I found a new tribe – Packer Bar in Kona, Quinn’s Almost by the Sea.

Did you ever walk into a crowd of strangers, and just know that you had a deep connection with them? It happened to me last week at Quinn’s Almost by the Sea. I discovered it in 2013, and love the vibe. This place is the Southernmost Official Packer Bar in the USA, so proclaims their website.

My sister was visiting, and we decided to celebrate the Packer’s 100th season by watching the opening game against our biggest rival, the Bears, at Quinn’s.

So we went early and got a good table. Before our lunch even arrived, we were already acquainted with the Southern California gals at the next table, Carol and Barbara (with Dallas fan husband, Jerry). These gals have been Packer fans for years, and have even flown to Green Bay for a game. That’s more than I can say. It’s on my bucket list – a Packer game at Lambeau Field some year before the weather turns cold. But this could be a long time coming, because according to Wikipedia, the Packers have sold out every game since 1960. And even if I still lived in Wisconsin, forget about season tickets: at least 115,000 names are on the waiting list with a wait time of 30 years.

The young couple on their honeymoon was from Montana; the older couple behind us was from Alberta. A bunch of local guys sauntered in wearing Packer shirts. A Minnesota couple arrived, she a life-long Packer fan, he a Viking fan. It would have been fun to sit with them at the Packers-Vikings game.

The bar room was also packed, everyone rooting for the Packers. Here I found some Wisconsin refugees, Kimberly, her husband and son, and a silver fox from Wauwatosa. Photos and hugs all around, the whole restaurant seemed like one large family reunion. All you had to do was make eye contact, grin, and raise your hand for a high-five to start a conversation.

Even the dismal Packer performance did not seem to dampen the mood. When Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field, the atmosphere toned down, but we never lost faith. Down by 20 points in the third quarter, we prayed for Aaron’s return. Reporter to Rodgers: “What goes through your head when you look at the scoreboard and see 20 to 3?” Rodgers: “7 times 3. We gotta score three touchdowns.” What a comeback, playing the rest of the game with an injured knee!

With only 2:15 left in the game, Chicago was still ahead 23-17. Everyone was on their feet, praying, yelling, and willing the team on. Then Rodgers connected with Cobb for a 75 yard return and a touchdown. Such a noise! When the game ended with a Packer victory, the crowd went wild. It was the largest 4th quarter deficit the team had ever overcome in 100 seasons of play.


I had so much fun last week, I decided to go again this week with Game Two of the season against the Vikings. My sister had gone home where she was assured of getting the Packers telecast for every game. Not so for me; if I want to be sure to see every game, I’ll have to drive to Kona. This was a noon game in Green Bay, which meant a 7 am kick-off in Hawaii. Yes, Quinn’s opens at 7 am on Sunday during football season. I left the house at 5:30 am, and picked up Stacy at 6. When we arrived at 7:10, there wasn’t a seat open in the bar or adjacent dining room. Just then, Jerry (the Dallas fan husband of Barbara) walked up and said he had two seats saved for me. YES! There they were, Barbara and Carol, already cheering for the Packers.

Around me were people from Oshkosh, Beaver Dam, Rice Lake, Kenosha, Horicon, and a suburb of Milwaukee. The folks from Beaver Dam and Kenosha also have condos here in Kona. Wow! Even Stacy’s Dad was originally from Wisconsin, so I’ll count her too. There was one lone guy in the bar wearing a Vikings shirt. Even he was welcome. I told him he was a brave man and he gave me a big hug. Quinn’s is my kind of bar; everyone is on their feet for the Packers.

It was way too early to drink beer at 7 am, even at a Packer Game. So I contented myself with coffee and a breakfast that could only be dreamed up by someone from Wisconsin – a Reuben omelet complete with sauerkraut, corned beef and 1000 Island Dressing drizzled on top. It was good! But the game was so intense, that I barely finished it. The game went into overtime and still ended in a tie. At least we didn’t lose.

On the way home, Stacy and I stopped off at the beach for a long swim/bob, the best way to work off all that energy from the game. This is not something I could do after watching a game in a Wisconsin Packer Bar. So what more can I want? I’ve got my team, my bar, my tribe, and am lucky enough to live on the Big Island. I am so grateful.

For more on Quinn’s, see Packer pity party…in Kona!


If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in Honoring tradition, Kona, links to my past, Wisconsin roots | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Dating after 65

I’m tiptoeing back into the dating game after 30 years on the sidelines. It’s a very different world out there.

In 1988, there was no such thing as dating apps. We used singles magazines and newspaper personals. After my divorce in 1987, I moved from Wisconsin to metropolitan Atlanta, determined to be single but dating for a long time. I didn’t know anyone there, and after spending six months dateless, the Atlanta Singles Magazine looked a lot less dangerous or weird. So I decided to place an ad.

Of course the writer in me required a lot of time to compose it. At the time I was a scientist for a big corporation, so I played with that:

Independent, career-minded research scientist seeks lab partner. Experimental objective: active social calendar filled with fun, adventure, and mutual nurturing. I am a DWF, recently transplanted from the Midwest, intelligent, multi-degreed, 35, 5’10” (legs!), and trim. No dependents. I love music (classical to New Age), nature (hiking, X-country skiing, cabining, and campfires), ethnic cuisines (especially hot foods), wines and dancing. I am enthusiastic, impatient, and looking for excitement after a decade of boring humdrum. Don’t write if you have stopped learning, refuse to dance, or are hooked on tobacco, organized religion, or babies. Do write if you are a S/DM, 30-45 years old, tall, professional who is intellectually curious, physically playful, and spiritually growing.

Wow. I still like it. Some things have changed: I like my food milder than back then, I’m not as “trim” as I was at 35, I much prefer walking to hiking, and haven’t X-country skied in decades. I also got hooked on babies as I matured – my babies, now 23 and 19. But otherwise, this description still fits. These days I would add that I love ocean bobbing (my friends call me a beach floozy – willing to go bobbing with anyone, anytime), yoga, meditation, beachcombing, travel, seeking new experiences and learning about other cultures.

I can’t believe that I saved all these letters! Even more impressive was finding them. Time to purge.

Back then, I eagerly waited for the next Singles issue. I had no idea what was about to hit me. Believe it or not, one key mode of communication in those days was through letters! The hand-written ones were clearly more impressive than those which were photocopied. My phone also rang non-stop for a couple weeks. I wound up having semi-serious conversations with 36 men, and dated 24 of them. For a solid week I had Dutch-treat dates for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each with a different guy. No kissing or hand-holding; this was serious work. And with some, it was clear I wouldn’t even be flirting on this first (and last) meeting. It was exhausting.

I did continue to see three gentlemen for three months. Keeping my schedule straight was a job in itself. And I did marry one of them, despite my determination to remain single. But now I’m back in the same spot, 30 years later, hoping to date and have some fun, and definitely not get married again. As my sister warned me, many older men are just looking for a nurse or a purse, not that I am age-restricting my search.

My daughters suggest that I use a dating app. I don’t know. I think the chances of finding someone to date on the Big Island using an app are very slim. It’s nothing like living in cities with populations of 6 million (older daughter) and 12 million (younger daughter).

Just do the math. We have 185K people living here (2010 census). Statistically, half are men, but very importantly, the ratio of single men to single women on the Big Island is 87 to 100. Then 26% of the population is under 18, and half (50.6%) are married https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii_(island). And among states, Hawaii has the highest percentage of people who self-identify as LGBT (5.1%).  So we’re down to about 85 eligible men. Of that number, many live too far away (it’s a BIG island). And some just aren’t interested any more. That last part was a real shock; I guess I’ve been watching too many romantic comedies.

On top of that, those remaining would have to be using the same dating app as me. So I set out to find the most popular dating app in Hawaii. One reference declared it to be Grindr. Unfortunately, that app is for gays; just my luck.

Another reference says it is Coffee Meets Bagel. As with Grindr, this is for the whole state. That means many more of the potential men will live too far away – most likely on another island.

Conclusion: a dating app may not be useful in my situation. I guess I’ll stick to asking the Universe, Manifesting what I desire, and using my social networks. Hint, hint Girlfriends: please invite me to dinner with your eligible male friends who are intellectually curious, physically playful, and spiritually growing. You can show them this photo as an example of me trying new things. LOL.


If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in asking the Universe, life choices, links to my past, Manifesting your life the way you want it, Personal growth, Single again, Using my transformation tools | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Big Island: if you don’t like the weather, drive five miles

Today Hurricane Hector is supposed to be arriving on the Big Island. I live on the eastern side, the direction first to get hit by rain from hurricanes. I woke this morning to a steady rain and thick humid air. When I lived in Wisconsin, we used to say, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. Here on the Big Island, with 10 of 14 climate zones, we say, if you don’t like the weather, drive five miles. So I dashed to my car.

Today is my swimming day with Stacy. Last night I got a text message from her: “Hey sister, we’re going to the beach in the morning. Don’t freak out over this stupid storm. It looks like our beach is going to be beautiful. See the map.”

Indeed, the map showed heavy rain everywhere except on the interior and western shores where we swim. That’s proof enough for me, despite the ominous voice of my father in my head: “What are you nuts? Swimming when the island is under a Tropical Storm Warning?”

So I packed a nice brunch for us (freshly made guacamole and taro chips with kombucha), and headed to Waimea to pick her up. The rain turned into the fog and cold wind-blown mist that is common in Waimea. It’s at a higher elevation (2500 ft versus Honoka’a at 1000 ft), and so as you drive up the mountain, you enter the clouds.

Stacy lives almost on the divide between the wet and dry side of the island. I have seen hard rain abruptly stop and mere feet later, be driving in sunshine. So as we left her house, we were treated to the rainbows often seen here.

The drive down the mountain on the dry side showed that we would indeed have beautiful weather at the beach at the Mauna Kea Resort. I love the view of the ocean down the mountain on the dry side: moist air behind me spilling over the mountain, and sunshine ahead.

The air was warm but not too humid. There was no breeze to speak of, and even the warning sign had no posting on it today. Normally the sign has at least a yellow caution posted. Where was Hector?

We indulged in bobbing on perfect 1-2 foot waves for at least an hour, while the eastern side of the island had wave warnings for 12-15 footers, the effect of Hector. But Hector is only moving at 16 miles per hour, so it didn’t spoil our fun at all.

Driving the 26.5 miles back home, I retraced the weather path of this morning: warm and sunny at the resort, shifting to the cold sideways mist of Waimea, turning into fog on the downward path to Honoka’a and finally the warm steady rain of home. By the time I got there, the Tropical Storm Warning had been lifted. So Dad, you can relax.

Here on the Big Island, we are lucky that if we don’t like the weather, we can just drive five (or 25) miles to find something that suits us better. I like to think of this as a metaphor for my life. If I don’t like my circumstances, I can manifest something different. How about you? Do you believe in the power of manifesting?


If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in driving in Hawaii, Manifesting your life the way you want it, weather in Hawaii, wet/dry side of island | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Making new family traditions in Boulder Junction, WI

This year is the 64th year my extended family has been going to the same lake for vacation. (See Family Traditions – 63 years at the lake near Boulder Junction WI.) We’ve been enjoying the same family activities every year through multiple generations: competitive Scrabble, fishing, swimming, the Tuesday Flea Market in Boulder Junction, pontoon rides to see the loons, and watching for deer. This year I even saw my first albino deer up close. Boulder Junction has the largest population of albino deer in Wisconsin.

The Scrabble is just as competitive, now that Generation 4 is playing with those of us from Gen 3. The swimming is just as iffy with cold snaps driving us to more Scrabble. I still make chili and potato salad for the group suppers, even though I can’t eat either on my Gundry lifestyle diet. And I still gratefully sauté and eat the bluegills and perch my brother-in-law brings me. The supper group all eagerly await my other brother-in-law’s annual offering of short ribs and bratwurst.

The Flea Market is just as worthy of the hunt for a kohlrabi to grace our dinner tables or some special treasure. I so love the friendly “hellos” from strangers; everyone is approachable except for the few disgruntled-looking people wearing Bears T-shirts here in Packerland.

Strangely, during this time of strong traditions, something happened: we did some NEW things. This year, Gen 4 brought a new toy with them: a paddle board. It was a big hit. All the cousins tried it and nailed it their first time out. Gen 4 Dad “rescued” a Gen 5 passenger off the raft and paddled her out into the bay and beyond. The more adventurous Gen 4 adults even paddled way up the river to enjoy the serenity and appreciate the wildlife.

I admired the adept moves of the younger generation, but luckily did not allow that to hinder my own attempt at grace on the water. Unfortunately, I required a couple of trials before I could stand. Even then, it’s clear I still need to practice the return to shore. I finally found my groove in Trial Three by sitting cross-legged on the board. I’ll try standing again next year if they bring the paddle board – a new tradition.

My sister and I also tagged along with our niece, an expert thrifter who showed us several vintage stores and thrift shops in Minocqua and Boulder Junction. I had fun adding to my blue and white vintage Pyrex collection. This could definitely become a yearly hunt. Why I hadn’t done this before Up North is a mystery, as I love thrifting. It might have something to do with now trying to make room in my suitcase for these new treasures.

The most unlikely new thing we did was to go dancing in Boulder Junction one evening, for Music on Main Street. The event has been happening every week in summer for eleven years and this is the first we heard of it! That just told me we hadn’t been looking to expand our horizons beyond what we already knew – so unlike me.

But my sister and I were eager to go. The band was Unified Soul, playing R&B and soul, perfect for dancing. I still have Soul Train wafting through my brain. (Next week Music on Main Street is featuring polka; still good dance music, but glad we caught this group.)

I immediately started dancing, by myself. Everyone else had brought lawn chairs and didn’t move out of them. My sister needed a bit of encouragement, but joined me quickly, and we danced every song in the set. Bare feet on grass, avoiding the big dog turd in one spot, we boogied pretty much alone until Gen 4 and Gen 5 showed up. Then it was dance, dance, dance with my sister’s daughter and grand-daughter. Though my knees were sore the next morning, this will definitely be a new tradition for years to come.

We also explored a new swimming lake. While we love our lake, it does have leeches, and it helps to keep moving to ensure a leech-free swim. We have also driven to and enjoyed Crystal Lake for years, but it’s spring fed, and really cold. It’s also crowded and you have to pay to get in. So we checked out a free and leech-free warm lake a couple miles from town. There were only two cars in the parking lot when we pulled in. The ladies enjoying the quiet beach begged us not to tell anyone about it, so I won’t mention the name. But it is listed as one of three good beaches on the Boulder Junction website. Unfortunately by the time we found it, the week had nearly ended. It’s something to anticipate for next year.

Finally, we began a new food tradition: prune pie! Mom used to make it all the time, but only once Up North that we can remember. My Dad loved it “piled high to there” with real whipped cream. No matter that it sat like a bowling ball in my stomach for hours afterwards, we will do this again. (By the way, that piece of pie is sitting on a dinner plate.)

When our last day arrived we woke to a steady rain. No matter. What’s important is being with family. We readily slipped back to one of our standard traditions, good day or night, rain or shine: Scrabble.


For other essays about our annual lake reunion, see:

Engaging my senses at the lake

Nature Connections

My father’s ghost is here

Family Traditions – 63 years at the lake near Boulder Junction WI


If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in getting out of my comfort zone, Honoring tradition, learnng new things, links to my past, living full out, Wisconsin family, Wisconsin roots | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

No, Kilauea Volcano is NOT menacing me!

Dear friends and family,

It’s wonderful that you are so concerned about my welfare during this latest volcano outbreak. But I’m on the Big Island. It’s called that for a reason – it’s big. As of May 26, about four square miles of residential land has been covered by new lava, on an island that is 4028 square miles. (Update, 8/5/18: now 13.4 square miles of land has been covered.) And I live on the north end of Hawaiʻi while Kilauea is in the south, three hours away.

Let’s look at a map. This is the official map showing the different volcanic activity zones on Hawaiʻi (which is the actual name of the Big Island, but we call it the Big Island because it helps people not confuse us with Oahu. Everyone thinks Oahu is Hawaiʻi because that is where Honolulu is – the center of the Universe as far as those on Oahu are concerned. The rest of us are just the “Neighbor Islands.” But actually, the island of Hawaiʻi was the center of the Universe in the days of King Kamehameha. Sorry, I had to get that rant out.)

Back to the map. It is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the most likely to have a volcanic incident (as is happening today) and Zone 9 being the least likely. I live in Zone 8.

It’s been interesting to see our story being covered by every major news outlet, every day for three weeks. The BBC led off with the volcano for several days. But even they got things wrong. They talk about Hawaiʻi as having five active volcanoes. No. We have one extinct volcano (Kohala, the one on the north end of the island), one dormant (Mauna Kea, last erupted 3600 years ago), and three active volcanoes. Hualālai in the west looms over Kona. It last erupted in 1800-1801. When it goes off again, it will certainly affect Kona.

The second, Mauna Loa, is in the middle-south. It is the largest mountain on earth and is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted in 1984, though lately it has again been showing signs of unrest. Hilo sits on Mauna Loa’s eastern flanks and has had its share of excitement from past lava flows, with the 1984 flow coming within 4.5 miles of the city.

Art about Pele at Jaggar Museum

The third active volcano is the one that has everybody agitated or nonplussed depending on your point of view. Kilauea, on Mauna Loa’s southern flank, has been “erupting” every day since 1983. It sits inside the Volcanoes National Park, which is now closed due to the volcanic activity. Hawaiian culture reveres Pele, the source of the fire in the volcano. In fact, the Hawaiian word for lava is pele.

Hawaii volcanoes are shield volcanoes: very broad with gentle slopes. When the lava decides to move, it (usually) flows slowly enough for people to get out of the way. This is in contrast to stratovolcanoes like Mt. St. Helens which erupt violently in a pyroclastic flow rather than with a flow of lava. A third kind is a dome volcano.

The current situation has two sources of excitement. The fissures in Leilani Estates (latest count is 24), and Kilauea’s summit crater, Halmaʻumaʻu. The fissures or vents are creating the fountains of lava, some hundreds of feet in the air. Since this subdivision is situated on the flanks of the volcano, the lava is also creeping downhill, engulfing cars, houses, roads and anything else in the way. That is a highly local phenomenon, affecting only the immediate area around them. So, no, I cannot see the lava fountains.

The vents are producing sulfur dioxide, the poisonous gas the media is discussing. Yes, the gas is harmful to humans which is why people are using gas masks. It has also killed nearby vegetation that has managed to escape being burned or covered by the vent lava. But again, it’s a local event; I do not need to wear a gas mask. And while some communities farther away from the volcano have smelled the rotten egg odor, Honokaʻa is largely immune from these smells and even vog (volcanic fog or volcanic smog), because the trade winds blow them away from our part of the island.

The Kilauea summit provides more interesting possibilities for far-reaching effects. When it started putting out plumes, my friends again asked, “Are you okay?” Yes. I cannot see the smoke. I cannot feel the acid rain. I cannot see the ash or the refrigerator-sized boulders being hurtled. I cannot hear the constant booms coming from the volcano and the vents. And no, I am not breathing the laze (or lava haze) now that the lava has oozed it’s way to the ocean. I have felt one earthquake out of the thousands that have occurred since May 3. When the news reports that “residents have been asked to evacuate,” they do not mean me or most of the people on this island.

What I and everyone else on the island ARE doing is sending supplies and food to the people who have been displaced from Leilani Estates and adjacent areas. Some have lost their homes to the lava and are starting over from scratch.

Meanwhile, most of the island has not been affected. The skies in Waimea and Honoka’a are so intensely blue (when it’s not raining) that they almost hurts the eyes, with layers of fluffy cloud in front. People tend to their business, go to church and the post office, care for their horses, cows, and goats, buy groceries, cut the grass, pick up their kids from school. Here in Honokaʻa, I enjoy a clear view of the ocean from my yard and we are all abuzz with Western Week. Everything is normal.

Photos from my yard this week

Life goes on, except for the sudden drop in tourism, up to a 50% projected for the summer season. This is silly. Now is a perfect time to visit the Big Island. Flights are extra cheap at the moment. Come on over! Aloha.


From one location one can see: top- Mauna Kea, middle- Mauna Loa, bottom- Hualalai

Note I have tried to add references for the photos I did not take myself. But social media does not always make it easy to trace back to the original photographers.

If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, lava, Pele, volcano | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Tattoo Parlor and a New Life

Well, I’m doing it – starting life over again with a new freedom, a new independence, and by myself. It’s another new chapter in my life. My close friends say it’s a whole new book. We’ll see.

My daughters have been very supportive, encouraging me in my tentative first steps, and even doing some mother-daughter bonding over new ear piercings when they were home in April.

My original earring holes closed up some twenty years ago when I stopped wearing earrings. My younger daughter, who has completely filled her ears with hardware, was thrilled to guide me. “Don’t have it done with a piercing gun at the mall. The recommended method is needle piercing.” Who knew? So I checked online and found many articles, including one from Good Housekeeping! I was definitely behind the times on this issue.

She had planned to get yet another ear piercing while on island, so I let her do the research on where to go, and I just tagged along. I had no idea this meant going to a tattoo parlor! The posters alone were an entirely new curriculum. Oh my!

I was a bit uneasy as I walked to a room at the back of the shop, escorted by a heavily tattooed man. Turns out he was the parlor owner, a man with 20 years of experience with tattoo artistry and body piercing.

I settled into the plastic wrapped chair and put my lobes into his capable hands. I shivered a bit as he wiped my ears with alcohol, marked the new holes, had me check them, and then came at me with a needle. “Deep breath,” he suggested. That’s all I had to hear for my multi-decade yoga training to come to my rescue once again. It still hurt, but not as much as without the breathing, nor as much as the gun decades ago. And with the needle method, I got hoops – much more comfortable than sleeping with studs.

Meanwhile, I’m letting the lessons of the body piercing sink in. Take risks. Learn new things. Use my tools. Be okay with letting my children help/teach me. Expect surprise and delight. Most of these lessons are familiar friends. I expect they will continue to shape and guide me in my next chapter.

Wish me luck on my new life. I’ll attack it like I have all of my life changes – with my transformation toolkit:

  • Be grateful.
  • Choose my attitude/think positively.
  • Be present / cultivate mindfulness.
  • Get out of my comfort zone.
  • Live life full out.
  • Trust – Ask – Accept with gratitude.
  • Self-care. And many others.

Here’s to a new life and new opportunities. With the support of family and friends, I’m ready to start over.


If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in Being present, daughters, getting out of my comfort zone, gratitude, life choices, living full out, Mother-daughter bonding, Personal growth, Positive Thinking/Choose Your Attitude, self care, Trust-Ask-Accept with Gratitude | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

Translating yoga into surfing

When I got back from Murano, the thing I most wanted to do was yoga with my nurturing teacher, Anita. It felt so good to be back, focusing on form, breathing, and the meditation that comes with Shavasana. Despite my efforts to focus, I drifted off, thinking back to my first time surfing, and it’s connection to my favorite form of meditation and exercise – yoga. It inspired me to share an excerpt from my book, Manifesting Paradise:

December 22, 2011.  This year we popped over to Maui for a few days during the girls’ holiday break. It’s just one island over – inexpensive as Hawai‘i vacations go. The girls wanted surfing lessons as their Christmas gift, but they were hesitant unless a parent went along. Much like the horseback riding adventure last year, I “won the toss.”

Paying $25 extra, we bought a private lesson, and got lucky with our instructor Johnny, a young surfer with a patient, “you can do it” attitude. With his blond hair sticking out of his red cap, broad smile and confidence, he easily won us over. We were excited to start. Well, the girls were excited. I was apprehensive until I saw I could use my yoga training.

We started practicing with a board on dry land. As Johnny demonstrated the moves, I translated each one into yoga. First, assume Plank position to situate yourself onto the back end of the board. Lie down, paddle, turn around and face shore. When the wave feels right, paddle hard, then follow through with an Up-dog. Pull your knees forward and plant your foot forward firmly, as if you were about to do a Warrior Lunge.

Quickly plant your back foot at a 45° angle and rise up into Warrior Two. Now ride the wave to shore!  If you begin to fall assume the Shavasana position to create a big surface area and break the fall on the water’s surface, rather than on the coral beneath. With that tutorial and the confidence I gained from relating surfing to yoga, I was ready to surf.

My younger daughter went first. She was a natural. Having danced ballet for many years, she has good form and excellent balance. She scrambled up and coasted to shore.

Her older sister went next. With the confidence of her natural athletic abilities, she nimbly stood and rode her wave. While I waited for my turn, I pondered what the hell I was doing, and cursed my hubris. What’s an almost 60-year-old doing on a surf board? I was tired just paddling out there! Thankfully, Johnny chose a fat, old, stable board for a fat, old, unstable broad.

I said a quick prayer to God that I wouldn’t break any bones, then readied myself. Johnny talked to me calmly and confidently as we waited for the right wave. When it came, he shoved my board and I was off. I paddled, did the Up-dog, pulled myself into a kneeling position . . . and froze.

But I rode my wave to shore, smiling all the way. I didn’t even get my hair wet, for which Johnny congratulated me when I paddled back out.

Next time, I again pulled into the kneeling position, but saw a child directly in my path. I quickly executed the technique Johnny taught us; look away and your board will follow you in that direction. It worked! I didn’t collide with the boy and made it to shore without wetting my hair or my pants! No Shavasana needed. Johnny congratulated me on avoiding the collision.

With my third wave, I planted my front foot in the lunge position. But that took me so long, I landed on shore before I could do any more.

Paddling back out, I felt exhausted. It dawned on me that this would have to be my last wave. When I told Johnny, he said we’d try something different. He instructed me to start in the kneeling position to give me more time to stand before I reached shore.

He gave me a strong shove, and with the resolve that came from knowing this was my last chance, I pulled my front foot forward, planted my back foot and stood up. WAHOO, I was surfing!! Look at me! I’m surfing! It wasn’t pretty or graceful, but it was exhilarating: the wind in my face, the approaching shoreline, and my family cheering me. I was grateful when the wave petered out near shore and I stepped off the board, dizzy and disoriented, but hair dry to the very end!

Triumphantly, I dragged my board up the beach, where I collapsed near my husband and put my glasses on. Now I could see the girls more clearly as they gracefully cruised into shore.

When the lesson ended we had high fives all around. It’s a sweet, proud memory, and I’ve crossed one more thing off my bucket list. But I would not have made it without the yoga I learned from my dear teachers. The muscle memory was there. And my teachers were there, too, cheering me on inside my head.

Yoga has taught me breathing, meditation, balance, core strength, flexibility and patience. Well, I’m still working on patience. But now I can say it taught me surfing, too. Call me Surfer Girl. (End of reprint.)

This essay is dedicated to my three yoga mentors: Alice Stevens (my teacher 1987-2000), Shahadah Fredericks (my teacher 2001 – 2011), and Anita Stith (my teacher 2009 – present).


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