Moving to Maui, Part One

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Maui Kaanapali Villas

Aloha!

Would you like to move to Maui? Ever wonder what it’s really like?

Here’s how I got here: I fractured my tailbone and then had a small stroke. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

An acquaintance owned a lovely condo at the Maui Kaanapali Villas, www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com  with a little bit of an ocean view and a short walk to the beach. Her mother on the mainland had cancer, and she needed to go care for her. She asked me if I’d like to stay in the condo and pay her mortgage (there are no free lunches.)

I was running my interior design business in the San Francisco Bay area and wearing high heels to work every day. The first thing that happened was I fell down a full flight of stairs. A client’s carpet was worn out (duh…part of why I was there) and my slick heel slid off the top step and I flew through the air, legs over my head, to land at the bottom in a heap. Result? A fractured tailbone. The doc said the only thing he knew to help that was to swim in warm salt water. Reason to say yes, #1.

Then I was leaving another client’s home and things got a little wonky with my vision. I chalked it up to fatigue and stress. The next thing I knew, I was driving on the sidewalk on a very busy main thoroughfare. Oh, this was not good at all. I could have taken out a light post; heck, I could have taken out a pedestrian, several, in fact.

I shakily drove on to the store to order furniture for my client, and when I opened my mouth to speak to the salesman, gibberish came out. Needing to recuperate from a small stroke: reason #2.

So I found myself on Maui, basically in the lap of luxury, see above. (Except for the pesky elevator that broke down and they had to bring a guy in from Oahu to fix it, but he kept not showing up. Little did I know this is how EVERYTHING works on Maui. In other words, it doesn’t.) Then, they raised the condo fees to pay for the elevator, so my acquaintance raised my rent. But the beach made up for it:

I talked the guy at the  beach shack into renting me a chaise lounge by the month, with two pads instead of one, for my poor tailbone.I spent every day at the beach. I walked, swam, sunned, ate, and slept. I got better. I contemplated my life back home and saw that I’d been driving myself into the ground like a crazy person. You know the old saying: self-employment is where you go from working 40 hours a week to 80 hours a week for half the pay? It’s so true.

I started thinking about running away from home. Permanently.

But how in the world would I make a living?

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. may not be reblogged or reprinted without written permission of the author.

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Banana Harvest and Muffin Recipe

Aloha!

So, it’s banana harvest time. Where you’re so excited to see those beautiful little nubs growing, then turning yellow. Until you realize they will ALL turn yellow AT ONCE. And suddenly you’re in the kitchen pulling out every banana recipe you have. Bananas flambe. Banana cake. Peanut butter on bananas (now you’re desperate.) We have apple-bananas, which I didn’t know existed until I moved to Maui, just like so many other things. They taste a little bit like a pear to me, so I don’t know how they got their name.

Did you know that you can freeze bananas? If they are starting to get too ripe, wrap them in a brown paper bag and put them in your freezer just like that. We also like the “Green Bags” for helping them stay fresh longer on the counter.

Bananas take LOTS of water, so they aren’t exactly free when you grow them. That water is in the tree, and when you cut it down with a big cane knife, the water pours out of the stalk.

Here’s my favorite recipe for using up bananas. The muffins freeze well.

BANANA CRUNCH MUFFINS

3 C flour

2 C sugar

2 t baking powder

1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

Sift the above together. Wet ingredients to be mixed separately:

2 eggs

3/4 C milk

2 t vanilla

1/2 lb. melted butter

Add to dry ingredients. DO NOT OVERMIX. Then add:

2 mashed bananas

1 C granola or bran, ground fine

1 C nuts

1 C coconut

Put into muffin tin or paper muffin cups. Sprinkle some extra coconut on top, it will brown nicely. Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

A hui hou! (Til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. May not be reblogged or reprinted without written permission of the author.

No Rain, No Rainbows

BIG STORM on Maui this past week. We had a flash-flood warning for Upcountry, which never happens, and residents were to told to boil their water.

So this was the view from my backyard.  I could get upset because Mike lost work as a boat Captain,  the weather being so bad that they weren’t risking the tourist’s lives by taking the boat out. Or…I could see that as the sky darkened, the colors only got brighter.

I lost someone very special to me this past year.The “sky” of my life got very dark. But now that the storm has passed, I have lovely memories left.

Never judge a day by the weather. No rain, no rainbows.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Centipedes and Cockroaches and Rats, oh my!

Aloha!

So a group of us Maui ladies got together last night at a little restaurant to catch up on each other’s lives. What I’d like to ask you is this: Is it normal for a group of adult women to sit around and compare notes about how big the centipede was that we found in our kitchen?  Or under the bath mat?  To compare the color, the length, the width? I can’t be sure, but women in other parts of the country (especially the contingent that made the movie “Bridesmaids” a smash hit ) probably discuss other things at length. But there we were, like a bunch of guys after a day of fishing, where the fish just gets bigger as the discussion goes on.

But I held the trump card.

“Any of you ladies ever opened up your gas grill on your lanai and had a rat running around in there?” I asked. “Because that’s what happened to me Sunday evening.”  Lots of gasps followed. I’m not talking a mouse. It was a rat, with a nice long tail, and he wasn’t Ratatouille.  And I’m not ashamed to admit that while watching that stunned rat careen around on top of the grate that was supposed to then hold my steak, my appetite went right with him as he plunged off the grill and over the side of the porch rail. That sucker could move.

My friend Wendy spoke up: “I knew when I moved to Maui that I’d have to make peace with the bugs. I mean, really make peace with them. But a rat in the grill? No way.”

These things didn’t happen on the mainland.

I remember the first night I stayed in my new Maui rental, shared with two other roommates, who happened to be at work.  A green creature went running up the side of the bedroom wall and across the ceiling. I screeched.  It then made a weird chirping sound, and I was convinced it was a battle cry. I didn’t sleep that night, afraid it would run across the bed, afraid it would bite. I had no idea what it was. The next morning I described it in detail to my roommate, and insisted that he catch it and remove it from the house. He laughed so hard his eyes watered.  “That was a gecko.  They’re supposed to be good luck. Someday you’ll laugh about this.”

I didn’t believe him, but of course I did eventually laugh about it, kind of in the same spirit that Crocodile Dundee pulled out his knife and said, “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife.” Because the gecko was nothing compared to all the other creatures I was going to have to learn to live with. I even went on to have a Jackson chameleon as a pet, and a Jackson is really just a bigger gecko with horns, which turns blue when it’s mad.

For now, just after the rat incident, I’m going to go have a nice green salad and think about how long I can go without grilling a piece of meat.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. May not be reblogged or reprinted without  written permission of the author.