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 Snow in June

Aloha!
Nope, it’s probably not what you think.
Hawaiian Snow is what the locals call the ash from the sugarcane burn. Makes a mess, gets all over everything… your car, your driveway… Inside on your garage floor, on your porch furniture, your sidewalk….your clean laundry on the line. Then if it’s on your car and you open the car door, it blows inside and now it’s on everything inside your car: the seats, the dash, the car mats.
It’s black and greasy and sticks like a son of a gun.

We had Hawaiian snow today. I had to get Mike to the airport, and we didn’t have time to scrub the porches or wash the car before leaving. So as I ran errands after dropping him off, the ash continued to blow inside the car every time I opened the doors. It actually stained the seats. Grrrr.

The snow I pictured in Hawaii was white and you could ski on it, on the Big Island. Not black, tar-like and all over my stuff.

This email arrived today in my inbox:

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Summer school, anyone?

This notice appeared in “Maui Time,” which bills itself as “Maui’s only locally owned independent newspaper” this week:

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They’re getting ready to burn the sugarcane field behind our house in the next few weeks– then we’ll really notice the fallout. Stay tuned for photos of the burn. It’s really quite something to see.

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

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

An Entirely Different Point of View

Aloha!

A reader sent the following letter in regard to this blog. Could be they didn’t read past the Homepage, because in many of my posts I do talk about the hardships on Maui, and the downsides. This reader feels I make it sound like all rainbows to live here…and yet another reader wrote to say I talk too much about the negatives. I do work hard to present a balanced opinion. Here’s the letter:

“You seem to have left a lot out. I lived there for 4 years. It was great, but you sound like a concierge selling the island as usual. You didn’t mention hardly any of the hardships that most everyday people and locals experience… almost everyday. …Yes, Maui is amazing, but you have illustrated an almost whimsical reality. I’ve traveled quite a bit, especially in the states, and everywhere has it’s ups and downs. What you speak of sounds like the ultimate paradise, as if all dreams, goals, and aspirations will occur simply because you moved there. I’m a realist. I have lived there. I love it. I have some great friends, but the reality is, that not everyone’s experience has been so great. Many a local are not simply comforted by having sunshine everyday, or the ocean. In fact, many feel plagued by it at times, as if there was no escape. Many people can’t find the time in between work and family to start the business of their dreams. Many people don’t have union jobs that, let’s face it, are very hard to get released from. Many people look for love on Maui all day long and never find it. Many people work 2-3 jobs, can’t find descent (sic) housing, and get ripped off by the slumlords. Overworked, underpayed, overwhelmed, and overpopulated is just a little something that my local friends want to add into your blog, especially for the newbies. Aloha:)

So, let me know what you think…particularly if you have lived on the island and left. (Some people move here, then leave…then move back again. Sometimes multiple times.) I spoke with my niece’s teacher on the mainland who said, “I used to live in Hawaii. I was so over it by the time I left. Six years was plenty!”

Looking forward to your letters.

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

Everybody Wants a Do-Over

Aloha!
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

You Know it’s Christmas in Hawaii When…

Aloha!

You know it’s Christmas in Hawaii when…

You’re Christmas shopping and it’s 88° outside.

Your Christmas tree is decorated with starfish and mermaids.

Your friends and family hope you’ll send Kona coffee and macadamia nuts as Christmas gifts.

So many people want to stay in your guest room, you could sell lottery tickets.

You have to run the AC while cleaning for said guests, or you’ll drip sweat everywhere.

People here get more excited about Bing Crosby’s song “Mele Kalikmaka” than his version of “White Christmas.”

You jump every time the fire crackers go off in your neighborhood, as locals rev up for their New Year’s Eve extravaganzas.

The geckos are nestled, all snug in your bed.

You can’t wait for Santa to arrive… by canoe!

Instead of snow, you get flash floods, and warnings going off on your cell phone (happened all night last night)…

Mele Kalikimaka! (Merry Christmas) and happy holidays to all of our mauidailyescape readers. Thank you so much for being part of our lives.

If you live here, please share the things you would add to this list! Mahalo.

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

Hawaiian-Style Christmas

Aloha!

Remember the line in the movie “Moonstruck” where Cher slaps Nicholas Cage’s face and says “Snap out of it!” ? Good. Hold that thought.
We had a Christmas party at our house this past weekend with a group of longtime Maui friends. I cleaned, cooked, baked, wrapped, fluffed and planned party games. Everyone arrived at the appointed time and we sat down to eat. So far, so good.
Then it happened. (A Christmas party by any other name….would not be a Christmas party on Maui…) and someone brought up their rat problem.

These friends have a fairly new commercial-grade 6 burner gas oven, and a rat took up residence in it. She said, “Our whole oven smells like rat piss!” (At this point I reminded myself not to eat any baked goods from their house anytime soon). Then she told us of the cure for the rat piss smell: “Basically, you build a fruit salad, add lots of cinnamon sticks and bake it for a really long time.” At first it didn’t work, so they had to start over. I don’t know why these friends have such bad luck with rats, but their last oven also had a rat in it and they ended up throwing it out. (The oven, not the rat.)
Then the conversation turned to cockroaches, and what latest potions and poisons would work to kill them. Before we knew it we were on to centipedes, and the fact that two people at the party had Bug Man and Terminix, yet still get centipedes in their houses all the time. Donna said, “The bug guy was JUST out and I had a centipede in my hall THIS big this morning!” and she splayed her hand as wide as it would go. “Was it the blue and yellow kind?” Amber asked. Because we all know the many varieties, you see.
Then the conversation really got heavy as we moved onto the coqui frog invasion on Maui. Google “Coqui frogs” if you aren’t familiar with this terrible invader. They have basically taken over the Big Island of Hawaii, and then hide in the plants that get shipped out of there from the nurseries, so they encamp to Maui and other outer islands. My friend can’t sleep at night, as the extremely vocal coquis have invaded the gulch by their house. “And do you know that when we call the county to come out and spray, those frogs are smart enough to shut up?” she said.

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Go here for “Coqui frogs up close and loud” at youtube.com
www. http://youtu.be/pxBSQ7sah3I

By now the conversation was just out of control. And I said, “Guys, do you think a Christmas party on the mainland would have any one of these topics?” and they all murmered polite versions of hell no. And I was glad I didn’t have to say, “Snap out of it, it’s supposed to be Christmas.”
But that was our version of a Hawaiian-style Christmas party.

And as we were washing platters and wine glasses and packing up the leftover food later that night, Mike turned me and said, “Now do you see why Hawaiians just have a barbecue and sit around in their garages drinking beer for their holiday parties?”
Good point, Mike. Good point.

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