Old Lady

This afternoon I turned on the TV waiting for the NCAA National Championship game and to kill time while I was cooking dinner I flipped on Law and Order, SVU. An “old lady” is raped and people are wondering why anyone would want to rape an old lady.  While looking for evidence, one of the detectives asked the age of the old lady. Well, she was 72. Now this is also my age and I’ve never thought of myself as an old lady. But, it did get me thinking about aging and what it means to each of us. I have certainly noticed several changes in my body. Things are starting to go south, my hair is getting very thin and getting silvery. I’m discovering age spots on my legs and arms from spending way too much fun in the sun as a girl. I spend a lot of time bending over my sewing machine and I spent many years taking notes on a laptop computer at work so my back is getting a curvature it never had before. It’s more difficult to get up off the ground when I sit on it to put grommets into my hula implement bags.

On the good side I still have a lot of energy. I take four classes of dance a week with extra practices here and there. I still have enough balance to work out on my Simply Fit Board which helps keep the heart rate up, the waist trimmed. I’ve kept my weight down at 125-128. I sleep well and eat well. I enjoy cooking healthy and seldom eat out. I can still mow my yard although the huge buffalo grass has me whipped. I keep my mind from atrophy by trying to keep up with current events which unfortunately also makes my blood pressure rise, but since it’s always been very low, I’m not worried. Although I didn’t grow up with computers and Smart Phones, I can usually manage to use them without a lot of problems except for Windows 10, which I loathe. I have a lovely relationship with my youngest son who calls me every week just to talk. We always seem to find so much to talk about. And, I’m happy that both my sons are doing well and have very special women in their lives.

So, though I might be considered an “old lady” by some standards, by my standards I may be getting older, but I’m not feeling my age. I’m anxiously awaiting what is in store for me in the future…number one wish–a partner that dances!

The Oddest Memories

This morning I was on my computer browsing and came across a small bit about someone remembering something he had learned in college by Thomas Hardy. He mentioned that though it had been many years, he could still quote the passage. This got me to thinking about how our memories are quite amazing.

When I was in high school I had an English teacher who, at the time, I disliked for making us memorize the first few lines of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. I can still, after 55 years,

still recite them and understand the Middle English:

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
the droghe of Marche hath perced to the roote.
And bath every veyne in swich licour
of which ventu engendred is the flour.

This morning I decided to read the entire prologue’s 200 lines. What amazed me was although much of the English spelling has changed over the centuries, the sounds are still similar enough that I could read and understand much of these oddly written words  and in doing so could appreciate what an amazing poet Chaucer was. His description of some of the characters that would be featured in his Tales are so lively. He painted pictures with his words which enabled me to SEE his traveling companions in my mind.

I remember some time ago the movie “The Knight’s Tale” came out. I loved it. My favorite character was Geoffrey Chaucer, the “knight’s announcer” prior to jousting battle. I think now I will have to read “The Knight’s Tale” by the poet himself.

I guess I owe all of this to Mrs. Hall. Thank you so much for engendering the passion to continue learning.

Ariana, The Hunter

Ariana is my shelter cat. I got her when I lived on Maui. She suffered as did I during our first ten days or so back on the Big Island. Me, having to face the sad disrepair of my home and Ariana having to face solitary confinement at a good friend’s house. We did make it through all the initial discomfort and are now happily ensconced in our little cottage. When I picked her out at the shelter they told me she was a good hunter, but I had no idea how right they were. This week alone I have rescued six geckos, two coqui frogs, a bird and two mice. She never eats them. She just brings them into the house through her cat door to let go for me to chase. I think she gets pleasure in watching me scrambling around the little studio. Thank goodness it IS just a studio! Last week I came home to a room full of feathers…I mean, everywhere. Feathers on the bed, under the bed, on the kitchen island, the TV console, the computer desk. This little bird didn’t give up easily. I, as yet, have not found this one and some day I’m sure I will come across a naked little bird body in my laundry hamper or in a shoe box. I haven’t put much effort into finding it still secretly hoping it escaped or Ariana just got bored and took it back outside.

Lately though, her hunting has taken on a new dimension. She has evidently decided that small critters aren’t worth the energy expelled. A few days ago she was outside and I don’t like to see her close to the road, so I called to her. I She came out of the brush carrying a HUGE rat. It was dangling about four inches on each side of her mouth. YIKES! I immediately ran inside shut the door and blocked off her cat door, the whole time yelling, “no, no no.” About an hour later she came to the door without any critters so I let her in. But, the last few nights I’ve heard noises in my pantry and have found evidence of either a mouse of a rat. I’m thinking rat because it has eaten most of the plastic tops off of things like nuts or raisins. It had ripped open my couscous and pasta shells and about five other goodies. I have tossed more food than I have eaten. I went to town and now have just about everything in large jars or mason jars. I still hear it, however even with a flashlight have not been able to see it. I’m ordering an electronic mouse trap. It’s a speedy, efficient device that doesn’t involved squishing the poor thing, but I don’t want them in the house. Today, I locked Ariana out when she tried to get in with another rat which she eventually let go on my screened-in lanai. Hopefully, it will find the way out and not in. I also kept out another gecko. Frogs, geckos and an occasional mouse I can live with, but rats, no way! Hunter indeed. What to do, what to do?

Oh, Christmas Tree

My oldest son’s birthday is in early December, so I’ve always waited until after that to “go Christmas”. And, even though he now lives on the Mainland, I still adhere to that tradition. However, every year trees from the Northwest come in earlier and earlier. This year they arrived before Thanksgiving (a travesty). But, I knew if I bought a tree at this time, in this humidity, it would be dead by Christmas, so I waited. Luckily, Home Depot didn’t bring their trees in until after the first week in December. I’ve always disliked artificial trees, eventually they will end up in the landfill and stay for, what I’m sure, is about a thousand years. I real tree can turn into mulch in a matter of weeks! As you know, I live in a small studio cottage so space is at a premium. I don’t have the room for a large tree, about 4 feet tall will suffice. So, off I go to HD. They had a great assortment of small trees, unlike most of the sites in town. I carefully chose one that “called to me”. It has thick needles, a lovely piney smell and good spacing. Of course, NOT $8 or $10 like in the “olden days”, but worth the $30 I spent.
My Little Christmas Tree

My Little Christmas Tree

 

Somewhere in my storage shed were all my ornaments I’ve treasured for several decades, but, well, I didn’t really want to put forth the effort to try to find them. So, I opted for lights, silver garland and lots of tinsel (I so wish it was the old kind that was heavy and stayed on the tree through cat meanderings). I did find that box. And, lo and behold, it had two little ornaments in the corner. So, along with the shiny things are now a “Jack in the Box” holding a sign of “JOY” and a beaded blue tree! I’m not classic white when in comes to lights. I like mine in a riot of color. I need a top for the tree, maybe a bright red bow, yes!
I’ve had so much fun this holiday season. I’ve been line dancing my fool head off. Went to the Elks club and joined about 75 others on the dance floor. It was fun to see so many men dancing! Many wearing cowboy hats and boots which, for me, is an immediate attention getter. Dancing at the Eagles club this week. I’ve been to way too many potlucks, fun gift exchanges, concerts and cantatas. There is now snow on Mauna Kea so the feeling of Christmas is in the air.  I do love this time of year!

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.

.Jacaranda bliss

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

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.