. Wow. I want to hear the voices of the jungle not the loud tv . I’m such a bitch.

12) First whale of the season spotted lets pray for their safe journey

13) Jesennia. ApprenticE of jungle. speared her first fish today. Call it a lucky shot but WOMAN shall provide ! The rain stopped by noon I visited my friend to see how his hallucinogenic ceremony went last night. Then I went to poiiki beach. Everyone was smiling because of the sun. After watching the surfers and the contrast of deep blue on black sand I snorkeled for an hour, letting the large country waves rock me back and forth. The ocean here gets surges of warm water from the lava. I was ecstatic. A boat with two local boys was backing into the water, kekoa saw me and said hey girl you like go fish ? They pulled me on to this tiny motorboat, and we went tearing out in to the wide open ocean. And fast. This wasn’t a catamarran. I was giggling so hard they thought I was loco . You like free dive one asks me . Sure. We get in the water way and he says you like to spear fish. I don’t know never tried. He told me to dive down and hover over the reef then when the fish circle, make a sudden movement. They duck behind the rock. Hold the spear tucked near the body. Don’t think just visualix it. When fish comes out of hiding get him. I’ll be hickory damned if it worked. He wasn’t big and I thanked him like they do in avatar and the boys declared me island girl. One of them wanted me to marry him. No thanks I have my eye on someone else. Someone special. But the fish is in my belly now and I think I need to try out for survivor. Took another swim at kapoho, sat on the black rocks surrounded by the magical pools. Drove back with a rainbow behind me. Found a coqui frog in my sink so I took his photo and helped him get outisde. A brilliant gecko is watching now as I get ready for sleep. I leave tomorrow but this island was a blessing with her many gifts. I have the morning here then will be off connection of all types for many hours as I enter the portal. Be well friends. Aloha , jungle Jesennia

14) I’ll leave the night open with This. Love at first sight. Yes it exists. Unconditional love. Yes that too. Waiting for the right time. Yes. Rekindling . Absolutely . I love the man who fell from the sky and was on the phone with me when I did my first jump . Birds flock together.  I think I going to watch the notebook

a mother’s pain and joy

I am an anomaly because both of my sons are born on the same day, and no they are not twins.  Nor were they test tube babies or strategically implanted.  Nature just decided that with 12 years to the day apart, both of them would come out.  Given the time difference between Arizona where the first one burst out, and Hawaii where the second one breathed in life, they were almost born at the same hour.  Even the labors were nearly identical, both induced with the evil pitocin.  Morgan was born naturally with no pain meds I don’t know what possessed me to be heroic and push him out without pain meds.  I didn’t win anything but the ability to stand up and pee down my leg because my pelvic muscles collapsed.  One wouldn’t go get a root canal without pain meds.  As further insult one of the nurses put a mirror up so I could see every inch of him tearing me a new ass.  Really.  7 pounds 15 ounces.  Guys..you try pushing something that size out your ass and tell me if you want the epidural.  Without the epidural, Morgan created labor pains that I can only describe as my body imploding inward on itself.  I watched that damn graph paper created by the ultrasound and every time it peaked to indicate a new contraction I shrieked.  When the ring of fire came, I pushed for an hour.  My midwife said I tried to stand up on the bed.  I don’t remember that because by then I was feeling out of body.  He shit on my stomach as soon as the nurse placed him on me.  As I held my new baby that night I swore I’d never do it again.  After a few days I could stand up and make it to the bathroom before pissing down my leg helplessly.  No one offered me a diaper.

Morgan Jean-Marc Patnoe

Zachary was not planned and was the result of mommy having a little too much wine on December 18.  Yes I know the date.  Zachary, unlike his quiet brother, made me sick for most of the pregnancy.  I could only find solace by boogie boarding.  I figured out a way to fit the sponge board right underneath my boobs.  Fellow surfers were more than happy to give me the right of way.  Someone somewhere has a photo of me the day before I had Zack, in a bikini at the beach, big belly, surfing in a decent size swell.  I believe the cardio made for an easier labor but that could have been the epidural.

Oh yes the epidural.  The nurse missed the first time and an electric shock shot down my left leg and caused me to kick someone.  The second one felt like a hive of wasps stinging my back.  This is supposed to deaden pain?  Something worked because I dilated from 4 to 10 cm in an hour.  A record worth awarding if you ask me.  Totally painless.  All of a sudden I make a big fart and tell the nurse I need to push.  She tells me to wait.  Right.  Get the catchers mitt I’m pushing now.  You may have read about my constipation troubles.  When you want to push no one can talk you out of it.  An anonymous doctor came in to catch Zack after five pushes.  Five.  I knew what I was doing.  I would have delivered him to the janitor I was that desperate.  Zack didn’t shit on my stomach, he came out very quiet and we had to yank on him a bit to get him to squeal.  His brother was there trying to video tape censored parts of the birth but was so amazed he didn’t catch video.  Not something you share on facebook anyways.  His smaller curled body unfolded like a flower in sunlight.  Chinese eyes stared back at me.  Although he entered quietly, Zack is my pistol.  He climbs the walls.  He tries to kiss girls at age five.  He says ‘duhhh’ to me all the time.  I’m basically his slave.

Zachary Jia Chan Makahiwa Tan

So it’s a double whammy at birthday time.  The teen, 17 as of tomorrow 5:02 pm, gets cash.  The baby, sigh, had a party at school and gets to celebrate all weekend..bouncy house and hike tomorrow, and a glider plane on Sunday.  I gave him cash once for a tooth that fell out and he gave it back.

Mom always treats herself for doing the hard work.  After having wisdom teeth removed by an idiot a few years ago that left on lunch break and allowed me to barf up blood until I was given a shot of Phenegan, childbirth is easy.  Pregnancy itself sucks.  I didn’t glow, I puked.  I did enjoy the kicking sensation but both boys gave me such a bad bout of hemmorhoids that I wanted my ass surgically removed for good.  Colostomy can’t be as bad as hemmorhoids.  They feel like a hot knife in your ass.  Witch hazel.  Yeah.  Those pillows.  My cat slept on it.  If you want to spoil your dinner google pictures of hemmorhoids.  They look like strained grapes.  Oh yeah milk of mag.  That sure helped. I remember chucking down a shot of it in the Walmart parking lot CERTAIN I’d get home in time. The bottle said results happen within a few hours.  I only lived ten minutes away.  I made God promise to not put me through that again.

So here they are, two Virgos, both sign of the boar like their mother, born to a Gemini gypsy mom.  They are my earth angels, my anchor in the whirling chaos of life.  The oldest is highly opinionated and wise for his years but not exactly motivated to look for a job.  The younger one would take off with my car if I left the keys in plain sight.

Both carry on my bloodline and I have been blessed from Heaven with both of them.  However my butt will never be the same.

Donations accepted for college.

Turn off the lights

Ever wonder what’s out there in the dark?  One of my most favorite experiences in Costa Rica was our night jungle hike in Monteverde.  One pays a well deserved $25 for a guide who is experienced with the labrynth of trails in the highlands of Monteverde.

http://www.monteverdecostaricatravel.com/activities/santamaria-night-walk/santa-maria-night-walk-monteverde-costa-rica.php

The site provides much better photos than I can since I was only equipped with a long sleeve shirt, yoga pants, walking shoes, a rain hat, a flashlight, and my iphone camera.  The photos I have serve as a good memory of an absolutely magical night.

I have a fair amount of creepy crawlie fear and was convinced I’d return to our cabina at http://hotelcaminoverde.com/  with bugs in my hair.  But fear subsided as the sun set and our shuttle drove us to Santa Maria for an incredible nocturnal experience. I now wonder why I don’t explore the trails in Hawaii at night..I suppose I’ve taken it for granted.  Might have to plan something soon.

Alex met us and gave our small group a quick run down and passed out flashlights.  Alex is very quick and we often had to scramble up hillsides and down slippery muddy inclines.  But I felt like a kid in a playground.  The air is fragrant and everything is slightly damp as one might expect.  It started to rain gently but the tree canopy kept us from getting wet.  I wouldn’t have minded if I did get wet..after finally figuring out the suicide showers at our cabina, I knew a warm shower would be welcome.  See suicide showers:  http://longroaddown.com/2011/08/28/the-costa-rican-suicide-shower/

We were greeted at the trailhead by a large walking stick..an insect named so because without the trained eyes of our guide, I would have passed right by him. Impressive in his size I couldn’t help but to hold him.  Isn’t he cool?

 

 

Alex instructed us to alternate between keeping our flashlights at eye level and also to check and see what we may be stepping on.  The two other girls were completely creeped out but I was right on Alex’s heels, anxious to explore the monsters.  I was not able to get a photo of it, but two bright green viper snakes, poisonous, were curled in the trees at head level.  A bite from one of those would ruin a vacation.  I wasn’t afraid.

The other hiking groups communicated with Alex on the walkie talkie about a sloth spotted.

It didn’t take us long to reach the spot and high in the trees the slow moving leaf eating sloth was taking her time.  What a way to enjoy a meal.  My travel companion had really wanted to see one so he was busy taking photos and pulling me closer for a look.

 

 

Lucky girl!  She didn’t seem to mind our excitement.

The next attraction was a tiny yellow frog sitting on the leaves.  I like frogs, I’m not sure why but they fascinate me.  See if you can spot him in the leaves.  We had to be careful not to shine direct flashlight on him because it feels like sunburn to them.

 

 

 

 

I felt like I was in Avatar land , we were shown large hollow trees that you could shine a flashlight

up into and make the entire tree light up.  At one point we were asked to turn off our flashlights and look at the glowing fungus..it really did glow.  Eerie shadows dominate the jungles and I realized without lights, we probably wouldn’t find our way back til morning.  I don’t camp very often but had I a tent and a friend with good eyes, I would have wrapped up and stayed out there.  I felt alive, without fear, breathing the pure air , looking at constellations visible from Central America.

 

Another favorite are the numerous butterflies.  This one has such an intricate pattern and don’t be surprised if I end up trying to paint or dye something similar. The blue Morpho is my favorite, when her wings are closed she appears as an Earthy brown, but when open is a brilliant aquamarine and turquoise fringed with a black rippling edge.  This particular one I have forgotten the name, after a few moments she took flight and landed on my shoulder.  Is that supposed to be good luck?

 

Dazzling eh?  Nature provides the perfect patterns for an artist to absorb and be inspired.  Even the colors of the infamous tarantula with her rust and brown colors were beautiful.  This one was tucked in a hole in the tree, Alex took a long stick and encouraged her to move forward, she kinda reared up and we saw fangs?  Yikers for hikers, but again I was not scared.

It awes me that even though I am back in the city, that this place pulsates continuously with life and breath.  At a meeting today at work, I couldn’t help but doodle images of frogs on my case notes.  Memories are priceless.

 

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