The main reason for this short trip is the performance of AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. This is something I had been planning long before we left Maui. And now it is coming to fruition. We are finally going to see the “grandest of the grand operas” performed by one of the world’s top opera companies.


Apr 18, 2017

Elizabeth and I arrived this evening at sunset at JFK after traveling all day from Arizona, with an 1.5 hr delay in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But all is well. And we finally got to wear some of our winter clothes. 🙂 Temperatures are in the 40s at night.

The main reason for this short trip is the performance of AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. This is something I had been planning long before we left Maui. And now it is coming to fruition. We are finally going to see the “grandest of the grand operas” performed by one of the world’s top opera companies.

Meanwhile, we checked ourselves into a cute 1-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. The neighborhood is full of great restaurants and shops. And is within a walking distance from the opera venue at Lincoln Center.

Bye for now…

 * * *

Apr 19, 2017


Our today’s walk through Midtown gave a new meaning to the expression “shop till you drop”

I told Elizabeth yesterday that on this trip, I have no agenda or plans for Manhattan except for us seeing AIDA at the Met tomorrow night.

“So what would you like to do tomorrow?” (meaning today)


I smiled. Women. Or more specifically – this woman. She loves to shop. Not that she has not done it a number of times before in Manhattan. But like good sex, it’s always new when you do it right.

So this morning, off we went on our walking tour of Midtown Manhattan. Five hours later, our legs were ready to fall off. And I understood firsthand the meaning of the saying “shop till you drop.”

Elizabeth was grateful though. She thanked me several times for being patient and rushing her. She saw I could have taken a nap while she was shopping at her favorite store – Bloomingdale’s, for example (see the photo).

And I also had my reward – a delicious crepe, my favorite dessert, which I could not resists buying from a food truck in Central Park. 🙂

PS: PALO PRIEDA (photo – above)

Palo Prieda – stone tree in Spanish – like a tree Elizabeth and I discovered in McDowell Mtns 8 years ago, grew out of a stone.

Exhausted, we had a big nap once we got back to our apartment.

“Jet lag,” Elizabeth commented.

“Shop lag,” I thought. 🙂

Here are some scenes from Grand Central Station and Times Square…


On our way back to our Upper West Side apartment, we also stopped by the Lincoln Center where tomorrow we are going to attend the performance of AIDA.

 * * *


It’s funny how strange things that happen when you let your Spirit guide you seem at first, yet end up perfectly normal in hindsight. What happened tonight in New York was another case in point. It was an unexpected time and space travel back to Imperial Russia.

Elizabeth has had her taste buds set for a pastrami sandwich dinner at Carnegie Deli since before we left Phoenix. Tonight was the night we decided to do it so we are not rushed before our opera attendance tomorrow.

We had been to Carnegie Deli a number of times before so should have had no trouble finding it. It was right across the street on 7th Ave from Carnegie Hall, New York’s premiere concert venue.

But not tonight. We could not find it.

“Maybe it’s gone out of business,” I speculated. “Though that’s unlikely for such a landmark establishment as Carnegie Deli,” I added.

We turned back, and this time, we started to pay attention to every nook and cranny on 7th Ave. Lo and behold, where once was the famous Carnegie Deli, now remained a hole in the wall, boarded up with a tiny notice pasted on the window from the owner. Indeed, the place had closed after 80 years in business.

“What do we do now?” Elizabeth said.

“We’ll figure something out,” I replied. And at that moment, like a flash, an inspiration came to me: The Russian Tea Room.

“It’s just around the corner,” I explained to Elizabeth. “But don’t get your hopes up. That’s a famous restaurant and we don’t have a reservation.”

As it turned out, our Spirit guides had already made a reservation for us. We were taken directly to a private booth.

What followed was a delicious dinner consisting of Borsht (beet) soup which we shared, followed by Chicken Kiev for Elizabeth, and for me Kulebiaka (breaded salmon with slow cooked onions, mushrooms and vegetables, wrapped in pastry, baby bok choy, baby corn, kohlrabi and turnips with a light ginger miso glaze. Yum!

I then told Elizabeth the story about the White Russian emigres whom the Bolshevik Revolution had scattered around the world like mice. And wherever they landed, they brought their memories and pieces of Imperial Russia with them. One of them was the Russian Team Room.

The Russian Tea Room opened in 1927 by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet. It became a gathering place for Russian expatriates. It gradually became famous as a gathering place for stars in the entertainment industry. Which is why it has always been a popular, though expensive dining choice.

And that’s how we ended up time traveling to Imperial Russia after turning off 7th Ave at Carnegie Hall.

PS: So now I know why I chose to wear a red shirt today. 🙂 I was not aware how this day would end when I put it on this morning.

 * * *

Apr 20, 2017


Spurning the Met Museum Zoo

Two days ago, the weather forecast was calling for a 90% chance of rain in New York. So I “got on the horn” with my spirit guides and asked them if they would at least spare us the rain in the evening, when we are supposed to attend the AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera. (We are planning to walk there from our apartment).

Well, they did more than that. There was no rain at all in Manhattan today. In fact, sun was trying to break through the clouds for the first time since we got here. So Elizabeth and I went out for another walk through and around Central Park.

We also thought tentatively we might stop for a visit at the Metropolitan Museum. But the throngs of people that were there, both outside and inside, made it look more like a human zoo.

“We don’t need that kind of hassle, especially on a nice day,” I said and Elizabeth agreed.

We did stay long enough to witness the hypocrisy of this institution. The signs at the ticket booths read, “SUGGESTED donation $25.” But when we tried to use a restroom, two guards stopped us.

“Your ticket, please,” one of them said.

“I don’t have one,” I replied, adding pointing to the ticket booth: “It says there SUGGESTED donation, not a mandatory ticket purchase.”

“I know,” the guard said sheepishly. “But you need to have a ticket to get through here.”

Even to the restroom.

Money, money, money… and shysterism and duplicity – thy name is New York.

Did I mention that our new president is a New Yorker? 🙂

We had been to the Museum before so giving it a miss this time was no great loss. We walked back out to the park and had an enjoyable time watching kids’ baseball and toddlers’ games next to many mothers’ stroller conventions around the park.

Oh, did I also mention that our apartment is on the same block where John Lennon used to live and was killed in 1981? Even today people are gathering there as if it were a memorial.


There’s one word that sums up the performance of Verdi’s AIDA at the Metropolitan Opera in New York: SPECTACULAR.

That’s what Elizabeth also said after our 4-hour opera experience at the Lincoln Center. She now places the AIDA at the Met at the No. 1 spot among the operas we have seen around the world. “Madam Butterfly” at the Sydney Opera House (2015) comes second. “Valkyrie” by the Hawaii Opera Theater (2010) is in third place on her list of favorite opera experiences.

Here are some photos from last night’s performance. The best part – we ended up seated next to each other after all, despite buying two separate tickets three months apart.


To put this in a proper context, here’s a story behind our story of AIDA at the Met.


“This is synchronicity on steroids,” commented a shaman-friend of mine from Sedona upon hearing about what had preceded our trip to New York. And this is what happened…

“I bought my AZ ticket back in December when I had no idea about this deal from last night. But I have been praying every day since then for my spirit guides to release me from physical bondage to this land, and to have the property sold before my return on Mar 8. And lo and behold.,,,

In fact, my March trip was part of another “big deal” to see “Aida” opera in New York at the Met after Anne [my daughter who lives in Vienna] and her family leave AZ in April (I had never seen Aida live before). So I booked the flights Maui-Phoenix-New York-Phoenix. I never bought the portion from Phoenix to Maui, though, thereby subconsciously manifesting my intention to be finished with Maui by then.

Fast forward about a week later. I was able to get a seat for Elizabeth on the same flight back from Maui to Phoenix, and even right next to me.

Furthermore, I was able to get her on the same flights from Phoenix to New York in April (Apr 18-22) to see the opera AIDA. And again, right next to me. Alas, I only had one ticket for the Met Opera on Apr 20. So I put mine up for sale on eBay. After 3 weeks, it had still not sold.

So I changed my tack. I went back to the Met Opera website to see if I can get a single ticket for her. Lo and behold, I did. It was the last one available. And here’s the best part: It was also on Balcony an even the same row as mine which I bought back it December. Plus it was at about half price since I bought it directly from the Opera rather than a ticket agent.”


And now, the final touch of our Spirit guides… we ended up actually sitting next to each other at last night’s performance. That was our bit of MAGIC to go with a magical opera by Verdi at the Met.

Oh yes, one more thing… the weather stayed dry throughout our stay in New York despite a forecast for 90% chance of rain before we got here.

Thank you, God!


Here are a few more shots from our attendance at last night’s performance of AIDA by the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Each of us walked away with a Met souvenir: Elizabeth – with a pretty inscribed bag, me – a musically adorned watch.

 * * *

Apr 21, 2017


On our last day on this trip we decided to rent a car in Manhattan and drive to Princeton University in New Jersey. We had been to Princeton once before (in 2008) on our first long distance “honeymoon” trip to New York.

We had a great time then, and we had a great time in Princeton today. We ended our visit to this Ivy League school with a delicious dinner at a creperie on Nassau St. (photo).

Getting out of Manhattan, however, was a different story. Between massive construction-related street blockages, and a resulting lack of signs, it took us forever to negotiate our way to the Lincoln Tunnel. The net result was a massive headache Elizabeth developed as a result of the stress.

Don’t worry, there is nothing that a Starbucks green tea frappuccino and a drive through the green countryside around Princeton would not cure. By the time we started walking through the campus, all was well with Elizabeth’s head and mood.



While waiting for Elizabeth in one of the university buildings (School of Foreign Studies), I noticed an interesting poster on the wall. It was sort of “who’s who” among the Princeton freshmen from Asia (photo).

“What’s missing on this map?” I asked Elizabeth when she rejoined me.


She could not figure it out.

“India,” I said. “There are no students here from India!”

Yet India is now virtually tied with China as the world’s most populous country (1.31 billion vs. 1.38 billion people).

Why are there no Indian freshmen at Princeton’s School of Foreign Studies?

I have no idea. So I asked a couple of students – one white blonde and one Asian with blonde hair.

They had no idea, either. In fact, they had not even noticed this anomaly.

“Well, that’s what happens when a Truth in Media editor arrives on a liberal university campus,” I told Elizabeth on our way out. “While most people notice what’s there, he notices the things that are missing.” 🙂

Some call it “reading between the lines.” I say that’s experience of decoding the New World Order’s lamestream media lies and deceptions for 27 years. This was merely another case in point.

Anyway, we are back at our Newark hotel and ready to fly back home to Phoenix tomorrow.


 * * *

Apr 22, 2017

A feel-good human interest story


The American people still have goodness in their hearts, notwithstanding our evil governments

We are back home now. Our 5-day trip to New York was a “red carpet” sojourn all the way. With a few stains here and there we picked up in Manhattan (stand by for an editorial on that).

Elizabeth and I both agreed that the apex of the trip was actually its main purpose – our evening at the Metropolitan Opera to see AIDA.

The second best, again we both agreed, was our spur-of-the-moment dinner at the Russian Tea Room.

The third, at least for me, was our last crepe dinner at a Princeton University creperie. Also spontaneous and unplanned.

Late Start from Newark

But our spirit guides saved perhaps the best human interest story for our return trip. Even before we got to the airport in Newark, NJ, we had been advised by AA that our flight to Dallas would be delayed by about 30 mins.

Later, we found out that the reason was a delay in incoming flight’s departure from New York via Charlotte, NC, due to congestion at the JFK airport. Or soma other JFK hassle. The same thing happened on our incoming flight to JFK from Charlotte.

So it looks like a chronic New York problem. And JFK is an airport to avoid in your travel plans, if at all possible.

As it turned out, our departure from Newark was actually 1.5 hours late. Which was the length of our layover in Dallas. So it looked as if we were likely to miss our Phoenix connection there.

But airlines pad their estimated flight times. So by the time we landed in Dallas, we still had 45 mins to make it to our Phoenix flight gate. So no sweat, no problem.

Hassles at Dallas Airport

Alas, we were not as lucky as we thought. The flight 550 to Phoenix was fully boarded with about 5 mins to spare before scheduled departure time. The captain had announced that they were about to close the doors and get ready to depart.

That’s when two Dallas cops entered the cabin. We overheard one of them say to his buddy, “we don’t even know if he (or she or they) is the first class or the economy.”

The proceeded to about the middle of the main cabin, followed by several members of the AA crew. After awhile, they walked back out with a young woman in between. She looked well dressed and groomed.

“She sure doesn’t look like a typical criminal, does she?” I told Elizabeth. She agreed.

“Maybe it’s a white collar crime,” I speculated. “Or they wanted her as a witness in a drug bust.”

I found it strange that Dallas cops would be allowed to enter and either arrest or interrogate a passenger. “Aren’t the airports supposed to be under federal jurisdiction?” I said to Elizabeth.

No answer. She just shrugged.

More waiting.

After about 10 minutes, the young woman walked back to her seat. Alone.

After some action in the front cabin, I saw a member of the maintenance crew depart the cockpit.

“Uh-uh,” I said to Elizabeth. “That’s never a good sign.”

After a few minutes, the captain came back on the horn.

“Sorry about all this. We now have new problem. Our cockpit door won’t lock. So we have now asked for maintenance to fix it. Hopefully it won’t take long.”

To cut the long story short, we departed Dallas about 1 hour later than scheduled.

Tight Phoenix Connections Lead to Magnificent Display of Compassion and Gratitude

This, of course, was bad news for all passengers who had tight connections in Phoenix. So the cabin crew chief came on the blower twice to announce that there were a lot of people on board in this predicament. And she asked the rest of the passengers, whose final destination was Phoenix, or who had connections after 8:30 PM, to remain seated upon landing to give others a chance to deplane and try to make their connecting flights.

Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happened.

When the plane landed and arrived at the gate in Phoenix, it took, what must have seemed like an eternity for waiting passengers with tight connection. for the ground crew to connect the jetway.

“Everybody is cooperating except for the airline,” one of the passengers remarked.

When the doors finally opened, most people, even in first class, remained seated, to let a flood of some 60-80 people rush through the aisle. As they were many of them were expressing their appreciation and gratitude to the seated passengers.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you…” and “God bless you all…” kept echoing through the cabin.

From the other side, one could hear the shouts, “good luck to you!… hope you make your flight!”

Compassion and gratitude

THAT’s what makes America GREAT, not the bombastic statements by our latest two-faced Liar in Chief at the While House and his group of plutocrats. And that’s what has ALWAYS made America GREAT.

In times of need, the people of this country have always reached out to each other and to the rest of the world. Even when it wasn’t our fight (like in the two world wars).

THAT is something the foreigners, who don’t understand this nation, need to remember. WE ARE NOT OUR GOVERNMENTS. Most of the American people have pure and compassionate hearts.

The spirit of compassion and gratitude was on display ini spades last night on the AA flight 550.


It’s good to be home. For five days, Elizabeth and I have not seen the sun. And for people who live in the Valley of the Sun, that’s ecological starvation.

The daily highs in New York were in the low 50s (F). Today, the temps in Scottsdale are expected to reach 92F.


No wonder the beautiful Palo Verde tree in our front yard, which we planted three years ago, greeted us with a big golden smile.

Welcome back to the desert,” its golden flowers, which look like hundreds of mini suns, seem to speak.


 * * *



Our trip to New York this week reminded Elizabeth and me of just how fortunate we are NOT to live in a place like that. On our flight back to Phoenix, we ruminated about that.

After living for the last 8 years on a 7-acre Garden of Eden in Paradise on Earth (Maui, Hawaii), and for the last 3.5 decades in the Arizona desert (Scottsdale), our return to New York served as a rude wake-up call. About how “the other half” live.

I have been coming to New York regularly during the last four decades while I was active in business out of Phoenix, sometimes 2-3 times a month. I spent more times in New York during the last 30 years than in any other city other than my hometown – Phoenix/Scottsdale.

Yet while many other people reveled and worshipped the City’s alleged vibrancy, I have always hated it. Could not wait to get out and back to the Arizona desert.

Because New York made me feel like a hamster on a wheel. Or a rat in a rat race whose only objective was self-enrichment.

Money, money, money… everybody seems to be about chasing 24/7 the Almighty Dollar in this modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Quality of life?

What’s that? The nightmare of just trying to leave the City and get to the Lincoln Tunnel in downtown Manhattan gave Elizabeth a massive headache.


The day before, while walking along Broadway on the Upper West Side, I spotted a small warbler perched on an iron fence.

“Poor bird,” I said to Elizabeth. “Having to live in a concrete jungle like this.”

“Yes, poor bird,” she agreed.

We also felt sorry for the people who have to live in a place like New York City. Yes, “have to.” Because very few of them have a chance to escape this prison of human spirit. They are confined to it either culturally or economically.

For those who have lived in this urban jungle all their lives chasing the Accursed Buck, this is “normal.”

“If they don’t know any better, perhaps they don’t miss the green fields and blue skies and oceans the way we do,” I told Elizabeth.

Bird, man, spirit… caged. That’s life in New York City.


Of course, New York also has some appeals. The arts and culture scene is one of them. But even the artists come here in pursuit of fame and fortune. And we saw how greedy the Metropolitan Museum was when its “suggested donation” turned out to be a mandatory $25 ticket even just to use a restroom.

So back to money, money, money. And greed, greed, greed.

The Accursed Buck rules the roost in New York City. This became all too obvious to Elizabeth and me even during our short (4-day) stay in the City this week.

‘No wonder one of my IBM 1976 Atlanta, Georgia, sales school classmates said, when we were all asked to introduce ourselves and state where we were from, “my name is Hirsch Rosenberg [fictitious name], and I am from the Shitty.”

At the time, I had no idea what he meant, never having been to New York before 1976. But now, especially after this 4-day visit, I understand my old IBM pal all too well.

“Shitty” it is indeed.

“We are so blessed,” Elizabeth said upon our return home to Scottsdale last night.

Indeed we are.

We have the sunshine, the clean air, the  pools and spas, the freedom to roam the desert, no traffic nightmares, birds and bees on the golf courses, Arizona Opera, Phoenix Symphony, Hispanic cuisine and fiestas, western rodeos and horse races… so why would we want to go to Sodom and Gomorrah?

AIDA. That’s the only reason.


Four new citrus trees planted

For over seven years, “El Jeepo” has been my work horse at our Rainbow Shower ranch in Maui. Last September, I had him shipped to Arizona for a well-earned retirement. Since that time, I have only used him for occasional joy rides through the desert. Until yesterday.

A part of my backyard looked pretty bare for someone who has been used to taking care of a 7-acre jungle property spread around a Hawaiian gulch. So I decided to add some more greenery to it. I mounted El Jeepo, and we went to a local store to get four new citrus tree saplings – two kinds of oranges, one lime and one lemon.

Now here’s a difference between El Jeepo’s and my work in Hawaii vs. here in Arizona. I hired someone to plant the saplings. I Maui, I would have done the whole thing myself. Over the years, I had planted literally hundreds of trees of various kinds and sizes. But now that El Jeepo and I are officially in retirement from farming, I decided to be like Martha Stewart and point instead of digging myself. 🙂

Donald Trump would be pleased. One more American job saved. Or created, if you wish. 🙂

UPDATE MAR 28, 2017


Two Majestic Arizona Desert Dwellers

This morning, Elizabeth and I went for a walk around our Grayhawk neighborhood. And we came across this huge 20-ft Ocotillo that took our breath away.
I have never seen one as spectacular and perfect in all respects as this one. Resembling bonfire flames with read flowers atop each green branch, it was the biggest and the most beautiful desert plant that we have seen in bloom this spring. Or maybe ever. My caption for this shot would be DESERT FLAME.

But don’t be fooled by these benign looking green branches. Like so many desert plants, they are actually full of vicious thorns. Let’s just say you would not want to pick one up with your bare hands.

By the way, Ocotillos have been used for centuries by the natives in the American Southwest for a variety of medicinal and non-medicinal purposes.

The photo on the right is that of another magnificent specimen of the Arizona desert – the world famous Saguaro. My caption for this sunset shot would be ARIZONA CHURCH. 🙂

Medicinal Uses:

A tincture made of fresh bark is useful for eliminating symptoms associated with inflammation of the pelvic region. Ocotillo can also be effective in alleviating hemorrhoids, benign prostate enlargements, and cervical varicosities.
The Cahuilla Indians prepared Ocotillo root in a tea to treat a harsh, moist cough observed in the elderly. The Apache Indians often used the reddish orange blossom, fresh or dried in a tea, which aided in the relief of soar and swollen muscles. The seeds and flowers were also eaten raw in various dishes.

Non-medicinal Uses:

The resin and wax collected from the bark is often used to condition leather. These lengthy stems of Ocotillo are also used as fence posts, if watered frequently they can re-root themselves and become a living fence post. Dried stems of the ocotillo can be used as a regular fence by layering them on top of one another and tying them together.
ALTZAR: I’ve seen those kinds of fences. They are formidable military defense barriers. The Indians used them to protect their villages from invaders including wild animals.
By the way, Ocotillo’s official botanical name is Fouquieria splendens. They have an average lifespan of 60 years, though some have been known to live 72 years.
 * * *

UPDATE APR 1, 2017


On Thursday March 30 at 9 PM (yes, PM, no mistake there), a trucker delivered our Nissan Leaf after a long trans-oceanic journey from Hawaii.  And today, I took it to a car wash to give it a fresh gleaming start at its new desert home.


The shipment of some our Rainbow Shower house contents also arrived the next day (March 31).  We had sold most of our possessions in Maui and have kept only some personal effects, artifacts and some antiques. Still the movers managed to break a few valuable pieces.

Like a  200-or-so-year old antique chair, or Elizabeth’s late Mom’s Don Quixote sculpture, or this Czech crystal bowl.

Oh well, that’s life, I suppose. You lose some, you create some. And you move on…

UPDATE APR 3, 2017



I made a feeble attempt this weekend at hanging some tapestries and other artifacts that arrived last week here from our Rainbow Shower home in Maui. After I had made a mess of just one of them in our dining room drywall – the easiest and the smallest of our tapestries – handyman I am not! 🙂 – I summoned a real handyman to complete the job today. In fact, you can still see his ladder and tools in some of the pictures.

And what a job he did. Perfection all around. And what a job he did. Perfection all around. It took him 3 hours of laser-precision measurements (literally, he used a laser). And it was worth it.

Take a look at the newly reassembled Eagle’s Nest Art Gallery… (some of these tapestries had already hung on these very walls in the past – before our move to Maui in 2009).

UPDATE MAY 10, 2017


And so ends our 8-year relationship with this loyal work horse and a fun companion with which we explored the beautiful Maui sights and heights.

And with that, the last physical vestige of our 8-year life in Hawaii is gone. Of course, the memories are forever.

Adios y muchos gracias, El Jeepo!




Looks like El Jeepo will be heading for Arizona next week. I know, they say that it is “a woman’s privilege to change her mind.” In this case, I’ve had a change of heart… today, after I had brought El Jeepo back home from an oil and filter change.

So call me a woman, I don’t mind. 🙂 As long as I make the right decision in the end.

Today, I also had the mechanic put back on its original vinyl roof. I took it off on El Jeepo’s first day at the Rainbow Shower 7 years ago and never saw it until today. It had been “resting” from duty in one of our garage closets since 2009. Until now.

Why a change of heart?

First, I think I got a sign that I should NOT be selling it here and now. I thought I had a buyer pretty much lined up for it last Sunday for the full asking price of $8K. But on Monday, he started to act like a jerk. In the end, I told him he needed to find another car. A sign, as I said.


Second, after I saw the new/old roof on jt, I almost heard a voice telling me, “now you can ship it overseas.” That was not an option, of course, when El Jeepo was topless.

Third, as I was cleaning the new roof and the vinyl windows back home, some more practical reasons, and also some emotional factors, popped up in my mind for making the El Jeepo the El Keepo. Meaning, shipping it to Arizona instead of the Leaf.


** El Jeepo would only cost $50 dollars more to ship than the Leaf, and yet it would save me several thousand dollars of having to install a new 240V EV charger in my Scottsdale garage.

** Gasoline is A LOT CHEAPER in Arizona than in Hawaii. So for the duration of my ownership of the Rainbow Shower, when we come after the house sells, we would essentially have free transportation with the Leaf.

** El Jeepo needs new tires and tires are also less expensive in Arizona than in Hawaii.


** El Jeepo has a custom license plate (ALTZAR) and a custom logo (Rainbow Shower) which I designed myself 7 years ago. It was clearly meant to be MY CAR, not someone else’s.

** El Jeepo will be a perfect “fun ride” for the Arizona weather – with or without its soft roof. Off in the cooler months, on when the sun bakes up the desert. I remember having loads of fun with my Toyota Landcruiser in the early 1980s both in the lower deserts and the high mountain ranges. Back then, the Landcruiser was basically the same as a 4WD Jeep (nowadays Toyota made it into a fancy SUV with all sorts of bells and whistles).

Finally and most importantly, my heart tells me that making the El Jeepo the El Keepo is the right thing to do.

As I reached that conclusion this afternoon, I remember that an longtime IBM friend of mine from upstate New York told me last June:

“As for El Jeepo….it has been my experience that once you own a Jeep… will always own one. I am on number 5. Current one is a 2004 still serving me like a dedicated and faithful friend.”

Bob Samson, you’re so right. Looks like El Jeepo will be here to stay even if it has to make an overseas trip first.

Guess I’d better remove the FOR SALE signs from El Jeepo now. 🙂


During today’s El Jeepo oil and filter service, I asked the mechanic to do a thorough “once over” and see what else might need repairing or replacing. There are 2-3 items like that. Nothing major, only about $350 including labor. But that means they’ll have to keep the car for half a day on Tuesday. And since I don’t have a second ride, with Elizabeth being in AZ already, they recommended I try Uber. I have never done it before, but it sounds like an interesting learning experience.

“Thank you, El Jeepo.” â˜ș 🙂

* * *



I just have to share with you a comment from a longtime friend in West Virginia, also a media editor:

“I’m so glad you are keeping El Jeepo. I felt really bad when you said you were selling him/it. El Jeepo is part of the family and I have become accustomed to hearing the stories. El Jeepo feels like your adopted child to me. 

Yeah!! You’re keeping El Jeepo. Besides, El Jeepo has done a lot of work for you and been by your side in some very trying times. It’s only right to not leave El Jeepo behind. “

To which I replied:

I feel El Jeepo is more like a faithful horse. Only 285 times more powerful.”

To which my friend replied:

Made me laugh, which I am really appreciative of since I’m in the middle of doing a bunch of crappy work.”

To which I replied:

“Crappy work? That’s El Jeepo’s specialty.” 🙂




This morning, I was just getting ready to take my El Jeepo for a final auto service here on Maui before shipping it off to Arizona. I heard a ding on my iPhone signaling I had a text message.

Turns out it was a woman who had just moved from New York to Paia who saw my FOR SALE ad (which I had forgotten to cancel!). I told her I had decided to keep the Jeep. She assured me she was a cash buyer who was willing to pay the full asking price and do it today. If I were willing to change my mind (again – see “EL JEEPO” TO BE “EL KEEPO” AFTER ALL).
She promised to call me again later in the day to set up a time to meet and do the deal. But I did not commit one way or another.
So I took El Jeepo in to service anyway. It’s just preventive maintenance stuff anyway. First, because I am still leaning toward keeping it. You know, bird in hand and all that… Second, because I am still leaning toward keeping it. 🙂
And third, because this gave me an opportunity to experience my first ever UBER ride! Since Elizabeth is already in Arizona, the auto shop stuff suggested I use Uber. They’ve all used it and had good experiences, they said.
And so did I. My first Uber driver turned to be a lady who is attending the School of Nursing her at the University of Hawaii. Married with a daughter. She even used to live near the road where the Rainbow Shower is. So she knew the neighborhood well.
So it was an A+ first Uber experience. I recommend you try it, too, if you haven’t already. The company also sent me this promotional code which you can use for your first ride:
No strings attached. Here’s what the company said about it:
“Below is your custom Uber invite code. They get a free ride and you will too (worth up to $15), after their first ride. It’s the ultimate Uber win-win, and there’s no limit to how much credit you can earn.”

 * * *



So I am “Jeepless” now. Not forever. Just for another three weeks or so.

A couple of hours ago I dropped off my El Jeepo at the Matson Shipping office in Kahului Harbor for its first overseas trip. Well, maybe the second. I don’t know of any Jeep factories in Maui.  🙂

So now you also know what my yesterday’s decision was about that full price cash offer – the El Jeepo will remain the El Keepo.

Before taking El Jeepo down to the harbor, I felt I had to take it up the mountain for a final ride on Maui. The El Jeepo has not only been a faithful and reliable workhorse at the Rainbow Shower. It has also been our mountain goat, our only ride up the 10,000 ft Haleakala volcano on whose slopes our property lies. The Leaf, our other electric car, for all its wonderful virtues, is just not cut out for mountain climbing.  It’s definitely a lowlander vehicle (makai – in Hawaiian).

So this morning, I pointed El Jeepo up Haleakala and let it go. We eventually stopped at Kula Lodge for its final Maui vista (elevation 3,200). This is the place El Jeepo would take us to on weekends in the good old days when we could still afford to eat pizza. Nowadays, we just have to look at a pizza and gain a pound. 🙂

The weather was perfect. And the vistas out of this world. See it for yourself…


Farewell to El Jeepo Sunset Rainbow

I was sitting on the lanai this evening reading a book when I felt light misting in the air. The sun was just about to set. That’s when the rainbows are the biggest and the most beautiful. And it’s been a long time since we’ve had a sunset rainbow.

I grabbed my iPhone and walked down on the lawn to see. Sure enough, a big beautiful sunset rainbow stretched out over our Rainbow Shower home like a giant umbrella.

“That’s the El Jeepo farewell rainbow,” I whispered.

For more on that, see…




Where Serenity, Romance and Ethereal Meet and Merge into Great “Mana”

On Wednesday of this week, Elizabeth and I did something we have never done before. At a friend’s suggestion, we had breakfast in the Rainbow Shower gulch. It was a perfectly serene and romantic affair with sounds of the murmuring creek complementing the bird songs and gentle breezes. images

We loaded up El Jeepo with our breakfast supplies, and headed down the hill to the Anahata, the sacred place of the Rainbow Shower and the shaman’s altar on the banks of our lovely stream.

We even had a professional photographer on hand to record it all. He directed us as to where to sit and what to do and got himself a breakfast in the end, too. 🙂

Remember Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?” (1961).  Well, ours was not nearly as glamorous. But it was just as romantic and 100% REAL. Well, ours was not as glamorous. But it was better. It was just as romantic and 100% REAL.

Personally, I’d take Hawaiian natural beauty over the cityscapes of New York and man-made jewelry 100 times out of 100.

Take a look to see why… and eat your heart out Tiffany. If you have one, that is.

PS: “Mana” (Hawaiian) – a feeling of great health, happiness and power.

Breakfast header 6-22-16

Breakfast at Lower Rainbow Shower



Here are a couple of photos I took of my Hula girl this morning before she went off to dance with her group at a Makawao church fundraiser.

Purple and green – Wimbledon colors – though I doubt that many of the Hula ladies would know or care about this tennis event that starts Monday in England.



Makai (Ocean), Sacred Sanctuary with Heart Chakra (Land), Mauka (Mountain – Haleakala)

Check out these aerial shots of our Maui home with the Anahata (heart chakra) sacred place at its heart (filmed by a camera drone on June 22, 2016 – see




June 22-23, 2016

Ever seen a lunar rainbow? If so, raise your hand.

And by that, I don’t mean a halo around the moon. The real lunar rainbows are just like the solar ones only far less bright. And extremely rare. No wonder I don’t see many hands up in the air. 🙂

On very rare occasions – only four in eight years – I have even seen lunar rainbows. In fact, moonbows are so rare that many people are not even aware they exist.  They do. But you have to be up at odd hours to see them.

Last night, just before midnight, I finished my nightly meditations and incantations and was getting ready to get back into the house. As I looked toward the west a faint light stopped me dead in my tracks.

“A lunar rainbow?” I wondered more instinctively than by sight.

I looked again. There it was. Clear as a bell, at least to my naked eye. I went into the house to get the camera and see if I can document this extremely rare celestial event. I did not hold out much hope for a clear picture. The light was so faint. So I recorded live my narration of what I was looking at.

And then, some eight hours later, a double rainbow formed across the southwest sky. I looked at the clock. It was 7:42 AM.

“Rainbow bookends,” I whispered in awe. Just like on Oct 19-20 of last year (see LUNAR RAINBOW LAST NIGHT FOLLOWED BY CLEAR SKY RAINBOW THIS MORNING –


 * * *



JUNE 21-22, 2016

The last two days have been pretty momentous for Elizabeth and me, the Rainbow Shower owners and caretakers (

Three landscaping problems that I have been having to grapple with for the last two months disappeared this afternoon. Just like that. Poof! And they were all gone.

Of course, I did ask my Spirit guides to help me with these issues. But I did not know when or where they would choose to grant me my wishes.

First yesterday, the Home Depot delivered my new riding mower. No, strike “delivered.” It felt more like they just dropped it in from the sky like a caged animal. Take a look at the crate. Like a prison cell.

And I had to rescue it from it. It took several hours of axe and hammer work to break its wooden bonds. Then try to get it out of there. Which I could not do on my own. Had to pay someone $25 to help me. Then test it. Then fuel it. Then…

Get the picture? It was totally a “do it yourself” project. Which I hate. I can do pretty much anything I can set my mind on. But I hate being a “handyman” or a mechanic. So today I called the Home Depot manager to give him a piece of my mind about that kind of
“customer care.”


That was yesterday. Today, it was the opposite. Our jade and travertine tabletop on the lanai was used as a helipad for a drone shoot. That also took a lot of doing.IMG_6346

First, the six satellites required for navigation took their time lining themselves up for us. Then the camera malfunctioned. Then the memory card. Then the drone battery.

Finally, after almost an hour of arm-wrestling the modern technology, the drone took off into the sky. And we took some hopefully wonderful photos. I will share them with you when I get them from the photographer.

So it goes… something comes down, something goes up. 🙂


Ever tried to get rid of a non-functioning riding mower? Hope you never have to. Because mine has been a constant irritation ever since it failed some two months ago.

In its final dying moments, the rear wheel locked up tight. So I could not even tow it properly with my trusty El Jeepo to a scrapyard. But I did manage to literally drag it several hundred yards up the hill and along our gravel driveway to within 50 yards or so of the road. Its wheel plowed two deep tracks in the gravel. Which I have had to fill in and level manually.

That’s where it had been sitting for the last week or so. Because the local scrapyard owner failed to keep her promise and send her truck to pick it up. When I called Maui County “solid waste,” they said they only pick up “white trash.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

“You know, fridges, stoves…”

“Well, I can paint my mower white,” I joked. “Will you come and get it then?”

At first the County clerk did not get my joke. Guess they don’t get to talk to many taxpayers with a sense of humor. But when finally the penny dropped, she cracked up and laughed heartily.

Bottom line? I was still stuck with my RED wreck of a mower.

And then I had an inspiration this morning. I’ll spare you the gory details. But with a combination of brain, brawn and luck, I was able to use El Jeepo to tow the old Red Wreck about a mile up and down the hills to the scrapyard – with the rear wheels locked up tight.


Well, that shall remain my secret. 🙂 It suffices to say that it was a dangerous undertaking. That’s where the luck and my spirit guides help came in.



El Jeepo is our hero. Late yesterday afternoon, he performed another rescue mission. While riding my new mower down the steepest slope from the Upper to the Lower Rainbow Shower, I temporarily lost control of it. The brake would not hold. So the mower and the rider were skidding and hurtling toward the creek and the AHA (my sacred place) like stunt drivers.

Eventually, we stopped, the mower lodged atop the AHA between the two railroad ties which acted as brakes. It felt as if I put the mower back in the crate, only deeper. â˜ș There was no way I could budge the mower out of that position. So I had to walk back up the hill to the house, get El Jeepo out of the garage, and then bring it down to the gulch for another rescue mission.

It worked. And nobody got hurt. The mower and I went on about our business and finished the cut before sundown. Then I thanked my spirit guides. Because both the mower and me could have been in for a lot of hurt the way we were hurtling down that steep hill. So to make sure we know better the next time, as the final act for the day, I drove the mower down the same steep hill. Kind of like teaching a dog new tricks. 🙂

 * * *


June 24, 2016

I went down to the gulch to do my usual rounds of the Rainbow Shower in mid-afternoon. I noticed this green lizard on our green Giraffe Bridge soaking in the sunshine.img_3661

He did not mind me. I did not mind him. So I just left him enjoy a lazy summer afternoon.

When I finished my chores, though, about half an hour later, my new green friend was still where I had left him before.

I took a closer look. His eyes were closed. He was evidently having his afternoon siesta.

“How cute,” I thought.

I hiked up to the house to get the camera. “Wonder if he’d still be there when I get back?”

He was. So I took these pictures.

In fact, when Elizabeth joined me for another walk in the gulch, some two hours later, our friend was still there. Only this time, his eyes were open and he was shifting his weight from one foot to another.

Elizabeth looked uncomfortable.

“Surely you’re not afraid of a little lizard like this?” I asked.

“Maybe he could jump up at me?”

I was lost for words after that remark. 🙂

Anybody knows a proper biological name for this happy creature?


Getting By “Murphy’s Law” and Mercury Retrograde

Today was one of those days when “Murphy’s Law” reigned supreme (“anything that can go wrong, will go wrong”). But it was all good fun. Obstacles surmounted. Lessons learned.

And “El Jeepo” saved the day again!  It rescued a truck more than twice its size. 🙂

mercury-retrograde-copyright2011romanolehyaworsky-348It’s not like I hadn’t been warned to expect trouble today.  I was. First thing in the morning. Right after my morning prayers and incantations. I just didn’t know what to expect.

I cheerfully looked forward to finding out just exactly which way my Spirit guides might try to trip me up today. So they can have a chuckle at watching me struggle. And find out how quickly I recover and learn.

Spiritual Backdrop

Why? Because today is the Mercury Retrograde in Taurus Station Day (meaning peak of a 4-week celestial event that happens four times per year).

The second Mercury Retrograde of 2016 occurs in Taurus (23o 36″) on April 28 at 5:20 pm Universal Time, 1:20 pm Eastern Daylight Time, 10:20 pm Pacific Daylight Time, and 7:20 pm her in Hawaii.

So what, you say? A planet appears to be going backward, at least as seen from the Earth.

Well, that could be happening with our lives, too. Unless we are careful and take steps to prevent it.

Mercury Retrograde occurs at two levels. At one level – actions of others can set you back. There is not much you can do about that. Other than just sigh and let it go. Instead of fuming and fussing when it happens.

But at the personal level, you can do a lot more n order to avoid the consequences of Mercury Retrograde. Most of us encounter the setbacks when we are not centered, not aware or conscious of what is going on around us.

More often than not, the problems that set us back occur when we do not act from our heart and spirit. When we are not being AUTHENTIC.

So we have to exercise DISCERNMENT.

Amazingly, that’s exactly what my Spirit guides’ also counselled me to do this morning – through the DISCERNMENT Mystic Medicine card. More specifically, here’s what they said, using the words of my old friend Geronimo, the famous Apache warrior:

“Everyone has experienced feelings of failure when proper Discernment wasn’t considered or Discernment Merged.jpgexercised. In reverence to everything having a purpose and a lesson, all is perfect in the mind of God. Yet in consideration of an easier pathway, perhaps you should explore the mysteries and seek the wisdom of better Discernment. This is an exercise of Detachment from Ego and a profound personal practice of clear judgment and understanding.”

Instead we are reacting from our needs, our hurts, from our buttons being pushed, or the way that we take care of others and not ourselves. In that way we act from our shadow, and that is what mercury retrograde is all about.”

Mercury Retrograde occurs when it is moving backwards, into its shadow, and thus communication, scheduling, transportation and judgment becomes cloudy or error prone. As much as outer work is challenged by Mercury Retrograde, introspection and inner work is very supported.

So we should take advantage of Mercury Retrograde by clearing your own tendencies to get caught up in your own shadows and those of others.

(Which is why I smiled happily at everything that happened this morning. And as a result, I was able to help other people around me also face their retrograde problems with a smile on their faces).

Okay, so back to the earthly realm and this morning’s events…

Garden Shed: Today’s Site of the Mystery School Class

Old Shed Jan 2015

When I bought the Rainbow Shower property over seven years ago, the garden shed the former owners had left was already on its last legs. More importantly, it was UGLY, made out of the corrugated gray metal.

So one of the first things we did was have it painted forest green. So it would blend better with nature around it. However, that did not stop the leaks and the rust.  To keep my tractor mower dry during heavy rains, I had to cover it with a tarp.

Which I could have done without a shed, too, I am sure some you wise guys are thinking.  True. But you have no idea how strong the winds around here can be.

Bottom line? The shed is a necessity.

So on Monday, I broke down and bought a new one. And I hired my longtime contractor-friend Scott to dismantle the old one and install the new shed.

This morning was our first day on the job. Scott arrived with a huge sledge hammer and started to take the old shed apart.

Lifetime shedHe had previously unloaded the new shed which arrived in two big boxes (here it is – as it will look when assembled – right).

“Are you feeling like Hercules swinging that huge hammer?” I asked Scott at one point of the destruction.

“What I am feeling is tired,” Scott replied.

“Well, nobody said that Hercules never got tired, either. But surely you must get a kick out of smashing things like that, with brute force? I know I did when I was a kid.”

“Sadly, there weren’t too many times when I was allowed to do it,” I added.

We both laughed.

After about an hour or so, Scott asked me to come out and look at something at the old shed platform which we are going to keep for the new shed. Once we settled the issue, he said he would be back tomorrow to pick up the metal trash and take it away. We said our goodbyes to each other.

A few minutes later, though, I heard him revving up his big pick-up truck.

“Uh, uh…” I said to myself. “This can’t be good.”

I remembered several years ago having to use my little 4WD Jeep to pull another big pickup truck from the gulch. The truck belonged to a lumberjack I had hired to do some chainsaw work for me. Alas, the turkey never told me he did not have a 4WD before taking his truck down there. And getting stuck as a result.

In the aftermath, there were big ruts and tracks left where he was trying to pull himself up the slippery slope. Unsuccessfully in the end. Before my little El Jeepo came to his rescue.

“Are you in trouble with your truck?”, I asked Scott when I came out to see what was happening.

By that stage, Scott had also made some ruts and tracks in my lawn trying to drive his truck up the gentle slope. We’d had a few showers this morning. And the grass was wet and slippery. And his truck did not have a 4wD, either. So he was also stuck.

“Okay,” I said. “I’ll bring my El Jeepo around.”

“Your what?”

“El Jeepo. That’s what we call my Jeep.”

“I see. Like El Chapo,” Scott injected some humor of his own.

“Not quite,” I said. “El Jeepo is actually known as the white knight that helps rescue people who are in trouble.


The next problem was the rope. Or the lack thereof. I had one which I used when El Jeepo had to pull my tractor mower out of trouble. But with Scott’s big and heavy truck, the rope snapped like a sewing thread right away.

“Okay, jump in,” I told Scott cheerfully. “We are going to take El Jeepo to the local Haiku hardware store, and see if we can get a proper towing rope there.”

We did. It was a rope fit to pull 3,500 pound trucks.

“It’s bigger than my truck,” Scott was impressed.

“Not exactly. Maybe stronger,” I opined.

Half an hour later, we were back at the shed site. This time, it was El Jeepo that did the Herculean work rescuing a truck more than twice its size.

Once up on the paved driveway, Scott was visibly relieved. He gave me a thumbs up sign and yelled “thank you,” before driving up the hill as if his truck might refuse service even on our concrete driveway. 🙂

“See you tomorrow,” I said.

“I am not taking my truck back down there tomorrow,” Scott volunteered. “I’ll carry all the metal trash myself up the hill.”

Guess once burnt, twice shy. 🙂

Mailbox Collapse

After we were done with the rescue mission, I also found out that our mailbox had collapsed. The two posts that had been anchored in concrete for years had rotted away. So I improvised this solution to keep it functional for a few more years.


And no, I do NOT pride myself on being a “handyman.” In fact, I hate that kind of stuff. But you gotta do what you gotta do.  Especially on Mercury Retrograde Days.

Happy Mercury Retrograde in Taurus! Stay safe. And keep smiling. It will all pass.

 * * *



What happened today is a perfect example of we can “the best laid plans of mice and men” can be turned around into something completely different and unexpected.

When I woke up this morning, I thought today would be my day of rest. Thought I deserved it after a vigorous sailing exercise yesterday, and several days of pretty hard physical work here at the Rainbow Shower in Maui.

Well, my Spirit guides thought otherwise. The day started easy enough.  I admired the progress Scott, my contractor-friend, had made with construction of the new shed.


It looked like he just needed to finish the roof, and voila, we are done.

“Not so fast,” said my Spirit guides, speaking through Scott. He told me this morning that we, meaning me, will have to dig up and pave a new “driveway” to the shed. Because the doors of the new shed open outward. Whereas the doors of my old shed were sliding. And since there was about a foot and a half incline coming out of the shed, it means we could not open the new doors without excavating the ground in front of it.

And who would be the excavator?

That would be me. The owner of the new shed.

Which meant I had saddle up my El Jeepo and go into town first to get the necessary construction materials – sand, tiles, etc. And then, when I came back, start digging. With a pick and a shovel. No power tools allowed or available for a ditch-digging job like this. Especially as it was through the hard grass and roots that had formed over decades of the lawn serving as a green driveway.

Five pounds lighter and 2.5 hours later, my phone rang. It was Elizabeth calling me from Corpus Christi, Texas, where she has been visiting her family. I told her how grateful I was for giving me an excuse to take a break from this back-breaking work.

“This has been the hardest day of work since I came back,” I told her.

Anyway, we are still not done, Scott and I, as you can see from the above evening photos. But it is close.  I just need to dig up another 5-6 cubic feet of grass and dirt, lay the sand and the tiles, while Scott has to put up the finishing touches on the actual shed.

And then we can both hopefully breathe a sigh of relief. Tomorrow. And forever. Because this shed is made of plastic. It will never rust.  And as luck would have it, and Scott also observed today, its brown and cream paint job even matches the color combination of our home.

“I noticed that as soon as I saw it at Costco,” I told Scott. “That’s why I figured it was meant to be. I had to buy it.”

As for today, my planned day of rest turned into one of the hardest working days at the Rainbow Shower in years.

“Any time you see me drinking a mixture of milk and water with ice in the middle of the day, you know it’s been a hard day,” I told Elizabeth.

She laughed. She remembered making me plenty of other drinks like that before when I would come home looking like a shadow of my former self. But today was my first one of the kind since I returned to Maui on Apr 13. Which should tell us something about how hard being a human excavator can be, especially when ditch-digging entails having to dig up a mature lawn.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2016


Well, today was the day our new shed is officially finished. And that included my own excavation and paving job (see below).

Here it is in real life and 3D, as compared to the file photo at the Costco web site with which we started (below right).

At the end, I have my contractor-friend Scott a special Certificate of Achievement.

So now we just have to wait for the rains and winds to come and test the structural integrity of both ground and above-ground work.

* * *

UPDATE MAY 2, 2106


“Firebird” (mower) Passes the Test

May 2, 2016 – AM and PM

Morning Rainbow and Sunset, 12 Hours Apart

…with a 2-hour “farmer’s yoga” in between, aboard my Firebird riding mower, now happily resting and spending his first night in his new home.