Mighty Life List
May 29 2012

Packing Light: Oahu

So this is (almost) everything I packed in my carry-on for the press trip I took to Oahu. There was also a photo of me in a bikini that I took with my cell phone the hotel bathroom mirror. As you might imagine, it was a little… much. So this is everything I packed for four days in Hawaii except the photo of me in a blue bikini with ruffles. If you’ve already seen me naked, I will totally send that to you. Otherwise, use your imagination.

For trips to warm places, I try to pack mostly one-pieces (dresses, rompers) because they pack smaller and you don’t have to waste any time worrying about whether you’re packing stuff that matches everything else.

I wore this dress to travel, with a yellow slip underneath so my skin doesn’t show through the perforations. It’s poly, so you can pretty much roll it into a ball and it doesn’t wrinkle, and it also unzips all the way down the front, so you can layer it over things in interesting ways.

Here’s a full shot of the dress, which I also wore on our tour of the Turtle Bay Resort where we were staying. I look so happy here because the dress cost six bucks. I’m genetically unable to shut up about that.

I wore this to the luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center, the dress is Urban Outfitters, and the sweater is thrifted. I’ve since shrunk the dress to half its original size, so look for it as a shirt in future posts.

This romper is by a San Francisco designer whose brand I forget, of course. (She’s in the Mission, tiny shop on one of the numbered side streets between Valencia and Dolores. Anyone?) Anyway, it’s an oddly functional piece of clothing. I can belt it, wear it with tights and a long sleeve shirt, add something with a collar to switch it up. It’s become a bit of a uniform, but ultimately it’s a romper. For romping.

There, that’s better.

This is me in a ruffly dress from H&M, wielding a machete. Machetes are apparently still a thing in Hawaii.

Here’s the full dress with one of the vintage cardigans I brought. I used that sweater constantly, by the way. It was warm, but the breeze at night was a little chilly and there was some rain while we were there.

To save space, I try to pack jammies that can double as clothes if I need them. This is an Old Navy tank, and a pair of workout shorts from American Apparel. Can you imagine how bad the aforementioned bikini shot has to be if I’m willing to post this? Exactly.

Beach coverup! I wore this Urban Outfitters romper over my swimsuit when we headed down for surf lessons at Turtle Bay.

I got the sunglasses at a flea market. They’re made for shooting, and they feel heavenly because of those little side shades. Our trip lead, Mike, said they make me look like a 70-year-old man. I told him to get off my lawn.

American Apparel high-waisted side zip shorts and a random transparent shirt I’ve had forever. This shirt is an awesome suit coverup, so I wore it kayaking because I knew it would fit under the life jacket.

Like so.

(Aside! Holy crap, have you ever seen a sea turtle? These sea kayaks had glass bottoms, so you could see them swimming around, and I didn’t expect to be so affected by them. One looked right up at me, and it was like I could feel my heart beating in my mouth. Please put “see a sea turtle” on your Life List.)

This is my American Apparel bikini top, which I bought for a trip to Jamaica. The bottom is super high-waisted, which is convenient if you have stretch marks from baby havin’.

You can also cover stretch marks with a lightweight scuba skin, which is excellent for snorkeling. And sexy times.

May 2 2012

I Didn’t Need that Toenail Anyway

Trip lead: “Do you want me to sign you up for the surf lesson?”

My brain: “Uhhhhhhhh. I burn pretty easily and doesn’t the reef have a billion kinds of bacteria that will kill you if it cuts you plus I had knee surgery so it sometimes hurts to stand from a kneeling position that’s what she said and what if I don’t know the surfing etiquette and I smack into someone from a prominent family and a surfer kid from the wrong side of the reef defends me and I’m accidentally the catalyst for bloodshed which sharks can smell in the water from like 100 miles away?”

My mouth: “Sure.”

My brain: “… Bring to me all of the rum.”

There are three hours between the decision to surf and the actual surfing, so I order a Mai Tai with my burger. And then they bring me another one. Probably because I ask for it. When the trip lead comes to get us, I order a glass of wine and drink it like it’s a beer can with two holes punched in the bottom.

By the time we make it down to the lesson, I am not drunk per se. I am illuminated. I am prepared to be at one with the hungry sea. I am no longer considering faking a seizure to get out of this. Because that would be wrong.

On land, each of us tries our surfing stance in turn.

OK, this is going fine. I am a land surfing champion. Maybe this will be okay.

While paddling I resist the impulse to lay down on the board and take a nap. So far so good.

This! This is working out! I am on my feet on my first try! The ocean and I are at one!

Whoa. The hell, Ocean? You’re kind of being a dick.

But whatever. I almost stood up! I roll off into the waves feeling okay about it, and I’m relieved to find that surfacing is no big deal. That is until the board cracks into my nose and throws a handful of glitter across my vision.

OW! Et tu, Surfboard? Ow.

Well, now that I’m insta-sober, let’s try this again.

Oof. Again the ocean betrays me; the surfboard greets my nose with enthusiasm a second time. And then a third.

Finally, I tell the instructor that I’m getting clobbered and he says, “Whoa. Really? That almost never happens. Wait for your cord to get taut so you know the board isn’t near you, and then surface with your hands above your head.”

This absolutely works. I wait for the cord around my ankle to go taut, then give a kick… and bash my foot into the reef. Mothra! Fockra! It’s like stubbing your toe against shards of glass.

As I injudiciously paddle out for a fifth wave, the booze completely clears my system. My foot and face throb with every heartbeat. I decide to paddle in, passing a four-year-old local and her dad on their way out. “Oh!” I say. “She’s so awesome!” “Thanks!” her dad says. But the girl just paddles toward me scowling with concentration. As she passes, I hear her yell back at me, “PADDLE! PADDLEPADDLEPADDLEPADDLE!!”

Right. Thanks, kid.

(Thanks also to the Hans Hedemann Surf School at Turtle Bay Resort for the mortifying photos. No really, you guys. Mahalo.)