Never Say Never


I said I’d never be one of those people who posts photos and videos of their cat. Never, never.

It turns out I needed only the slightest provocation, from a blog reader who wrote, “Ooh, your cat is adorable – more please!” after I posted a picture of Lili eating a papaya.

She is The Cat Who Eats Anything. While her first loves are tropical fruits (bananas and papayas from our yard – I just realized she’s probably smart enough to know organic when she tastes it), she has never turned anything down: champagne, arugula, it’s all on the menu because she has a very refined palate.

Cat  Eating an Orange

Cat Eating an Orange

Since I am stuck inside the house because of that thing the Hawaii newscasters now call “That three – letter word” (vog… volcanic organic gas) and the headline on the Honolulu Star – Advertiser reads, “Vog Blankets the State” with a photo of Honolulu and Diamond Head nowhere to be seen… I guess you’re stuck with the ways I amuse myself. (I am also amused by Guy Hagi, our weatherman. I think it’s possible he wanted to be a sportscaster – as he reports the weather the way other guys give sports scores. His latest: “Vog stomps the state.”)

So, Lili is a party animal, and loves having company. She takes off running and skids to the front door whenever the doorbell rings. Here she is wearing her party-drink parasol hat:


I’m a member of a women’s group and Lili is our honorary sixth member. Whenever the five of us gather in my living room, Lili joins the discussion on the sofa so she won’t miss a thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if she raised her paw and asked a question at some point.

I’ve had lots of cats. I had a grumpy cat before Grumpy Cat was famous. I had a tortoiseshell who was so emotionally fragile that she hid under my bed for eight hours every time the garbage truck came down the street. Then there was the male cat who was self – feeding. He could open a cabinet door by himself and tip his food container over. This never failed to amuse my mother.

But none of these kitties compared to Lili. She is beyond smart, she is wise and savvy. Everyone who comes to our house wants to take her home. Lili could be an ambassador for the state of Hawaii because she is Miss Aloha.

I am so glad I wandered into the Maui Humane Society the day the best, smartest cat ever was just waiting for me to take her home. I’ve thought of getting her her own YouTube channel – but would anybody really watch a cat eat absolutely anything put in front of her, the way they watch Nora the piano – playing cat play a duet?

C’mon, I need only the slightest provocation. Lili and I await your letters. She will be answering them, of course…


Yes, she picked up the pen by herself. What can I tell you?


I will make my yearly pitch now: if you have room in your life and your heart for a(nother) fur-person, please consider visiting your local animal shelter. Who knows – you might get one who can sing or dance, or even play the piano.


A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Vog Blog


Okay…brace yourself, Bertha. You may not want to hear this. If so, feel free to stick your fingers in your ears and go neyh, neyh, neyh. But here it is: the Vog is THICK here on Maui. Tourists on the Scotch Mist sailboat yesterday were asking Cap’n Mike, “What IS that?” (They think it’s fog.)

Sadly, not. Vog season has cometh. A blog reader wrote the other day to say that she and her husband were planning to move to Maui, but she has chemical sensitivities. She asked when the Vog comes in, how long does it stay? And the answer is… It can come in as early as September and stay till May. If we’re lucky, as we were this year, it didn’t get thick until November. But November happens to be NaNoWriMo month for authors ( and I had committed to write a novel (50,000 words) in 30 days. No problem, right? Yeah, as long as I can breathe, don’t have a Vog headache, don’t have itchy eyes… And can think straight. Alas, I had “Vog brain” three weeks out of four, and no novel. Not even close.

So Jenna, the reader with chemical sensitivites should think twice about the Big Island, Maui, Oahu, and right now, even Kauai. Here’s a photo from our news. (I tried to do the video, but apparently I need a Premium WordPress site…)

Vog Forecast on Maui

Many people just want Maui to be Paradise. They don’t want to hear about the problems, they’re looking for fantasy. Sometimes I wonder if this is because Maui is, as one friend put it, “The last bastion of hope on earth…the place I can go when it all falls apart.” But if you can’t breathe well, where the heck does that leave you?

Now, to be sure, there are worse things. This is not terroristic bombing. But to be able to breathe is pretty important. My doctor doubled the dosage for my asthma medication, and our house is all closed up. I don’t go in the jacuzzi or out in the yard.

Many people want to know if it’s on all the islands. When it’s bad, yes, it’s on all the islands.

And here’s a photo of our Maui sunset:

Vog haze on Maui

Vog haze on Maui

I doubt you’d be able to see the famous “green flash” through that haze, since you can’t see the West Maui mountains and they’re right there. A friend said she had a Vog headache all day yesterday. Not everyone is affected, but many are.

Don’t shoot the messenger. Much of why I write this blog is so people can make informed decisions about a move to Maui.

And now a moment of silence for our allies in France. And to our own dear French friends….Bonjour Christine, Olivier, Roxane, Maxime, Jo and Regis. Please know that our hearts go out to you! Je suis Charlie.

A hui hou.

Aloha, Jamaica

Everybody Wants a Do-Over

You may have noticed I've been absent. That's because everyone in my household has been sick with the coughing crud that's going around. I sound like a cross between a squeaking door that needs oiling and a bullfrog that got slammed in that door. (And yes, Virginia, they do get sick in Paradise.)

It's that time of year when people think about new beginnings. On a recent episode of "The Mentalist," characters Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon were discussing their future and how maybe they needed a change.
Lisbon said: One of us could get run over by a bus tomorrow.
Jane said: Not if we were on a beach in Polynesia. Buses can't go in sand." (Note how "starting over" seems to always involve Hawaii, Polynesia, or any place with white sandy beaches.)
Lisbon: But we could get eaten by a shark.
Jane: Not if we don't go in the water.
Lisbon: That sounds pretty boring, don't you think?
Jane: They have palm trees and hammocks and cocktails and pineapples…
Lisbon: And endless boredom, sunburn, and bugs the size of helicopters… Hey, I've been on vacation!
Jane: Then we could buy a boat and sail around the world.
Lisbon: Fine. Other than pirates and storms and scurvy. Besides, I get seasick….

Talked herself right out of a new life, didn't she?

So many people write to me every week saying they want to live on Maui or are makings plans to move. So tell me, what is the one thing that makes you feel you would want to live in Hawaii? (The weather doesn't count, perfect weather is a no-brainer.) Or you can share more than one, of course…

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!) Pronounced Hau’oli — “how-oh-lee” Makahiki — “mah-kah-hee-kee” Hou — “ho”

A hui hou, and Mahalo for reading along. If you'd like to stay in the loop, please click the "Follow" button on the Homepage, or to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica