Renewal during the Holidays

A couple of days ago I went to Ben Franklin Craft store to get a wreath form for making  autumn and winter wreaths for the house. I found so many pretty leaves in “autumn colors” and silver, red and white for the winter wreath. Yesterday I worked on my “Thanksgiving” project–and it’s beautiful. But I find it’s more than just a wreath at my door, it’s a symbol of renewal.

Autumn is a time for losing those leaves of old, so there will be room for new leaves come spring time. The colors of fall are in my “color palate”. I love the oranges, yellows, reds, golds. They are uplifting colors preparing us for the wintry colors of, um, winter and the soft, muted pastels of spring…the jolt to get us through the colder days. Well, here in Hawai’i, the cooler days.

Autumn is also a time for reaping what has been sewn during the spring and summer months. I have worked hard to sow seeds of joy in my home, in my town. I’ve made new friends, I find great pleasure in the company of old friends. I’m now reaping the benefits of belonging to a community where everyone says aloha when passing on the street. Where my church members greet one another with hugs and kisses, where people get up and dance at restaurants when the music moves them.

So, when November is over and I replace my autumn wreath with my winter wreath I will make my Christmas wishes and be oh so thankful for having such a joyful life.

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A New Passion In My Life

Nope, it’s not what you’re thinking. No new man in my life. I don’t think I’m quite ready for that again. I’ve discovered Country Line Dancing! I’ve been dancing my entire life. I started out at age 4 dancing tap and ballet, then in Jr. High my mom taught all the neighbor kids to rock and roll or swing. I loved that! This carried my through to high school. I took ballroom dancing in Jr. High as well which I enjoyed, but most of the boys didn’t so finding a partner was a challenge. In high school I danced everything from rock to modern to jazz. In my Jr. and Sr. years I had a boyfriend that was one of the best dancers ever and we went to all the school dances. We both raced gymkhana on horseback so attended a lot of “barn dances”. In those days no one line danced. We did the two-step, country swing, cha-cha. Then I moved to Hawai’i. I started working and seldom went dancing.  I married a non-dancer at age 30 and though we did a little disco it was never his thing. It wasn’t until I was in my early forties I discovered hula which became a passion. I’ve now been dancing hula for about 30 years and still look forward to twice weekly classes. But, about two months ago I just got a hankerin’ to try line dancing. This turned out to be some of the most fun times of my life. Because I’ve danced so much of my life I catch on fast and I now have about 10-12 songs under my buckled belt. Last month the Elk’s Club sponsored a Country Night with a live band, $3.00 dinners and $2.50 beers! When it comes to dancing, I’m not shy. I got out there even if I didn’t know the dance. By the second or third round I usually had it down. What fun. They are having another Country Night tomorrow and I can’t wait to go. I have jeans and a cute shirt with a fringed scarf attached. I might even dig out my old belt with the big buckle! I have boots! I will dance the Tush Push, Waltz Across Texas, Baby Bubbles, Huggable. I will be smiling and laughing and having the time of my life. If I can get someone to take a pic or two I will post an update.

Cooking at Home

One of the things that make me feel like I’m home again is cooking. Today is a cooking day. I make fresh strawberry crepes for breakfast, luscious berries with a dusting of powdered sugar…a good way to start the day.

Yesterday I did some planning ahead for today’s dinner so I took out a beautiful thick pork chop. I am inspired by an Asian style marinade. Into a reusable bag goes the chop and the marinade, squishing to make sure the marinade infuses into the chop. Into the fridge it goes for over night. Once I am ready to eat again I take the chop out, heat the grill to high, cook some rice with red beans and a splash of Sriracha for a little kick. I cut some broccoli into flowerets and get out my bamboo steamer. While the broccoli is steaming to a slightly crunchy perfection, I throw the chop on the grill. After a few minutes I take it off to rest while I plate the rice and veggie.

When I cut into the chop I want to tear up with joy. It is sooooo tasty, tender and juicy. I pour a glass of wine and enjoy. I’m home, I’m cooking, I’m happy.

Perfect Asian pork chop

Perfect Asian pork chop

Back Home on the Big Island

After three years on Maui, a somewhat long three years, I was so excited to get off the plane at Hilo Airport. One of my best friends picked me up and suggested I spend the night at her house and drive out to my cottage in the morning. In hindsight this turned out to be the best decision of my life! We drive out only to find my little cottage in shambles and a good part of my things stolen. I no longer have a water heater, washer nor dryer. I was missing two screen doors, a microwave, bookcases, all my gardening and lawn-care tools. My beautiful kitchen floor tiles are cracked, my wood floors are plastered with children’s stickers. The cabinetry have been “Magic Marked”. My drywall has several holes obviously from being punched. The appliances, while still here, are dirty, faucets are either missing or damaged. The shower is damaged, fixtures taken…toilet paper bar, towel bars. Instead of a manicured lawn with beautiful trees and flowers I’m now encased in a jungle. I sit on the floor and cry. This was, at one time, my place of peace in a wonderfully chaotic life.

If it wasn’t for my friend, I would still be sitting on my floor. But, she reminds me that getting up would accomplish a lot more than what I’m presently doing. So, a quick trip to the store to buy cleaning supplies. We spend the day scrubbing floors, walls, appliances. In one day it is already looking and smelling better. But, still not ready for occupancy. I end up staying with my friend and her husband for almost ten days! During that time I buy a water heater, a microwave, screen doors. Art works tirelessly putting things together, patching walls. Jan and I paint the interior. I still have the ceiling and beams to paint, but that will come in time.

I’m now in my tiny house. It’s feeling like home. I have new valance curtains on the windows, a have a wild carpet, a colorful bed comforter. I’m able get back to my on-line sewing business. My sewing machine table is still in my living area, but soon will be relegated to a permanent location yet to be decided. I have a couple of options in mind.

I know I should have taken photos of the mess, but I simply wanted to wipe the visions from my memory. When I left the interior was a soft sea foam green and peach, but I feel the need for a more cheery décor. So, this is what a part of it looks like now.

Lookin' on the wild side

Lookin’ on the wild side


I recently added a small black leather recliner. Since I’m suffering a low back injury during all the unpacking (one particularly heavy item) I am now enjoying the massage option! I look forward to bringing in my TV console and getting my sewing to its own space so I can finish my decorating. After that I start tackling the yard.

My thoughts on Maui

Now that I am packing up my three years on Maui and heading back to my home on the Big Island at the end of the month, I wanted to gather some of my thoughts on my stay, both good and bad…in no particular order.

I love the drive to Hana. Although the drive is only 56 miles from Kahului town, it is several hours drive if you take your time going around the 617 curves in the winding road and 56 one-way bridges. One must stop to see all of the wonderful sights–waterfalls, vistas, valleys, Hana Bay. I must stop at Waianapanapa State Park to see the beautiful black sands beach, the caves with crystal clear water. It’s fun camping here. Going around the entire body of Maui, stopping at O’heo Ponds for a swim under a waterfall, checking out the paintings at a roadside art stand, buying banana bread on the side of the road, continuing on around for an elk burger at Ulupalakua General Store and getting a bottle of wine across the street at the winery. This is such a satisfying trip.

Crystal waters of O'he'o Ponds

Crystal waters of O’he’o Ponds

I will miss the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, The MACC. It is one of things I will miss most on Maui. They have such an array of performances, art, concerts of all kinds. I’ve gone to hula halau ho’ike or shows, Hawaiian musical performances. I love the annual Ukulele Festival, the Slack-key (kiho’alu) Guitar Festival. I love the free family movie night sitting on the grass under the stars, the incredible works of local artists with painting, ceramics, woodworking, etc. Wonderful performances of symphonies, country-western artists, incredible ballet and modern dance troupes. I recently saw a concert of the Midtown Men (the original cast of The Jersey Boys) singing songs of the sixties. I’m going this Friday to a modern dance/ancient hula performance–“Pohaku”. The MACC has offered such wonderful opportunities to hear panels on subjects as “Language Matters”-keeping native languages alive. One of the places on Maui that really is No Ka’Oi.

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People on Maui do not know how to drive in the rain. Why are they so adverse to putting on the wipers and flipping on the lights. Before moving to Maui, my Mauian ex-boyfriend use to drive me crazy as he would drive in the pouring rain and reluctantly turn on the intermittent wipers leaving about 10 seconds of driving blind. Now I know where he learned that. No one on Maui (except tourists or those that live with rain) uses wipers or lights. What’s up with that?

I love the spring in Kula. When the Jacaranda trees are in bloom it is incredibly beautiful. However, I really have a difficult time getting through the winters, especially in my apt. which is under a main house so gets no sun on the roof. The windows are only on the west, so no sun until it is going down. My inside temperature is generally about 10-15 degrees colder than outside. The other day when the lid slipped off, I inadvertently poured boiling water from the tea kettle across my hand…I didn’t even feel it because my hands were still not thawed out from the cold! Every morning at about 9:00AM, my fingers go numb. It makes sewing really difficult. It’s hard to thread the needles, I can’t feel pins to pick up. They usually thaw out by about 11:00AM unless I go down the mountain early for work.

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I will sorely miss my neighbors Gary and Sundya. We have lived side by side for three years. They actually moved closer to the beach at the end of March, so I’m missing them a little earlier than expected. We have had some fun times together. Sundya is a vegetarian chef and makes delicious soups, salads, granolas, oatmeal. She delivers her goodies once a week and has a waiting list. I’ve never had lasagna like her mushroom/zucchini with a Béchamel Sauce that was so delicious. And her veggie enchiladas are to die for. Gary works at home so was always available to help with heavy lifting, etc. My cat Ariana is still going over to their house to look for him. She just loved Gary.

There are way too many tourists on Maui! And way too many mainlanders buying up the land, condos, houses, etc. They never seem to assimilate into the culture and try to change everything that makes Hawai’i Hawai’i. Rents are high. Houses to buy are astronomically high because they are priced for the influx of the rich. We have a very high rate of homelessness.

I love Paia. I think I love it because it reminds me so much of Pahoa on the Big Island near where I live. Paia is more of a surfing town. It has a ton of little boutiques, shops, cafes. There is a wonderful little café on Baldwin Av. (I forget the French name). It has crepes of all kinds from savory to sweet. The floor is course gravel. Although not entirely open, it still has a feeling of being outside on the sidewalk of a little French café. My Hawaiian church is in Paia. I will miss this congregation. They welcomed me like a local. I love singing the hymns, doxology, Lord’s Prayer, etc. in the Hawaiian language. Though I’m looking forward to going back to my Hawaiian church in Keaukaha, I will my miss church family in Paia.

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One thing I love are the sunsets, sunrises, rainbows.
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I will miss my Maui hula halau. My kumu hula, Kahulu Maluo has had such great patience with me. It has been a trial for me to change styles of hula. I never really got the hang of it. It’s been fun and a great way for me to relax after a stressful week of working at the airport and trying to keep up with orders.

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Speaking of the airport. It has been fun working with Roberts Hawaii. Since most the staff are under 30, I’m “the grandma” of the group. Sometimes they are soooo hard to deal with. The swearing is out of hand and no one seems to have a filter even when people are within hearing distance. Many are so under-educated this is the only job they could possibly find. I’m often astounding at the questions they ask me–“Where is Brazil”, “what does the work finance mean”. Some come in, open their phones, sit down on a luggage cart and don’t get up until it’s time to clock out. It’s amazing that this goes on every day without any consequences.

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I’ao Valley is beautiful as is the summit of Haleakala. I’m not at all fond of Kihei nor Lahaina as they have been taken over by tourists. Both areas are hot and dry, but both have great beaches. During the summer months I occasional drive to Kihei to sink my toes in the sand and cool off in the waters.

So different from Mauna Kea...a smooth crater

So different from Mauna Kea…a smooth crater

Well, I think I have covers most of my thoughts on Maui. Though it’s been a veeeeery long three years, it has had some good points, some good people, some good times

I'ao Needle. The Valley is lush and green and oh so pretty

I’ao Needle. The Valley is lush and green and oh so pretty

Haleakala–House of the Sun

I have lived on Maui for three years. I had gone up to Haleakala once in 1971 when I lived on Maui for four years. But, I have not taken the time to drive up there this time around. So, when I was off from work on Monday I decided to take a day off from sewing as well and drove up the mountain. I was glad to have a warm parka as it gets rather chilly at 10,000 ft. in winter. The drive up was beautiful…forests of eucalyptus, vast acres of pasture land, country farm stands. The road winds up the mountain with a number of hairpin turns. It’s a slow winding traverse with lots of scenic view points. I took advantage of these to take some photos. It was amazing to be about 8000 ft. up and still able to see all the way down the mountain to the sea. I could understand why so many tourists make this trip at sunrise. I work for a shuttle/tour company and they drive huge full buses up Haleakala almost every day of the week, picking up from hotels at about 2:30am! I don’t think I would want to drive up or down in the dark for either sunrise or sunset. I was perfectly happy to see it in the brightness of a sunny day.

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Adult Silversword...the only place in the world it grows.

Adult Silversword…the only place in the world it grows.

A "teenage" Silversword

A “teenage” Silversword

A keiki Silversword growing in a very rocky terrain

A keiki Silversword growing in a very rocky terrain

unknown plant, but I loved the leaves

unknown plant, but I loved the leaves

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So different from Mauna Kea...a smooth crater

So different from Mauna Kea…a smooth crater


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Driving back down the mountain

Driving back down the mountain

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Beautiful rainbow Eucalyptus trees

Beautiful rainbow Eucalyptus trees

Musings for the Day

The vagaries of time play with my thoughts reminding me to take things a little less seriously and look for the whimsical in daily life. As of late, the mundane has taken hold and each day has become a replica of the one before. I think I’m shutting myself down on Maui eagerly awaiting my return to my home on Moku O Hawai’i, The Big Island. Throughout the day I do ask time to slow a bit so as to savor the sunsets, rainbows, mountainous streams of icy water, fields of cane. There are other moments when I ask time to accelerate so there are fewer days between living and leaving.

Some choices I’ve made come back to haunt me…life changes. But, living in the past has never been my style. So, I will pick up where I left off–better prepared, more discerning and perhaps wiser. I will enjoy the company of old friends, dance with abandonment, sing with a joyful noise and leave my heart open for new friendships and love.

Winter Golf in Kapalua, Maui, Hawai’i

I am not a great golfer, not even a good golfer, but I have played a few times and enjoyed it. I occasionally watch a major tournament on TV and am familiar with all the top names. When I found out that I would be off on the first day of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions with a line up that included Patrick Reed (last years winner), Jordan Spieth (who won five tournaments last year), Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson and the “old man” David Love III, there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.

I arrived in the morning to the parking lot and was transported by Roberts Hawaii (the company I work for) on a huge motor coach with individual lights, air and TV. It was like being on an airplane. We arrived at the Kapalua Plantation Course about 20 minutes before the first tee off. I found a bleacher seat on the first hole and watched while one after the other hit the ball looking like it would finally land on the island of Moloka’i! Phew, but they hit those balls hard!
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It was a perfect Hawaiian summer day in winter. There was a very light breeze, 83 degrees, the fairways were soft due to a rain the night before, but the greens were extremely fast. I watched all the teams tee off before going on to the course to walk a bit. Because the course was built on the side of a mountain it is way too high up for a trek in sandals, so while the groups were going from hole to hole about a 1000 ft. up I was enjoying lunch at the clubhouse.

Plantation Clubhouse

Plantation Clubhouse

One fun thing I was able to do was to have a mini-lesson with a PGA pro. I watched him correcting previous golfers and golfers-to be. When I stepped up he asked if I had played before and I told him a few times. He just said let me see your swing and he placed a ball on a pad at my feet. I did remember much of what my ex-boyfriend had taught me so I placed my feet and swung. It felt perfect. He looked at me and said, “you should be playing golf”. He asked me to take a few more swings and each ball just sailed into the backdrop just where it was suppose to. Finally, he just said, “you should just play!”. I felt really good. I think I will get out my clubs and go to Pukalani a little way down the mountain to take a little practice swing or two.

The leaderboard changed throughout the day. But some the of top players started slowly climbing up the board.

Kapalua, Maui

Kapalua, Maui

When the top pairings started coming down from the 15th or 16th hole, I took a seat in the grandstands at the 18th hole. There were five players tied for first. Each of he first three pairs made par. The last pair was Spieth and Reed. Spieth was in first, Reed tied for second. Reed hit an amazing shot and so did Spieth. But, the second shot by Reed took him to just a couple of feet from the hole. He finished with an eagle and Spieth birdied the hole. So, Spieth is now alone in first and Reed alone in second with ties all the way down the board. Needless to say it was a grand ending to a fabulous day and I was so thankful to be attending this prestigious tournament.

My souvenirs from the Tournament of Champions...my ticket, program, tee times and visor.

My souvenirs from the Tournament of Champions…my ticket, program, tee times and visor.

Christmas at the Maui Airport

This year I am off on Christmas Eve so am able to go to my church’s candlelight service and help in the afternoon with the preparations. But, I do work on Christmas Day (evening shift). Because a lot of people don’t travel as much during the Christmas holidays the evenings at the Airport Shuttle have been somewhat slow. We’ve had some time on our hands. So to help pass the time we have been doing a little bit of decorating. We have been coloring (I still remember how to stay within the lines) and making cut-paper snowflakes. We hung a wreath, some garland, some candy canes. The airport is getting rather festive. We have our weekend musicians back playing Hawaiian music and throwing in some Christmas carols. The hula dancers are wearing their red and white holiday colors. Starbucks is offering all kinds of holiday flavors like gingerbread, peppermint and caramel. This coming week I will be showing up in my Santa hat. This is my third year celebrating Christmas at the airport. So here are a few pictures of our doings during the slow periods:

The State's Christmas tree

The State’s Christmas tree


The first year they've done this. I like it!

The first year they’ve done this. I like it!


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The first year they've done this. I like it!

The first year they’ve done this. I like it!

Our wreath

Our wreath

A colorful addition to the rather bland setting

A colorful addition to the rather bland setting

The many colors of Christmas

The many colors of Christmas

Our kind of snowflakes!

Our kind of snowflakes!

Let's see how long the candy canes last.

Let’s see how long the candy canes last.

A golden wreath

A golden wreath

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

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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.