You Know You Live in Hawaii When….

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when….

The wedding reception you attend for your coworker likely takes place in a backyard, and involves a goat on a spit and a karaoke machine. Saying no to singing is not an option.

No matter how old the workers in your office are, they call their supervisors Auntie or Uncle.

You never leave home without a cooler in your trunk in case you decide to stop at the store. It’s so hot, the food is history otherwise.

You know they burn sugarcane February through December and that’s been the schedule for well over 130 years.

You hear word of a dock strike and immediately head to Costco to stock up on toilet paper and rice.

You give directions by saying “mauka” (mountain) or “makai” (water).

You serve both potatoes and rice at a dinner party because someone might get offended if there’s no rice.

When you’re invited to someone’s home you take food, and lots of it, even if they tell you not to.

You wouldn’t dream of entering someone’s home with your shoes on.

You know what an opihi picker does, and why it’s dangerous.

You’ve seen a Moonbow and can explain what it is.

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

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Last Ride

Aloha!

When I was still thinking about moving to Hawaii, I was curious to know everything about the lives of people who lived here. What did the inside of their homes look like? What was Christmas like? Other life events?

One life event that has happened much too often for us lately is a funeral, both here and on the mainland. The mainland funerals (for young and old alike) are somber affairs, held in churches or mortuaries, and everyone dresses up in their best black.

On Maui, we’ve been to two funerals in two years. One was a rodeo. (Upcountry, of course.) They strapped the cremated remains to a bull, slapped it on the rump, and off it went, bucking… “Bully’s last ride.”

This week, another. He died while enjoying an extreme sport. These adrenaline-junkie guys (and Mike is one of them), would rather go out doing what they love, than any other way. The service was held outside on a dreary, crisp day at an Upcountry property, with a number of white tents set up. The attendees, most between the ages of 25 and 35, also extreme-sport addicts, talked of their own near-misses. A funeral is sobering that way.

These bronzed, gorgeous Adonis’s and goddesses, every one of them with ripped, perfectly toned bodies– milled about, including two lactating mothers, who kept pulling out the feeding stations (with no coverage.) The women all had that just-rolled-out-of-bed- but-still-looks-perfect long hair. Their clothing was hippie-chic, and many were barefoot, even in the chill. Those who weren’t, tended toward the kind of hand-tooled leather boots one could find only in Italy. The guys wore tone-on-tone Tommy Bahama silk shirts. (The Hawaiian floral shirt is so over.)

Many in the young crowd looked as though they might have Trust funds and subsist on seaweed and fresh Alaskan salmon; the ultimate picture of health, except for the copious amounts of alcohol being consumed.

The pastor arrived two hours late–on Maui time. (Plenty of time to drink before the food could be blessed.) People stood around as Pastor blew the conch shell, gave a short talk, and then played the ukulele, as a few sang “Hawaii Aloha.” It was a perfect example of old-timers versus newcomers. Only the people who had grown up in Hawaii, like Mike, and had learned this song in school, knew the words. The rest of us stood silent. No, “Please get out your hymnal and turn to page 131” here.

A makeshift altar held the box with the ashes, draped with fragrant leis:

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The buffet table offered lomi-lomi salmon, sashimi, fish, and pulled pork for lettuce cups. And all that alcohol.

The day grew colder and the clouds enveloped us. It’s an eerie feeling to stand inside the clouds Upcountry. Gray, moist, and heavy, they fall over you like a blanket.

It was time to head back down the mountain. To sunshine and warmth and home.

Together.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

You Know You Live in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know you live in Hawaii when…

It’s warm enough to swim in the ocean every single day. (But beware: by the third year your blood has thinned and you don’t think that anymore…in the same way you look for a jacket if it dips below 70 degrees).

You know what Saimin, Shoyu and go-aheads are (noodle dish, soy sauce and rubbah slippahs).

You have never seen so many feral cats in your life.

It seems that every single dog up for adoption at the Humane Society is a Pitbull.

About the time you get really attached to a new restaurant, it’s already out of business.

Chickens live at the beach.

It’s too hot to turn the oven on to make a turkey on Thanksgiving, so you dig an imu pit in the backyard.

There’s a cockroach floating in the chicken soup you’re making…and you only turned your back for a second!

You know what apple bananas are. And now you won’t eat the other kind.

Your turn…what says “Hawaii” to you? Please share!

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right corner of the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

How for speak Pidgin

Aloha!

As I get settled back into the way of life on Maui after being gone for so long, I thought I would share with you one of the major differences between the mainland and here. It’s a funny and very true depiction of speaking pidgin.

If you’re trying to keep up while watching it, think, that’s how it would be if you lived in Hawaii!

Enjoy!
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GLmfQSR3EI0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DGLmfQSR3EI0

Aloha, Jamaica

43 Days of Vog and Counting

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43 Days of Vog and Counting

Aloha!

I have written about Vog before–it’s an acronym for Volcanic Organic Gas, and it’s sulfur, so it’s a poison. It is also a particulate which lodges in the lungs. This gas escapes from the volcano on the Big Island, and when our trade winds are working the way they’re supposed to, they keep that nasty stuff over on the Big Island.

Lately, though, the winds have died more often than they’ve blown (climate change?) and we have major Vog here on Maui. 43 days with nary a let-up, but who’s counting? Just because I don’t go outside except to go to the grocery store, and I live in Paradise? I have asthma, and I can’t breathe from it, but it’s more than that. Being a poisonous gas, it causes a variety of problems such as burning, itchy eyes; sore throat, concentration problems, and achiness like the flu. 

Above is a photo of the valley with Vog, and under it a  photo of the valley with no Vog. It’s difficult to photograph because, well, it’s a gas. The most telling feature of this photo is the direction the smoke is blowing from the smokestacks at the Puunene sugar mill. If the smoke were blowing to the left, the winds would be coming from the east. But they are blowing “backwards,” from the south. We call this Kona winds, and they didn’t use to be that big a deal, it blew that way for just a month or two in the wintertime. In fact, winter was known as Kona season.

However, it is no longer “winter” here, it is past Easter, and I am quite distressed. This has been going on for a few years now, ever since a new vent opened in the volcano. The shelf (rim) of the volcano has been a collapsing at the rate of the size of a Volkswagen bus per day. When the shelf hits bottom it goes “pooff” and out comes the gas. Oh, joy.

43 days of being cooped up in the house, and I live  in Paradise. But who’s counting?

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page.

Aloha, Jamaica

 

Because Suze Orman Said So

Aloha!

Many of you have written to me saying you’re planning to move to Maui this June… must be something in the air. And of course the price of Paradise always enters the conversation when people plan to move here.

I never had facts and figures to back up how much more expensive Paradise is, until now. In the recent Oprah Magazine a woman wrote to financial guru Suze Orman to talk about budgeting, and she is living in Hawaii. Suze wrote back to question the wisdom of living in a place that is 55% higher than the mainland for necessities like gas, groceries, and utilities.

So there you have it. Paradise is 55% higher because Suze Orman said so. Now we can all quit wondering.

I spent this winter in northern California, taking care of my mother’s estate after she passed away. There were three people living in the house. And California was having the coldest winter anyone could remember for ages, which meant I was running the furnace all the time.

The  utility bill in California (for three people) was $310 per month cheaper than my house in Maui (for four people), with no furnace running.

And then there are the groceries. In California, I fairly skip down the grocery aisles, tossing things into my cart with abandon. Everything is about one third, to half the price, as Maui. It’s all relative, whatever you are used to. I’m sure the people in California don’t think their groceries are cheap.

The price of paradise is steep. The difference is, I did not get to wake up to blinding sunshine every single day in California like I do in Maui.

It really is all relative…

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the homepage.


Aloha, Jamaica

Fall for Maui

Fall for Maui

Aloha!

It doesn’t seem like there would be much change in seasons in Hawaii, and it’s very subtle, but it is there. Especially in Upcountry Maui. On the mainland I always enjoyed the change of seasons… Getting out all of the fall decorations, the Halloween decorations, the Thanksgiving decorations… And the places to buy them were of course, endless.

Not so on Maui. Stores such as Walmart or Kmart only bring so much in to the island per season, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. So if you go to Ben Franklin Crafts and see something you like, you’d better buy it now. You also learn to improvise with what nature provides on Maui. In the same way that I might have gathered Fall-colored leaves in California, here I gather Fall-colored shells to make my dining room table centerpiece:

Our mango tree in the backyard also provides a clue that fall is here on Maui. If you look closely in this photo you’ll see that we have older yellow leaves dropping, healthy older dark green leaves, light green brand-new leaves coming in, and to top it all off: it’s flowering with new fruit (that’s the brown  fuzzy-stuff).

Mango Tree on Maui

What this means is there’s never a good time to prune a tree in Hawaii. Our citrus tree in the front yard does the same thing. It’s a tree that’s been grafted with tangerines, tangelos, and oranges on the same tree. The tree has become enormous because there is constantly a cycle of new leaves and new fruit. When the heck do you prune, without losing fruit?

It’s also a season of harvest here. We have more apple bananas (the very sweet ones that taste more like a pear) than we know what to do with. This morning I grilled bananas on the griddle when I made the french toast. Every morning we have smoothies with two bananas in them. We hang the bunch from a rafter in the garage to keep the rats out of them:

And why yes, that IS a surfboard hanging there in the rafters too. Thanks for asking. And that second refrigerator in the background is not a “beer frig”, because in Maui almost all dry goods have to be refrigerated or use lose them to bugs. So that frig has flour, sugar, bread crumbs, bread, cornmeal, etc. in it. If you don’t refrigerate your bread, it can mold in a day or two.

The other bounty we can barely keep up with is the lilikois (also known as passion fruit). Here is a few days’ worth that have been gathered:

It doesn’t help to call my friends and ask if they’d like some fruit, because they have the same problem. So I’ve taken to hauling fruit to Kahului when I go down the hill, and giving it away. Yesterday a doctor got eight apple bananas in a brown bag. He is a fierce Korean guy who pretty much scares me spitless. I gave him the bananas and he lit up. As he was leaving the room he said “This will be my lunch” and I teased him and said, “Hey, I know you have children!” and he just laughed, because those kids weren’t getting any of those bananas. That’s the first time I’ve heard him laugh! Food, the universal language.

Here’s a recipe for Lilikoi Martinis. My thanks to Shel and Clay Simpson for turning us on to these intoxicating gems.

Lilikoi Martini

1 ounce (a shot-glass) of lilikoi juice

1 ounce of Vanilla Vodka (I’m a wuss and use half that amount)

Fill a glass with ice. Shake the above two ingredients together, add to glass, then top it off with ice-cold water.

I get creative and substitute out recipes that involve lemon juice, such as a Lemontini or Lemon Drop. So, to the above recipe I will also add a little St. Germain (YUM) and substitute club soda or seltzer water for the plain water.

Next time you get your hands on some lilikoi juice, enjoy a martini. You can possibly find the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley lilkoi puree in your gourmet grocer’s freezer section. And if anyone has figured out a fool-proof method for pruning the ever-flowering fruit trees in Hawaii, give a shout.

A hui hou! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the Follow button on the Home Page. Mahalo for stopping by!

Aloha, Jamaica