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.

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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

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.

In the Future…

Oh, the comfort–the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person–having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
Dinah Craik

All Things Hawaiian

Occasionally we have a woman who cooks up a Hawaiian plate lunch and sells them at the airport. I ordered one last week and then forgot all about it. But, today the delivery came at the perfect time when my stomach was starting to growl and I hadn’t packed anything for lunch or snack. I seldom eat plate lunches as on the whole they aren’t very healthy. They usually have things like spaghetti, macaroni salad, rice and bread…a little too many carbs for me. Or they have Teriyaki chicken, rice, mac salad–typical island fare. But, today’s lunch had kalua pig, rice, mac salad, laulau and haupia! Whoo-hoo! Usually kalua pork is wrapped in banana leaves, ti leaves, taro leaves and then cooked in an underground oven called an imu. It’s delicious. But, with a little creativity you can get a similar flavor from your home’s oven. The laulau is package of usually beef, pork and butterfish for fatty flavor. It is wrapped in taro leaves, then wrapped again in ti leaves and steamed for fairly long time. The ti leaves are then discarded and the taro leaves are soft and flavorful, the meats are tender and the butterfish is just about non-existent having done its job. Haupia is a coconut pudding-like dessert that is delicious with a slice of purple sweet potato on top, but alas, no ‘uala on top. But all in all it was satisfying and ono.
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There is a new poster in the baggage claim area. I love it. However, the tourists who are the ones who should be reading it, don’t seem to notice it. It has a nice description of the word “ALOHA”. Actually, I know a lot of locals who would benefit from reading it as well.
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Several years ago I had an ‘ukulele made for me. It was made by a man by the name of Kaohekalole and he was a direct descendant of Kalakaua, the last king of Hawai’i. Needless to say it has very special meaning to me. Unfortunately, it has fallen on hard times and I’m not sure it will ever be played again. But, I’m hoping that I will be able to have it fixed as I miss it. I do have another ‘ukulele, but it doesn’t hold quite the same history for me. However, it does have a lovely sound. I have fun playing it at church and also on Thursday nights at the ‘ukulele jam where about 75-100 people get together at my church. We learn Hawaiian chants (most of which I already know), we practice the Lord’s Prayer in Hawaiian and sing Hawaiian songs from a big song book which I need to buy again as I left mine in Hilo.

The beauty and the beast!

The beauty and the beast!


A big Hawaiian man with a small 'ukulele!

A big Hawaiian man with a small ‘ukulele!

Speaking of church. I am now the proud owner of a Hawaiian bible with a translation in English side by side. I love it. It’s beautiful to look at, easy to read and gives me the opportunity to learn new words, phrases, etc. I like to use Hawaiian phrases when dealing with tourists. Maui is so very tourist oriented that I don’t think they ever even hear the language. So, it they have had to wait for the shuttle I tell them,”Mahalo i ka ho’omanawanui”…thank yor for your patience. Or, I might say, “e launa kou kama’ima’i o Maui” or enjoy your visit on Maui.

He Bibala Hemolele

He Bibala Hemolele

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A couple of days ago I bought a plant for my apartment. It is a “hula plant” called Laua’e. I am happy with my new roomie. It’s speaks to me.WP_20141019_002

As many of you know I have an on-line Etsy shop. I sew hula pa’u, tops, blouses, aloha shirts, etc. so I’m going to add a few of these little gems since they, too, are included in all things Hawaiian.
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Little girls like pink, older girls like something a bit my contemporary.

Little girls like pink, older girls like something a bit my contemporary.

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My favorite flower of Hawaii…plumeria. They use to grow everywhere. When I first lived on O’ahu in 1962, the fragrance was pervasive. When I sailed to the Big Island of Hawai’i in 1963, you could smell the plumeria in the air before you could see the islands. They always evoke those special memories of returning home. This photo has always made me smile as on one of the flowers is a tiny little geiko.
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And, last, but certainly not least…hula. I’m adding a couple of photos from my halau ho’ike of last year. We are now practicing for our next ho’ike and I’m looking forward to it…a lot of work, but such an uplifting experience.

Ready to dance 'auana or modern hula.

Ready to dance ‘auana or modern hula.

...and Kahilo or ancient hula with Mark Keali'i Ho'omalu. This was an awesome experience.

…and Kahilo or ancient hula with Mark Keali’i Ho’omalu. This was an awesome experience.

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Miscommunication

Yesterday I had an incredibly stressing incident at work that had me shaking for hours afterward: We had a couple come in and needed a shuttle to a hotel, however they didn’t speak English, only Spanish. I tried to explain to them with drawings, sign language and what little Spanish I remember from high school how much it would cost to go one way and for a round trip. Well, apparently he didn’t comprehend and when I printed out his round trip ticket he started pounding on the desk and yelling No, No, NO!!! He tore up his receipt then grabbed all the scraps and stalked off. I had the supervisor cancel his order. A few minutes later he comes stomping back with the police in tow. We had to explain the circumstances to the police while the man was screaming at me and pointing to my drawings and costs. He then went to another shuttle company who quoted him $2 less which seemed to infuriate him further so continued to yell at me from across the airport. Apparently they were better at drawing so he bought a ticket from them. His wife got involved by wanting to make sure the credit card was cancelled, but spoke no English and started yelling at me to speak Spanish. I had had about enough so I said, “‘olelo Hawai’i ame pelekane au. Keia Hawai’i ma ‘o Amelika, ‘a’ole Espana kakou! ‘olelo pelekane kakou!” Then I translated it for her, “I speak Hawaiian and English. This is Hawai’i in America. We don’t speak Spanish, we speak English!” I wrote a note telling her the charges had been cancelled, told her to give them to someone to translate. They left.

I love working in transportation at the airport. I so enjoy meeting people from all over the world. But, occasionally we run into people who have just had a bad day, don’t understand or are just curmudgeons. I’m thankful they are few and far between.

So, this weekend I’m going to go to Waianapanapa State Park to camp overnight. I’m so in need of some time away from work, my sewing machine and a new place to explore. I will take photos!

Kealia Pond Bird Sanctuary

The 22nd was my birthday, so I took a day off from work and from my sewing and just devoted the day to ME. I took a drive to Ma’alaea Harbor just to see the boats, the ocean and to see if any whales were visible…they weren’t. On the way back into town, I took the wrong turn and instead of heading to Kahului, I found myself heading for Kihei. I didn’t even realize this until a saw the boardwalk through the Kealia Ponds. I had this point of interest on my Maui “bucket list” for a while so I figured this was a perfect day for the walk. And, I’m so glad I did. The boardwalk goes along the ocean and has super informative signage where I not only learned about the birds that winter there, but about their sounds, what they eat, the critters at the bottom of the bird food chain. It was a fascinating journey. The area is well maintained, apparently a good place to throw net for fish as I saw several men walking along the sand carrying Hawaiian throw nets. However, I never did see any birds. Maybe the day was a little too cool and they were all cuddled by somewhere warm. Or maybe they stay mostly across the highway in the large ponds. But, the walk was still worth the time.

A place to sit when one gets tired.

A place to sit when one gets tired.


You are here...

You are here…


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Pu'uhonua...place of refuge.

Pu’uhonua…place of refuge.


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And the walk goes on

And the walk goes on


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The stream from the ponds to the ocean

The stream from the ponds to the ocean


The sand "plug" which separates the ponds from the ocean

The sand “plug” which separates the ponds from the ocean


The Ae'o one of the most plentiful of the ponds residents.

The Ae’o– one of the most plentiful of the ponds residents.


The puzzle of Kealia, how it all fits together

The puzzle of Kealia, how it all fits together


Leaving Kealia I turned around in a parking lot of the halau wa'a...canoe "landing"

Leaving Kealia I turned around in a parking lot of the halau wa’a…canoe “landing”

The ponds have a calming effect. It tells you to slow down, keep a watchful eye out for wildlife, remain quiet and listen to the sounds of the birds, the ocean, the breezes blowing through the trees. It commands respect. It is thought provoking, and says Malama ka ‘aina…protect and care for the land.

Discovering Olinda

I’m still exploring my new island and decided on my day off to take a late afternoon hike through the State Reforestation Project which is open to the public. It is in the beautiful and rural upcountry of Olinda, Maui. The weather was cool and while I usually don’t like the idea of hiking alone, the trail was wide and flat and inviting. So, off I went.

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When I got to a junction of intersecting trails, I decided to take the Spring Trail. I saw the word Loop Trail below, but in my mind I connected the two. The Spring trail is .8 miles and was relatively easy.

The Spring Trail

The Spring Trail

However after about .3 mild all of a sudden it started going precipitously downward at a fairly steep angle. The trail narrowed to just a path with angles that traversed across a rather steep cliff. After about 10 bends I was going at a good pace when I looked down and noticed my camera was hanging by its strap, but the case with my car keys and ID were no longer attached. Oh no, I would have to go up the trail to find it which I did about three traverses up. At this point I thanked God I wouldn’t have to go up this again as, yes, this is a loop trail. So, I retraced my steps and continued on my way down.

Developing a bit of a challenge

Developing a bit of a challenge

I was not wearing hiking boots. I had on my walking shoes which have a flat sole and it started to get a little slippery and every time I saw the “Hazardous Cliff” sign, I gave pause, but it was such a lovely day and I would be coming to the loop soon enough and would wend my way back to the beginning.

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No sooner had I thought this I reached the bottom which led me to a rock bowl and a sign that said “End of the Trail”. It was then I realized the Loop Trail was entirely separate and I would have to climb upwards across all those traversing angles and steep cliffs. After about 5 or 6 diagonal treks I was out of breath and wondering if I could possibly suffer a heart attack alone on the trail. It has been a while since my heart beat was up in the high range and it felt like my shirt was lifting off my skin with each beat. But, with occasional rests, I made it back to the junction and was never so happy in my life to see flat ground again!

The reforestation apparently is going well. The pines are about 80-100 ft. tall and straight as an arrow. And, they have planted a few native Koa trees as well.
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On my way back home I stopped to take a couple of pictures of upcountry rural Maui…
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I am trying to take the time between working full time and trying to keep my business afloat to document my newest adventure. I think the next time I take a hike, I will do so with a partner!

My Life in Hula–continues

Most hula dancers start at the age of about 4 or 5 and many will stay with the same halau (hula class) throughout their entire lives. Dancers, in Hawai’i have a hula lineage that can date back decades. Many are lucky enough to have a hula master that has gone before a panel of kumu hula, tested rigorously and then given the blessing to teach. Many inherit their skills from their parent and progress through their supervision. Some are alaka’i (leaders) in a halau and become the kumu due to an unforeseen accident or death. Some just love to teach. With my kumu hula I not only learned the dances, but I learned to make all of my own implements…the ipu heke or ipu heke ‘ole, gourd percussion implements; the pahu, a drum made from a coconut tree; ‘uli’uli, a small gourd of la’amea with seeds inside, topped with a platform of colored feathers shaken like a rattle; pu’ili, bamboo that has been slit into 11 or more strips sounding much like a rattle when struck together; ‘ili’ili, stones collected from the beach which are held two in each hand and are clicked together (a little like castanets); ka la’au or sticks that are struck together and the ‘ohe hano ihu or nose flute. There are some more uncommon implements that I have yet to make.

My ipu heke made from two gourds sewn together

My ipu heke made from two gourds sewn together

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The pahu is considered the most sacred of the implements. The steps of the hula are different when done to pahu. The beat has a haunting echo from the past. My pattern of my carving came to me in a dream…whales dancing above the waves, then diving below the surface with only their tales left to see. The pahu took me weeks to carve…with chisel and a mallet.
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My kala’au were left on the big island so I will have to make another set. However, I’ve always made them of strawberry guava wood and I’ve as yet to see a tree here on Maui. Auwe!