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. ūüôā 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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā 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? ūüôā

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.” ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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

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. ūüôā

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! ūüôā – 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!



We moved out of the Rainbow Shower on Wed March 1. ¬†For the last week on Maui, we moved into our new home away from home, a condo in the Kihei/Wailea area. Here are some shots of both…

First, my morning walk from our condo to the beach…

Our “final walkthrough” of the Rainbow shower taken midday…

And our late afternoon back at our Kamaole Sands beach.

UPDATE MAR 4, 2017


Mar 4, 2017
We moved out of the Rainbow Shower on Wed March 1. For the last week on Maui, we moved into our new home away from home, a condo in the Kihei/Wailea area.
Here are some scenes from our morning walk along Kamaole Sands beach.


Mar 5, 2017
On Saturday (Mar 4), we went on a whale watching sunset sailing cruise on the Gemini catamaran off the coast of Kaanapali. Alas, due to a technical glitch with my waterproof camera card reader, those pictures are still trapped on my camera memory card. I may have to wait to get to AZ to retrieve them.
On Sunday (Mar 5), Elizabeth made her final purchase at Kaahumanu Mall – a pair of Hawaiian earrings – which she asked me to record on camera. There was also a Hula show going on in the background.

And in the evening, we went to a lovely dinner party by our friend Rada Kovilic who has a condo in the same resort where we are now staying – Kamaole Sands. Her balcony provided a perfect vantage point for another beautiful Maui sunset.


Mar 6, 2017
We moved out of the Rainbow Shower on Wed March 1. For the last week on Maui, we moved into our new home away from home, a condo in the Kihei/Wailea area.
Here are some scenes from outside our condo and from our morning walk along the Kamaole Park shore. We discovered here what is probably Kihei’s best surfing spot, right next to the small boat harbor. It looked like a smaller version of Ho’okipa Point in our old neighborhood on the north shore of Maui.


Mar 4, 2017
We moved out of the Rainbow Shower on Wed March 1. For the last week on Maui, we moved into our new home away from home, a condo in the Kihei/Wailea area.
On Saturday, Mar 4, we went whale-watching aboard the catamaran “Gemini,” which we boarded on Kaanapali Beach in West Maui. Here are some pictures from that wonderful outing.

Elizabeth and I have gone sailing and whale watching many times before, but never, ever have we seen to many full breaches by these 20-ton (40,000-pound) giants as on Saturday afternoon. It felt as they the whales were waving their watery goodbyes to us.

Just to give you an idea of how bit the Humpback whales are, some of these guys you are seeing in the above pictures are as long as 7 African elephants standing next to each other.


Mar 7, 2017
We moved out of the Rainbow Shower on Wed March 1. For the last week on Maui, we moved into our new home away from home, a condo in the Kihei/Wailea area.
On Tuesday, Mar 7, Elizabeth and I drove up to the 10,000-ft Haleakala (volcano) summit for our final goodbye to Maui. We fly back to Arizona tomorrow (Mar 8).
The weather was perfect all the way up and during an hour or so we spent at the summit. And then just as we headed down the mountain, the clouds and rain moved it. They stayed with us all the way down till we got to lower Kula. We might as well have been driving through a soup, the fog was so thick.
We kept thanking God all the way down for this miracle – of holding off the bad weather until we had a chance to say our high level goodbyes.
By the way, Haleakala is the Fire vortex of Mother Earth and thus a very powerful masculine energy center. On Saturday, however, our wonderful sailing to see the whales and Watery goodbyes we received from them provided the counter balance – the feminine energy farewell.

UPDATE MAR 8, 2017


I don’t know how we managed to do this, because it has been raining most of the day over most of Maui today, but if you look at our final farewell shot taken around noon at Kamaole beach in Kihei/Wailea, you would get the impression that there is nothing but sunshine and surf on this magical island.
Goodbye Maui! We love you.
Last Maui beach shot 3-8-17



UPDATE FEB 26, 2017


Dear Martha,

Here’s an¬†email invoice I received from my contractors for the home repairs completed at¬†894 E Kuiaha Rd – per our Feb 21, 2017 J-1 General Inspection of Property Notice. You can also see a separate invoice from the plumber who replaced the old water pressure regulator with a new one.

You should note that the Items 5. and 10.¬†in the above contractor’s invoice (left) were NOT required per our Feb 21, 2017¬†agreement. I did these repairs voluntarily as a favor to Greg and Sophia even though their home inspector had evidently missed these problems. I have also repaired an additional spot on the deck close to the spa that inspector had also¬†missed (see the photos below).

PHOTOS OF COMPLETED REPAIRS (in order of appearance in the Feb 21, 2017 J-1 General Inspection of Property Notice).

  • New Master Bedroom sliding screen door installed (Home Depot box and spare frame stored in shed). Screen door lock also replaced.
  • Garage door repaired inside and out
  • Missing or damaged¬†rooftop shingles replaced, 15 leftover new shingles left in garage for new owners
  • Gutters and downspout cleaned and flushed, leaky joints repaired
  • Minor dry rot on the deck repaired, additional areas touched up and painted
  • Exterior GFCI switch under kitchen window replaced
  • Masking tape removed from one of the wall switches in the office (“right bedroom” per the report).

EXPLANATION:¬†There is nothing wrong with this switch. I put this tape on many¬†years ago because the switch turns on and off the wall outlets to which our computers are plugged it. ¬†I was tired of turning them off accidentally when I came into this room at night and then having to reboot them. ¬†I had completely forgotten about it until I saw the inspector’s report.¬†

  • Water pressure regulator replaced, pressure turned down to 50-60 PSI
  • Kitchen and vanity sinks “voids” sealed with foam spray
  • Bottom portions of the master bedroom door pressboard casings replaced and repainted on both sides


ADDITIONAL REPAIRS DONE WHICH WERE NOT PART OF J-1 General Inspection of Property Notice

  • Chipped wall in garage¬†wall filled in with plaster and repainted (this was¬†something we inherited the original owners)
  • Two interior electrical switches replaced in the family room (below left)
  • Minor dry rot spot¬†repaired at the end of the deck next to the spa (above right)


Dear Greg and Sophia,

Hope enjoy your new home! I am turning over the care-taking duties of the Rainbow Shower to you with love and blessings.

May the Santa Tierras (land spirits, the fairies) be as kind and helpful to you in this enviable job as they were to me. It has been my honor and privilege to serve them and work with them for the past 8 years.


* * *


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.


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….


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.



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:


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.

 * * *


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 ‚Äď 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”


This does not happen often at the Rainbow Shower. In fact, I don’t ever remember seeing something like in the spring during the nearly eight years we have lived here. But one of the wonderful¬†things about a marine climate like that we are enjoying on the north shore of Maui is – YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT.

So best not to make any plans. Which suits me just fine. I like surprises.

During the past week or so, we have had unusually dry weather for this time of the year. So when I woke up this morning and saw the clouds gathering from the north and the west – also very untypical as¬†we get most of our weather from the east and northeast – I figured, “GREAT! Let’s have it.”

I had just finished my many landscaping chores, part of my “farmer’s yoga.” So a good soaking would be most welcome for the thousands of different plants that comprise the Rainbow Shower.

But I never expected this… Noah’ Ark. And the Rainbow Shower looking like the Scottish Highlands in the mist. ūüôā

Little did I know that it would end up being a flash flood. ¬†Take a look at this video I shot this afternoon around 2:30…


 * * *


Want to hear something funny? Or sad, depending on your point of view?

This entire time, while the Rainbow Shower was¬†practically floating down ¬†to the ocean with this flash flood, the Weather Channel and the Wundermap kept showing¬†this part of Maui as sunny and dry!? Take a look…

Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 2.02.36 PM.PNG

Ah, human technology! Great when it works. Sucks when it does not. Which often happens.

Want to know what my weathervaning technology was eight years ago when I bought this property?

My index finger. I would stick it into the wind to see which way the weather was¬†coming. It still seems to be the most dependable forecasting tool. ūüôā

Here are now some other still shots I took while walking around the riverbed at the bottom of the Rainbow Shower gulch…

 * * *


May 8, 2016

I just got back from the gulch. And the flash flood is continuing. No surprise there. I has been raining non-stop now for about 18 hours.

Here the latest pictures I brought back of the raging creek which has now been joined by an additional stream from the West Kuiaha Rd.


UPDATE MAY 9, 2016


When Elizabeth gets back home later today, she’ll be in for quite a show of Mother Nature. The flash flood down in the gulch is continuing after three days of rain and more to tome. ‚ėĒ Take a look at the picture I took a few minutes ago, You can see the debris lodged against my footbridge as well as the high water marks from earlier this morning.

Three days ago, I posted a story about the weather channels showing clear skies over this part of Maui while we were experiencing actually a deluge and flash floods.

The situation is still the same three days later. We have been having practically continuous rains. The creek at the bottom of the Rainbow Shower is raging and growling like an angry bear. But the weather maps are still showing clear skies over us.

So this morning, I decided to try to get to the bottom of it. And I found at one of the websites that the radar on Molokai, which presumably also tracks the west and north Maui weather, is “temporarily unavailable.”

What a time for a weather radar to break down!

Worse, you’d think that the government would warn people when something like that happens. I had to hunt all over the place to find out why the weather maps showed clear skies over us while we are being washed away to sea by the deluge.

Government… No wonder with radar technologies like that they bomb hospitals and kill innocent people all over the world.

They did issue this verbal warning this morning… three days AFTER the flash floods had already started:



Makes you wonder what the source of this “flash flood warning” is? (given that the radar is not working). Field reports like mine?

By the way, I did write to the national weather service about the possible radar malfunction three days ago but have not received a reply.


UPDATE MAY 10, 2016

Finally, a break in the weather. ¬†It’s still cloudy, mind you, with occasional drizzle. But this morning, I saw some blue patches in the sky for the first time in four days.

“It’s nice to see we still have blue skies,” I told Elizabeth. ūüôā

Even Father Sun has been making an effort to drop it for a visit in between the clouds. But shyly. It’s been mostly just a hint of sunshine here and there. ¬†But no complaints. We’ll take what we can get after four days of rain and flooding.

When Elizabeth left for her art class, I went down to the gulch to investigate the damage. Overall, not bad.  Both of our bridges are still there. The foot bridge has been severely tested, especially by this big limb lodged against it since yesterday morning.


But the bridge has stood its ground. My four steel anchors I drilled into the ground a couple of years ago are still holding.  But when I tried to dislodge this limb yesterday, I could not. At least not safely balancing precariously on a one-foot wide slippery foot bridge over the roaring river.

So I went back to try again this morning. Still no luck. I walked over to the other river bank to see if I could move the limb from there. No go again. The limb was firmly imbedded into the river bank as if drilled in by some pneumatic hammer. Such is the power of water.

Then I tried a different tack. I took another big piece of wood and tried hitting the big limb with it.  Finally, it gave way.  And the river grabbed it like a hungry shark swallowing its breakfast. But it did travel far. Only about 15-20 ft. Then the limb got stuck again between two big rocks. And the last I saw, it was still there, trying to fight off the now receding creek from carrying it out to sea.

Here’s a pictorial of this story…

Back at the house, I discovered that I wasn’t the only one trying to get out enjoy the fresh air and the shy sun. ¬†Take a look at this green lizard on the ironwood block we have in front of our lanai. ¬†He looked like a happy camper, too.


Overall, I have to say this has been probably one of the worst floods we have had recently. And that’s compared to some pretty bad ones we experienced last year during El Ni√Īo. It was not the worst, though. ¬†The worst was probably the Great Flood of 2013.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of that flood was that I had actually seen in a dream a couple of months BEFORE it happened-

Dream vs Real Flood 2014.png

The reason the more recent and more frequent floods have not caused as much damage as that one in 2013 is just that Рthat they were more frequent.  Meaning, the water has deepened and widened the riverbed.  So now it has more room to expand and does not clog up the ground in front of the bottleneck Рthe two-culvert bridge from which the above photos were taken.

Anyway, it has just started raining again… ūüôā ¬†So it goes.

 * * *


UPDATE MAY 11, 2016

I spoke too soon yesterday when I said, “finally, a break in the weather.”¬†For, it was shor-lived. By mid afternoon, it was raining again as hard as ever.¬†And the rain continued all through the night, heavy at time.

So no wonder by the time I went down to the gulch a little after 7 this morning, that the flooding was even worse than yesterday morning. And so was the damage after more than 16 consecutive hours of rain. At that point, the water level had risen again and a part of the raging creek was running over a part of my our footbridge.

But¬†the footbridge held. ¬†When I went down again a few hours later, the flood had receded by about two feet, and out “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was still intact (I borrowed the title from Simon and Garfunkel ūüôā ). ¬†I can’t say the same for the wooden boards and the red mulch that once formed the western Panax tree-lined boundary of our property.

Here are some other pictures I brought back of the flood scenes…


The silver lining in all this is that the plants and trees of the Rainbow Shower are very happy. Take a look at this Avocado tree, bursting with orange bloom (these are actually new leaves which are orange at first, before turning green).


This particular tree has a colorful history. We got it in April 2009 as a small potted plant as a housewarming gift from a neighbor. I planted it at the top of our property. It died after a few months.

But I did not accept its death as final. So I dug up its roots and replanted it at the Lower Rainbow Shower, about 50 yards to the right of its current location in the above picture. Again, it lived for a few months, and then died.

Once again, I refused to acknowledge its passing. I dug up the roots again, and replanted it at the above location. And look at it now! Ever seen a happier young Avocado tree?

In fact, in the last couple of years, it even gave us a few Avocado fruit as a “thank you” gift. Not many. But just enough to express its gratitude and happiness with its¬†current location.

 * * *

UPDATE MAY 13, 2016



About six months at the end of the El Ni√Īo season, I created a little engineering diversion to protect the new Panax tree boundary and the red mulch on the ground between the seedlings (see A DITCH-DIGGING AFTERNOON, Dec 23, 2015).


The new irrigation ditch did the job admirably until now. But after five consecutive days of rain, it was overwhelmed by the flow coming down from the West Kuiaha gulch.

So this morning, I went down to try to drain the swamp by widening and deepening the ditch. And by building a new little berm to protect the Panax line.

The work was hard but the reward was almost immediate. The water flow increased substantially through the ditch, and practically diminished elsewhere where it was doing damage to the trees and the red mulch.

This is what I looked like at the end of this ditch-digging adventure… covered in mud but three pounds lighter after about¬†2 hours of hard labor.¬†So success all around…¬†ūüôā



A few hours after the grueling ditch-digging and irrigation work at the Rainbow Shower, Elizabeth and I attended a gala concert and reception to celebrate 35 consecutive years of the Maui Classical Music Festival.

MACC on stage.jpg

The event took place on stage at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center (MACC). So it was limited to just 150 people who could be fitted on the stage.

“So we are now sitting the chairs on which the symphony orchestra players sit,” Elizabeth remarked. “They are quite comfortable.” ūüôā

And so they were. Here are some pictures from that performance. I have transferred¬†my ditch-digging “outfit” to the MACC concert hall to illustrate how easily one can transition from earthly to the sublime.

UPDATE MAY 14, 2016


When I headed down to the gulch to see how my new and improved drainage ditch is working, I was stopped dead in my tracks by this lovely “m√©¬∑nage √† trois” on our lanai.

Ever since I moved out this big and very heavy block of ironwood, with the beautiful Jade and Travertine stone table top, our Green Lizzy has been hovering around it. And this morning, he decided to climb right on top of it. A perfect camouflage with the Jade top and the green grass. And a wonderful contrast to the Red Cardinal and the Pink Jelly fish inside that crystal ball Elizabeth brought for me one year from Sedona (AZ).

And yes, the new and improved drainage ditch is doing its job. The excess flood water is no longer running over the boards and the red mulch.¬†What read mulch? Most of it is gone down the river. And what’s left is more the color of mud than red ūüôā ].

UPDATE MAY 25, 2016


I heard it before seeing it. Even from 600 feet away, up at our Rainbow Shower home, I could hear the roar of the rising river.

“Another flash flood,” I said to myself.

Only a few hours ago, I was down there at the bottom of the gulch, walking around and inspecting the weed-whacking job my landscapers did yesterday. That’s how quickly flash floods can develop around here. And not for the first time, either. I remember a similar one in March 2012.

So I grabbed my waterproof camera and headed down into the gulch. I needn’t have worried. The iPhone could have done the job, too. Interestingly, the sun was trying to shine through the clouds as the raging river was making its presence known at the Rainbow Shower once again.






Ocean vistas 3



Every day here at the Rainbow Shower in Maui has its charms… the mist, the rain, the flash floods, the rainbows and double rainbows that follow. On this January day, the¬†trade winds had¬†returned and the Rainbow Shower looked about as scenic as can be.

Camera cannot really do justice to the beautiful ocean and mountain vistas I have enjoyed while doing my rounds (walking around) this morning. But here are some anyway, just to give you all a feel for what this perfect day looks like here on Maui.

We’ll start with these ocean vistas from our master bedroom, lanai and the spa.

And on the other side, this is the view the spa offers of the 10,000-ft Haleakala Summit.

No wonder a friend recently remarked hyperbolically, “this is a million dollar-spa.” ūüôā

Haleakala Summit

Here are now some ocean vistas from our master bedroom/lanai. You can see the West Maui Mountains and the island of Molokai in the left corner.

Ocean vista 2

Ocean vista 1

Here are also view of the West Maui Mountains in the¬†morning light…

West Maui Mtns


 * * *

UPDATE FEB 25, 2017


Here’s the emailed invoice I received from my contractor for the home repairs completed for 894 E Kuiaha Rd, per our Feb 21, 2017 J-1 General Inspection of Property Notice.


You should note that the Items 5. and 10. were NOT required per our Feb 21, 2017 agreement. I did these repairs voluntarily as any responsible owner would even though the home inspector had evidently missed them. I have also repaired an additional spot on the deck close to the spa that the inspector had missed (see the photos below).

PHOTOS OF COMPLETED REPAIRS (in order of the Feb 21, 2017 J-1 General Inspection of Property Notice).

  • New Master Bedroom Sliding Screen Door (box stored in shed)
  • Garage door repaired inside and out
  • Missing or damaged¬†rooftop shingles replaced, 15 leftover new shingles left in garage for new owners
  • Gutters and downspout cleaned and flushed, leaky joints repaired
  • Two areas of minor dry rot on the deck repaired, additional areas touched and painted
  • Exterior GFCI switch under kitchen window replaced
  • Masking tape removed from one of the wall switches in the office (“right bedroom” per the report).

EXPLANATION:¬†There is nothing wrong with this switch. I put this tape on many¬†years ago because the switch turns on and off the wall outlets to which our computers are plugged it. ¬†I was tired of turning them off accidentally when I came into this room at night and then having to reboot them. ¬†I had completely forgotten about it until I saw the inspector’s report.¬†

  • Water pressure regulator replaced, pressure turned down to 60 PSI
  • Kitchen and vanity sinks “voids” sealed with foam spray
  • Bottom portions of the master bedroom door pressboard casings replaced and repainted


EXTRA REPAIRS NOT in Home Inspection Report

  • Chipped wall in garage¬†wall filled in with plaster and repainted
  • Two interior switches replaced in the family room
  • Minor dry rot crack repaired at the end of the deck next to the spa