Friday, July 22, 2011

It's all fun and games until someone loses

a camera, and then it's fun and games with no pictures.

We were out at Salt Pond Park today, swimming in the little lagoon and then in the sheltered area next to the reef, so I decided to use the camera mask that our niece's company makes (that's a plug, folks for a good product put out by great people, and yes, I'm biased.) The water was too turbulent to take pics, so after a bit, I got the idea to sit on the reef and film the waves coming over the top as b-roll (film to tie the more important bits together). Unfortunately, a large wave broke over me, the camera and the reef, and tore the camera out of my hand, breaking it lose from the snorkel as well, and vanishing it under the foam. We looked for about an hour, but no luck. Some friendly folks came to help, and we eventual figured that it was swept out the narrows to the other side of the reef. No-one was willing to go get hammered by the reef break, (smart people!) so I'm afraid the mask lies 2 fathoms deep. I hope someday it will surface.

But we got lots of great shots over the last few days, and downloaded them as we went, so we didn't lose anything except today's few reef pics. As soon as I upload a couple of short videos, I'll link to them. In the meantime, stay well, dry and don't let go of your camera.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sometime Saturday

So, Thursday went, Friday was busy and now here's Saturday. Wow. It's not easy to get caught up on the day if you get behind, especially when Stuff Happens. So, here are some late weather reports:

Thursday. Paul, Danna and Dakota came in yesterday, so today we started Being In Kauai with them. Unfortunately, it didn't last long, as around noon, we were all on the way to the beach, when Danna tripped, smacked her head on the stone and, long story short, ended up spending the afternoon lying down, then the evening in the emergency dept., getting tests and eventually being told that she had a mild concussion, and got sent back to us, at 10PM. I had the kids at the beach for, I don't know, 3 hours or more, with the 2 12-year-olds sitting at the break and letting the waves crash down on them, filling their swim suits with sand. >I< went swimming, not being that fond of sand in the shorts. We ended up getting reasonably good Hawaiian style chinese food to go, and hanging out in the apartment until the others returned from the ED. Then bed.

Friday was pedicure day for my ladies, so they took the AM to go get their feet prettied up. Ana got her toes painted turquoise crackle, and Joy chose pink. Then lunch and HELICOPTER tour: YAY. (Doc's OK for Danna.) An hour around the island, amazing. It's always such a strange feeling when the copter starts to lift: just a little unsettling, and exciting at the same time. Then, up and away, and out to the coast, down to the south side, LOOK at the waves, the fields, the canyons. The high point is entering the crater, and seeing the old volcano. The pilot kept pointing out where this or that movie was filmed (a lot of Jurassic Park, among others), but I really just wanted to look. The view from above is so different than when I'm driving, that besides just an orientation, I feel like I get better context for why things are where they are. Anyway, I loved it, and so did everyone else. Dinner at a local Mexi-waiian restaurant, and bed.

Today, we left "early" ro head for a farmer's market all the way at the south shore, because we're almost out of pineapple. We're been eating one a day, along with mangoes, papaya and anything else that grows locally. But we found a market just outside Lihue, and stopped there. A good choice: plenty of variety, including the elusive white pineapple, but also jams, honey, a puerto rican taco (!) and chocolate-covered bananas, which were favored by guess who? Not me, I was saving myself for shave ice after lunch. After about an hour, including buying some local jams to send home, we headed out thinking we would just see what we found on the way south. 30 minutes later, we're eating Brick Oven pizza, and burping garlic. OK, off again, this time stopping at Hanapepe, the artist's area, as it were, full of incredible art work, and an old aquiantance who, 3 years ago, had taught us how to do paper marbling. She wsn'tin, more's the pity, but we saw her partner and sent word, and we'll be back in a few days, as Salt Pond park is nearby and that's a spot not to miss.

Off again south, this time to Waimea, and the Kauai Granola shop, where I waited at the car (the shop defines "small") while the others drooled over chocolate macaroons, cookies and granola, and then to my reward: Jo-Jo's Shave Ice. Watermelon and pink lemonade over macadamia nut ice-cream for me, lots of other choices for the others. The place looks like an old changing room, but they are at least minimally sanitary (gloves, etc). And certainly delicious. Then back to the apartment, and change to swim, while I update here. I'll post photos to Facebook as well as a few here if I can figure it out. If you want, send me a friend request (John Beaty) and then if I know you, I'll OK it and you can see the rest of the family. I'm still a little freakedout by facebook's willingness to "share" in everything I post, so I'm taking it slowly.

Off to swim now, then dinner at the hotel. This is turning into a food blog iof sorts, but there's notmuch I can do about it just now. I want to write about totems, and mementos of my parents and daughter, but that will have to wait til later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Weather

The early morning sun comes over the hills from behind, and lights the houses and buildings across the harbor, reflecting warm light onto the water in front of us. I sit on our lanai, warm in the gentle breezes, and watch the surfers waiting. Joy calls them "wave worshippers", as they all face the harbor mouth, waiting for the right wave to take them for a ride. We cannot see the harbor mouth from here, so it looks like they are just staring out into the ocean. I understand them, as I, too, stare into the distance, waiting for something.

A passing shower is welcome. As it crosses the harbor, a double rainbow appears in the rain. I think of a story line: what if the gold and leprechauns were real, and protected under law? You might have mercenaries trying to kidnap them, only to be surrounded in turn by Special Ops, kind of a riff on the opening of Men In Black. What would we do if there really WAS an unlimited supply of gold?

Anyway, the fruit we bought at the farmer's market on Monday is almost overripe this morning, but still delicious, so that's breakfast. I check my email, send replies as I can, (sending is spotty for reasons I don't grasp at all, receiving is easy) and read some AM blogs (Hi DaisyFae!) Yesterday's emotional uproars are past, today is another chance to relax the walls that have bound my grief at home. I said to my therapist, "Someone needs to drive." Here, not so much, so I can risk lowering the barriers a little more. The result is sometimes difficult, painful, probably not fun for those around me. I thank my wife endlessly: she's also still hurting, and now has a husband who is not on an even keel. But she forgives my transgressions, and I try not to make things harder on her than I have to. 25 years later, we're still strong.

Our son Paul, his wife Danna and their son Dakota are coming in a couple of hours. That'll give my daughter someone to play with other than me, which is good for us both. And we're always happy to see the kids.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday weather


The roosters have been at it for a while. They don't get the whole "crow at dawn" thing that the rest of the world lives with, so once they start, it's pretty much "game on" for the rest of the day, which makes staying in bed an exercise in pillow diving. After a bit, I get up and push the GO button for coffee, wipe down the outside table and fire up my email. Nope,no further missives from my current tormentor, who had been filling my mailbox with multi-page screeds about the evils of aspartame, the FDA's jihad against raw milk ("the most wondrous food on the planet"), and anything Dr. Mercola writes. I finally ask him to just take me off his list, as my delete key is wearing unevenly.

Ahh, coffee. The harbor is cool and tranquil, a few early surfers and paddle boarders dotting the water. Not much surf this morning, so the hard-core dudes aren't anywhere to be found, but the long, slow, low rollers give the less-practiced some space to work out without feeling pressed to take a wave they're not really comfortable with.

The tug heads out from the breakwater, out of my view, reappearing a few minutes later with a barge and another tug. Everything from cars to toilet paper comes by boat, so the arrival of a barge full of containers is a little bit of excitement, and the docking is met with a flurry of activity. Many of the containers are marked "Matson", the last US shipping line. Funny, my old comp sci professor at Sonoma State worked for Matson 30 or more years ago, and helped design the software they still use to decide which container goes where for best balance and ease of unloading. Joe was a good egg, funny and interesting and loved to teach, especially the intro classes.

I'm joined by Joy, and we sit in the soft morning air, sipping coffee and listening to the surf, but eventually the call of the Kindle becomes too strong for her, and she picks up her "trashy romance novel" (the only thing you should read on vacation), and I start writing. Later today we'll head out to Poipu, maybe or Waimea, and hunt around. Or maybe just hang in the ocean or by the pool. Tomorrow the other family members come, so it will become less private. For the moment, Ana dreams on and we enjoy the peace.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My father's passing

I know I said I wanted to move forward. To do that, I have to clean up a little old business. So, I wrote this while I was in Milan, just after my father's death. Now I can move it out of drafts.

I love you, Paramo.

Hi mates.

The phone call from my sister was brief: our father was in hospital, condition bad but cause still unclear. Maybe a stroke? A CT scan was scheduled, but the 9 hour time change made for difficult and frustrating communication. A couple of hours later, the news of a cerebral hemorrhage, and his deteriorating condition made it clear I would have to leave my wife and daughter, just one day after the 1-year memorial for our daughter and fly to Milan to be with my sister Daniela, and Iaia, my father's companion, and stay until things resolved, one way or another.

I left California Saturday at 3:30. I slept on the long leg from LA to Paris, which undoubtedly contributed to my feeling of lightheadedness when I had to change planes. The airport in Paris is always very bright, but it seemed even more luminous in my state. 2 hours later, 15 hours after leaving California, I was in Milan.

During the flight from Paris to Milan, I tried to meditate some and succeeded in feeling somewhat more settled by the time I landed. I was met by my father's niece, who hugged me tightly before rushing us to the hospital. My stress grew again to match hers, and by the time we got there, through the traffic around the Pope's visit and the usual chaos of Milan, I was very tight and felt completely muddle-headed.

When I got to the hospital, many friends and family were already there, having kept watch over my father for the past day. I greeted them, some of whom I had not seen in 20 or more years, and then made my way to Paramo's bedside around 4:30. (Even though I was adopted when I was 9, I have rarely called him "dad", first just calling him by his given name, Marco, and later the name he had been given by our guru.) I spoke gently to him, letting him know I was here, and held his hand. After a bit, the doctor on duty came in, and we spoke for a few minutes about his thoughts and findings, and prognosis. My sister had copies of the CT scans, and I could easily see the blood, filling an area the size of a woman's fist, deep in his brain, near the medulla. Completly inoperable. All signs were poor, and shortly his breathing became less steady.

After about 30 minutes, my sister decided to go shower and change, as she had been there for more than 20 hours. Since I was still wound up, I told her to go, and that I would stay, and call with any news. I spent a few minutes with his friends and Iaia, his companion of 22 years, just standing by the side of his bed, and saying the things one says when there is not much to say. Then, I sat down in the lone chair by his side and took his hand. At first, I tried to pour some energy into his body, to see if that would help, or put a ring of light around him, but within a minute or so, I became aware that I wasn't centered enough to do anything useful, so I concentrated on becoming centered and then asking him what he needed from me. As I settled myself, I thought that what he needed was permission, so I said, "It's OK, Paramo. it's OK. Go and be with Bhagwan and Ramesh. We're going to be fine." There was no immediate response, so I just continued to hold his hand and stay centered, holding a ring of pink light around all of us. Within a couple of minutes his breathing changed, and became very soft and light, and his heart rate, which had been quite high, began to drop. A few more moments, and it became obvious that he was going, and the nurses and doctors came in to see what they could do, as the alarms were going off. We had insisted on a "no interventions" instruction (not easy to do in a catholic country), so, after they checked, they left again, and Iaia and I resumed our places, with me sitting by the bed, holding his hand lightly. Less than 5 minutes later, less than an hour since I arrived, he let go of his last breath and lay still.

We stayed like that for a few minutes. My sister, still dripping from the shower, came in and took her place by the bed. We reached out and the three of us held hands, and kept contact with my father's body. Finally, we asked the doctor to remove his oxygen mask, and left the room, so they could take care of any final medical business.

When they were done, we went back and Iaia and Daniela fussed a little over his body, smoothing his hair, and "taking care". We waited for the team to come and take his body for refrigeration, and, somewhat less than 3 hours after arriving in Milan, we left the hospital, to go change and meet for (what else?) drinks and dinner. After all, we're in Italy, one of the most pragmatic countries in the world.

With love from Yogi

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trying to Move Forward

Life has been really sad and chaotic, these last several months/more than a year. Starting with Alysia's death in April 2010 (which is so unreal to write, I can't believe it still), followed by my mother's passing in November, my aunt in February and my dad on the 1st of May. My head spins, and I am so overwhelmed by the emotions that I can barely think at times.

At other times, life just moves on. Aliana has moved from 6th to 7th grade, we are dear friends with Alysia's partner Katherine, and my little nuclear-type family seems to be holding together, something I have worried about. Until today, every time I tried to write, I would just begin to cry. And then I couldn't go forward.

A couple of days ago, I was talking with my sister Fran, who encouraged me to write from Hawaii, where I am now. Just write weather reports, if you can, she said. It will open up another channel. And so I am sitting here in our apartment in Kauai, uploading photos to Facebook and thought I would try to just post something to move my mother's photo out of the top spot.

Paul and Danna and Dakota will be coming on Wednesday, and we'll be together here for 10 days or so, then Joy and I get 4 days just the 2 of us. Yay! Anyway, the weather is good, cloudy but warm and humid. We got here Saturday, I've been swimming twice with Aliana in the ocean, and tried body-surfing a couple of the larger waves. Now we're off to dinner.