Supporting Marine Science Students

     Since 2001, my business, Otter Bay Wetsuits has been supporting our local marine science students by giving a custom made suit to a lucky student winner.
     In the fall I send out applications to the instructors at our local educational facilities, and they are to select their most deserving student. Someone who studies and works hard with interest, someone who has future goals in marine science, and to top it off, someone who needs and would appreciate a custom wetsuit, making it easier to concentrate on their studies.
     The instructor has a month or two to pick the appropriate student, and the selected has until Christmas to send in their application, which asks for their area of studies and where they plan to take that knowledge in the future.
     We usually get four or five applications back, and have the painstaking job of selecting one of the recommended students. It’s not an easy job, and we wish we could give them all a suit, but it’s just not in the budget, at least not without help. Occasionally, we’ll get a donation, surprising our second place winner.
     Recently, at the suggestion of a friend, we opened up a GoFundMe page, hoping that there are others out there who would like to support these students. All donations go towards materials and labor put into the suits.
     All of our suits are custom made from scratch to 60 measurements provided. We begin by making a pattern, then the material is cut, the suit is put together, and then sewn. When the students come in to try the suits on, we make sure that they fit perfectly, with the purpose of keeping them warm. We have gotten a lot of comments telling us that the are able to remain in the water for a longer period of time, concentrating on their studies rather than on their body temperature.
     If you’d like to learn more and see photos of our previous winners, take a look at

Off to Stanford

It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted and a lot has happened, I don’t think I should put it all in one post, so I’m going to separate all of them.

The most important is about my epilepsy. Two years ago, I met a new neurologist. A very caring one. On our first visit, I walked in wearing my SF 49’ers sweatshirt and my husband had is SF Giants t-shirt on. The first thing my doctor said was that we were going to get along really well, as he is also a big San Fransisco fan. And sure enough, we do. We talked about what I have gone through during all the years I’ve been having seizures, and I could tell that he was upset, that I couldn’t be helped. The last thing he promised was that if he couldn’t do anything for me with medications and treatment, he would send me up to Stanford in Palo Alto, where there is a epilepsy center. I literally cried on the way out of his office as I was overwhelmed.

Throughout the month, we tried different medications and different doses. I could see that every time I stepped into his office to tell him that the seizures were continuing, that he was very disappointed.

The last time I saw him just a couple of weeks ago, he was very sad to admit that he didn’t know what else to do. He was putting the request in to send me up to Stanford. Again, I cried on the way out of his office.

I got the call last week to make an appointment. This first visit will be just a consolation visit. They will basically find out more about me, more about the kinds of seizures I’ve been having so that they can determine just what I need. Once that is over, we will make a plan to have me up there for treatment.

Who knows what that treatment will entail and how long it will take. Could be a day, could be a couple of days, could be a week or more. We just won’t know until it is determined just what I need. When I got off the phone with her, I was so overwhelmed. The thought of it all really sunk in.

There’s part of me who is very excited and another part who is a bit nervous, not knowing just what I am stepping into. But from what I hear from others, Stanford has the best facility around. It would be wonderful to finally be seizure free and be able to enjoy the things of life I’ve had to let go of.

Black Friday

Black Friday. Ive always wondered just where that term comes from. Do people black out when they get to the stores and realize just how low the prices are? Do the knock each other out trying to get to that last sale item on the shelf? Does their day turn black when they realize they’ve spent all their money and don’t have enough money to buy that last item they’d waited so long in line to pay for? 
It’s always amazed me that we all sit around the table the evening before, thankful for our families, our friends, and what we already have and then the very next day we have this need to be greedy and fight to grab everything off the store shelve that we can. I guess that’s something I’ll never understand. I don’t even open my own shop on Black Friday. 
As always, I’ll just sit here at home, drink my tea, and nibble on leftovers as I work on my writing and maybe my quilting. I know it will make my cats happy to have me here.

The eyes have it

just posted this on my Facebook page, thought I’d share it here too. Customers like to have me go all out and put eyes and ears on their hoods for fun. This is one of our swim hoods with eyes on the back. 

 

May Day

  🎶 May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

Garlands of flowers everywhere 

All of the colors of the rainbow

Maidens with flowers in their hair 🎶
🎶 Flowers that mean we should be happy

Throwing aside a load of care

Oh, May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii

May Day is happy days out there 🎶
I remember singing and dancing to this song when in elementary school  on Maui. We’d put on a big show for our parents and anyone else who came. Each grade put on there own dance, at least a hundred in each grade. The teachers were responsible for teaching their classes the dance, then the last couple of days the whole grade would get together and try to synchronize, hoping that we’d all get it close enough to make it look as though we’d been practicing together, the hundred of us, all along. Five grades, five different dances. Oh, the memories. 

Welcome 2015

2014 is finally over! One of my worst years, personally, and in business. For the last several weeks, I have been waiting for the year to change. I’d even started dating my documents with the new year, only having to correct myself once, whereas before, I’d have to do so, trying to get used to the idea of putting in the new numbers. It hasn’t been easy for me, physically, mentally, and especially emotionally.

With my best friend of thirty years gone, I had to learn to live without his protection. Luckily, shortly after he died, I reunited with someone who I hadn’t seen in a few years who I can lean on, but I am still getting used to the idea of having someone else fill those shoes. He reminds me a lot of my old friend, he knows when I need him, even from a far, he can see the look on my face of pain and anguish, even though I try my damnedest to hide it.

He understands my feelings of sadness, anger, frustration. He instills feelings of love, calmness, and wants to help me heal. He is my friend, my confidant, and my mentor. He is someone I can talk to without being judged. Someone I can turn to when my husband is out of reach, or impossible to talk to, which happens often these days, due to misunderstanding, drunkeness, or just simply no interest. Everyone needs someone like that. After David died, I never expected to find that again in someone else. I am very lucky.

The last few months, I have been so ready for the year to end. The urge to jump into the new year has been strong. Every one agrees that it will be s good year. I have already seen change around me. The people, their thoughts, their attitudes, their ambitions. Making plans, setting goals, adding to their wish lists with more promising thoughts.

A fellow writer was commenting on the fact that he hadn’t wriiten as many poems/songs as he normally does in a years time, just didn’t have the motivation. When I heard that, I reflected back on my year of writing and realized I hadn’t written as much either. Just no motivation. My heart just wasn’t in it. One of the goals, or hopes anyway, is that I can bring myself to write more. Of course, I’ve been working on my fictional, but when it comes from deep within the heart, it’s always in a song or poem. And it’s real, not just a story.

So, with the new year comes new avenues, new dreams, new terms, new ambitions. Welcome, 2015.

Writing mode

There are times when I’m sitting at the bar, zoned in on my pen and pad, while everyone else is talking and shouting over the music and sports games. Occasionally, they will try to say something to me, but it will just go over my head. In one ear, out the other, not even heard or noticed. It won’t be until someone taps my shoulder or yells practically in my face with their overly boozed breath that I even realize that it’s me they are trying to communicate with. I then shake out of my writing zone, apologize and ask them to please repeat what was just said or even what the subject was. Many times it’s something absolutely ridiculous and I just don’t even want to get involved. That is shown on my face or in the sound of my voice when I state my response, thinking, “just leave me alone and let me write.” Not said, but understood.

I’ll go back to my writing and the boys will laugh. One will say, “she’s listening, she just doesn’t want us to know it.” I’ll just smile to myself as I continue to write. If they only knew just what I’ve heard when I zone out and ‘ignore them.’

The Pleasure of Grandchildren

I never thought I’d have the joy of having grandchildren. Mainly because I am unable to have children of my own. But over the years, I learned that I can still have children, even if they aren’t my own to claim. It all started out several years ago when the young teenage son of a friend came to me asking for help. His father was being abusive and he needed to escape. After speaking at length with his mom, my husband and I decided to open our home and hearts to those who need the extra tlc. Our door was always open for kids to come by after school and do their homework until their parents got home. They came and spent the afternoon with us, watching tv and enjoying each other’s company. There were times when they needed a safe place to stay, and there was always a bed ready and waiting for them.  If they just needed someone to talk to, we were there.

 

As time went on, we became close with these kids. They looked at us as parenting figures. And a couple of them began celebrating Mothers Day with me. And Fathers Day with my husband. Their parents were also very grateful to us for helping their kids. We were a second set of parents. Having been adopted myself, I know how it feels to have someone care for me and want me in their home as they did, as I did for my kids.

 

Now, all my kids are grown up. The youngest is about to turn 30. Amongst these kids (there’s   eight of them now), my seventh grandchild was just born on April 23rd, and there’s an eighth on the way in September. It brings me pleasure to see these kids grow up and have families of their own. They introduce me as Grandma or Tutu (Hawaiian), and it brings me nothing but pleasure to welcome these kids into the world and into my heart as family.

 

These kids are my rock. They keep me going. They bring me joy. They make me smile on days that nothing else will. All of these kids have stolen my heart, and keep my soul alive.  Image