Standing in line…or not!

waiting in line island style

I recently came across this photo (I wish were bigger) from Maui, but could easily have been from Kapa’a, Kaua’i; Hilo, Hawai’i, or Kaunakakai, Moloka’i. It is such a perfect expression of the way people living on the outer islands deal with everyday life. This would probably never happen in Honolulu. Residents there, unless out in the country, live a much faster paced life, technically advanced and socially sophisticated. We live in the slow lane. We have bumper stickers on our cars that say things like “slow down, this is not the Mainland” or “live aloha”.

In my head I can hear the conversation that began here. “Hey, brah, my feet stay tired. I no like stand in line no more. I gon leave my slippahs to hol my place, eh”. Then the next guy says, “eh, good one. I gon do da same. I like sit down too.” One by one each person waiting in line places his slippers in his place in line and sits down waiting for his turn in relative comfort. This is such a perfect example of life in the counties. No grumbling, easy solution. We don’t let lines make us impatient, we have ho’omanawanui…patience, the willing to wait a while, we just don’t see the purpose of having to wait standing the whole time. We take care of each other. If we see someone on the side of the road with a flat, we will give them our can of “fix-a-flat” to help them either get home or to a station. We will stop and give a gallon of gas to someone who just ran out or we will help someone fix a flat, etc. and the only thing we ask is that you do the same. One time when I was flying to Maui from the Big Island a friend dropped me off at the airport. When checking in I realized I had left my purse in the car…with my tickets, my cell phone and the phone number of the man I was meeting there for the first time. I had no way of reaching anyone. One of the airport personnel nearby heard my laments and loaned me her cell phone. I took the opportunity to call my phone hoping my friend would hear it and realize what had happened, but no such luck. So, there I sat, stuck in the airport without ID, money or a contact. A woman walked by and asked me if I had a problem. I explained my plight and she said, “where did your friend go?”. I told her he was going to Tykes Laundromat. She volunteered to go find him with the description I gave her. Later when my friend came back with my purse just in time for me to run to the plane he told me that she had not found him at Tykes. She had driven across town in hopes of him being at the other big laundromat. And, there she found him. I never got her name, but have never forgotten her kindness. But, this is how we live on the outer islands. The aloha spirit is still alive and well. We take care of each other.

Now my brain is trippin’

I’m at the point of wondering what the dickens I’m doing moving to Maui. My beautiful little cottage is awash is boxes, bags, plastic bins. I have stacks of newspaper strewn all over the floor. You know, all those little corn dishes and miniature gravy boats need protection. After packing one plastic tub, I realize I can’t move it, let alone lift it.  So, what do I do without. If it was just up to me I would get rid of, in a nanosecond, those square plates made for a giant and weight in at about 10 lbs. each. I have come to the conclusion that a demented inventor came up with a square plate and a square bowl. Every time I lift one with  food in it, the soup, cereal or gravy goes right up the corner channel to the floor. Soup is impossible to carry, impossible! But, those belong to Keith and he has such great admiration for them.  Of course he’s already on Maui and doesn’t have to worry about lifting them. And, do we really need a separate plate for corn? I’m more pragmatic. And, I’m more of a down home cook. Keith is more gourmet. And, I have to do all the extra little dishes. Keith doesn’t do dishes (but, hey, I don’t do laundry). So, I guess I will have to keep them too.

I, on the other hand, am keeping my DVDs though I haven’t watched one since signing up for DISH about two years ago. I just keep thinking someday I will have the time to just sit back, relax, flip on the DVD player, kick off my shoes and watch a movie that just entertains me. A movie like For the Love of the Game or The Wedding Crashers. I don’t look for esthetics in my movies. However, I somehow doubt I will ever get around to watching one. My online shop is interfering with my packing and my idle fun. Thank you very much! I had this whole thing figured out–what day I would pack what. But then, I got an order for 12 hula skirts. Okay, no problem, I’ll just pack at night (yeah, sure). But, it only took three days to get the little skirts off to their hula dancing owners and I was ready to get things back on track. What? another 12 skirts?, Yep! Only have one of those done as I have payment for only one so far. But, then I got an order for 10 tops. Not started yet, though paid for, because the fabric store doesn’t have yellow so I had to order it from Honolulu. Now I have an interest in 7 skirts and 7 tops to match! So, while waiting on the fabric I decided to make myself a travel bag. I got this cool pattern from my sister-in-law and I love the way it turned out. It is “changeable”–going from a standard size tote to a big travel bag. I forgot to get the clips for the tops so the handles are not on yet, but the top of the bag folds down into the inside and the clips transfer to the next set of D-rings. I think it will be a big   help in the move.DSCN0359DSCN0360

I love being busy…anything to take me away from messing up the house with paper, boxes, and a terrible lack of towels for the bathroom. Now where in the dickens did I put those. I guess the next step is to label.

Trippin’ to Maui

I’m from Hawai’i. And, for the last 38 years I’ve been a resident of the Island of Hawai’i or, as it is affectionately known, The Big Island. I have settled in my little cottage with my significant other, who is from Maui, and thought this would be our forever home. But, things change on a dime! He was offered a job that is right up his PhD alley of digital communications. He’s excited. And, not so secretly, he has missed his home island and his family of sisters, nieces, nephews.  Educated at the prestigious Hawaiian school Kamehameha, he learned to be “An Industrious Human Being”. I think this was their mantra, so even at the age of 68 he is industrious. I’m not Hawaiian by ancestry so I had to learn to be industrious on my own!

So, he is on Maui working and I’m on the Big Island with the responsibility of sorting, packing, interviewing renters, putting “no needs” on Craig’s List, deciding what is to be left here in storage and what we must take. Of course, the first things on my list of takes are my sewing machine and supplies, otherwise I will cease to be industrious, and my hula skirts and hula implements as without these I would cease to be human.  We need to do a lot of pruning.  We are both making lists of takes and then seeing where they overlap. So far, we are on the same page.

At the same time I am making a list of things I will love about Maui. It has beautiful beaches that I won’t have to drive 100 miles to get to. It has not only Discount Fabric Warehouse, but Fabric Mart–TWO fabric stores…whoo hoo! The Foodland grocery store carries delicious cinnamon rolls with pecans atop the icing. There are several hula halau (schools) that I would almost give a right arm to dance with. Maui has the 4th of July rodeo and the Maui Arts Community Center, the MACC, which has top entertainers from the Mainland as well as Hawai’i. They host the annual slack key guitar (kiho’alu) festival which Keith and I both love and have flown over to Maui just to attend. It’s windy on Maui, but it doesn’t rain every day so I will not have to contend with mold or mildew. There are no coqui frogs keeping you up at night, though I must admit I’ve gotten use to their “white noise”. There are so many wonderful golf courses.

I know I will miss my many friends I’ve made over the years some of which I’ve had for the entire 38 yrs. I’ve lived here. But, I thank God for Facebook! I’m looking at this as an adventure. The job may only last for a couple of years so, who knows, we may come back to live in our little cottage once again. However, as we age it will be more difficult to live here as it is 4 miles to the highway where a bus comes every couple of hours. There may come a time when we will have to give up driving and are unable to walk that distance. The county does not provide services out this far.

We’re keeping our options open.

A million ways to be a good mother…

What she learned over the years is that there’s no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.                                                        Jill Churchill

For me being a good mother was not a part of my vocabulary when I had my first child. I was totally unprepared for child rearing which was quite evident at the hospital a few hours after my son’s birth. I was anxious to leave…six hours for a hospital stay was long enough for me. But, they seemed to have rules about at least knowing how to diaper an infant before being allowed to leave. So, a nurse hands me a plastic diaper with sticky Velcro-like strips and this very patient nurse who attempts to walk me through the routine. Now, I wasn’t a wild-eyed teenage mother. I was 36. But, I always enjoyed a more adventuresome life than babysitting, so was somewhat at a loss. My expertise ended at “I know it goes on the bottom”. However, I did give it a good try. Unfortunately, my hands perspire when I’m nervous and  droplets of sweat on sticky tape make it lose it’s effectiveness so no sooner I attach the damn tapes and picked up my son, the diaper slips off and lands on the floor. Oops, one down. Try again. And, again. Finally, after the fourth time the diaper gave up and managed to stay on long enough to get out of the hospital doors before losing it’s grip. I threw it away, swaddled Kai in a blanket, went to the store and bought three dozen cloth diapers and few giant safety pins and never looked back. I found I enjoyed the feeling of cloth as opposed to plastic anyway and I found it hard to justify adding so much plastic to the landfill.

It’s amazing how quickly you learn mothering. And, while I was far from perfect, I did become a good mother. When I was due with my second child (praying for another son as I was having so much fun with the first) I decided at 38 to have a home birth. This was, of course, against the wishes of my doctor who practically told me in uncertain terms that if I hired a mid-wife, he wanted no part of me. So, I hired a mid-wife. She had no qualms about my age, eagerly answered any questions I had. I purchased a wonderful book called Special Delivery and set about to follow some of its suggestions to make the home birth memorable. I called a few close friend to be there along with my husband and almost three-year old son. I had plastic sheeting for the bed, fresh linens wrapped and stored in the oven–with the pilot light on, they stayed nice and warm. I had clean clothes for the baby and since I craved orange juice during the pregnancy, I had that on hand as well. At 4:30 in the morning, I had my first contraction. I now had some experience to recognized the feeling, so I called my midwife. She arrived about 20 minutes later. I called my friends and they came over to get me through what they thought would be an ordeal. However, I am built for babies! I spent the next hour walking around (gravity is a great friend), drinking OJ, joking with my friends, singing. I didn’t experience any pain, but could feel the pressure getting stronger and stronger. Another 15 min. goes by and I announce, “I think the baby is coming”. Sure enough, after a total labor of 1 hr. 40 min. my second son was born. He, of course, is beautiful! The daughter of one of my friends has been diligently baking a cake for the “birth day”,  so a half hour after the birth of Jaron, I take a shower, scramble some eggs ,make toast, and we all celebrate with breakfast and a chocolate birthday cake with a big “O”  on the top.

A week or two later I stopped by my midwife’s husband’s office, who is a doctor, to pick up the birth certificate. On my way out of the office, going down the steps, a man is yelling for me to wait. He comes up and says, “I wanted to meet the woman who my wife described as having had the perfect home birth.” Wow. A perfect home birth. It was. And, though I would never strive to be the perfect mother, throughout the years, I created a million ways to be a good one.



A new creation

I have been making hula pa’u for some time and occasionally I like to “mixed it up a bit” and create something a little different. Hence, the double layered reversible skirt. It’s such a nice chocolate-brown (definitely works for me!) with a print that looks like a vintage sepia toned photo. I was going to just leave it cream on one side and brown on the other, but then decided to shorted the print and add a band at the bottom which gave a little jolt to the solid brown side. I like the results.

This is the one side: flowered cream print, brown underskirt and a small matching floral band at the bottom
This is the one side: flowered cream print, brown underskirt and a small matching floral band at the bottom
And, this is the solid chocolate with the floral border at the bottom.
And, this is the solid chocolate with the floral border at the bottom.

Immigration to the melting pot

Hawai’i has frequently been described as the melting pot of the Pacific and this is evident in our daily lives when we see every nationality known driving on the streets, shopping, at the beach or working in the shops in town and at the mall. One of the most successful groups to immigrate are the Japanese. In the late 1800’s Japan was trying to modernize, but unemployment was common, working and living conditions were brutal. So, when looking for opportunities outside of Japan about half of all Japanese immigrants came to Hawai’i. Between 1870 and 1880 about 28,000 single men came to work on the sugar plantations which were in need of labor. By 1893 70% of plantation workers were Japanese. Most were unskilled workers who followed in the wake of Chinese men.  Japanese men worked making less money than their counter part Caucasians, and they bought small farms for more money then Caucasians until with very hard work, they eventually overtook the pay scale of white workers. As farmers, they were successful and went into other businesses–restaurants, small grocery stores, barber shops. Then, in 1941 and the war with Japan, local Japanese were put into interment camps and lost everything. Slowly, after the war, they had to start over opening new businesses, once again becoming successful. Today, the Japanese comprise about 40% of population of Hawai’i. Many continue as successful business owners. And, some still work as in the old days in the fields of farms or work on land belonging to someone else.

Workers at a local store keeping the grounds beautiful.
Workers at a local store keeping the grounds beautiful.