Reflections on Hawaii – 2016 Edition

We’re back from Hawaii full of the 3 “E’s”…exhausted, exhilarated and ecstatic to be reunited with our pup. His demeanor when we picked him up was somewhat subdued and it’s clear he was totally overwhelmed. Confusion best described his reaction but with each passing hour he appears to be settling in to the normalcy he was used to before his prison sentence. When they brought him out, he had a fresh wound on his face, perhaps the outcome of an unpleasant encounter with another pup? Was he ‘sharing the love’ with an unwilling recipient? Had he been banging is head against the bars of his kennel in an effort to escape his personal prison? Who knows? The staff hadn’t noticed it (it was pretty small and his coat is a bit long right now) but very recent. My over-active imagination had all sorts of scenarios at the ready, but suffice to say I’m just content my Muppet boy is home. Notice the effective ‘hang-dog’ look of the newly released ‘parolee.’ It appears I shall be reminded of his mistreatment while we were away having fun in Hawaii.


When I went to Hawaii in 2014, I came back and tried to reflect on what the trip meant to me. You can read about those thoughts here. Certainly this trip had similar reflections on the beauty of The Big Island and the importance family holds in my heart. Hawaii is quite the state (as in…the 50th state) but also it’s a state of mind. On our first walk back at home, I reflected on the trip and also about being home. Sure the lupines, poppies and irises are making their beautiful presence known here, and their appearance is always something I look forward to each Spring and yet this year, it seems surprisingly different. And I was truth be told, kind of non-plused. Like Sam, I guess I too am out of step. It’s clear I’m not physically in Hawaii-there are no Jacaranda or other tropical plants to stimulate my senses and no breathtaking sunsets of the beach. Yet being back in the Mile High seems odd too and I feel like a foreigner here. It’s all very unsettling. The neighborhood changed, the city changed or at least my perception of them both changed and it makes me wonder if we still belong here? Can’t answer that yet, still trying to process this state of mind, the feeling of being at home and yet not belonging. Maybe it’s just more of the retirement adjustment period, but one thing is certain, it’s will require some time to figure out. In the meantime, we are trying to slip in to what our old routine was like by doing hospital visits.

Yesterday we were back at the hospital. While I would have preferred a few days to get both of us back on solid ground and fully rested (the return flight was pure living hell), but the schedule for the month was a bit tight and I didn’t want to let the hospital down. I wasn’t sure how Sam would handle it. But like the trooper he is, he was patient and extraordinarily calm, even if a bit off kilter. And of course wouldn’t you know it, so many people wanted to spend loads of time with him. He was so patient with everyone wanting to pet him, though I knew he would have preferred taking a nap at home. Sam stood there and while he kept his eyes on me in true Velcro-dog fashion, he tolerated every single person hanging on or stroking him. My boy was a champ. We ran into the director of volunteer services, who stopped to chat with us. In addition to wanting some one-on-one time with Sam, she thanked us profusely for our volunteer work and said how much of a difference it makes for patients as well as the staff. I told her that we get far more back than we give but it was very gratifying for the acknowledgment. It reminded me how valuable appreciation is for people’s morale note to former employer.

Some last thoughts (or rather images) of ‘there’ vs. ‘here.’ Maybe you can see my conflict or maybe you can share some tips on how to get back on track from a vacation that clearly impacted my soul and essence. I’m missing those incredible sunsets from my son’s lanai, the love of an incredible family…then again, shouldn’t I embrace the beauty and love that surrounds me where I am?





Wishing you and yours a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Live, love, bark! <3

25 thoughts on “Reflections on Hawaii – 2016 Edition

  1. Oh poor sweet Sam, I hope he’s healed up. Like you, I’d be a bit concerned about it, especially since they ‘didn’t notice.’ I’m glad you’ll be chatting with the owner. 🙂

    No advice here on adjusting from HI to CO, my only thought is it just the vacation euphoria? Let a week or so pass and see if anything has changed. Is there any chance of you moving to HI?

  2. How they missed that cut on his face is beyond me! And a bit disturbing, too; but you’re home, he’s home, and now you can just focus on each other, Wayne, and getting back to normal. It takes time to get over the euphoria of vacating one’s life. Don’t worry about it. Just “go with the flow” and you’ll be fine.

  3. It is really hard coming back from one version of paradise into a totally different version. Give yourself a couple of weeks to settle in first and see how you feel. Then it would be a good idea to make a list of pros/cons including affordability and family responsibilities to help you evaluate the feasibility of moving. Now may not be the time, but maybe year round summers mighty one day be the next chapter in your life 🙂

  4. Glad you and Sam are together again and I too hope that Sam is healing well. It is hard, yearning for one world and living in another. They are two different types of paradise for sure. Give yourself a couple of weeks and it might be time to start a true re-evaluation. Make lists of the pros/cons of both, including affordability and family responsibilities. You may find that now is not the time, but in the near future, year round summer might be the next chapter in your life.

  5. I always feel that way when I come back from a trip to a place I loved. But, usually, after a few days, the reset button kicks in. But, then again, I think where I live is paradise.

  6. Benji goes into hiding (sulk) when I go away for a couple of days. I shudder to think what he would be like if I was gone for a week or more – and that’s staying at home. Like an earlier comment I cannot understand how that wound was not noticed. I hope it clears up soon. From the mountains of Scotland to the flatlands of South Australia, Even although my family were already here it took me a long time to adjust.

  7. please, the staff hadn’t noticed? It’s pretty obvious. We took Chelsea our lab to the “country club of kennels” where the staff didn’t notice she was so sick she almost died. The vet they finally took her to had to try three legs to start an iv as her veins collapsed. Watching in a protective way is their only real job. Poor Sam, glad he’s home. He’ll need a week to sleep, heck Cole needs a week to sleep after every vacation. All that time with us maybe.

  8. I think you want to live in Hawaii and you SHOULD!!!! Hell, if I EVER get the chance to move there, I am gone (with my husband and furbabies of course!) I don’t know how they didn’t notice that wound on Sam, that’s troubling to me. I know he is THRILLED to have you home!!! DakotasDen

  9. I love this post and can totally relate to what you’re feeling. My husband’s job has taken us across the U.S. from the east coast to Denver to San Diego over the years and I have to say (maybe I’m getting old) but I was happy to leave the cold and snow and bare winter trees behind for year-round flowers, butterflies, hummingbirds, and of course the beach! I totally get the whole retire to a warm climate thing. My brother and his wife retired to Florida after many years in Minnesota! So glad to see a happy reunion with Sam, too. 🙂 Cheers!

    1. It’s a tough thing. My kids are out of state, yet my parents and brothers here with sisters in nearby states. It’s a tough decision to make and I’m maybe too old to start over again completely. We’ll see. At least Sam is here and as I watch his rhymic breathing right now I am buoyed with him near my side. Crazy Velcro pup! Have a great holiday weekend.

  10. You should work for the Hawaiian tourism board because I always want to jump on a plane headed there after reading about your trips and seeing your photos. Glad you had a wonderful time and I’m sure the return to life (one that was already in transition!) is a bit bumpy – especially since the kids abandoned you in Colorado for their new west coast and island lives. I can imagine it feels really weird to come back and not have your most important people there anymore. Like, wait … why did I come back here again? So hang in there, and start planning your next trip. 🙂

  11. We were in Kauai earlier this year, and I must say it is so hard to “Live Aloha” on the mainland. Especially of you have family back in Hawaii…

  12. Coming back to home base after a visit to family in a place far away always has an effect on one’s emotions, one’s outlook on life and the eternal question of what we’re doing in the place we choose to be. It used to take me a long time to settle back into my old life after visiting my sister in Australia for 4 or 5 weeks. Physically getting back into the work routine helped, even if only because it made me too tired to think.

    Eventually I relocated to my sister’s country and I’m much happier here, but if I’d had a significant other in my life, or some kind of supportive family structure of my own back at home base I might not have felt the need to uproot my whole existence. At the end of the day I made the move because I wasn’t torn in two – my whole heart wanted to be where I am now and not in an empty place from which almost all joy had gone.

    Give yourself room to breathe, time to sleep and time to think later. In the meantime, enjoy your lovely Sam who is so glad to have you back!

  13. You’re such a trooper, S. Bummer about getting your head busted at dog jail. On the upside – the mark makes you look like a tough guy.

    Love and licks,

  14. Sam I hope it heals up quickly and you can spend a super Memorial Day with your family… Maybe you can keep this Hawaii-feeling for a while, to be there in your thoughts can make it easier to deal with the daily problems we have to solve :o)

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