Treasure Trove of Surfing Photos

Aloha!

So Mike made the LA Times today, on the front page of the Local section… it can be searched under “A wistful wave to the past.” It is a famous vintage photo of him surfing, and it is also featured in Krista Comer’s book: “Surfer Girls in the New World Order.” Photo by Tom Keck. Here is the link:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-adv-surfing-photo-archive-pictures,0,5720568.photogallery

Try also: latimes.com/news/local/la-me-surf-photos-20130616,0,1679754

So proud of his contribution to the sport, and to the world of surfing… Enjoy the article.

Aloha, Jamaica

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The Road not Taken

Maui Weather Today: High of 85. Low of 72.

The Road Not Taken…in Maui

Aloha!

My niece Alyssa just graduated from high school. This is what I will tell her:

When you move to Maui, it’s a pretty sure bet that you are not one to follow the crowd. This sounds counter-intuitive, I know, since the crowd thinks it wants to live here. But to actually leave your home, your family, and move to Maui is something entirely different. Now you’re walking the walk, not just talking the talk. I sorta envy those who grew up here..they have such close family ties. I miss my family and thought they would visit much more often than they do.  But it’s a different world now, it’s expensive to fly, it’s expensive just to get by.

All I knew was that I wanted to live somewhere warm. I was sick of being cold my whole childhood and I was determined to do whatever it took to leave the Chicago area. First I moved to California. Then to Hawaii. Everyone wants to know: how can you afford to live there? How can you own a house? They write to me and ask me that.  I once saw an interview with Michael J. Fox where he talked about the concept of “selling your twenties to buy your thirties”. While my friends were grooving at concerts, going on cruises and living the good life in their twenties, I was saving money, then building a house and delaying gratification.

It’s about choices.

I have a friend who built a house and also bought a bookstore in Mexico. People ask her, too, how did you afford to do this? Her answer: sacrifice. She and her husband lived in the Bay area, worked very hard, and saved every penny they could. They chose not to have children. They bought the land, then built the house with cash, little by little, making trips to Mexico to do the work themselves.  Choices.

Today the choices are even less clear: technology whispers from every corner “buy me, buy me”. Eric Gilliom http://ericgilliom.com/and Willi K http://www.barefootnatives.com/ from Maui did a song about Maui where they talk about not owning a cell phone and driving a Maui cruiser (junk) car. The Road Not Taken is often a beater car covered with red dirt in Maui. It’s often a cinder-block house with jalousie windows. It’s often a bunch of roomates.

My Kenmore dishwasher is 33 years old. I am not making this up. It came with the house we tore down to build this one. It looks like someone tied it to the bumper of a car and dragged it behind.  The racks inside are broken and rusting. It’s quite noisy. But is still works. So we are not rushing out to replace it to the tune of $700-$1,000. Every single thing on Maui is expensive.

I was in Foodland in Pukalani yesterday and they have hit a new personal best of $6.49 for a loaf of rye bread. I will soon not be buying bread! Also, our coconut tree in the front yard was dying, so we had to have it removed. The Samoan guy wanted $200. but Mike talked him down to $150. plus all the tangerines he wanted off our tree. The Ironwood tree is enormous and was threatening our roof. It was going to be a King’s ransom to get it trimmed, so Mike shaped a surfboard, had it glassed, and traded the tree trimmer for the board. (A Mike Turkington surfboard is a coveted item: www.amazon.com/The-Curt-Mastalka-Collection…/B002M4NM0M  or https://www.google.com/search?q=mike+turkington+surfer&hl=en&prmd). Every day now it seems we say “There is more going out than coming in.” I know it is the same across the country…but what is the cost of living where you live?

Between the cost of gas, and food (bread!) and electricity on Maui, I don’t know how people with three children are keeping up. A commentary by Lisa Darcy in the Maui Weekly http://mauiweekly.com/ Executive Director of the Ho’omoana Foundation, talked about how she is “witnessing more people in need who are doing everything right and still unable to meet their basic needs or their family’s basic needs” because so many agencies have had to make cutbacks. Lisa ended with these words: “As long as I have (dental) floss, I am in a socioecnomic bracket well ahead of most of the world. This is not something I take for granted, nor that fact that I have a warm, safe place to sleep tonight.”

Moving to Maui is The Road Not Taken. It’s well and good to tell yourself the beaches and warm weather will make up for not having “things.” It’s another to be able to afford bread and to be able to put gas in your car.

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

Castles in the Sand

Aloha!

Ultimate_Sand_Castle

Castles in the sand…castles in the air…I am daydreaming. Isn’t this gorgeous? They have sand castle contests all the time on Maui. My dad was quite good at it and I remember him making a mermaid when I was a kid that just blew me away.

I’m sorry I haven’t blogged in a while.We thought we had Mike’s foot all healed up and the blood poisoning under control, then BAM, it was back with a vengeance. This is not something you want to mess around with, especially  in the tropics. Friends write with well-wishes and since he’s a boat Captain, say things like “Pirates have peglegs, likely from trying to use crutches on a boat” and “We don’t want to have to call him “Hopalong.” Thanks, guys. :)Then there was the doctor friend who wrote to warn of flesh-eating bacteria in a case like this.

Wow, I hadn’t even GONE there in my head.

Anyway, I am still quite busy waiting on him hand and foot (har, har). I mean, the guy can’t even whip up his own breakfast. So until life calms down around here, this blog will most likely suffer.

Just visit among yourselves and I’ll be back soon!

A hui hou (til next time),

Jamaica

Stuff and Nonsense

Aloha!

All the guys I know on Maui who are homeowners, are hoarders. There’s something about living on an island that does this, and I kept trying to put my finger on it. Now, I know. THE BOAT MIGHT NOT COME IN!

When I first moved to the island and was living at the condo (see the previous “Moving to Maui” posts) I loved that I had brought only my bicycle and one suitcase. I felt free and unburdened from all my stuff back in California.I could really get used to this lifestyle, I thought. Then I met Mike.

I honestly think he kept it from me as long as he could. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” he was hiding from me wasn’t another woman, oh, no…it was his collection of “stuff.” A lifetime’s worth. The detritus of an adrenaline junkie’s sports equipment, to start with: About a dozen surfboards (google “Mike Turkington” or www.imdb.com and you’ll know why). He surfed professionally, and is an acclaimed board shaper. He co-owned “Country Surfboards”, the first surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu. Okay, so I’ll give him the surfboards.

But then he raised me the windsurfing equipment, enough to outfit six people. And the two motorcycles. And the two bicycles. AND a shop full (three bays worth) of tools, board-shaping equipment, and things I don’t even know the name of. I just know it takes up lots of room. What happened to my zen-like lifestyle? Gone, baby, gone.

When you’ve grown up on an island, you have lived through the reality of “the boat didn’t come in”  through dock-workers strikes, hurricanes, etc. You have lived through the infamous toilet paper and rice shortaages. You also know how expensive everything is to replace, so you never, ever throw anything away. In short, you hoard.

I had this illustrated to me personally during one Christmas, when I wanted to bake Christmas cookies and went to Safeway to get butter. I looked all over the store, and finally asked the produce guy: “Where’s the butter?” He answered in pidgin, with a straight face: “da boat tip ovah.” I just stared at him, expecting him to laugh. “No, really,” I said. “Where’s the butter?”

DA BOAT TIP OVAH!” he said, more loudly than necessary, like I was deaf or something, and mimed a big ship going over.

I blinked. So this was how it was going to be.

Then there was the empty shelf at Long’s in Lahaina when there wasn’t a single envelope to be had. And the Foster Farms chicken shipment that never came in when I had planned to feed Mike’s visiting folks honey-drizzled almond chicken. Lesson learned: always go to the grocery store with a back-up plan. The shelves could be empty, and they often are.

I think I’m missing a huge opportunity here. I should create a new reality show: “Hawaii’s Hoarders”. I’d be willing to bet that the stuff they hoard on an island would be more interesting than the stuff mainlander’s hoard, and the islander’s stuff gets passed down from generation to generation, because they all know that boat might not come in.

Do you know where your backup stash of toilet paper is??

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

Aloha, Jamaica

Moving to Maui, Part Three

Aloha,

So I now had a part-time job on Maui and a place to live, at the Aston Maui Kaanapali Villas, which is a combination of hotel and condos:

I had brought along one suitcase and my bicycle. The condo I was renting had four plates, four forks, four glasses. Life was simple, and I was discovering I liked it this way. No boxes of unorganized Christmas decorations haunting me from the attic. No closet full of winter clothes. No grandmother’s china gathering dust.

Actually, my design clients in Maui tell me that that’s the very best part about a vacation home on Maui: no stuff. So if that’s what we all aspire to, why do we own so much stuff? The truth is, it owns us…

Anyway, I was settling in, and deciding what to do about my life back in California. Condo life was agreeing with me. Until, that is, the night of the infamous late-night condo cleaning incident. I’m pretty sure they still talk about it at the front desk there.

Here’s the scene: it’s HOT in Maui. So once the sun went down and it cooled off, I decided to do a little cleaning. I put on a thin white t-shirt. And that was all. Get the picture? Hold that thought.

I opened the door to the condo and tossed out the throw rugs to shake later. Now there are fire codes in hotels, and safety codes, and these all conspire to create self-closing doors. Big, heavy, metal self-closing doors. A huge gust of wind blew through and WHAM! The saying “don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out” was suddenly reality.

Except that now I was out. Locked out of my condo on the outside walkway three floors up in nothing but a see-through t-shirt.The only thing that could have made it worse would have been if I was out on a tiny ledge, like in the movies. If there was ever a time I wished to be beamed up, Scotty, it was now.

What to do, what to do?

I yanked my t-shirt down over what  I could cover, got into the (now functioning) elevator and rode downstairs. I moved like a lady in a too-tight skirt, mincing my way to the front desk. I stopped just short of it and called around a support beam: “Hey, excuse me! I’ve lost my key and I’m locked out.”

The night clerk was named Mary. Mary was suspected of doing a little nipping at the bottle she kept stashed behind the desk (actually, a lot of nipping) because the boss wasn’t there at night to know the difference. Mary looked over in a fog and tried to focus on me.

“Who’s that? Who’s there?”

I called out my name. I told her which condo I was in. But Mary didn’t know me from a tourist.

“Well, what do you want? I can’t hear you. Come over here to the front desk!”

I sighed, clutched my shirt, and began my slow journey into the middle of the lobby. At just the same moment that a tourist couple entered and wanted to check in. I sidled up to the front desk, turned my back to them and whispered loudly,  “I’m locked out. I can’t get in. Do you have a spare key to my apartment?”

“Well no, of course not. I’ll have to call the maintenance guys. I don’t know who’s on duty.”

The maintenance GUYS? Great. Just great. The gods who had come out of the sky in my deux a machina moment and given me a great apartment and a job were now extracting their pound of flesh. Literally. I was sure I could hear them laughing up there.

I yanked my t-shirt down as hard as I could as the tired tourists glared at me. I steeled myself for the moment my Savior With a Key would get his eye-full. Luckily he was a gentleman, and pretended that it was common-place for him to have to have to let stranded women in see-through t-shirts and no bottoms into their apartments. Let me tell you though, I made sure he walked ahead of me on my walk of shame.

Like I said, I’m pretty sure they still talk about this at the front desk, because let’s not forget, I NOW WORKED THERE!  And I know I made the maintenance guys’ Hall of Fame for stupid guest tricks at the hotel. Except, that is, that just the week before I had dropped my key down the teeny little crack in the elevator shaft and they had to rescue me from that.

What are the chances? And how could a woman who was smart enough to own a home and manage a business keep pulling these incredibly dumb stunts? Deux a machina.

And the gods laughed.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. May not be reblogged or reprinted without express written permission of the author.

Moving to Maui, Part Two

Aloha!

So here I was in Maui on somewhat of a permanent vacation. I was ignoring the calls from clients back home and getting in a little Margaritaville time. Jimmy Buffet played on a loop in my brain as I sat in my lounge chair. Oh, this was SO not me.

I strolled through the lobby of the condo/hotel on my way back to the apartment I was sub-letting, and noticed The Concierge sitting in the lobby. Check this out: an open-air lobby with balmy breezes blowing through. A mango-wood desk and a job where she got to sit down all day. Working with tourists so very happy to be on vacation in Hawaii, helping them plan their fun activities. A breathtaking vase of tropical flowers nearby.

I did a double-take and thought: I want her job.

No more demanding clients, legal contracts, furniture orders gone missing! No more commuting with 4 zillion other people in the Bay area. No more lying awake at night, worrying that I’d gotten a measurement wrong or put in an erroneous product number?

This was sounding better every minute. Jimmy Buffet sang louder.

And then a miracle happened.

Okay, I’m a screenwriter, and when you go to film school the first thing they teach you is this: at all costs you are to avoid writing the deux a machina. This is Latin, and means: “god out of the machine.” Wikipedia says “It is a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.” You know, a “miracle.”

In other words, the Calvary can’t suddenly ride in and save you like in an old Western.

So how do we explain the fact that the Concierge spontaneously invited me to an art show, and she then out of the blue asked me if I was looking for a job, because they needed someone to fill in? Deux a machina, baby. Box office poison, but so golden in real life.

I now had a job.

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. May not be reblogged or reprinted without written permission of the author.

Moving to Maui, Part One

Image

Maui Kaanapali Villas

Aloha!

Would you like to move to Maui? Ever wonder what it’s really like?

Here’s how I got here: I fractured my tailbone and then had a small stroke. But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.

An acquaintance owned a lovely condo at the Maui Kaanapali Villas, www.astonmauikaanapalivillas.com  with a little bit of an ocean view and a short walk to the beach. Her mother on the mainland had cancer, and she needed to go care for her. She asked me if I’d like to stay in the condo and pay her mortgage (there are no free lunches.)

I was running my interior design business in the San Francisco Bay area and wearing high heels to work every day. The first thing that happened was I fell down a full flight of stairs. A client’s carpet was worn out (duh…part of why I was there) and my slick heel slid off the top step and I flew through the air, legs over my head, to land at the bottom in a heap. Result? A fractured tailbone. The doc said the only thing he knew to help that was to swim in warm salt water. Reason to say yes, #1.

Then I was leaving another client’s home and things got a little wonky with my vision. I chalked it up to fatigue and stress. The next thing I knew, I was driving on the sidewalk on a very busy main thoroughfare. Oh, this was not good at all. I could have taken out a light post; heck, I could have taken out a pedestrian, several, in fact.

I shakily drove on to the store to order furniture for my client, and when I opened my mouth to speak to the salesman, gibberish came out. Needing to recuperate from a small stroke: reason #2.

So I found myself on Maui, basically in the lap of luxury, see above. (Except for the pesky elevator that broke down and they had to bring a guy in from Oahu to fix it, but he kept not showing up. Little did I know this is how EVERYTHING works on Maui. In other words, it doesn’t.) Then, they raised the condo fees to pay for the elevator, so my acquaintance raised my rent. But the beach made up for it:

I talked the guy at the  beach shack into renting me a chaise lounge by the month, with two pads instead of one, for my poor tailbone.I spent every day at the beach. I walked, swam, sunned, ate, and slept. I got better. I contemplated my life back home and saw that I’d been driving myself into the ground like a crazy person. You know the old saying: self-employment is where you go from working 40 hours a week to 80 hours a week for half the pay? It’s so true.

I started thinking about running away from home. Permanently.

But how in the world would I make a living?

A hui hou! (til next time). If you’d like to subscribe to this blog, please click the “Follow” button to the right.

Aloha, Jamaica

Copyright Jamaica Michaels, 2012. All rights reserved. may not be reblogged or reprinted without written permission of the author.