FAREWELL TO MAUI, RAINBOW SHOWER FIRE CEREMONY

Well, today was my turn to start to say farewell to Maui and to the Rainbow Shower. And I did the way a shaman does these things – with a sunset fire ceremony.

No, I am not leaving Maui just yet. But this will be the last Sunday I will be spending here. A week from now, I hope to be on a flight from Honolulu to Phoenix. As to when I might return, who knows? When the Rainbow Shower (property) either sells or leases out to the next caretaker.

But first things first. I could not just leave and not take care of the most sacred part of the Rainbow Shower, the Anahata sacred place and shaman’s altar. So I spent most of the sunny part of the day repainting all the railroad ties I used as beams to form the Anahata heart chakra shape.  The last time I did it was in March of 2015, I found out afterward.

This was a result…

I waited till the evening after the sun had set to do a proper farewell fire ceremony. In time, I will post here the videos of it. For now, here are some still shots from it.

As usual, after I was done with my prayers and invocations, I put on a couple of burgers on the sacred fire.  That was my dinner. The corporal meets the spiritual. 🙂

Here’s a short video about the fire ceremony…

Farewell to Maui Fire Ceremony 9-25-2016 – a film by Bob Altzar Djurdjevic – https://youtu.be/ExxANXd8ATs

 * * *

READER COMMENT

THE LITTLE PRINCE AND THE ROSE

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

There are some friends you acquire on your travels through life with whom you connect only occasionally. But each time you to, it’s like a high voltage wire that goes straight to the heart. It doesn’t kill you. It ignites all sorts of positive emotions from the heart.

Andrew Cohen of Dunsborough, Western Australia, is one such a friend of mine. We used to be neighbors when I designed, built and owned the Bolt Hole in 1997/98, my first 3D work of art architected in Aussie bush home style.  After I sold the Bolt Hole in 2005, Andrew and I stayed in touch. Infrequently. Maybe once or twice a year.  But each time, it was about something important.

Such as when he and his friend Michael sesouth-beach-photot a world record running over 100 km Cape-to-Cape in December 2010. (see  Two Aussies Set New Record for the Ages – http://yinyangbob.com/Essays/Cape-to-Cape.html).

Last year, when I returned to my all-time favorite property in Western Australia with Elizabeth, Andrew and his wife Lindsay played gracious hosts to us several times. They made me feel I had really returned home again to Western Australia.

Tonight, Andrew did it again. He touched my heart with this FB  comment in reaction to this story:

“I can’t help but think of the Little Prince, sweeping out his volcanoes for the last time before leaving his planet (and his rose). All the best.”

I had tears in my eyes when I read this. Because Andrew seems to “get me” better than most people I spend time with day in and day out, including my family. So I replied:

“Wonderful analogy. So sweet. I am touched and honored you compared me to Little Prince. I am not sure if I will be leaving the planet just yet. But I am ready if my spirit guides think it is time. There will be no tears, just like the rose shed none in Little Prince until after he was gone. I feel only gratitude for the time I spent on Blue Star Earth and the friends I made while here, such as yourself.”

For those of you who may not be aware of this wonderful children’s book, the Little Prince was published in 1943. And this is the chapter to which Andrew’s comment referred.littleprince

Summary: Chapter IX

On the day of the little prince’s departure from his planet, he cleans out all three of his volcanoes, even the dormant one, and he uproots all the baobab shoots he can find. He waters his rose a final time. As he is about to place the glass globe over the rose’s head, he feels like crying. He says good-bye to the rose. At first, she refuses to reply, but then she apologizes, assures the little prince that she loves him, and says she no longer needs him to set the globe over her. She says she will be fine without him to take care of her. Urging the little prince to leave, the rose turns away so he will not see her cry.

 

 

“EL JEEPO” TO BE “EL KEEPO” AFTER ALL

“EL JEEPO” TO BE “EL KEEPO” AFTER ALL

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.

el-jeepo-1

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.

PRACTICAL REASONS

** 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.

EMOTIONAL REASONS

** 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…..you 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. 🙂

PS: ONE MORE SERVICE CALL AND THEN “UBER AND OVER” 🙂

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.” ☺ 🙂

* * *

READER COMMENT:

EL JEEPO: “ADOPTED CHILD” OR “FAITHFUL HORSE”

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.” 🙂

el-jeepo-horse

 UPDATE SEPTEMBER 27, 2016

CASH OFFER ARRIVES MINUTES BEFORE FINAL “EL JEEPO” SERVICE ON MAUI

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:
robertd19083ue
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.”
“EL JEEPO” TO BE “EL KEEPO” AFTER ALL

 * * *

UPDATE SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

“EL JEEPO’S” FINAL RIDE ON MAUI

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…

el-jeepos-final-ride

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… http://wp.me/p3R16m-2Xv

img_6704

 

ELIZABETH’S FAREWELL TO MAUI

Ever since we moved to Maui in 2009, Elizabeth has been talking about how she would like to open up a B&B (bed and breakfast) at this spot in northeast Maui – Kahakuloa.

maui-rock-of-gibraltar

Well, that has not happened. But today we did return to Kahakuloa during Elizabeth’s farewell tour of West Maui (she leaves for Arizona in a few days).

For me, this spot resembles Maui’s Rock of Gibraltar.

“Only smaller,” Elizabeth added as we continued our drive up in El Jeepo and around the wild and beautiful northeast coast of Maui.

This may well be also our farewell drive in El Jeepo. I have just put it up for sale after he served us faithfully for seven years.

Our next stop was this pretty lonesome cove.

eliz-cove-9-11-16

We have been here before. Around Labor Day 2012, I think.

Only now, the beach seems to be rougher. The ocean had thrown up more debris on it. We have had quite a few storms this year. Which is probably why.

ne-maui-cove_panorama1

After that stop, we continued on to Kapalua and Lahaina, and returned home along the northwest coast of Maui.

A nice outing, we both agreed.

 * * *

MAUI’S FAREWELL TO ELIZABETH: ANOTHER FLASH FLOOD, OR THREE…

Foot bridge washed away for a second time in 8 years!

Elizabeth said her farewell to Maui on a beautiful weekend drive around West Maui (see http://wp.me/p3R16m-2W6). But Maui was not yet done with Elizabeth. Last night, a roar of the Rainbow Shower creek, clearly audible all the way up at our home, some 80 ft above the gulch, signaled that another flash flood was under way.
It was not until this morning, though, that I had a chance to go down and assess the damage. For a second time in eight years, the power of rushing water washed away my footbridge, even though this time it was anchored by four rebar rods.

Also for the first time ever, the flash flood had overflowed the big Giraffe Bridge, ripping out some of the wooden boards in the process, nails and all.

By this morning, the creek appeared meek and mild back in its riverbed.

“Who me? I didn’t do that,” I almost heard Goddess Namaka’s pleading voice emerge from the murmuring stream (Namaka is Hawaiian goddess of water and oceans). 🙂

Well, it must have been Maui then, the mythical God of Fire and Fishermen. It was his powerful farewell to Elizabeth who leaves for Arizona early tomorrow morning.

As for me, I will be staying to clean up and repair the damage once the rain finally stops. Which is does not look like it’s going to happen before the weekend.img_6606

NOTE: In Polynesian mythology, Maui was a powerful trickster god best known for creating the Pacific islands. A son of the god Tangaroa and a woman, he performed many deeds to improve the lives of humans, such as making the sky higher and the day longer. Endowed with magical powers, this small but exceedingly strong god and culture hero tried but did not succeed in achieving immortality.

Maui created the islands while out on a fishing trip with his brothers. First he fashioned a magic fishing hook from his grandmother’s jawbone. Then, as his brothers looked on, Maui cast the hook into the water and began to pull up from the ocean floor the islands on which the Polynesians now live.

Read more: http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Le-Me/Maui.html#ixzz4KAwH1N1c

UPDATE SEP 13, 2016 – 1:15 PM

DELUGES CONTINUES…

This is what the Rainbow Shower looks like at the moment, from the ground – my office window – and from high up – radar/satellite view.

Just now, 1:15 PM, I got an emergency alert from the National Weather Service, warning of another flash flood this afternoon.

Just like last night, when they sent us a similar message, they are closing the barn door after the horse is already gone.

“That’s a National CYA Service for us,” I joked with Elizabeth. “As if we can’t see this deluge with our own eyes.” 🙂

Flash flood of Sep 13, 2016 – Round 2 – PM

Here are the latest shots from Elizabeth’s send off “gift” from Maui.  Bottom line” (so far).  This has been the worst flood I have seen in years. Worse than any that even the recent hurricanes had brought to Maui.

My neighbors’ property (the brown terraced hill in the bottom right shot), which used to be mine until early 2016, is practically washing away into the creek. They are in a process of building an orchard but have cut the terraces to slope downhill, instead of into the hill (as I had suggested to them a couple of months ago). And so now they are suffering the consequences. By comparison, the damage at the Rainbow Shower is relatively minor.

ELIZABETH’S “FAREWELL TO MAUI” PICTURES

On our way back to the house from Elizabeth’s final tour of the Rainbow Shower, she asked me to take a picture of her on “her” bench.  I took two.

Why is this “Elizabeth’s bench?”

Because in early 2015, when I decided to put the 5-acre part of the Rainbow Shower on the market, Elizabeth asked me to move one of the two 250-benches to this spot. It’s about half way up from the bottom of the gulch (an 80-ft elevation difference). So she figured she could rest here and catch her breath, while enjoying  a lovely view across the gulch to the west. And also sunsets if she timed it right.

Double Bench Day 4-10-15

That was quite a project. Because it entailed moving two 250-pound benches down and up 50-foot hillsides half a mile apart. “Elizabeth’s bench” is the one on the right – the longer route. And there she is now.

She leaves for Arizona first thing tomorrow morning.

 * * *

 

FLASH FLOOD UPDATE SEP 14, 2016

HARD LABOR IN LULL BETWEEN THE STORMS: BRIDGES ARE BACK UP IN OPERATION

After taking Elizabeth to the airport, I used this morning’s lull between the two storms and three flash floods to clear the flood debris and repair the Giraffe bridge.  Look at the map to see how Spirit has been kind to us after all these floods. The Rainbow Shower, one of the wettest spots on Maui, has been the only dry one this morning.

During this calm between the storms, I was even able to retrieve, drag and reinstall the footbridge.

The latter was a Herculean task (for me, anyway) as it weighs probably over 200 pounds. I had to drag it up and down and across the two river banks and through ankle-deep mud to reach its original mooring spot. Then “cast it” across the creek to the other anchoring end.

ABRACADABRA: FOOT BRIDGE MAGIC

Now you see it, now you don’t…

Actually, it is the other way around in this case. Yesterday, it was gone. Now, it is back. 🙂

To give you an idea of the physical effort required for all this – I lost 5.5 pounds in 1.5 hrs doing it. 🙂

UPDATE SEP 17, 2016

RARE CLEAR SKY RAINBOW

 

Perhaps I should stop using the term “rare” in reference to clear sky rainbows here, at the Rainbow Shower. For nowadays, they seem to come several times a year, usually during or right after my morning prayers and invocations.

That’s what happened at 8:08 this morning. As usual, I finished the opening of the sacred space with these words:

“I now invoke the light of the Rainbow Ray to guard, balance and protect Elizabeth and me, and our families, and our extended families around the world (you) in all time frames and realms.”

I opened my eyes expecting to see nothing but blue sky. Instead, there it was… a beautiful clear sky rainbow in all its splendor, looking like a giant heavenly smile.

clear-sky-rainbow-9-17-16

But the Spirit realm were not done with me yet. When I walked out to the lanai some 40 minutes later (8:55), there was another rainbow of a smaller arc (2nd photo).

[FYI – rainbow arcs get smaller as the sun rises]

Have a blessed day! (or night, depending on where in the world you are right now).

img_4856

 

 * * *

LABOR DAY 2016: FROM MAUKA (mountain) TO MAKAI (beach) OF MAUI

Our Labor Day 2016 started in beautiful sunshine. The threat of twin hurricanes behind us, and with the trade breezes back to cool the air, the morning of September 5, 2016 was about as perfect as they come at our Yin home – the Rainbow Shower in Maui.  It didn’t get much better than later on, either.

So in early afternoon, at Elizabeth’s suggestion, we went out for a holiday drive – from Mauka (Hawaiian for mountain) to Makai (beach).

The outing was her idea. Which is unusual. And then I realized, this will possibly be our last Labor Day on Maui.  So she wanted us to play tourists on our own island and take some pictures to remember it by.

“I may also want to paint some of these scenes,” she later explained.

Our impromptu route took us from our Rainbow Shower home at elevation 900 ft, through Kula (elev 3,000 to 3,500 ft), to Maui’s only winery at Ulupalakua Ranch at about 2,000 ft above the ocean. And then all the way down to the ocean to the Baby Beach, where our Maui adventure started in 2009.

MAUKA – MAUI WINERY

The winery as well as the ranch general store were closed. But along the way to and fro,, we enjoyed some breathtaking views of West Maui, Lanai, Kahoolawe and Molokini (all Hawaiian island names). Like this panorama shot….

IMG_6561

Here are also some photos of the Ulupalakua Ranch winery and general store.

The ranch was founded in 1841 when King Kamehameha leased over 2,000 acres of pristine mountain pastures, along with a sugar mill, to L.L. Torbert for $800 per year on a 6-year contract. The current winery has been in business since 1974.

On our way back, Elizabeth wanted me to take this photo of an old shed as a possible painting idea. But I did more than that, including a panorama shot of the West Maui mountains behind it (pink frame). So now there are two competing ideas for a an old shed painting.

IMG_6562

MAKAI – BABY BEACH

On our way back down the mountain (“mauka”), Elizabeth showed her rare initiative again. She suggested we go to our Baby Beach, the northern end of of Maui’s most popular north shore “makai” – the Baldwin Beach. And so we did.

Here’s first a panorama shot of the West Maui Mountains (Puu Kukui), as seen from Baby Beach:IMG_6574

Here’s also a view of Baldwin Beach in the opposite direction – to the south:

Baldwin Beach panorama 9-05-16

And a picture of Elizabeth taking pictures of the lava rocks for her future paintings:

IMG_6575

And now, some closeups from the Baby Beach – Elizabeth taking pictures of the rocks she wants to paint, and of a Native Hawaiian fisherman crabbing.

Notice the red molten lava and how it engulfed the rocks as it cooled till they looked like cracked eggs? This brought back some old memories…

Baby Beach Memories

It has been years since Elizabeth and I were last at the Baby Beach part of the Baldwin Beach. And yet, that’s where our Maui adventure started in 2009. 

I was the first to arrive in March 2009.  Knowing that Elizabeth was not a strong swimmer, I looked for a smaller, shallower beach, protected by a coral wall from the high surf, where (I thought) we would enjoy our time on the beach in Maui. That’s how I found the Baby Beach. And I brought Elizabeth to it.

The day before, back home at the Rainbow Shower, we witnessed this magnificent pink sunset. I don’t remember seeing sunsets like that in the last few years.

As it turned out, Elizabeth and I never used the Baby Beach for swimming and frolicking on Maui in the last eight years. In fact, we hardly used any beaches. That’s how busy we have been creating our Garden of Eden, the Rainbow Shower in Maui, and taking care of it so that it stays that way. For, jungle has a way of reclaiming its territory. You give it an inch, it will take an arm.

And so now, on this Labor Day 2016, having been high and low, we return to our “pacarina” (place of emergence – in Quechua, the Inca language), from whence we had emerged.

 * * *

NIGHT OUT AT THE “PINK MARTINI” CONCERT

Elizabeth and I just got back from a “Pink Martini” concert at the Castle Theatre of the Maui Arts and Culture Center (MACC).

At dusk before the concert, the clouds, which always seem to obscure the Iao Valley and the Puu Kukui (volcano), had parted revealing Maui’s feminine volcano for all to see. At the same time, a crescent moon was about to set. It was an unusual and yet a beautiful setting.

So we used the opportunity to file enter these shots into our MACC memorial scrapbook.

Pink Martini concert – March 2010

This was not the first time we heard the “Pink Martini” band play. The first time was on March 4, 2010, also at the Castle Theater in Maui. And they opened tonight’s concert with the very song that remained in my musical memory since 6.5 years ago.

In fact, it came back to me again at Easter in 2014 and I recorded it myself at the time.
 
See Jamming with the “Pink Martini”

RAINY DAY LUNCHEON AT GRAND WAILEA

UPDATE SEP 9, 2016

RAINY DAY LUNCHEON AT GRAND WAILEA

The rain in southwest Maui is about as rare as in Arizona or Sahara. Which is why we call this part of our island “Africa.”
Yet today, the day Elizabeth and I picked to cash in (for a third time) on a gift voucher I received for my June 3 birthday, it rained. Yet back home at the Rainbow Shower, where it rains on and off most days, it was sunny and warm.
wailea-panorama-9-09-16
Go figure… Which is why I also bring you below some photos of the Grand Wailea resort, one of Waldorf Astoria properties, on a “normal” (sunny) day for them.
After our delicious luncheon, we thought we would go to the nearby Makena beach for a quick splash. As it turned out, our outing was rained out. No kidding. A beach visit rained out!
By the time we got near Makena Beach, it was pouring rain.
“So what’s the point?” I said to Elizabeth before turning the car around and heading back to Haiku. “We can always get soaked like that at home.” 🙂

But not today. When we got back home it was still nice and sunny.

 * * *

ANOTHER GRAND LUNCHEON AT GRAND WAILEA

Who Says There Is No Free Lunch? 🙂

We had lunch today at Grand Wailea. We normally never eat lunch, especially not at such a fancy resort. And for a second time in a row, it was on the house!

Go figure… who says there is no free lunch? 🙂

Here’s what happened on July 14 when we had lunch at Grand Wailea for the first time:

Who Says There Is No Free Lunch? 🙂

“But the best part was yet to come.  I asked for the bill and handed the waitress my gift card. She returned a few minutes later, card in hand, and a big smile on her face.

“We are having some problems with our gift card machine,” she said, “so your luncheon is on the house.”

I was stunned. “I don’t understand,” I said. “There is $100 on that card.”

“I am sure there is. We don’t doubt your word. But don’t worry about it. Everything’s been taken care of. So just enjoy the rest of your day.”

Elizabeth and I looked at each other in disbelief.

“That’s what the resort management should have done by way of apology for the gift card hassles they put us through,” I said. “Guess now our spirit guides have remedied their sloppiness and indifference to customers.”

“So we’ll just have to come back again for an encore,” Elizabeth said. Indeed, the $100 should be still in our gift card (an excerpt from a Short Story “Grand Wailea” – http://wp.me/p3R16m-2PU).

All I can say about out today’s experience at Grand Wailea is – ditto, ditto. The exact same thing happened as on July 14 except with a different waitress and at a different table. The Waldorf Astoria resort keeps giving and giving… us free lunches.

Thank you, thank you, Grand Wailea!

Here are some pictures we took on our walk along the shore after the luncheon. It was quite windy and the surf was up (as much as it gets up on the west side of Maui). There were lots of people in the water, body-surfing the waves. Quite fun.

All around, it was a wonderful afternoon… playing tourists at home at a five-star resort – for free. Thank you, spirits!

 * * *

A Short Story

July 14, 2015

GRAND LUNCHEON AT GRAND WAILEA

Another Unexpected Magical Experience

When I did my morning meditations and incantations, I realized that today, July 14, 2016, was also an auspicious date. Not just because it is the Bastille Day, the 227th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, which marked the start of the French Revolution. 7-14-2016 is a septuple #3 day numerologically (i.e., #21, which is also a #3, the day of magic which brought me here to Maui eight years ago -see “Maui Calling…“, Dec 2008).

I just did not know what this would mean in our lives today. I found out this afternoon as we enjoyed a grand luncheon at the Grand Wailea resort on the southwest (touristy side of Maui. It was an unexpected magical experience.

IMG_6438

What were we doing on the touristy side of our island?

Well, my daughters sent us there. Figuratively. They gave me a Grand Wailea gift card for my birthday, which was June 3.  By the time we drove over there to collect it, it was the third week of June. What followed was a charade of incompetence by the staff and management at one of the fanciest resorts on Maui – owned and managed by the exclusive Waldorf Astoria chain of hotels. I will spare you the details. Suffice it say that even a Motel 8 would have delivered a better customer service.

So we did not expect much when we showed up today to cash in on my gift card. Considering how expensive everything is, we thought maybe we’d have a couple of soft drinks and desserts. And that’s about all the gift card would have covered.

Well, we were pleasantly surprised the reasonable prices at the resort’s terrace restaurant, offering beautiful beach and ocean views and a great light menu. So we decided to have a luncheon there. Except we don’t eat lunch. So call it a 3 PM dinner if you like.

The food was delicious. The views were great from the corner table which gave us complete privacy (see above).

But the best part was yet to come.  I asked for the bill and handed the waitress my gift card. She returned a few minutes later, card in hand, and a big smile on her face.

“We are having some problems with our gift card machine,” she said, “so your luncheon is on the house.”

I was stunned. “I don’t understand,” I said. “There is $100 on that card.”

“I am sure there is. We don’t doubt your word. But don’t worry about it. Everything’s been taken care of. So just enjoy the rest of your day.”

Elizabeth and I looked at each other in disbelief.

“That’s what the resort management should have done by way of apology for the gift card hassles they put us through,” I said. “Guess now our spirit guides have remedied their sloppiness and indifference to customers.”

“So we’ll just have to come back again for an encore,” Elizabeth said. Indeed, the $100 should be still in our gift card.

And then I also remembered. This was not the first time something like that had happened. When we visited the Rainbow Shower for the first time in December 2008, we stopped in Paia to get some smoothies. And after chatting with the owner while he was making it, I asked how much I owed him.

“Nothing. It’s on the house,” he replied.

“But why?” I wondered.

“Just because. I like you,” he replied.

Our real estate agent, who was with us at the time, was stunned. “I’ve never seen anything like it before,” she said after we left the shop.

“That’s a sign from the Spirit,” I replied. “We are welcome here on the north shore of Maui.”

Eight years later, it would appear we are now also welcome on the southwest shore of Maui. 🙂  And yes, I now understood how the septuple #3 day manifested itself through this unexpected magical experience. I raised my head to the heavens and thanked my Spirit guides silently.

COASTLINE WALK THEN AND NOW – IN 2008 and 2016

After the luncheon, we went out for a nice walk along the coastal path. That’s also what we did in December 2008 during our first stay in this area. Here are some shots from that little trip down the memory lane.

This evening, I was stunned to discover that I took the above left shot from almost the exact same spot during that walk on Dec 1, 2008. Except, being a winter season, it was close to sunset and the light was different. Take a look…

 * * *

An Evening at the Historic Iao Theater in Wailuku

“DARBY” THREATENS HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

“DARBY” THREATENS HAWAIIAN ISLANDS

Is Already Causing Flash Floods at Rainbow Shower
Flash flood 7-23-16 Panorama2

Just last night, after I completed my evening rounds of the Rainbow Shower, Elizabeth asked me, “how is it?”

“As perfect as can be,” I replied. “Wish I could freeze it like this.”

I had been working like a slave for three days this week to bring the four Rainbow Shower lawns into perfection, along with the shrubs, tree and other decorative plants on our property.

“But I know that’s wishful thinking,” I added.

We did not have to wait long to prove me right. As soon as I awoke this morning, hearing the roar of our creek, some 70 feet in elevation down in the gulch from our home, I knew we were experiencing another flash flood.

So I grabbed my umbrella (to protect the camera lens from rain), and walked down there. Butt naked. No sense in getting my clothes soaked. And not even birds are out and about in this kind of weather.

Here’s a 1.5 minute video clip I brought back:

FLASH FLOOD NUMBER…? [DARBY IS COMING]

 * * *

You will hear me conclude the broadcast by saying, “this is not the end.”

At the time, our internet was out. So I had no idea that this was not even a beginning. All this rain was just a forefront the tropical storm Darby is sending our way, I found out when the internet was restored. Packing winds of 50 to 65 mph, the eye of Darby is expected pass over the Big Island this afternoon, over Maui tonight, and exit the Hawaiian chain of islands over Kauai on Sunday night.

So “we ain’t seen nothing yet,” as my intuition suggested when I saw the flash flood down in the gulch this morning.

Here are some still pictures, too…

Here’s a weather report about Darby – for those of my FB friends who live in Hawaii:

TROPICAL STORM DARBY WILL CONTINUE TOWARD THE BIG ISLAND THIS MORNING. THE CENTER OF DARBY IS APPROACHING THE BIG ISLAND AND WILL PASS VERY NEAR… OR OVER… THE BIG ISLAND TODAY. A GRADUAL TURN TOWARD THE NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY… WITH THE CENTER OF DARBY EXPECTED TO PASS VERY NEAR… OR OVER… MAUI COUNTY TONIGHT AND SUNDAY. THEN… THE CENTER OF DARBY OF EXPECTED TO PASS VERY NEAR… OR OVER… OAHU LATE ON SUNDAY AND PASS VERY NEAR KAUAI COUNTY SUNDAY NIGHT. RAIN AND WIND WILL INCREASE WELL AHEAD OF THE CENTER AS IT MOVES ACROSS HAWAII.

 * * *

DARBY STORM UPDATE 2

July 23, 2016 1:15PM

SO FAR, SO GOOD… THE BRIDGES ARE STILL STANDING

Just got back up to the house after revisiting the gulch. And I am pleased to report that both of our bridges are still standing.

The foot bridge tarp has been ripped by the power of water. But it’s nothing major. I even crossed the foot bridge onto the other side to inspect the irrigation and drainage work I did there back in the spring. And the water is flowing normally through that new ditch into the main creek.

So, so far so good. But the worst is yet to come, probably this evening and overnight when the eye of Darby is supposed to pass over or near Maui.

Stand by for that…

 * * *

DARBY STORM UPDATE 3

July 24, 2016 8:147 AM

SERENITY NEAR THE EYE OF THE STORM

 

What a difference 24 hours can make. Yesterday at this time, our creek in the Rainbow Shower gulch was raging and flooding over our bridges (see http://wp.me/p3R16m-2QQ). This morning by contrast is wonderfully calm and serene. Hardly any wind. Plenty of moisture in the air. But our creek is back in its normal riverbed, happily running down the slopes of Haleakala.

Who would suspect then that the eye of the tropical storm Darby that caused all this upheaval in the last few days is about AS CLOSE TO US AS IT WILL BE.  Take a look at the radar and satellite maps I have just updated.

Only 50 miles or so to the southwest of us, the Eye of Darby is churning its way across the Pacific in the northwesterly direction toward Kauai.

So how can things be so calm here at the Rainbow Shower?

It is all because of Haleakala. The giant 10,000-ft volcano on whose northern slopes our property lies is acting like a giant windshield between us and Darby. So Darby’s winds and rain and spinning from the south around Haleakala – toward Hana in the east and Kihei in the west. This is leaving us in a safe cocoon of Haleakala’s wind shadow at the normally windy northern coast of Maui.

Our usual trade winds come from the northeast. Which is why north is called the Windward coast in Hawaiian islands. But not today. Today, we are experiencing a sort of a “pole reversal.”  The normally dry (and touristy) south and west coasts are getting pelted with rain and buffeted by wind, while we are enjoying a peaceful and serene Sunday morning.

RAINBOW BOOKENDS: LUNAR AND SOLAR

EXTREMELY RARE LUNAR RAINBOW PRECEDES MORNING DOUBLE RAINBOW

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 – http://wp.me/p3R16m-2gY).

IMG_6349

 * * *

LOOK WHAT “FELL FROM THE SKY” ONTO OUR LAWN YESTERDAY!

AND THEN LOOK WHAT TOOK OFF INTO THE SKY FROM OUR LANAI TODAY!

JUNE 21-22, 2016

The last two days have been pretty momentous for Elizabeth and me, the Rainbow Shower owners and caretakers (https://www.facebook.com/rainbowshowersacred/).

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.”

AND THEN LOOK WHAT TOOK OFF INTO THE SKY FROM OUR LANAI TODAY!

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. 🙂

FINALLY, THE THIRD TIME, THE CHARM!

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.

How?

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.

screen-shot-2014-08-02-at-3-41-27-pm

EL JEEPO TO THE RESCUE AGAIN!

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. ☺ 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. 🙂

 * * *

A LIZARD SIESTA ON A LAZY SUMMER AFTERNOON

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?