I Wish You Peace

Aloha!

Many of you have written to ask where the blog has been. Thank you!
To answer, this last half of 2015 has been stuffed full of stress, not the least of which was Mike’s mom being diagnosed with stage – four cancer, then passing away.

Because our plates have been so full, I have been trying to uni- task, instead of multi-task. Can you remember back when we all gave something our full attention instead of scattershot one-eye-on-the-ball attention? I do. I remember that feeling in the distant past… and I’m trying to find it again.

I also know (from taking care of my ailing parents and being Executor of their estate) that it really only takes one major incident for life to slide off the plate. The last five years have been like a fire drill for us, in that four parents passed away… and we really need to regroup. Interestingly, this has been the same time period since I started writing this blog.

I really appreciate all the interest you have shown in the blog. Thank you for writing, for asking, for caring. I will get it back up and running when life calms down a little.

Because no matter what, no matter what the movies would have us believe….no matter how beautiful the scenery is on “Hawaii 5-0”, life on Maui and on all the islands, is still REAL LIFE. A friend who lived here for six years, and then moved away, made this comment: “People really have themselves talked into believing that if they could just move to Hawaii life would be PERFECT. No more worries, no more stress, just a kicked – back lifestyle where life is just really good. But that’s not the reality. People still get really sick here, people still die here, people lose their jobs here, people get eaten by sharks here!” (I had to laugh about that last part!)

So wherever you are during this holiday season, I wish you peace. I hope that you can stop for a moment during this busy, busy time and truly appreciate what you have been given…particularly those you hold dear.

May 2016 bring you joy.

Aloha, Jamaica

Hawaiian Pidgin 101

Aloha!

Here is a little primer for you the next time you are standing in line at Longs drugstore in Hawaii, listening to pidgin fly between the cashier and a customer. (Did you know that all the Longs stores changed their name to CVS except in Hawaii? It was such a long-standing institution here, they must have figured there would be a revolt. I’m a bit surprised that Walgreens dipped their toe in the water here, because the locals are so loyal to Longs drugs.)

So here’s your primer:

image

Aloha, and happy shopping!

Jamaica

Hawaii vs. Chicago Winter Humor

Aloha!

Just sharing a little winter humor…I grew up just outside Chicago, so I GET it. What about you? (With thanks to Linda Koukis. Edited for Hawaii…)

THE WINDY CITY TEMPERATURE CONVERSION CHART
70° F: People in Hawaii shiver uncontrollably; people in Chicago are still sunbathing.
60° F: Hawaiians wish they had furnaces; people in Chicago go swimming.
50° F Hawaiians don coats, thermal underwear, gloves and wool hats; people in Chicago throw on a light jacket.
40° F: All the plants in Hawaii die; Chicagoans plant gardens.
20° F: Hawaiian’s cars won’t start; people in Chicago drive with the windows down.
15° F: People in Chicago have the last cookout before it gets cold.
0° F: All the people in Hawaii have frostbite. Chicagoans close the windows.
10° below zero: Hawaiians move en masse to Las Vegas. The Girl Scouts in Chicago are selling cookies door to door.
25° below zero: Hawaii evaporates; people in Chicago get out their winter coats.
40° below zero: Washington, DC runs out of hot air; people in Chicago finally let the dog sleep indoors.
100° below zero: Santa Claus abandons the North Pole. Chicagoans get frustrated because they can’t start ‘DA car.’
460° below zero: All atomic motion stops (absolute zero on the Kelvin scale); people in Chicago start saying, ‘cold ’nuff for ya?’
500° below zero: Hell freezes over. The Cubs win the World Series.

Keep smiling! (And stay warm).
A hui hou! If you’d like subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner on the Homepage.
Mahalo for reading along!

Aloha, Jamaica

Luau Feet

Luau Feet

Aloha!

Do you know what luau feet are? It’s the term used in Hawaii to describe flat feet caused from wearing rubber slippers (“rubbah slippahs” in pidgin, thongs or flip-flops on the mainland.) Mike has flat feet. Until he saw my feet with their impossibly high arch, he didn’t even know feet were supposed to have an arch. And the first time I heard someone local refer to slippahs, I was confused and thought they meant house shoes. Slippers. This gives you just a tiny peek into the confusion that reigns supreme in our household.

Right now I am in mourning. I lost one of my best rubbah slippahs. And I had only worn them twice! I had been looking for this pair for about five years. “Reef” makes a certain type of very cushioned flip-flop with a soft fabric band between the toes. They became very hard to find… and I was even more specifically looking for BROWN ones. I finally found them in a tiny shop on the North Shore of Oahu. I was as excited as if someone had given me a diamond ring. Then the proprietor told me the bad news: Reef was discontinuing these! How could this be? They’re so comfortable.

I read that podiatrists say if you’re going to wear rubber slippers, that it should be these cushioned Reefs. I could walk all day in them and my feet don’t hurt. Podiatrists are not fans of flip-flops. Besides leaving your feet vulnerable to injury from stepping on sharp objects or getting stepped on themselves, flip-flops offers little support, slip off easily while walking, and can actually affect your gait–making you vulnerable to potential heel, arch, and back pain, plus putting you at higher risk for fractures. If you’re going to wear them at all, foot doctors caution, you should not wear flip-flops for long periods of time.

Like Jimmy Buffett mourning his blown-out flip-flop in “Margaritaville”, I feel the loss of my brown Reef. The crazy thing is, I cleaned out my closet and suddenly it was gone. Just ONE of them! (Another instance of getting organized and then not being able to find anything. Does this happen to you, too?) Reefs aren’t cheap, plus now these are discontinued. I don’t know how I’m going to replace this thing.

There was a time in my life when I would’ve been coveting the latest fall shoes in October. Instead here I am, just wanting a good rubber slipper.

Some funny stories we have had with rubber slippers: I always take my shoes off in the car. One time we got to a store and when I looked on the floor, one of my slippers was missing. They’re so light, I must’ve kicked it out at the last stop. So back we drove to the Ross parking lot, circled around a couple of times, and there it was. Mike stopped, and I jumped out and retrieved my rubber slipper. This explains why you see so many orphaned rubber slippers in the road and on the sidewalks in Hawaii.

Another time Mike was surfing in Lahaina and left his slippers on the shore as he paddled out. When he came back in, his nice rubber slippers were missing and had been replaced with a pair of “Locals” a very cheap rubber slipper from Longs. To add insult to injury, the end of the slipper had been chopped off with a pair of scissors, like it had been too big for the wearer. Possibly a hand-me-down from an older brother! Mike was not a happy camper.

Then we were at a party on Oahu, and the people had a new dog. Out of the whole pile of slippahs left by the door (removed when entering the house, local-style),the dog chose to chew Mike’s rubber slipper, which happened to be new. But what can you do, besides laugh!

So, how often do you wear flip-flops? Have you had foot problems related to them? Let us know in the comments section.

A hui hou! If you’d like to have this blog delivered to your in-box, please click the Follow button on the Homepage. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

It’s a Whole Different World in Hawaii

Weather in Maui today: Abundant sunshine. High around 85F. Winds NE at 20 to 30 mph

It’s a Whole Different World in Hawaii

Please Note: This post was published two days before Andy Griffith passed away. Weird timing. RIP, Ange. “Andy Griffith Dead at 86”.

Aloha!

Recognize the guy in the image above? Good ol’ Barney from the Andy Griffith show. There’s a magic show in Lahaina called Warren and Annabelle’s, and the magician, Warren, is from North Carolina. So the running schtick of the evening is that we are in “Mayberry” and he assigns show names to audience members who participate, such as “Goober” “Andy” and “Ain’t Bee” (sic).  To show you that it’s a whole different world in Hawaii http://www.warrenandannabelles.com/ I will tell you about our time there. First of all, Warren is an amazing magician and great comedian. As a concierge, I sent guests from the hotel there constantly, telling them. “you will laugh till your sides hurt.” The first time Mike and I went, I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes as Warren managed to make the Goober character look ridiculous, and Aunt Bee found someone else’s watch in her purse from across the room.

I noticed as the evening went on that Mike wasn’t laughing. I thought maybe he didn’t feel well. The whole audience would erupt and he would just sit there, stony faced. I decided to not let it bother me and just enjoy the evening. Afterwards as we were walking out I said, “Don’t you feel well?” No, he felt fine. “Then why weren’t you laughing with the rest of us?” He looked at me with a strange expresion and said he had no idea what Warren was talking about up there. “What’s a Goober?” he asked.

It took a moment for this to compute. “You mean you never saw The Andy Griffith Show? http://www.imayberry.com/. Uncomfortable silence. Andy? Barney? Opie? You know, Ron Howard as a kid? http://twitter.com/RealRonHoward/ By now he had that deer in the headlights look which I had come to know meant I was traveling dangerous ground that was no doubt rooted in a Hawaii upbringing. He does not find this amusing.

After a little more careful prodding he admitted: “We didn’t get TV out on the North Shore.” (He grew up on Oahu.) “The mountains were in the way and we couldn’t get the signal.”

You know the sound of a needle scratching across a record? That was my brain. I had been together with this man for how many years now….and hadn’t managed to stumble across this piece of information? Don’t get me wrong…Mike has been around the world twice, surfing (it didn’t hurt that he had a brother who worked for Pan Am and back then immediate family could fly for free!) so it isn’t like he’d never been off the island. It’s just his experience of living on an island and the gaps in his popular culture knowledge that amaze me. “What the heck did you do at night?” I asked. “Slept!” he said. “I’d been up since dawn surfing.”

I envy Mike his childhood in Hawaii. It’s as near-perfect a childhood I’ve ever heard anyone describe, filled with the ocean, water sports, sunshine, cutting school to go surfing (with little to no reprecussions!) going barefoot to school, and sneaking out at night to go down to the beach. He has an impressive collection of  “floats” : Japanese fishing floats made of what we think of today as sea-glass, light blue and sea-green, some of them still wrapped in the thick twine used to hold them to the line. http://www.glassfloatjunkie.com/They are some of his most precious possesions, and it’s rare to find them intact anymore, at least in Hawaii. Note the rolling pin shape, or “roller”:

Mike found these on the beach in Kailua, where he grew up. If you’d like to learn more about these floats, go to  http://home.comcast.net/~4miller/aboutfloats/about.html

In the inverse of the way Mike’s never seen a raccoon, chipmunk or snake (three staples of my Indiana upbringing) he can go into the jungle in Hawaii and name every tree, plant and berry…and know which ones are safe to eat. If I were ever to get shipwrecked on a deserted island, he’s the guy I’d want to have along. He’d have a wild pig caught and roasting over a fire on a spit in the time it would take me to figure out which way was North.

Just don’t ask him to name the guy in the picture at the top of this post.

A hui hou (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Thanks for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica

Name that Wind

Aloha!

Many people write to tell me they want to move to Maui. One of the ways to be sure where you want to live is to sleep around (the island, that is). I have friends who came to Maui on vacation numerous times and each time stayed on a different part of the island to get a feel for where they would want to live. Seemed like a good plan. When I met them, they said they had ruled out Pukalani because it has “wind like a freight train.” I just wish I’d met them before I moved to Pukalani.

The Italians have eight words for wind. Vento is one of them. Then there is the French mistral. What we need is a name like that just for the Pukalani wind. Pukalani means “hole in the sky” or literally, beautiful hole in the sky…which means we get lots of sunshine, as opposed to Kula and Olinda (up the mountain) which are often shrouded in the clouds, and I love that about Pukalani. When I met Mike he owned a house in Kula and when you opened the windows up there, the clouds literally blew right through the house. It was beautiful to watch them. The downside to that was that everything he had smelled like mold, and he had bronchitis repeatedly. I said no thank you.

When we built our house in Pukalani, we lived first in a rental, and it was a mile away. Talk about micro-climates…I didn’t know Pukalani had the wind (please name that wind) because the rental was one mile up, toward Kula. (There is also a  wind line in Kaanapali, right at the stoplight at Kai Ala drive. Anything north of there means wind. Like Kapalua.) So we built, and one of the guys we hired to help work on the house casually mentioned the wind. As in “It’s gonna blow every single day because of the convection effect with the mountain.” Seems that the mountain literally pulls the wind up, my guess is from Maalaea (which deserves it’s own special name for wind down there, whatever Hawaiian words that mean “wind from hell’.) I just didn’t realize this was going to be a daily occurance, I thought it was a fluke type of thing.

My next door neighbor said it blew so long one time he thought he was going to lose his mind. I understand now, having lived here since 2002. If I known I would have positioned the overhead garage door differently, it’s just a big open invitation to red dirt every time we open it. That goes for our front door as well as the kitchen door…each time they’re opened everything on the kitchen table, on the counter, on the desk, blows all over tarnation. It’s a paper chase to pin things down, paper weight them. It’s like a sitcom where the same thing happens over and over. And if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, I guess I’m insane.

Or need to stop going in and out of my house.

A hui hou, (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

You know you live in Hawaii when…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when…

  • You find a dead gecko in your toaster in the morning and a slimy black lizard in your bed at night. The lizard was the hardest. I was dead asleep and felt something in the small of my back. Groggily I put my hand under there and it came up full of lizard. The geckos I don’t mind, but those black lizards look and move like snakes. I screeched loud enough to wake Pele.
  •  You get into your closed car on a summer day and your sunglasses steam up when you put them on. Now that’s hot.
  • If the menu lists macaroni salad as a vegetable, you know you’re in Hawaii. Locals go to the mainland and complain, “How come they no get plate lunch heah?” Plate lunches (with minor variations of meat) are: teriyaki beef or teriyaki chicken with two large scoops of rice and macaroni salad. They LOVE their starch.
  • You’re at the beach and there are chickens running around.
  • Everywhere you go people are eating and partying in their garages and car ports, not inside the house.
  • A local family has built a barn, planted a large tree or otherwise blocked out entirely their stunning view, completely oblivious. Meanwhile, the haoles are howling if someone plants a twig in front of a view they paid dearly for.
  • Termites are eating everything you own no matter what “guaranteed” method you used to control them. Our neighbors down the street tore down their thirty-year-old house and built another right on the same spot because the termites were eating it to the ground. Also, there are no Antiques stores on Maui. There’s a reason for that: the termites ate everything long ago.

A hui hou! (til next time). Thought for the day: There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

Aloha, Jamaica