Monday, May 31, 2010

Zeke Says Hi

Only in Hawaii will you find a sign like this, eh? Well, I'm back from my little solo vacation to the beautiful island of Maui and I bring greetings from Zeke, the beach, macadamia nuts, and sweet solitude.

There's probably a lot I could say about my trip so I might deliver it to you guys in a few bite-sized chunks. It was definitely a good time, a time which I was very much hoping didn't have to end as soon as it did.  But now it's back to reality, back to work, back to the noise and distraction of everyday. It sure didn't take long to get jolted back to reality as I landed in Calgary on Saturday afternoon and was greeted by sub-zero temperatures (sub 32 for my American friends) and blowing snow. Not a welcome sight, at all. 

So to get a little glimpse into how my week that was was, you need to know one thing: I fell in love while I was in Maui. Don't get too excited, I actually fell in love a few times while I was there. And I'm pretty sure that it was inanimate objects I fell in love with so don't worry, no wedding bells in my near future...or are there? Ok, no really, I'm not getting married, promise. But I did fall in love in Maui. I fell in love with...

...lying in a hammock on the beach. If you have never experienced the relaxation that you get from lying in a hammock in the shade on a beach with a gentle breeze blowing then you are truly missing one of life's better things. In fact, if you ever go to Maui or someplace similar, I strongly recommend you don't go hammock-less.

...having virtually an entire professional-caliber golf course to myself for an afternoon. I broke the bank a bit to get the chance to play a golf course that every January is home to the first PGA Tour event of the year, and quite literally I was all by myself out there. So I relaxed, took my time, and snapped a bunch of pictures.

...going on a 4.5 hour hike through an amazing landscape and once again, having the place to myself. It's going to be super tough to put this experience into words for you but I'll try to in a later post. It was truly unreal.

...macadamia nuts, 'nuff said.

...a local coffee shop called Maui Coffee Roasters that is home to some amazing coffee ($1.50 for an Americano!!!) and free wi-fi. I found my way to this place pretty much everyday, even when it was out of my way.

So there you go, there's a little snapshot into my time away. Some of those things may find their way into other posts later on but for now that gives you a pretty good idea of what my trip entailed.

As always, mahalo for reading. 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hooked on Phonics Worked for Me

I have a couple minutes to get in a quick post before I leave for paradise. I'm only there for 6 days and 6 nights but I'm hoping that I have ample time to sit back, relax, and read some good books. I thought I'd give you a quick glimpse into some of the books I'm taking along with me for the flights and the beach-side reading.

This is a book that I have heard described along the lines of the most important book for a Christian to read after the Bible.  Can't go wrong with that right?

How is it possible that in my almost 30 years of life I have never read this classic piece of literature? Maybe I read some kids version of it when I was young but I sure don't remember it. I'm interested to read about this pilgrim's journey and see what I can learn from him.

I've heard a lot of really good things about this book and N.T. Wright. He is one of the most well-known New Testament scholars of the day (so I've read anyways) but I admittedly don't know much about him. Not all may be totally on board with him but I will reserve judgement until I've read some of his writing.

I love everything that Ravi does so I'm really stoked to get his take on love, marriage etc. I greatly respect this man and I expect this book will not disappoint.

I have to have one book that is purely fictional for sheer entertainment, right? I have been looking forward to this sci-fi book for a while. One of my favourite bands is Coheed and Cambria who have five concept albums. They are a prog-rock kind of group and their music brings you into an intricate story conceived by lead singer Claudio Sanchez. I have  been listening to them extensively for a couple years now and they just released the first novel in the series to go along with the music.  Finally a great series of novels that has a great soundtrack to go with it.

I know there is no way I can read all these books in one week. That's ok though, just having a week to get away and spend some time in great literature is going to be awesome. I always feel like I should read more often but usually there are too many distractions, well, here's my chance.

Enjoy your week everybody and I'll be sure to swallow a mouthful of ocean water for you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Push the button...

Well folks, the time has come.  It's time to exit from the norm, the everyday, the mundane, the constant noise. Sometimes don't you wish you could just get away from it all? Shut off the distraction of life for a while and just stop and think, reflect, re-focus? Sounds kind of impossible, eh? I mean, is it realistic to think that one can get away from it all, even for a short time to just get back to basics and reflect? Well, it might not be totally possible but I'm going to give it a go.

I'm calling it my sabbatical.  According to to a sabbatical is "any extended period of leave from one's customary work, esp. for rest, to acquire new skills or training, etc." Sounds alright, eh? I don't know if you can call what I'm doing an 'extended period' and I'm not sure about acquiring any new skills or training but it will be good anyways.  So, you might ask what am I doing? Well, I might answer. No, I will answer. I'm going to Maui. Since I work for an airline I'm taking advantage of the perks and heading to paradise for a week. When I got this job the first trip I took was to Maui and I've been wanting to go back ever since, that was 2.5 years ago. 

Next question, who am I going with? Absolutely no one. It wouldn't be a real sabbatical if I was doing everything with a bunch of people would it? I want to have some quality solo time, a true break from he everyday. As much as I love people, there is something to be said for not being around them for a while. 

Another big question, where am I staying? On the beach, in a tent. Again, staying in a fancy, touristy resort doesn't seem like a real sabbatical to me. So I'm taking some chances, trying something new, going out on a limb.  I'm headed to Maui with a tent, a hammock, (thanks Jay) some good books and my ipod. Oh, and my golf clubs. You can't go to Maui and not golf right?

I'm gong to try and get it another post before I leave and let you in on some of the books I'm taking and some of my plans for when I'm there but in the meanwhile, here are a few pictures from my last trip to Maui.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I've got questions, who has answers?

Have you ever read a blog that is all in questions? Well, are you ready?

What would I do without all my technology? Why is it so hard to turn the TV off sometimes? Why do I love sports so much? Why is it so easy to waste time late at night but so difficult to get up and have time to spare in the morning? How come I say such stupid things? Why haven't I done more with my life in the first 29 plus years? How come I have allowed myself to lose contact with so many good friends? Why do I like brussel sprouts so much when everyone else despises them?

Why would I rather read a novel than the Bible? How could anyone possibly like going to the dentist? Why do I prefer to be by myself but then get lonely when no one is around? When will I get back to Africa? And for how long will I be there? Are the ideas in my head ever going to happen or are they just far-fetched thoughts? Who do we think we are anyways?

Why doesn't prayer always come naturally? Why do I keep ordering books when I already own a bunch of good ones I have never read? Why don't I blog more often? How come people don't seem to care about what happens after they die? Why does music have such an emotional impact? Why is doing the right thing usually 5-7 times harder than doing the wrong thing? Why aren't we more honest with each other? Where am I going?

Do we all have way more questions than answers or just me?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Operation Expect the Worse, Success!

So last week I let you into my little world that was riddled with fear and trepidation in preparation for my wisdom teeth surgery that was on Thursday. Before I give you the recap of what actually went down with the oral surgeon, a little bit of background is required. In the weeks leading up to the surgery I figured the best approach was to expect the worse. I expected the surgery to be long and painful, the wake up from the surgery to be uncomfortable at best and the days after to be filled with tons of pain, bleeding, and sleepless nights. My thinking was that if I assumed the worst was going to happen than anything less than that would be almost bearable. And that's exactly what happened...

The surgery itself was a piece of cake. They called my name and took me back to get put under. I took off my shoes and emptied my pockets while the anesthesiologist asked me a few questions about my medical history then told me to lie down and relax. She advised me they were going to put this mask over my mouth and start the flow of an obnoxious smelling gas and I needed to take deep breaths, preferably through my mouth so that I would go to sleep. Well, I don't know what's in that gas but man was it potent. I took a deep breath and thought to myself, "she was right, this gas is.........." Before I could even finish thinking the word 'obnoxious' I was out. What felt like 2 or 3 seconds later, I heard a faint voice calling me back to consciousness, "Brad, you can wake up now, the surgery is over." I struggled to open my eyes and get my bearings then the nurse spoke again, "do you know that you're surgery is over?" I thought to myself, well, you just said it was so I guess it is, but I responded with a simple "yes." I couldn't believe it was over that quickly and easily. I wasn't even in any pain. I felt really disoriented but no more so than when you wake up from one of those really deep, mid-afternoon naps on the couch. I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty impressed.

Of course, I knew the worst was yet to come. They gave me a goody bag filled with some extra drugs and gauze and a diaper for my pillow in case I decided to bleed while I was sleeping, then I was heading home. Not driving of course, I had a ride. Apparently once they put you under you are classified as legally impaired for 24 hours. I wonder though, does the Breathalyzer machine have a setting to test for obnoxious gas?

The next few days weren't actually terrible though. Sure there was pain, sure I looked more like a chipmunk than a person, and sure I craved solid foods like never before, but all in all it was practically bearable. I'd say the worst part of it has been the pain I feel in my jaw. I'm not sure what the Doc did to me when I was under but I feel like I was in a fist fight and took a few shots to the jaw. Even now I can't completely open my mouth. It's kind of embarrassing when you go to raise a utensil with some food to your mouth but get rejected because you can't make the opening between your lips big enough for the food to fir through. Good thing I didn't go out in public. With some well-timed Ibuprofen and a lot of rest I'm on my way back to normal. I just may never want to eat oatmeal, applesauce, yogurt, and/or soup again.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I am Afraid Right Now

It's a pretty manly thing to be afraid right? To be able to shout from the rooftops that I am scared about something? Bravery is overrated. What is it to be brave anyways? To disregard or overlook the fear that is within? That's my definition anyways. I choose to notice the fear within, and then tell others that it's there. Honesty is always the best policy right?

Well, just so you don't think I'm being a wuss in general and for no apparent reason, I'll fill you in. This thursday I'll be going under the knife. Well, the knife will actually be in me and cutting through me. I have to get my two bottom wisdom teeth taken out. The surgery itself actually I'm not all that concerned about. I will be unconscious while the oral surgeon is digging around in my mouth, and for that I'm incredibly grateful. But what about after, when I awake to what inevitably will be some pretty brutal pain? That is what frightens me. The fact there could be 3 or 4 days of pain after my wisdom is actually removed, that is what really scares me.

So, how am I going to be prepared to cope with those days of torture? Well, I have a prescription for pain medication that I will pick up, I will be sure to stock up with plenty of applesauce, ice cream, and soup, I have recently made 2 orders with to ensure I have plenty of reading material, and on Friday I took my most expensive step to post-surgery happiness- bought myself a PlayStation 3.

I guess I'm ready, eh? Or about as ready as I'll ever be.