A Tribute to Cecil the Lion

About eight or nine months ago, while driving up and down the foothills of Haleakala, I would slow down on Kula Hwy. and watch a young man meticulously draw out several species of dogs on a long mural-like fence. As the days went on he started applying colors and backgrounds and the fence took on a life of its own. This was not graffiti. This young man was a true artist and the dogs began to look real enough to touch. He had the aggressive looking pit-bulls and Dobermans but also included the family dogs–cocker spaniels, Irish setters and Chihuahuas. It was such fun watching this mural come to life. Then one day all of the dogs were missing with just newly applied gray pain in their stead. I was so disappointed that someone would ruin such a wonderful representation of Maui dogs. We don’t have a lot of vandalism up in Kula and being right on the highway, I was surprised at the chutzpa of the criminal and disappointed in myself for not taking photos as I cruised by so many times, each time saying, “I need to take pictures of this”.

The fence stood for a couple of months looking sad and unfinished. Then one day the artist was back. In each of the spaces where the dogs had been new forms began to take shape. It was then I realized the artist had been the “vandal”, simply making room for a new mural. When the mural was again finished I stopped and this time, with a tear in my eye, took pictures of Cecil the Lion and his extended family. The artist had left something that is dear to my heart…a tribute to the magnificence of nature.

A memorial to Cecil

A memorial to Cecil

Cecil's family

Cecil’s family


I feel very strongly about trophy hunting so this is my tribute to all those species that are hunted for their heads, their tusks, their fur, etc. And, I petition any airlines who allow the transportation of such to stop.

Take marvelous photos and mount those on the wall about the mantel.

Musical surprises

On Friday while working at the airport I was surprised to see Kuana Torres-Kahele at a baggage claim carousel. I hadn’t heard anything about a pending concert. So, not being shy, I walked over and asked him if he were here just for a visit from the Big Island or did he have something coming up on Maui. Well, yes indeed, he was having a CD release party that night at the Bailey House Museum. Tickets would be selling at the door at 4:30pm. I was scheduled to get off work at 3:00pm. Perfect timing. So, I decided to stay in town and not make the long trip back up to my home in Kula. However, I was clad in my airport uniform–a bright yellow blouse and black pants. I decided the pants could stay, but the blouse would have to go. Off I go to Ross for an inexpensive top. I found a cute black and white striped shirt with a sparkly graphic print and a bonus little short sleeve “jacket” attached. Perfect. I was wearing my utilitarian shoes, had only rubber slippers in the car, so since the pants covers all but the toes, they remained. I was good to go. One stop at the ATM and off I went.

The Bailey House is a lovely little museum just past Wailuku town on the way to Iao Valley. Though somewhat small by museum standards it houses a wonderful array of ancient artifacts–carved fishing hooks, lovely feather lei made from now extinct birds, fighting implements, a wonderful replica of the sailing canoe “The Hokule’a”, huge swaths of tapa. There were little gift shops, upstairs rooms, nooks and crannies of displays, artwork painted by the once owner Mr. Bailey. So many things to see and do. I made a note to myself to visit again when I had more time and a camera.

The concert was to be held on the grassy grounds of the museum. It’s an intimate setting seating maybe 100-150 people. White tents had been erected to cover the musicians as well as the audience in case of rain. However, the night was clear, starry and, wondrous to me, balmy.

The price of the ticket was $35 which I later discovered included Kuana’s latest CD–Pi’ilani Maui. I would’ve paid the $35 just for a chance to see Kauana again and was pleasantly surprised to received the signed CD as a bonus. The island of Maui is the featured island on his “island CD set”. CDs with original songs of Hawai’i Island and Ni’ihau have already been released and Maui was the third in a set of 10. There will be a CD for each of the five remaining islands as well as a CD of original oli (chants). The 10th CD? I have no clue.

The audience was decidedly “local”… colorful aloha shirts, lauhala hats with flower lei or feather bands, glittering Hawaiian bracelets, flowers tucked behind ears. Since there was a booth selling beer, wines, soda, etc. This was a 21 and over crowd. One could buy a dinner from a booth selling a selection of food not normally found at a concert. There was pulled BBQ pork bao which is a soft sweet manapua dough folded over delicious pork. There was poke nachos (a preparation of raw fish, seaweed and spices served over chips), dried saimin, brisket and ceviche. Wow! I had the bao which was absolutely mouthwatering and a beer.

The warm up band, Komakakino is made up of a group of young men from Hilo with whom I am quite familiar. The father of one of the band members, Paul Neves, is a talented well known kumu hula from Hilo. He added to the entertainment by dancing to several of the songs. Though the band members are young and a relatively new group, they are quite professional in their musical talents as well as their look–nice matching aloha shirts and shorts.



Kuana came on after most everyone was done with dinner and feeling cheery from the beer and wine. He was in rare form and was hilariously entertaining, joking with the audience. It was a family lu’au atmosphere…a backyard kanakapila! People from the audience got up and danced. Local Maui singers were called up on stage to thunderous applause. Kuana sang a variety of songs from his Maui album as well as songs from previous albums. He told stories about the backgrounds for some of his songs. He also did melodies from the past adding his own style. The crowed sang along to old classics. I nearly cried at his version Pua Carnation…a beautiful rendition of an old standard.

Kuana Torres-Kahele

Kuana Torres-Kahele

I’m so glad I worked on that Friday or I would have missed out on a perfect evening of song and dance.

Summer Treats

I did some sewing this morning and then found that I had caught up on most of my projects so I decided to do some cooking. I had just purchase fresh fruit, kale, cremini mushrooms (which had little in common) but I also had Arborio rice, some old fashioned oats. I decided to make a summer fruit crumble/crisp and a mushroom and kale risotto. They both turned out to be unexpectedly delicious. For the risotto I sliced the mushrooms into rather generous slices as I didn’t want them to just disappear. I cut the Kale into about one to two inch pieces. I did leave the ribs on as I like a little crunch in my risotto, but if I were serving it to company I would probably cut the ribs off. I know that you can put the entire amount of rice and chicken or veggie stock in at once and put the entire mixture in the oven in a cast iron pan, but I, for one, like to hand stir the entire time. I think it might be a little like kneading dough instead of using a mixer or a bread machine. It’s a feeling of a bit of accomplishment. When the risotto was absorbing the last cup of stock, I added the mushroom and kale. Wow! So bright and colorful. I added a bit of smoked paprika for just a little surprise. It was absolutely delicious! So, on to the fruit crisp. I had nectarines at their peak of ripeness, a few plums and a container of fresh blueberries. Perfect combination. All I had to add was some sugar, cornstarch, fresh orange juice. Pour into a baking dish and top with the “crisp”. I made this from flour, oats, butter, the orange zest and chopped walnuts. When it came out of the oven it was bubbly, crisp, colorful, fresh and smelled like ripe summer fruit…so yummy.

I love it when I have the time to make something special even if it is just for myself. Wait, I shared the crisp with my neighbor just across from me.

Heritage Park in Wailuku (Iao)

Today was a day off and I had no orders to fill on deadline, so decided to drive to Iao Valley to finish a book I was reading. However, all the tourists on Maui chose to go on this day as well and the parking lot of full. The closest spaces on the road were about a mile away. I know a mile isn’t that far to walk, but we’re having record heat so it was about 94 degrees. As I was driving out I remembered Heritage Park–a collection of cultural houses built in a tropical garden park. I remember going once before about five years ago but at the time had neither camera nor cell. There are several paths meandering through the trees with small replicas of houses, statuary, ponds and lovely cooling breezes. I tried to capture the essence of each little home.

The first thing I noticed on my journey was a large outdoor oven and I immediately knew this was the Portuguese residence. I could imagine the “ala onaona”, the wonderful fragrance of Portuguese sweet bread emanating from the oven calling the children to dinner or breakfast (and probably any neighbors within smelling distance).
As the Portugeuse people were predominately of the Catholic faith, there is a statue of the Virgin Mary surrounded my greenery…looking peaceful and serene, calmly watching over her people.
The house was as colorful as the people of the land. There are striking blue tiles along the top of the white walls and along the doorways.

Next in line came the Filipino cottage which was open air with bamboo walls.
The house was being reconstructed with some of the bamboo being replaced, but it looked as tropical as the Philippines.

Then there is the “uptight haole” house in a New England style. It looked prim and proper as I imagine the missionaries must have looked to the Hawaiian population.


As my phone camera was losing power, I managed to capture the Chinese pagoda style house and the statue with Chinese Kanji reminding the visitors of faith, prosperity and loyalty.
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As my phone died I took one last photo of the trees and palapalai fern. I ended up in the Filipino hut reading to the sound of the breezes whisking through the trees on a spectacular Hawaiian day.

Finally Found

I moved to the island of Maui from the Big Island of Hawai’i two years ago. I think one of the things I missed the most was my church. Kuhio Chapel is located in the Hawaiian Homesteads and has a large congregation of mostly those that live in the area. It was my idea of what a Hawaiian church should be. Kahu Brian gave sermons from the heart. He never used notes as he knew and lived his material.

On Maui I felt I needed a church again. I first went to Keawela’i. It’s a huge church with a huge congregation. However, most of those there were visitors and there was no feeling of local camaraderie. Although it is purported to be a Hawaiian church, it didn’t, to me, seem to be very Hawaiian. It is located in Makena which is pretty long hike from Kula. Later I went to Keolahou in Kihei. Again, quite a drive but a sweet church. There was a nice feel to it, lots of opportunity to play my ukulele. However, the kahu fractured the Hawaiian language. It too was quite a drive and when my days off changed and I now work on Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to drive all the way there, then home again to get ready for work and then drive down the mountain again.

I tried Ka’ahumanu, but the congregation was terribly small. I do so enjoy going to Ka’ahumanu for the monthly Picnic for Poki which is a Hawaiian musical series on the grounds under the Monkeypod tree. I heard there was a Hawaiian church in Waiehu (another drive) and another very small congregation–five including myself. However, I did enjoy Kahu Roy. He also spoke from the heart. However, it didn’t feel like a community and was another long drive.

I was then told of a Hawaiian church in Paia. Paia is a small Hippie/New Age town right down the mountain from where I live. I would have never thought of Paia when looking for a Hawaiian church. But, when I pulled into the parking lot, it reminded me so much of Kuhio Chapel. It’s a cozy church with an active congregation of about 35. There is a piano and ukulele. The Lord’s Prayer is in Hawaiian, the Doxology is in Hawaiian, the hymns are in Hawaiian. I felt so at home. Their Kahu passed away a couple of years ago so they have an interim kahu–Kahu Roy!  He is fluent in Hawaiian. I felt so comfortable singing (well making a joyful noise). I was moved to tears, so, I think I’ve finally found my Maui church.

Paia Hawaiian Church

Paia Hawaiian Church

Global Warming

This is July, right? In the middle of summer? We are struggling through an unprecedented heat wave that is setting records all over the state. In Kahului at the airport it has been coming in a 92, 93 degrees with little breeze to dry the sweat on my brow. However, last night we had a storm blow through…at least that’s what I was told. I hadn’t slept the night before so last night I slept through it all. This was a little disappointing as I still miss the sound of the rain on my tin roof in Hilo. When I got the newspaper this morning I was surprised to see the photo of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawai’i (my island) covered with snow! In the middle of July! I do remember getting snow in June around 2011 and occasionally in the 1980’s but it is still incredibly surprising. And, it’s still beautiful. Of course, it has melted now, but what an amazingly stunning site while it stayed long enough for photos.

Changing Neighbors

I have lived in Kula for just about two years. I have a tiny apartment under the main house where the landlady lived. In an adjacent cottage is a 30ish couple. The yard is shared. We grow herbs and share. The cottage renters, Jerry and Sandy take care of several feral cats. We all get along. We carry cookies and muffins between houses. Sandy makes delicious organic soups, salads, organic oatmeal and granola. I have a running order for her weekly surprises. She delivers all over up country. Our landlady, Cheryl, is a landscaper. Consequently we have trees, shrubs, plants ablaze with color all year long.

About six months ago Cheryl decided to sell her business and travel around the world. So we got new neighbors upstairs…Barry and Terri. A super fun couple–a little rowdy, a little wild, joyous. They fit right in. They were previous owners of a catering service specializing in pastries. Yes, fit right in. We had wonderful barbecues in the yard around a fire pit. We drank wine or had a cocktail. We would have cedar-plank salmon or chicken, corn on the cob and s’mores. Last summer was a fun time of the year in Kula. However, our fun came to an end when Barry was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and the couple decided to move back to the Mainland to be closer to family.

So, in moves Linda. At first she seemed perfect. She was taking tests to become a realtor. She had a good selection of music that I could occasionally hear. She is in her early sixties, I was hoping for a kindred spirit.  But, this was not the case. At first we weren’t sure why her personality seemed to be changing. She didn’t go to work. She was home all day. It didn’t take long to realize she was drinking. Not just a glass of wine or two, but two or three bottles in the morning. By evening she was bumping around her house. She started wearing a black and white striped skirt that did not change for weeks. One night she came to my house and, through tears, told me she had been raped by her Caucasian tennis partner. I flipped. She assured me she had called the police, had a rape kit done at Kula Hospital. I fed her dinner, but during the time spent together she kept asking if she should call the police. Some other things weren’t adding up. She was telling the story with different details. So, the next morning, I mentioned it to Sandy. She laughed! What? She then told me that Linda had told her a couple of days before that she had leukemia. A friend had gone through a litany of “diseases” with her. Then about a half hour later, our gardener knocked on my door and told me Linda told him she had been raped by a black man who came across the yard. He was upset because he has two young daughters.  I assured him this was a fabrication.

Since then we’ve had the police knocking on our doors a couple times a week. When they get a report of a rape, it’s something they can’t ignore. Within the last week, she has been raped by a black and a white man in a Camaro, raped by a bicycle rider, a black man who hit her over the head with a baseball bat and raped her, an assault with a baseball bat and then the man jumped off her balcony. She has had leukemia, flu, breast cancer. She has been taken off to jail in a police car, taken away on a stretcher to the hospital. She been in rehab but checks out in a few days to go to the market. She’s back within a few hours or a few days carrying huge bags of wine bottles. She decided she needed a roommate so she found a man on Craig’s List. He was a older man. I was so afraid for him. If she charged him with rape, since he would be right there and handy, he would be arrested. So, I suggested Jerry talk to him. He has decided to find another place. Our landlady has issued an eviction notice. We are counting the days. I’m now wondering if Linda will even remember getting the notice. She remembers very little. I feel sorry for her. We have all tried to help at one time or another to no avail. We are getting tired of being embroiled in her drama. She needs help but doesn’t feel she needs help. She is losing friends who are getting tired of being called at odd times with crazy stories. I wonder if she is so far gone that she doesn’t even know what she is doing to her life.

She was given 45 days to find a new place. I don’t know if she will have enough of a state of mind to find another apartment.

Cheryl will be back by the end of July. So, the police will have their work cut out for them during the next six weeks.

A Maui Sunset

It’s been cold, rainy, windy and cloudy and I’m so over winter. But, yesterday evening the clouds sat above the horizon and produced the first sunset worth photographing since autumn. I always have to take pause and remember those who are living through some of the worst storms in history on the East Coast and Mid West. However, they have parkas, and hats, and gloves, and boots. I have a sweater, sweatpants and crocheted booties. It’s a matter of acclimation and clothing! It’s dipping into the mid 40’s up here in Kula. I’m not use to it yet. To me it’s freezing and I sometimes wonder if I’m going to make it through the night. In the morning my fingertips are snow white and numb. I can feel nothing and find it difficult to get my sewing done. About 10:00am my fingers finally thaw out. But, last evening it seemed different. The rain had stopped, the wind stopped blowing it’s icy breath from the north, the clouds parted and from my back yard I was able to see the sky brighten as the sun slowly sank, not into the sea, but behind the West Maui Mountains. It makes me think that maybe winter has loosened its grip and I will once again have feeling back into my fingers.

Taking from my lanai up in Kula

Taken from my lanai up in Kula



Spring is Springing

Today I wore shorts for the first time in about 5 months, and I live in Maui, Hawai’i! But, my home is up the side of Haleakala in Kula. It’s only about 2500 ft. but it gets down into the lower 40’s and I’m acclimated to a warmer climate. So, this entire winter season, when at home, I’m wearing sweatpants, sweatshirt and crocheted boots! Not feeling particularly attractive, but it’s cold. But, today I woke up and I didn’t feel freezing. I’m still wearing a long sleeve tee-shirt and my boots, but I’m wearing SHORTS!

Keeping the feet nice and toasty

Keeping the feet nice and toasty

Another sign of a coming Spring is the glorious sight of a few Jacaranda blossoms in my driveway. Of course, I immediately looked up to see if the tree was finally blooming, but alas, not yet. I think the few flowers on the ground were those that thought maybe it was time, but when the temperature dipped, realized it was still a little too chilly. Come March the tree will be covered in purple bliss.

And, for my favorite Spring sign…Spring training for the San Francisco Giants is underway. The regular season will start is just a couple of weeks and I’ll be able to follow my team to, hopefully, another championship season.

The Dynasty

The Dynasty

I’m sooooo looking forward to the flowers, the trees blooming, the bats crackin’.