Our musical Christmas card to you, our readers. May your days be merry and bright, your nights filled with stars and wonder and the New Year one of prosperity and dreams come true.
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It has been quite awhile since we posted to our blog. And quite awhile since we moved back to Maui. We are finally settling into our lives here in Hawaii and although we lived here for many years prior to coming back, the transition still proved to be challenging.
One of the most unsettling aspects of living here (and the same was true the last time I lived here) is that you make friends and then they move away. I guess you can say that about any place. But, it’s more pronounced here.
We made a decision to stay in the original home we bought and not move to the larger home we intended to purchase. The first home we bought is much easier to take care of, leaving more free time to enjoy our surroundings. We also made a decision to get off the career treadmill and work part-time. Kathy settled at The Maui Brewing Company as an Administrative Assistant 3 days a week, I went to work with
State Farm Insurance as a Representative from which I retired on March 15, 2019. I have since returned to my passion of being a Hana Tour Guide. I connected with Temptation Tours and conduct Hana tours 3-4 days a week.
The weather on Maui this last year has been very wet. In fact it has been one of the wettest and coldest ( yes, we even had snow as low as 6,200 feet) years on record. Maui also had a very rare hurricane. Fortunately, the area where we live is protected by some large mountains and what we experienced was not much more than a very rainy and windy day.
Peace, love and happiness in 2019!
In This Month’s Issue
One of the many draws to the Hawaiian Islands for us has always been the beautiful and inspirational music. Hawaii’s unique and varied sounds embody the aloha spirit
So of course, we jumped at the chance to see in person an array of Hawaii’s greatest musicians at the concert titled “Henry Kapono & Friends” held at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center.
These concerts are part of Henry’s passion to perpetuate his love of local music and musicians. In addition to the Island-wide concerts, Henry has established the Henry Kapono Foundation to support music programs for keiki (children), and provide career guidance and performance opportunities for emerging musicians, as he states on his site.
I’ve been working at Maui Brewing Company in Kihei now for almost a year. If you’ve checked it out online, or if you’ve ever been to the brewery, you know that there is also a wonderful restaurant at the site. Not only do I get to work with some amazing brewery employees, I also rub shoulders with the tireless restaurant folks on a daily basis.
One day one of the restaurant employees walked by our desks carrying a huge box filled with beautiful copper mugs. “Anyone want a copper mug?” I guess these were extras, or no longer used. Needless to say, looking at all the shiny copper, I piped up “Sure – over here!!!”
Which got me thinking about the cocktails I’ve had in the past in similar copper mugs – Moscow Mules.
A Moscow mule is a cocktail made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice garnished with a slice or wedge of lime and mint leaves.
Moscow mules are typically served in copper mugs. Copper is an excellent conductor, meaning that cold or heat spreads rapidly through the material. While the copper material of your mug doesn’t actually make the drink colder, it makes it seem colder than it would if you were drinking it out of a regular glass or mug.
If you’re shopping for copper mugs, be sure to buy food-safe mugs that are not copper on the inside. Copper leaches into acidic foods and poses health risks, yikes!
Why are Moscow Mules typically served in copper mugs?
According to Michael Cervin, in an August 2007 article on the Copper Development Association Inc. website:
“Most cocktails require specific glassware for their drinks—the highball and the martini glass, for example—however, the copper mug for the Moscow Mule is a must. If the old stories about the genesis of the drink are correct (they are mostly unanimous with a few variations) then it goes like this. In the early 1940s, John Martin was the president of G.F. Heublein & Brothers, an East Coast food and spirits importer best known for introducing A-1 Steak Sauce to America. Sometime in the 1930s, Martin, in an effort to market the next cocktail craze, purchased a small vodka distillery called Smirnoff for $14,000.
Yes, that Smirnoff. Back then, very few people drank vodka because most had never heard of it, let alone tasted it.
One day, while Martin was visiting his friend Jack Morgan who owned the Cock ‘n Bull pub on the Sunset Strip in Hollywood, he bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t sell his vodka. Morgan complained he couldn’t sell his ginger beer, a side passion of his that saw cases of it sitting in his restaurant’s basement. And a third person (never identified in any of the stories) lamented that she had copper mugs that she either didn’t want or need. Enter the brainstorm. Could all three benefit from combining their losses? The vodka and ginger beer were mixed with a dash of lime juice and served in copper mugs, imprinted with a kicking mule.”
You really need to try it. It’s delicious.
My Journey with Mindfulness
Ever since we moved from Oahu to Arizona in 1996, we’ve tried to keep the Aloha spirit alive, at least within ourselves, as a guide for how to live a better life. There’s no question that we all live in an over-stimulated and hectic world, trying our best to stay afloat, pay the bills and get’er done. We take on a lot of duties and responsibility, and lately, we’ve found ourselves in the midst of some overwhelming negativity and divisiveness.
It’s easy to become consumed by the anxiety all of this activity produces, and then easily lose sight of the things that truly nurture us and allow us to find a modicum of peace. We had always cherished our dream of returning to the islands, which did provide us with a focal point as we moved along. But dreaming wasn’t calming enough.
When I was feeling such intense anxiety a few years ago that I actually experienced heart palpitations on my way to work, I knew it was time to PAY ATTENTION. Notice I didn’t finish that sentence with “. . .and DO something!” That is the key. I needed to stop DOING and start BEING.
I started to learn more about being MINDFUL.
Greater Good Magazine, a publication from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, defines mindfulness as:
“ maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.
This lens helps us to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.”
Piece of cake, right? I can do that!
We are such creatures of habit, caught up in the aforementioned goal-oriented chaos, it’s not all that easy to find the quiet.
Taking baby steps works best for me to avoid becoming overwhelmed with something new. It’s actually helped me for years as an instructional designer, developing training solutions for performance issues in the workplace. Although it wasn’t referred to as baby steps; we called it “an instructional design methodology.” Instead of seeing an overwhelming training need and not knowing which of many options to use to develop a solution, I needed to break it down into. . . .steps. One of numerous versions of these steps in instructional design is called ADDIE – Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation – five suggested steps to follow do delve through a training issue. This approach served me well in the corporate world to avoid outright panic.
Same approach holds for learning mindfulness. Baby steps.
My first step was to learn what mindfulness was and how it could help me.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.
My first exercise was to train my focus on a single thing, a single activity, a single sensation. Sometimes a breathing exercise helps here. Focus on your breathing. Don’t think about the meeting you have this afternoon, what you’re going to say to the new boss, how you’re going to find the report you need for tomorrow, etc.
Draw your attention to your breath. Breathe in and breathe out. Baby steps. Focus on your breath. Nothing more. Notice where it comes from in your body – how does it feel to breathe deeply – where does that breath go when you exhale – does it come through your nose? Your mouth? Does your stomach move? Your chest?
Focusing on ONE thing has a calming effect.
I have to chuckle at what my first exercise was. I was frantically trying to get ready for work, washing and drying my hair, putting on makeup, deciding on what I was going to wear, being aware that I was running late, realizing that meant I was probably going to get stuck in traffic, making it impossible for me to get a parking spot near the entrance, forcing me to park far away and having to take even more time walking, fretting that the shoes I was planning to wear hurt when I had to walk too far, being late when I knew there was an important meeting this morning was not going to be seen positively by my coworkers or my boss, adding to the minor conflict I had with my boss yesterday, probably resulting in some kind of confrontation today, perhaps even putting my job in jeopardy, etc., etc. How am I going to get through this, to get’er done without screwing up?
Got to calm down.
Hair is dry. Got to put in some curlers. I looked at my basket of purple bristly velcro curlers. Here we go. I slowly reached for one purple curler, looked at it, noticed how pretty the purple was, and how scratchy the bristles were, grabbed a hank of hair, slowly rolled the hair around the curler, watching the process in the mirror, reached for a clip to secure the curler, secured it, looked at the masterpiece in the mirror, and then watched in the mirror as I gently grabbed another hank of hair, directed my eyes down to the basket to find the next curler, and deliberately and purposefully continued the procedure, mindfully noticing the purple of the curler, the scratchy feel of the bristles as I picked it up, the smoothness of the hair that I had in my other fingers as I rolled the hair onto the curler, the way I had to hold the curler so the hair would not slip out as I wound it up to my scalp, the feel of the clip as I slipped it into the side of the curler to secure it to my head.
Had to slow waaaaaaay down to do all that focusing, one curler at a time. But it was my start at understanding how to keep the anxiety at bay; to be mindful.
I realize mindfulness is so much more than focusing on one thing at a time, but this is how I helped myself re-direct my hysteria and random energy from ALL OUT THERE to JUST IN HERE.
Then, on my drive to work, I felt those annoying palpitations again. . . .what the heck??? I’m going to be late, going to never find a parking spot, the traffic ahead looks like it’s slowing down, something must be going on, now I’ll really be late.
Need to calm down. Need to focus, but still need to drive safely. I focused on my right hand on the steering wheel toward the top, my left hand on the steering wheel close to 10 o’clock, the distance between my car and the one in front of me, “I’m carefully driving to work right now. That’s all I’m doing.” Right hand, left hand, car in front of me. Driving. It actually made me giggle.
The palpitations actually stopped. OK, I’m onto something here. There’s something about this mindfulness stuff.
All of this is my way of showing how non-threatening or complicated it is to ease your way into becoming more open to the idea of mindfulness. Tip of the iceberg. Teeny, tiny tip of the iceberg. I have so much more to explore and learn, and look forward to the ongoing practice of trying to pay attention and not get lost in the cacophony.
In my next few posts I’ll include links to some fun and easy exercises to help you on your journey.
It’s been about three months since we arrived back on Maui to begin our new life in our old home. The first week was hectic, to say the least. All we had was a mattress and box spring, so we pretty much camped out until our container of personal belongings arrived.
Immediately upon arrival at Kahului airport on June 27th, we picked up our rental SUV and then went to the agricultural station to retrieve our dog Teddi before heading home.
Our cars arrived from Matson Navigation about a week early, so we returned our rental car sooner than expected. We registered our cars and got new Hawaii driver’s licenses that week. Then around July 22nd, our PODs container arrived, with most of our personal belongings. About a week later our second container arrived with additional stuff that had to go into storage. We won’t need that until we move into our house that is being built, and that’s not until next summer.
Everything went about 95% according to plan. The one thing we didn’t anticipate was Teddi getting sick with bladder stones, which required expensive surgery that really set us back. But he’s doing well now, in fact more like a puppy than a ten-year-old dog. His vet was amazing, Tana Weeks, at Maui Lani Veterinary Hospital about 2 miles from our home. We are so very fortunate. He loves his new environment and has taken it upon himself to go strolling through the dog-filled neighborhood unsupervised. What a mayor! We had to put up doggie gates so that he stays in the house until we’re ready to take him out.
I got a job selling appliances at Lowe’s in Kahului and Kathy decided to take a few months off while she acclimates to the new environment (i.e., locating the best beaches and swimming pools). I previously lived on Maui for several years and everything was already pretty familiar to me. Kathy previously lived on Oahu, but Maui is very different, and required some getting used to. She has already made a lot of new friends, joined a local gym, and has taken a couple of great art classes. She anticipates looking for contract work soon.
Everything is pretty much humming along, and we are beginning to really settle down. We consider ourselves blessed to be able to achieve this dream, after many years of planning and hard work.
Keep ya posted.
In this month’s issue:
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So what’s new in Hawaiian music? Kalani Pe’a, is what’s new. This Grammy winning artist takes Hawaiian music and some pop covers, adds some unusual chords and progressions and creates something beautiful and different.
Usually when going to listen to Hawaiian artists perform, I expect great musicians, maybe sitting, playing and talking story. Kalani, however, adds a touch of Broadway to his performance. His stage presence is amazing, and the Hawaiian language just flows effortlessly made more beautiful by his powerful voice. The backup musicians, vocalists and hula dancers that perform on stage with him just make his performance that much better. Each of them an outstanding talent in their own right.
One of the things we were looking forward to when we moved back to Maui was the wealth of great talent. Little did we know that we would be living next door to this amazing Grammy winning artist.
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As we began to explore our new Maui neighborhoods, one of our most pleasant surprises was the Maui Ocean Center. Located in Ma`alaea Harbor, the Aquarium and Oceanography Center is the largest tropical reef aquarium in the Western Hemisphere. Opened in 1998, the 3-acre center includes exhibits of coral reef habitats, sea turtles, sharks, and humpback whales. They even have a 360-degree tank with glowing jellyfish.
The Center’s mission is to “foster understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life.”
You will experience this wonder as you travel through the 750,000-gallon Open Ocean Exhibit that features a 54-ft walk-through tunnel where you can watch the huge sting rays, beautiful tropical fish, and graceful sharks swim overhead. Imagine experiencing Hawaii’s underwater world without even getting wet!
With spectacular views from Ma’alaea harbor to the outstanding exhibits, your journey includes a magical walk from the seashore to the bottom of the reef.
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It has been quite a while since I posted to this blog. It was no accident. We have been waiting for this special day so that we could share it with our readers.
I usually include other topics, recipes, reviews and such in our blog magazine. But this post is about saying goodbye to the mainland and setting off to pursue our new life in our old home of Hawaii, specifically Maui.
Since moving to the mainland from Oahu, we have gone back and forth to Hawaii for both business and to visit so many times that I’ve lost count. But this morning is different from all others. Our plane tickets are one way, many of our possessions have been sold or given away and there is no turning back. If ever there was an act of faith, this is it.
It is the morning of June 27th. We chose this time of year because it was this month 30 years ago that we met in Hana and 23 years since we were married in that same place.
The time is 7:30AM in Los Angeles. Our cars are in the loading lot at Matson Navigation. Our dog Teddi is in the holding area of Hawaiian Airlines and we are at gate 57 in Terminal 5 of LAX. The adrenaline is high and our hearts are racing. In a little while Hawaiian Flight #33 will be coming to take us home. At 11:30AM HST it will be wheels down at Kahului Airport and the end of a long journey that was set in motion 3yrs, 3 months and 17 days ago. After our dog Teddi clears quarantine at Kahului Airport and is released to us we will go and get our rental truck and head off to our new home to pick up our lives where we left off so many years ago.
An important lesson has been learned, at least for us. What we have come to realize is that it is so much easier to leave Hawaii than it is to find your way back. Has the mainland been good to us? From a material standpoint life on the mainland has been kind. We accomplished everything we set out to accomplish and more. Was it worth it? Speaking only for myself I would have to say no. Moving to the mainland from Hawaii was an adventure and a great ride, but we won’t be coming back.
If you ever lived in Hawaii for a very long time and had to leave for whatever reason and after many years returned home, then you know what we are feeling on this exciting day. I can’t really explain it. All I can say is aloha to what was and aloha to what is yet to be.
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While we are moving, our online stores will not be filling orders until August 1st
I usually publish this blog at the beginning of the month. However, this month is special and I wanted to hold off on this post until we closed on the sale of our Scottsdale condo. That closing took place on January 9th. We are now on the entrance ramp to the road (or should I say the ocean) ahead to Maui, Hawaii.
We have been working on our dream of returning home to Hawaii for the last three years. It has been a long haul and a heavy lift but all of the planning is now bringing things together. I will post more on this journey as the months and years unfold.
One of the things we acquired to help get us going when we get settled is a 2017 Ford Edge Titanium which I will review on a separate page. There is also a section for some favorite inspirational quotes and sayings that helped keep morale up while setting this plan in motion. And once again we included a favorite recipe that we hope you will enjoy.
Whatever awaits you and yours on the road ahead you choose to take, may the journey be safe and fruitful.
Peace, love and happiness in 2017!
In This Month’s Issue