And on the other hand...

Click here for The Yin Side where the other half of me holds forth!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Worth It

In memory of people I never knew, but now feel sort of close to, the Lindquists, who apparently lost their lives in a flash flood after Thanksgiving dinner, here are some images that at least suggest why they liked to live where they did.

Koki Beach
"About twenty years ago, an old man named Smitty turned his back on society and came to Koki Beach to live as a monk. Living in a cave on the north side of the beach, he cleaned up the beach, and was a lifeguard of sorts, saving people who dared the riptides. He was a popular figure and would post his "thoughts for the day" on the Hana public bulletin board. But in 1984 his cave collapsed on top of him. When the rubble was cleared, his body was found in a kneeling position, and the story is that he died while meditating."

Warning at Koki Beach

Hamoa Beach

Weird Medusa Tree at Hamoa

Hana Highway, (the curvy thing on the side of the green cliff)

Hana at Sunset, I

Hana at Sunset, II

Moving On

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Tragedy

Not long after we finished cleaning up after our first of the cook-once, eat-many turkey dinners, tragedy struck very nearby.  We were safely ensconced in our vacation rental, digesting our colorful supper, washed down with champagne in tumblers -- no wine glasses in this house -- all cozy and watching DVDs while a really hard rain came down outside, complete with thunder and lightning.

Just up the road, an older couple -- older than us, anyway --had just finished their Thanksgiving dinner at the only hotel in Hana, and then drove home to their more isolated Hana home to be caught in a flash flood that washed their SUV into a stream, and their bodies, it is suspected, into the ocean, something like 50-100 yards away.

The hotel staff had offered them a room for the night, but they decided to just go home.

There's a lesson here: if you are out on a dark and stormy night in an area where flash floods are not uncommon, and if the hotel staff says, "Have a night on us"...take it!  Old B&W horror movies to the contrary, a night on the house when the weather is raging might be a good idea.

When we drove out from Hana on Sunday, the road was still very wet and slick and greasy with fallen leaves, blocked by at least one rockslide, and compromised by crazy tourists driving too fast and inattentively. They were enjoying looking at the countless vigorous waterfalls in the jungle hillsides.  Weather reports say it rained two inches in one hour Thursday night. Beautiful, but water can be a deadly force.

Hana Highway One-Lane Bridge
Over Raging Stream

Monday morning update: they're still missing.  Very sad.  But as one of my blogging friends has pointed out to me regarding another matter, nature always wins.  Don't fight, don't gamble with Mother Nature!  Be a Taoist. Cooperate with her. Listen to your mother.

The Day After

We visited this beautiful beach park yesterday.

Hamoa Beach, Hana, Maui
There were a lot of people out and about, so we retreated to our house to read, drink, snack, nap and watch DVDs of "Two Fat Ladies", a BBC culinary show.  One of their recipes had to do with cooking pigeons (or some kind of small wild game birds).  The method involved thickly slathering them with butter, stuffing them with a chunk of butter, and then wrapping them up with several slices of bacon.  Suddenly our own holiday indulgences, not exactly a health educator's dream, didn't seem so bad.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Hana

We are celebrating this Thanksgiving holiday in Hana, Maui, one of the most remote places in Hawaii, and perhaps on earth. (George Harrison maintained a house here, and who can blame him?) This continues a tradition we have established over the past few years with friends, renting a house on a neighbor island, trucking in a turkey and trimmings, and settling in to avoid Black Friday and just enjoy a nice old-fashioned feast and fellowship with friends.

After a short but pricey flight from Honolulu, stopping in Kahului to pick up overpriced supples we didn't want to carry on the plane, we headed out for the 68-mile drive on the Hana Highway, a truly secondary road with 59 old bridges (most of them one-laners approached sharply after one of the 620 tight curves on the coast hugging road).  Making this trip special was driving in the dark and in the rain.  I was getting a little car sick in the slow-moving rocking and swaying Jeep, but that eventually faded as the burdens of our office lives were left behind. We found our house, our friends greeting us with drinks and a hot supper. After a good night's sleep, we awoke to this view out the front window:

There Ought to be Sheep

The view out the back, through a screened lanai, is of a small residential community (and our trusty rental Jeep) with Hana Bay and the ocean on the near horizon:

After assembling the turkey for roasting, my contribution to the team effort of Thanksgiving dinner, my friend and I took a stroll around the neighborhood, a domestic botanical garden of delights.

A curious drooping floral thing in the back garden of our rental house:

A hot pepper plant in someone's yard:

Roadside bananas:

Butterfly feasting:

We continued our walk to the bay, but my camera battery failed: we will revisit to document the lovely seaside vistas.  The feasting butterfly reminded of us of our turkey back in the oven, soon to be savored.

Although my Chinese painting teacher focuses on "flower and bird" painting, I doubt this was what she has in mind:

Truth be told, this bird and flowers are from 2007's holiday in Kula, "up-country" Maui, the wildflowers gathered from a similar stroll along the country road while the turkey roasted.  The turkey tastes the same.  I like to carve it with an antique fork and knife (like a stag-horn handled jian) that were wedding presents to my parents.  Our 2009 feast turned out to be just as colorful, with green spinach, orange yams, yellow stuffed acorn squash and the delicious purple okinawan sweet potatoes (which were never part of my mother's traditional feast which tended to be a bit more monochromatic).

The whole day was sunny and cheerful, but at night we had really heavy rain again, making it hard to hear the DVD movies we had brought along for group entertainment. But now it is sunny again, time to walk off yesterday's indulgences with a visit back to the bay, to photograph the scenes we missed yesterday.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy, Silly Holidays

Went for a haircut, a karmic touch-up that seemed appropriate as the sun enters Sagittarius, my birth sign.  I would actually like to shave my head, but that seems a little extreme.  My hairdresser said after my last cut, her next patron asked for "the color you gave that lady."

I have Mother Nature's platinum or silver or ... gray.  Whatever you want to call it.  White karma.

Then I stopped at the Ross store next door, that weird shopping mecca, a bazaar of seconds and overruns, to buy a scented candle for the holiday season.  The checkout lines were long.  A woman behind me said, "Why don't they have an express lane for, you know, one item or less?"

I was still chuckling over that one when the cute clerk at my register called back to his manager about someone else's item code: "Is this bed linens or lingerie?"

"You've got a lot to learn, " I said.

I think this holiday season is going to be a lot of fun.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Own Private China

When I wasn't watching "The Herbalist's Manual" yesterday, I spent some time quarantined with my brushes and ink.

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Internal Garden

Frustrated about the tree removal, yesterday I painted a weeping willow.