There’s Even Sand in My Crack: Day 3

We have been walking a lot. Constantly. Everywhere we go, we walk there. It’s taken its toll on my feet, that’s for damn sure. I have two big blisters on the bottom of each foot, and another big one on the side of my toe. So I felt like having a day of minimal walking. So, to the beach we go!

You can lay out on your towel for hours, or take a few quick steps into the ocean. Either way, you’re off your feet and it feels good. We’d gone for a brief swim on our first day after eating breakfast, but we hadn’t done the full on beach day yet. D has been wanting to relax while catching some rays.

After breakfast at the hotel, we walked down to the beach to get ourselves some prime real estate on the sand. At the glorious hour of 8:00am no less!

morning calm

morning calm

A dip in the ocean to cool you off and send the beads of sweat forming on your brow packing. I’ve never swam in the ocean until this trip. I’m blown away by how salty the water is. The first time some of it got into my mouth I thought I was going to die. It was like I’d just poured the contents of a full salt shaker down my throat. I can’t say that I’m a fan of that…

so not digging the salt

so not digging the salt

The beach is a lot more calm in the morning. Some of the more ambitious parents are up and about with the kiddies. But most of them are still getting their shit in a pile to start the day. They don’t usually start filling out the beach until later in the day. It’s gotta be tough, right? We’re exhausted after a full day, and we don’t have any kids to haul around with us. I can’t imagine how people do it. Props to the parents with energy to actually be active while on vacation with their kids.

We see a lot of babies, surprisingly. D said that if he ever found out that his parents took him to Hawaii when he was way too young to remember it, he would be hella pissed. “That’s such bullshit,” he said. “You’ve been to this amazing place, but you’ll never remember.” I guess that sucks. But if your parents are rich enough to take you when you’re a baby, I’m sure they’re rich enough to take you when you’re a bratty, unappreciative tween/teen.

It’s not that expensive really. Or at least not as expensive as people seem to think it is. It’s not an all-inclusive kind of place, so you do need to pay for your meals and booze. But if you shop around and find a good rate on the hotel and flight, then you do a little extra saving for your daily expenditures and you’re ready to go.

You’ll find an ABC Store basically every block, and you can buy super cheap booze and snacks. You can buy a 6-pack of Corona or Heineken for $8.50! You cannot get good beers that cheap in Ontario. And because these stores are literally everywhere you look, you don’t have to think about where the closest LCBO or Beer Store is. You just walk out the door, and there the beer is. Ice cold, and waiting for you. It’s heavenly.

D swam for a bit and then lounged in the sun. As I watched him sunning himself, he reminded me of a little lizard nestled on a rock in a pet store somewhere, hogging up as much of the heat lamp as it can get. Using the solar rays to recharge its battery. I started taking pictures of him while he was sunning and he told me to stop being creepy and go for another swim.

So I took my camera elsewhere. As opposed to some dreamboat photos of a half-naked D, these pictures of the beach will have to suffice.

a shitty substitute

a shitty substitute

took some of this stuff to go!

took some of this stuff to go!

my view from the shore

my view from the shore

Once we’d had our fill of surf and turf, we thought the next best thing would be to get day drunk. We needed to cleanse our palates of all the salt water anyways. So we walked down the street to Jimmy Buffet’s for Happy Hour. $3.00 for vodka, gin, or rum and $4.00 for a draught beer. Hells yes! This is just the place for us.

Thinking we’d have a snack with our drinks, we very stupidly ordered nachos. We assumed they would be just enough to tide us over until dinner. We were not expecting the fucking cheesy tortilla chip planet that fell from the sky and landed on our table.

what have we done?

what have we done?

I'm really going to hate myself in a minute

I’m really going to hate myself in a minute

They were taller than they were wide! Holy shit, how are two people going to eat this many nachos? We did the best we could. But in the end, we’d barely made a dent. Next time, we’ll just stick to the drinks.

The nachos stuck with us all afternoon. We barely had any appetite for dinner. We barely had the will to live anymore! So we parked our asses on a geezer bench at the beach and just sat in silence for a while. Trying, really trying, to digest the wads of cheese in our bellies. We sat on the bench, on powered down mode for 30 minutes or so. Enough time to straighten ourselves out.

When our brains started functioning again, we took a leisurely stroll down the beach. It had started getting cloudy out. A few drops of rain here and there. Our bold and beaming sun decided to take the rest of the day off. No beautiful sunsets tonight, come back tomorrow folks.

We’re tired and full. Too full. So we make our way back to the hotel room, and grab a movie for the night. Our hotel has these little DVD rental kiosks in the lobby. You just touch the screen, pick a movie you want to see, and it spits out the disc. Then, when you’re done, you just bring it back down and put it back in the machine. It’s a good little contingency plan for rainy days, and inactive nights. And it’s free! You don’t even have to pay for them. Just grab a movie whenever you feel like it.

We rented Looper, which I had been wanting to see. It was good, but not what I had expected. I was picturing something similar to Blade Runner. Not something so Omen-y. All the bullshit with the mom and the kid was so boring. I wanted to see the past and future Joes engage each other so much more. I wanted tension, active, adventure. Not sappy self-sacrifice for a demonic little kid who is clearly going to grow up to be an asshole anyways. But, you get what you pay for I guess.

Every room has a PS3 to play the DVDs on. I feel like this is great for the youth, and maddening for the really old peeps. There are a lot of people at our hotel who are getting on in their years. Surely some of them know how to use it, but I’m sure most are more frustrated by it than anything. I barely know how to work the controller sometimes, so I can relate.

We needed a nice quiet night in. We’re going to tackle the hike up Diamond Head tomorrow, so we’ll need our rest. Which is also why I’m posting tonight. I’ve gotta get a head start on the day and doing the blog post in the morning can be a bit of a time-suck.

So, now that I’m done, nighty night!

5 to 9: Day 2

I’ve always thought that retirement is a sweet deal. You’ve got nothing but time. Time to do whatever the hell you want with your days. And then hopefully, some fat stacks of cash to burn.

The only thing that didn’t appeal to me was the supposed hours that retirees keep. But, on second thought, I think I get it.

Maybe it’s the jet-lag, or maybe it’s just our bodies natural desire to rise with the sun. I don’t know. But we are routinely up around 5:00am and passed out asleep by 9:00pm. It could also be because we pack so much activity into our days. It’s weird because we’re on vacation. Why the eff are we getting up at 5:00am every morning? We went on vacation so we wouldn’t have to be up super early to start the day!

Yesterday we took in the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium. I had planned those activities to take up a full day. We were at the zoo by 9:00am for open, and had finished at the Aquarium at 11:30am. D’oh!

The zoo was great, it was a lot of fun. There was a wide variety of animals on display. But it was small. But I guess I’m just a little spoiled on zoos because the Metro Toronto Zoo is massive. I just took for granted that all zoos are around the same size. When you go to the Toronto zoo, you plan a full day. If you’re going to see every exhibit, it’s at least 5 hours. Plus travel time, plus lunch.

The Honolulu Zoo was way cheaper to get into though, and I appreciated that.

D’s favourite part was the Toucan. He was so lively! He kept hopping from branch to branch, stopping to pose for our pictures. Such an incredible bird. He’s gorgeous. If you look closely, you can see how vibrantly blue his eyes are.

Toucan Sam

Toucan Sam

I liked the lemurs and the meerkats best, because they’re so cute and I could get great shots of them.

little cuties

little cuties

just like we practiced

just like we practiced

There were a lot of giant tortoises as well, which were quite impressive. We watched one of them spend 10 minutes crawling about 8 feet towards us! I’m a super fast walker myself, so I can’t possibly imagine taking that long to get anywhere.

take it easy

take it easy

The Aquarium was a quick walk down the street from the zoo, so it was our next stop. It was shockingly small. I had expected humongous exhibits. Just massive tanks of fish and intricate walkways throughout. I thought we would see sharks, whales, dolphins, sea lions, walruses, and all manner of sea life like that.

We saw some cool tanks, but nothing mind-blowing. The jellyfish were really cool.

little jellies

little jellies

big jellies

big jellies

Afterwards we walked along the beach, and stopped at the Barefoot Cafe for lunch. A very very delicious lunch.

fish 'n' chips

fish ‘n’ chips

Is it morbid that I had fish for lunch directly after visiting the aquarium? I couldn’t help it though. It looked so good. Mmm, it was! Flaky fish in a crispy panko batter with some light and fluffy tartar sauce. That’s all I need in this life.

views from the walk back

views from the walk back

Afterwards we decided to veer off the course of the tourist. We took a long walk away from the strip to see more local areas. I went into a great little shop where I found some really special souvenirs. We walked and walked and walked. We walked for as long as our little legs could manage it. By the time we got back to the hotel, we were pooched.

But we had a very important goal that we still needed to achieve today. So we got ourselves dressed and went out for a lovely grandpa dinner at 4:30pm. I wanted to have time for a leisurely dinner, but ensure that when it was over we could take in a sunset. By 6:00pm dinner was done, and we walked down to the beach to grab a bench and savour the view.

It was spectacular!

Hawaiian sunset

Hawaiian sunset

cooch ya later

cooch ya later

The sun just kind of tucks itself back behind the clouds and says goodnight.

It felt incredible sitting there, watching it. Listening to the waves and kids playing on the beach. Breathing in the salty beach air. Just holding hands on our bench with all the other seniors. It’s peaceful and lovely. We’re on the go all the time, never slowing down. When we’ve finished doing something, it’s always “what’s next?”

We don’t have to be that way here. We can slow down. We can enjoy what’s around us instead of always looking ahead for what’s next.

We savoured the sunset and then went back to our room. We had drinks, we played cards, and we relaxed. We went to bed at 9:00pm, not because we wanted to, but because our bodies just told us that it was time.

It makes sense to me now. Keeping these hours. You fill the days with as much splendour as you possibly can, and you turn in for the night. You want to get up as early as you possibly can because you don’t want to miss a minute of the day.

Consider me well acclimated for the life of a carefree retiree!

cheers bitches!

cheers bitches!

To Jocelyn

If we were the kind of people who made grand speeches and gave lavish toasts, then the following is what I would have prepared and read on Saturday night at your going away party:

Sometimes I have to pinch myself. To make sure I’m not dreaming. To make sure that these past eight years really happened. When I look back on all the years of our friendship, sometimes its just too unbelievable. I’m in awe of my luck, honestly. That I get to have you as a friend.

Magical, wonderful, incredible you.

joss

We first met at Laurier, in our freshman year. Living in the same residence, on the same floor, sort of across the hall from each other. Completely random. It was all by chance that we ended up where we were. Although, maybe not… I’m not sure.

Maybe it was chance. But maybe it was fate. That’s another very real possibility. Maybe it was divine intervention. Yeah, I like that. That makes the most sense to me. If anyone ever needed a divine intervention in their life at that time, it was me. I needed it real bad. And so it was that The Gods of Friendship intervened. They knew just what to do with that bold and vivacious city girl and the seemingly square small-town girl.

joss n smash

I had fun in high school, sure. But my first year at Laurier was when I really started living. And I learned how to from you.

You got me my first fake I.D. so we could get into bars. Because partying in the dorm with a quiet hour starting at 11:00pm got old fast. We needed some freedom. We needed to go to the bars! To get wasted. To cause trouble. To meet boys. Older, cooler boys than the ones back at the dorm.

And we had such fun!

spurs

We drank, we danced, we laughed. We lived. I never wanted that year to end.

Until I lived with you and Sara at 42… that shit was crazy fun! It was way more crazy fun than even my wild imagination unhinged would be able to dream up.

us three

We had real chemistry as roommates, the three of us. We just laughed all the friggen’ time!

We had the best parties. We had the wildest adventures. And we were always happy. Our house perpetually radiated an aura of hilarity. 42 was our dream house. From the sweet Rasta picnic table on the front lawn where we downed many a recreational beverage to the decadent gold curtains I’d hung on the living room window, our home was one of a kind. People knew that coming to our place meant having a good time.

Halloween:

halloween

Cinco de Mayo in December:

cinco de mayo

Pre-drinking on an otherwise boring Tuesday night:

predrink

Even just goofing around on a beautiful spring day. Hopscotch and blowing bubbles. Drawing chalk versions of ourselves.

hopscotch

Whatever it was we were doing, we were having fun. We were living the dream.

chalk us

But that wonderful time in our lives eventually came to an end too…

Graduation scared me. Graduation meant the end.

But it wasn’t. If anything, it brought us even closer together. We still got together regularly. Moving out of 42 wasn’t the apocalyptic nightmare I thought it would be. But you know me, I have a wild imagination and I tend to get carried away.

When the stars all align and the three of us do get together, I cherish it. My friendship with both you and Sara means everything to me. I’m so grateful that I have you for my friends.

I’m so happy for you right now, in this moment. I’m so happy that you met Harry.

joss and harry

He is just as hilarious and amazing as you are. How that’s even possible, I don’t know. Because you are incomparable to anyone I’ve ever met.

joss and harry again

And I’m happy that Harry shares your love of adventure and passion for living life to the fullest. You deserve that. You were meant for a lifetime of greatness, and I’m thankful that our friendship allows me a part in this great life of yours.

at the bar

Eight amazing years of friendship, so far, and you continue to inspire me. I think that what you’re doing, moving halfway around the world indefinitely, is courageous. And it’s so you! You would. You’re brave. You’re funny. You’re sweet. You’re unique. You’re all the things I’ve always aspired to be. You are a magnificent star, and you will excel at anything you choose to do in this life. Because you’re fearless, and you tackle every challenge you encounter head-on with your Joce-force!

joss sliding

playing twister

retro night

I’m really going to miss you. (At this point in the speech, I would pause and look meaningfully into your big sparkly blue eyes. The kind of look that only happens in movies, because its way too awkward in real life!)

And then I would say,

May the adventure you’re about to embark on bring you all the joy you seek to find and more. Wherever your travels take you, I wish you all the love and support my little heart can muster.

So, let’s all raise our mini regulation reds in honour of Harry and Joce, and their excellent adventure.

To Joce, to Harry, to Australia!

joss and harry 3

Cheers!

The Potential Apocalypse

If the world really does come crumbling down around us tomorrow, I could die happy.

Perfectly content with all that I am and all that I have. And I do have a lot. I’m rich, truly rich in a way that transcends anything of monetary or material value.

I’m madly in love with the sweetest, most wonderful guy. He truly is the perfect person for me. And we are a rad couple!

Dballs and Smash

I have such a saucy little kitty, who makes me smile the second I step through the front door.

Harv

I have loving and supportive family, people who mean the world to me. They might make me crazy sometimes, but that’s what it’s all about. And I know I make them crazy too.

family

I have the craziest, most badass best friends. I’m grinning like a moron just thinking about them and their precious little faces!

retro prom

buddies

Somehow, I don’t dare question it, the universe also gave me another extra special person. As if I didn’t have enough greatness in my life, I was also given an incredible co-worker. A co-worker turned mentor. A mentor who then became a very dear friend. A best friend. A kindred spirit in this life.

the magpie

I get to live in the best city! Oh Toronto, I really have fallen head over heels for you these past eight months!

Toronto

I have relationships and people who I live for every day. People that I cherish, respect, admire, and adore. I have a great job, great co-workers, and a great boss. I have hobbies that fulfill me. Dreams and goals that inspire me, they push me to keep moving forward. I have ideas and plans, hopes and ambitions.

I can do whatever I want to do. I get to call the shots in this life of mine. I am completely content. I could not possibly ask for or expect anything else from life. It’s already given me so much more than I ever felt or knew I could have. I could not possibly want for more.

If this little apocalypse thing wants to happen, then that’s okay with me. I’ll die happy, knowing I had it all. It could all be bullshit though, and most likely is. That unsettling thought that it could come true, that the world could suddenly stop spinning, is something that I’m thankful for. It gives you the opportunity to think about what really matters in life. What really matters to you? What is it that you get up for every morning? What are the things that make your life worth living?

I know what I’m living for.

September

Do you remember the 21st night of September?

It’s that time of year again. You know, when summer fades into fall. The goose bumps that populate your arms as you step out the door on a dubiously sunny morning are telling you to ditch the flip-flops and sundresses in favour of something warmer. It’s the time of year for apple orchards, puffy outdoorsy vests, plaid of all sorts, knit hats, new backpacks, and most importantly, it’s a time for change.

There’s something afoot during the last couple of weeks of September that always makes me feel wistful. Especially when I hear that old Earth Wind & Fire song, aptly titled September. Hearing this song actually happens more often than you might think, because of my proclivity for 70’s internet radio when I’m hungover.

September is the most significant month of the year for me. My personal calendar year begins in September. January doesn’t mean a thing to me. Resolutions and all the crap, whatever. It’s still winter, it’s still freezing and dark out. But September brings with it a drastic change in seasons, and has often wrought drastic changes in my life.

All of my most precious memories are captives of September. When I hear this song a little movie of all those wonderful things starts playing in my mind. I’m transported back in time, and I remember…

I remember meeting two of the most important people in my life:

Then a year later, being lucky enough to add another wonderful person into our fold:

I remember living alone, completely unsupervised for the first time in my life:

And all the excellent keggers we were able to have, unfettered by parents and rules:

I remember my first lifetime ban from a bar after I draught ‘n’ dashed with Joce-force. Then laughing uncontrollably while hiding out from “the po po” in the bushes:

There were two roomie birthdays at the end of the month, both Jenna and Whit:

And how epic all of our celebrations were when the last roomie finally turned 19 and could ditch the fake I.D.

I remember shotgunning beers at 9:00am for homecoming!

I remember having school spirit:

Discovering that Bigfoot truly does exist, and how bold his hands were:

I remember falling in love…

After graduation, when it was time to grow up, I remember getting my first job. A real crack at a career:

I remember that I’m brave:

I took my very first flight, all the way to the Middle East! Completely on my own in a new country, with no prior travelling experience.

And I remember feeling complete fulfillment in my job and being humbled by the realization that I was making a difference in the lives of others:

And most importantly of all, I remember…

Dancing in September!

Oh the memories, so sweet! Such an amazing thing to have when you’re not having the brightest of days…

I love that song, and I love the flood of memories it brings. It  is my reassurance that I’m doing a real kick-ass job at this “living” thing. No matter what changes and where this life takes me, I will always have: the most spectacular friends, my darling D, and a deep-seated passion to live a remarkable life.

And if all this is what’s behind me, then I can’t wait to see what else is coming my way. It can only get better from here.