I am feeling so grateful and giddy with life. Maybe the stars and planets are aligned for me right now. (Astrologer Deb, you could weigh in here.) The words that follow could be called a gratitude journal--a popular tool these days for shifting one’s outlook in life from what’s not working to what is.
Last night, trying to wedge a chore between my Outrigger day job and an evening dinner appointment, I fired up the riding lawn mower. Well, truthfully, the husband fired up the mower, and I hopped on to swing around the yard, listening to one of my favorite podcasts--Writers on Writing—as I did so. My window of time for mowing was exactly two hours, and I quickly realized I would need two to three times longer than that to cut back the weeds that make up my yard and sprinted to knee-high height during recent much-needed rains. My mind ricocheted ideas on how to solve the problem.
I could cut only the really tall stuff. But that would look funny. I could focus on the yard immediately surrounding the house and leave the rest. Yet every solution running through my mind required another chunk of time for mowing, and the problem with that was I didn’t have any available chunks of time for another four days. (Because I’m spending the weekend in Hanalei holed up in a writing retreat. Fun.) Yes, I could have asked the husband to mow, but he already does enough work around the house, leaving me basically one responsibility. And as was becoming imminently clear as the mower shoot clogged with wet grass, I was failing in my one yard chore. Sigh. That only left a miracle.
It arrived riding a ginormous lawn mower. As I steered the mower around a corner, I looked up to see an approaching man. He wore a big smile on his round face, a mop of dark hair flapping in the breeze. And here’s the good part: He was driving a lawn mower with a cutting deck wider than I am tall. (And I'm tall.) I suddenly felt like I was sitting on a tricycle. We both cut the engines on our individual machines, as we rolled to a stop.
“Want some help,” he asked?
“Oh, no,” I said. Of course, I said no. My parents raised me to be independent, not to sponge off others. He ignored me.
“I’ll just do this part,” he said and swept his arm in the general direction of the front yard.
But he did the entire yard. Almost two whole acres. He even re-did the slender paths I had mowed, because the blades on my trike left sprouts sticking up all over the place.
The best part: we finished in an hour-and-a-half. The hubs and I made our dinner reservation, and we were only 10 minutes late.
Dinner. It was amazing. Have I recommended the Hukilau Lanai
before? It’s located on Kauai’s east side and is owned by Ron and Krissi Miller. He runs the kitchen, and she runs the front of the house. They source locally—from produce to beef to fish and beer. Even rum. They recycle waste. They conserve energy. They are, in two succinct words, good people. Make that Good People. Capital “G” and “P.”
This place buzzes. You can hardly get a table there without a reservation. Is this Kauai? Indeed, I had made our reservations the night before through a handy thing called the Internet. In the notes section of my reservation, I added, “Some vegan options would be nice.”
When I arrived, Krissi said, “Ron’s prepared a couple vegan options for you.”
My head swiveled--left to right, right to left, left to right?
I chose the quinoa with roasted vegetables and drizzled with a spicy, non-dairy sauce. When the dish arrived, it didn't look like I'd imagined. There were more vegetables than quinoa, and there were a pile of vegetables. I made sure not to forget the doggie bag.
For the non-vegans, I recommend Adam’s Poke Nachos, Lobster & Goat Cheese Wonton, Lobster Curry Bisque. And that’s just the starters. The fresh island fish are always winners, and the husband cannot pass up the—are you ready for this—Awesome Local Mushroom Meat Loaf. What?
They even have a gluten-free menu. My bestie from Colorado who spent the holidays with us would have loved that.
But she and I (and astrologer Deb) discovered a gluten-free menu at The Dolphin in Poipu
. Our server Karen (sassy, funny and socially-conscious; ask for her) inveigled the kitchen staff to prepare a sushi roll for us before they were officially open--the You Megan Me Crazy roll. Order two. On the non-vegan and non-gluten-free side, there’s the mushroom caps. O-M-G. And the artichoke. We went twice within one week and ordered the exact same meal.
And we discovered gluten-free and vegan options at the yummy, open-air Garden Café at Common Ground in Kilauea.
I salivated over the veggie tacos, and my bestie did the same over the fish nachos. For both, the restaurant used baby kale instead of cabbage. Baby kale! Good and good for you. What a concept. For dessert, we mopped up the ice cream sandwich. Get this: the ice cream was made from cashews and coconut milk. The things creative people can do with food.
There are two more reasons I appreciate Common Ground.
One, they support local businesses. They have a market store with locally-made chocolate, honey, spices, hot sauces and a whole lot more. Definitely a place in which to get lost while you wait (even for lunch!) for you table.
Second, the owner of Common Ground allows and encourages people to walk through the 40+ acres of what was recently a guava plantation. They’ve even groomed a five-mile, walking loop that includes a pass by the 100-year-old Kilauea Stone Dam. It’s a place of serenity, energy, play and meditation—all in one.
Such abundance and generosity in my life. No wonder I’m giddy with happiness.
What about you? How is your 2013 treating you so far?