Michelle Obama Visits Oprah on Maui

Aloha!
Just in case you haven’t heard –because you haven’t dug out from under that snowdrift yet– Michelle Obama is visiting Oprah Winfrey on Maui.

I love how the news sources get it wrong. Breitbart.com said that Mrs. Obama was partying at “Oprah’s Maui Beach House.” And yet Oprah’s house is nowhere near the beach. It is a ranch. A ranch on the side of Haleakala Mountain. Oprah can see the water, yes, but she is not at the beach. (See this blog’s Post “Where Does Oprah Live on Maui?” Nov.25, 2012.)

The news first hit here on Maui because a man trying to take his normal bike route near Oprah’s house was blocked by Secret Service agents and alerted The Maui News. (http://www.mauinews.com)

White House reports indicate the First Lady stayed behind this week in Hawaii to chill out with friends before her 50th birthday. Sources with direct knowledge tell TheDC that the First Lady is relaxing in Maui at Oprah’s estate with CBS’ Gayle King, Valerie Jarrett and Sharon Malone, who is Attorney General Eric Holder’s wife.

“Yesterday, we saw bomb-sniffing dogs and Maui police in the bushes,” Heather Long, the manager of nearby Grandma’s Coffeehouse, told The Dailey Caller. “We’re very close to Oprah’s property. They’ll probably walk up and down the road.”

Winfrey stops by the coffee shop regularly, but employees “try to not to make it a big deal,” Long said.

http://www.Oprah.com says this of the Hawaii home:

Once an ordinary little gray ranch that Oprah saw “for less than 10 minutes” and considered a tear-down, Oprah’s Hawaiian home has been transformed into the perfect 21st-century farmhouse, with great pieces of folk art, beautifully embroidered curtains, comfortable furniture, and inviting colors:

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Michelle Obama’s extended stay is reportedly part of a birthday gift from the President. The Obama daughters headed home to Washington. A birthday weekend without the children…sounds like Mrs. Obama needed some R&R.

And what better place to get it than here on Maui, land of plumeria breezes and sunsets that make you feel like you’re at the center of the earth?

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

Aloha, Jamaica

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The Real Reason I Live on Maui

Aloha!
So here it is, the REAL reason, above all others, that I live on Maui. My sister, who still lives where I grew up in Indiana (and teaches at our same junior high), sent this to me this morning. My teeth chatter just thinking about it:

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To all of you in the Midwest and on the East Coast battling this type of weather, please stay warm, and stay safe on the roads out there.

Have a cup of hot chocolate and think of me…I will soon be deluged with letters from people asking me questions on “How to Move to Maui.” (See FAQ’s on Moving to Maui).

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along. If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Smokin’ New Year on Maui!

Aloha!
If you’ve ever been to Maui for New Year’s Eve, you know that the celebratory fireworks are even bigger than Fourth of July here. I’m talking legal at-home fireworks. The air in our neighborhood was so thick that we couldn’t see, as a neighbor and his buddies set off firecrackers, etc. for four hours (I’m pretty sure that copious amounts of alcohol were involved) and we stayed inside with all the windows closed and the air conditioner on (I have asthma and am no fun when I can’t breathe). Since we don’t have a fireplace, of course, we made a picnic supper on the coffee table and lit candles and told New Year’s Eve stories. Then we started a new tradition: we lit a pillar candle, our “New Year’s Eve Candle” and everybody made a wish, and we all blew it out at the same time.

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2013 was the Year of the Shark on Maui. And Same-Sex Marriage, and a new group called SHAKA (opposing Monsanto GMO’s) and…Shopping!

There were numerous sharks sightings on Maui but in August, visitor Jana Lutteropp, 20, from Germany, was bitten in south Maui waters and died a week later. It was the first shark bite fatality in about a decade. Then in December, kayaker Patrick A. Briney died after a shark bit the foot he had dangling in the water while fishing with a friend.

Environmentalists think the exhaustion of the food supply due to overfishing has caused the predators to move into shallower waters, while the followers of the “old knowledge” say the sharks, a potent Hawaiian aumakau (family god), are a symbol or omen that call attention to desecration of Hawaii’s land and ocean resources.

The attack on Briney came three days after an unidentified woman was attacked (but survived) at Keawakapu Beach about five miles to the north. This presents a worrisome trend: There have been at least eight shark attacks around Maui in 2013, with 13 shark attacks overall reported around the state, according to state data and recent reports.
Attacks in Hawaii have risen sharply over the last two years compared with the last decade, when Hawaii saw only one fatality, in 2004.

In 2013, Maui victims have been attacked while swimming, snorkeling, surfing, and now kayaking. “We are not sure why these bites are occurring more frequently than normal, especially around Maui,” Hawaii Land and Natural Resources Director William Aila Jr. told the Associated Press. “That’s why we are conducting a two-year study of shark behavior around Maui that may give us better insights.” http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-maui-shark-attack-20131203,0,457677.story#ixzz2onWTovvb.

As for Same-Sex Marriage in Hawaii, in November, the House passed SB1, the Same-Sex Marriage Law, and the Senate followed, to the chagrin of some and celebration of others…but not without a whole lot of shoutin’ and fightin’ going on all along the way.

The SHAKA group: Monsanto was in the news frequently, in regard to what the heck they are growing on Maui and what anyone can do about it. An article in the Maui Weekly said it best: “Who could have guessed that a generation that ingested practically every known chemical substance in their youth would, as they aged, suddenly converge on food safety as a major threat to public health? But that indeed was the big story of the year.

The GMO (genetically modified organism) protests drew the largest crowds seen on Maui in recent years, and larger, louder gatherings throughout the state. The show of force gave credibility to the existence of a broad base of support.

On Maui alone, there were three different mass marches, with a very large and vocal contingent of “Mother Power.” The moms and their kids in strollers, wagons and on foot were highly visible at all the local events.

There were marches through the spring and summer, and by year’s end, a new group called the SHAKA Movement (Sustainable Hawaiian Agriculture for the Keiki and the ‘Aina) announced that they would put a GMO moratorium on the Maui General Election ballot in 2014.”

And finally, Shopping: a new outlet mall in Lahaina! Mauians will now have more choices and may even save a few pennies. The Mall is located behind Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse Lahaina, where the Front Street Cinema used to be (it’s now a Gap.)

If you seriously want to know everything that went on on Maui this past year, you can see more at: http://mauiweekly.com/page/content.detail/id/532057/Year-End-Wrap–GMOs–Boldface-Names—Shark-Bites.html?nav=13#sthash.cJCCC9kM.dpuf

And also: mauitime.com

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

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)
Aloha, Jamaica

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New FAQ’s on Maui

Aloha!
Ta-da! There is something new at Mauidailyescape.com. So many readers have been writing to ask questions about moving to Maui that I was spending hours each week answering individual letters. So instead, I spent a few hours compiling “FAQ’s on Moving to Maui” (frequently asked questions). You’ll find the Tab at the top of each page.

It’s my Christmas gift to you (and myself!) because this leaves more time to post on this blog. And I will continue to post new questions as people ask me, so check back on the FAQ’s once in a while. Today I just added a section on “Questions to Ask Yourself Before Selling Everything and Moving” at the bottom of the FAQ’s…so Janet and Gaylynn, those are for you!

The Tab that was called “Moving to Maui” (my own story )is now called “Unexpected Paradise.”

Readers, please do me a favor and take a moment to share how you found this blog, so I can see what I’m doing right….what were your Search terms that led you here?

As always, thank you for your interest in the blog…thank you for your very kind words and comments on how the blog is helping to expand your view of Hawaii and Maui. I appreciate you all, and look forward to sharing the islands with you in 2014. And I ask that if you enjoy mauidailyescape.com, that you’ll please tell a friend!

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

Warm Aloha, Jamaica

Only in Hawaii…

Aloha!

Let me just say, you chase your tail a lot when you live in Hawaii. Here’s my recent example: I got dinged with a library book fine for “having SAND in the plastic book cover.” You know, like I’d toted it to the beach.

Two problems: I never took the book out of the library. And, there was no way to pay the fine!

Yes, I checked the book out. But I was leaving on a trip… So I walked it from check out to book return, all within one minute. So how exactly did I get sand in this book cover? Yet a very formal (threatening) letter arrived from the State of Hawaii about this fine, and it was all of two dollars! As in, they spent almost in much in postage as the fine would be.

And here was the major catch: the book was from the Pearl City library (books are shipped for free interisland, it just takes a month or so to get them) and there was no way to pay the fine, because the fine had to be paid IN PERSON. I live on Maui, Pearl City is on Oahu, do we see the problem here? I could not mail a check, mail cash, or do it by credit card.

So I drove down to the Kahului library, and had a meeting with the librarian, who told me to write a letter in return and plead my case. For TWO DOLLARS?

I have to laugh, because this is one of those going-around-in circles things that happens when you live in Hawaii. For the most part, the government says no to everything….It was easier for them, back in plantation days, when people were illiterate, or did not speak the language well, to JUST SAY NO to everything! (way before Nancy Reagan jumped on the bandwagon.)
Just try to get a building permit here, for example. The immediate answer will be no, and they will make it about as difficult as you can imagine.

And so it is that they make it impossible to pay a library fine, (for SAND in the book cover) yet are perfectly willing to lend books to another island such as Maui.

Only in Hawaii…

For the record, that major fee was waived after they put an inspector on the case, and determined that YES! the book never left the library under my name. And how much do we think this inspector cost the State? Absolutely archaic. Shake your head and laugh so you don’t bang it against the nearest wall.

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along! If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica

Local Style Partying

Aloha!

So what do the locals do with all their STUFF–since they’re busy having parties in their garages? (Or maybe it’s that haoles just own too much STUFF.)

It was interesting when first moving here to drive around and see people partying in their garages. I mean, even just Friday night barbecues… They open up the garage door, put a picnic table inside, and BAM, a party. And my questions are always the same:

What about having it INSIDE the house? Hmmm?
And who was the first person who ever decided that the garage was an ideal place to get happy?
And where IS all their stuff?

We couldn’t possibly have a party in our garage…at least not one that wouldn’t depress everybody, as they squeezed between the pile of windsurfing boards and the broken vacumn cleaner that (somebody) in the household just can’t bear to toss.

If I have a party in my garage next Friday, will you come?

It’s one of those great mysteries of life….in Hawaii.

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Life is Short. Play Hard.

Aloha!

I met my friend, world – class swimmer Suzanne Heim-Bowen, when she came to Maui to compete in the Maui Channel Swim (Lanai to Maui) a few years ago. Mike has served as an escort boat Captain for the teams every Labor Day weekend for twenty years, and Suzanne and I were seated next to each other at the awards banquet.

Suzanne has set three world records in swimming, all after the age of 50. Recently, Deborah J. McDonald made a lively documentary about her, called “The 50-year-old Freshman” (which keeps winning awards):

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What I find especially interesting is that Suzanne was also the first person to swim the Bay-to-Breakers in San Francisco Bay, a treacherous 10 mile swim in 56° water from the Bay Bridge, across the Bay, under the Golden Gate Bridge, and beyond. She was the first person… And she was 24 years old.

So what this means, is that Suzanne has been setting amazing goals, and reaching them, her entire adult life. She just keeps raising the bar higher.

Suzanne was inducted into the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame, and has swum the English-Channel twice. She’s a polar-bear swimmer in San Francisco Bay, and I’ve sat in the nice, cozy Dolphin Club and watched from a large window as she swam toward Alcatraz in weather that had me wearing a winter coat.

Suzanne set the three world records for women 50-54 in the 200, 400, and 800 meter free. At 50 years old she swam 18:32 in the 1500 M, and broke her own world record by 13 seconds.

Suzanne is warm, funny, and crazy – smart. She is one of my favorite people. Her motto: Life is short. Play hard.

We’ve been talking about dreams here at Mauidailyescape.com. Check out “The 50-year-old Freshman” documentary on Amazon. If you’re a person who automatically thinks “documentary”: dry, boring… This is not. I think you’ll really enjoy it, and even if you’re not a swimmer, it will get your wheels spinning for the next dream in your life…

Note: This Sunday,on the OWN network, Oprah Winfrey interviews Diana Nyad, the swimmer who was 64 when she became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage in under 53 hours. How’s that for a goal?

A hui hou! Mahalo for reading along… If you would like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button on the Homepage.

Aloha, Jamaica