Beach Dog

Aloha!

Finally, a trip to the beach. Ahhhh. It happens less frequently than you would think. A crowded Sunday.

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And here was this handsome German fellow waiting his turn at the showers…Actually, there was a lineup going, kind of like the surf lineup when they wait for waves.

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Here, he finally gets his turn:

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And check out this little guy, wondering if it’s okay to share a shower with a dog…

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Beach Dog

There is an undefined… something… about living in Hawaii. People find themselves at home in their own skins, loose, and yes, more laid-back. Dogs too, apparently.

This beach-dog guy could take all comers (and there were many, many dogs there that Sunday. All breeds, shapes and sizes.)

Shouting to be heard. Strutting their stuff.

But Beach Dog was too cool for that. Basically ignored all the others.

He couldn’t see anything but the beach. He was the beach.

Zen – dog.

And can I just say? Surfers are not the mellow dudes people think they are. It’s a zoo out there and they are all fighting for the same wave.

When you live on an island, you come to understand. The insularity. The restlessness. The need to have a fluid sense of identity.

When you live on an island you can ignore the mainland, shrug your shoulders as if to say I’m not having that, thank you.

Until.

Until there’s a hurricane. A war. A gas crisis.

But until then. Bliss…

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

Aloha, Jamaica

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The Home Fires Burning

Aloha!

Ladies and gentlemen, start your air purifiers. It’s the 143rd year of sugarcane burning on Maui.

We had just barely, barely pulled out of VOG season (cough, cough) and they began burning. I am on the email list from the HC&S sugarcane company, and they send these lovely notices the night before they burn:

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This is so we will know to sleep with our windows closed. My sister was here visiting us from Indiana, and she could hardly believe that we live in HAWAII and have to keep our windows closed, either from VOG (volcanic organic gas) or cane smoke. And we will wake up in the morning to “Maui snow”, the sticky, black ash that covers our cars, porches, and sidewalks.

Then there is this notice. Guess they can’t make up their minds:image

Last week, someone purposely set one of the cane fields near our house on fire. It was touch and go for a while as to whether they would have to evacuate the houses, but luckily the wind stayed in the right direction.

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As I always say….never a dull moment when you live on Maui!

A hui hou. if you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the “Follow button to the right, or on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

That Feeling of “Well – Being”

Aloha!

Are you someone who feels that Hawaii would have to be the ultimate place to live? The perfect weather, the year-round outdoor activities, the pristine beach a short ride away?

Are you one of those people who wonder why anybody bothers to live in Hawaii, what with the cost of living–gas, groceries, housing, utilities? I know my dad was one of them. He would just shake his head and say, “I don’t get it.”

Now come the results of the Gallup – Healthways “Well – Being Index” report, released early this year. Hawaii is one of the top 10 states for well-being for the seventh straight year. Number one? Alaska. (And I, like my dad, would say “I don’t get it.” Perhaps you Alaskans can set me straight.)

The only other state besides Hawaii to finish in the top 10 every year since Gallup and Healthways began their studies in 2008, is Colorado.

What did it take to reach the top? 176,000 residents of 50 states were polled in 2014, according to a press release. They were asked to assess their lives in these five categories:

1) Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals.
2) Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life.
3) Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security.
4) Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community.
5) Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily.

As I say each time one of these polls is released, you just can’t beat megadoses of vitamin D from the sun….and Hawaii lead in two categories – physical and financial. South Dakota was the only other state to lead in two categories – social and community.

The three states with the lowest well – being level in 2014 were: West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. (And this was before Indiana’s recent landmark legislation that had lawmakers from other states threatening to boycott the state.)

Five of the bottom 10 – West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Ohio and Kentucky – have finished there every year since the poll has been conducted.

I will say upfront that I grew up in Indiana and you could almost see the vapor trail behind me, I was in such a hurry to leave those winters behind. There’s a price paid for leaving your home state and becoming a vagabond though–I’ve lived in four states–and that price is never truly feeling at home. My sister has never left Indiana, and in fact teaches at the same Junior High that we attended, and the payoff is that she is still in touch with many of the people we went to school with….while I have forgotten many of their names. She feels at home, because she is at home.

Any thoughts on this poll? When we saw our tax accountant this year, she told us that she is only out in the sun about twice a year here. She simply works that much. Bet she has her financial life together, though.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

You Can Check Out Any Time You Like

Aloha!

Remember the line from the Eagle’s song “Hotel California” that says, “You can check out anytime you like… But you can never leave”?

Seems like someone could’ve written the same about Maui. There are tourists who come here, fall in love with Maui and Hawaii, and really don’t want to go home. I was one of them.

This can have a flipside. I’ve talked to many people who move here and then can’t leave, even if they want to. They’ve quit their jobs. They’ve paid a lot of money to shut down their lives on the mainland, ship their cars, all their paperwork, and all their worldly possessions, and here they are. Stuck. Can’t afford to do it in reverse.

One man had a business here where he placed banks of computers in hotel lobbies, including the hotel where I worked. When we chatted he said, “(Expletive) Maui. I moved here with my wife, found out we can’t stand it, and now we’re stuck here.” And his business was quickly obsolete – the hotels installed Wi-Fi for guest’s laptops and iPads instead.

This is why I encourage anyone to give Maui a trial–run before pulling up stakes, selling their homes and businesses, and paying shipping fees to get their lives here. A recent blog post had a letter from a reader on Kauai who moved there five years ago. She gave a wonderful overview, but also said, “Would I do it again, knowing what I know? I don’t know. ”

Recently a friend who came to Maui twenty years ago said, “When I moved here, everyone told me, ‘Maui is healing place.’ Well, they neglected to mention that you’re supposed to get healed…and then leave!”

Could be why so many people stay only two years. They’ve gotten what Maui could offer them, from the sun, the ocean, a major change… and they’re done. Yes, my friend is one of those who feels stuck….bought a home and is self-employed. Now what? (“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device.”)

Realize, too, that each Hawaiian island is different. Each has its own culture; on Oahu it can be a bit easier to assimilate because the military is there, and they are used to outsiders. There are that many more tourists, that many more more people. It’s different on Maui where people who grew up here often have a very negative view of people who move here and “spoil” their island. Caucasians are suspect, because in their history it was the Caucasians who stole their islands from the monarchy. The same person who posted the long comment recently beginning with “You seem to have left a lot out” also said, “Once you submerge yourself into the culture, ‘Welcome to Hawaii…now leave,’ has quite a bit of meaning and truth to it.”

There are those who come here, love it, and would never dream of leaving. And then there are the others, whose dreams go up in (cane) smoke. Food for thought, in case you’re considering checking into The Hotel Maui. (“Last thing I remember, I was running for the door… I had to find the passage back to the place I was before.”)

A hui hou! If you’d like to stay in the loop, please click the Follow button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica