Building a new house in Hawaii, Part 1.

View from my backyard when I bought my house.

On top of everything else happening in my life, I am also building a house. Sometimes I question my sanity. I actually bought the lot while I was in England two years ago. No it’s not in England. I’m not that crazy, though doing anything in Hawaii that requires interaction with the state or county government is always dicey.

While I was on that six-week solo trip across southern England in 2016, my now-Ex texted me to say a surveyor was marking the land on the empty lot behind my house. The owner from Florida was finally selling.

View from my back lanai when I bought the lot behind me.

I always wanted to buy it, mostly to preserve the peekaboo ocean view from my back lanai. But if anyone else built on it, I’d wind up with a view of someone else’s new house. In fact, even the peekaboo view had become compromised. The invasive trash trees growing on the lot completely blocked it.

So I asked the Universe to help me buy the lot. I immediately texted Stacy, my realtor and friend, and she investigated. Within two weeks we had written up an offer and it was accepted – all long distance!  Processes usually take a long time with multiple snafus in quirky Hawaiʻi, so it was a pleasant surprise that the purchase went so smoothly. All the paperwork was completed electronically and I got home just in time to sign the final documents at the title company on September  27, 2016. After that whirlwind, I just sat with the idea of owning this property. That didn’t last long. I wanted the trash trees out so I could actually see it and get my view back.

Enter Steve, my friend and yard guy. I call him a Force of Nature. This guy can move mountains. He single-handedly cut down all the vegetation and most of the trees with a machete and a bow-saw. It took him six weeks, three or four hours a day to chop most of it down.

Every day I would check, hoping to be able to see the lower street from a vantage point in my yard (the lot slopes downhill) but it wasn’t until near the end of this clearing phase that I could get any sense of the lay of the land. Even after Steve called in some guys with chainsaws to get the few big trees down, there were so many piles of brush and logs that I still couldn’t really see it.

I began to toy with the idea of putting a little cottage on the lot, as a long term rental. It seemed wrong to leave the land unused, especially given the shortage of housing on the island. I was sure I could place a cottage on the lot in a way that would not obstruct the view from my lanai, perhaps behind the large avocado tree. But to see if that was even possible, we had to remove all the piles, instead of letting them compost in place which was my original intent.

Fencing lot on a rare sunny day.

About this time it began to rain steadily for five weeks, making the lot a sea of mud. It was a good time to start a different project, fencing the property along both sides. Steve brought in Chey and the two of them worked around the periphery where the mud wasn’t too bad.

By January, Steve found a grubber and brought him in. Mark did a nice job of digging out all the trash tree roots. Now I had piles of logs, brush and roots. Mark even transplanted the banana trees that were in the middle of the property to the edges, beautiful sentinels along the new fences. They thrived there and are bearing fruit.

My East Garden grubbed out.

I soon realized that if I wanted to build on the lot, I’d need to find a different way to access it because the street it’s on is basically a one lane road with steep hills and curves. No large equipment or delivery trucks would be able to maneuver to my property.

So I did something drastic that set me on the course to building: while Mark’s CAT was there, I had him removed all the foliage and brick planters along the Hilo side of my house. My East Garden was now gone, replaced by a long access driveway to the new lot. It felt like I had made a no-going-back decision, and I questioned my sanity.

But now we could clear the lot through that access. I brought in three 10 yard dumpsters, one after the other, and Steve and Randall trudged the logs up the hill to the dumpster for hauling out. They removed a total of 9.2 tons of green waste in less than a week. Like I said, a Force of Nature.

After this, even Steve cried Uncle and he found a guy with a chipper. In February 2017, Bully ground up the remainder of the logs and brush. As a final touch to this phase, Steve and I planted some ornamental plants, and threw what seemed like tons of grass seeds on the land.

I could finally see what I had bought. My new lot has a steep slope, but also has quite the view. With everything on the land done, my thoughts turned to that cottage.

I was fearful because I had never built a house before, and was definitely getting out of my comfort zone. But sometimes I cannot talk myself out of taking a risk.

To be continued.

 

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Posted in asking the Universe, Building a new house, Decide and take action, facing my fears, getting out of my comfort zone, home, plants in my yard, working in my yard | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Peace Now (Peace Week 2018, Honoka’a)

Above: Miles Okumura, chair of the Honokaa Peace Committee with opening parade banner. Below: the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko performers

 

We are living in difficult times, with much social upheaval. I despair at the rancor we show each other, and wonder when we will become civil again. It was with this backdrop that I welcomed our little town’s celebration of Peace Week.

Local Bon Dancers; Dominic Yagong – announcing the parade participants; and the Honoka’a Senior Club sings for us.

Selecting from activities like Wine at 5, Reading for Peace at the library, and a day of Mindfulness Meditation, the residents of Honoka’a had many opportunities to honor and manifest World Peace. Even children are encouraged to participate with their creations of Posters for Peace. My favorite part is the Peace Parade and the Festival. It’s so family-friendly and welcoming of all. There may be more Honokaʻa residents IN the parade than watching it. This year, more than ever, it seemed important to celebrate and pray for peace. And all this was made possible by some far-thinking Hawaiʻi youth eleven years ago.

Children from Prince Dance Troupe in Peace Parade

In 2007, our United Junior Young Buddhist Association lobbied and succeeded in having the State of Hawai‘i recognize the United Nations Peace Day, by then more than 20 years old. Honoka‘a has celebrated every year since then. Many US communities have followed, but we were the first. This is positive thinking and visualizing on a grand scale! I am so blessed to live in this town, with its special vibe.

Above: United Methodist Church Contingent in ethnic dress. Below: parade poster calling for participants.

For the first time, the Honokaʻa Hongwanji’s Peace Committee chose a theme, “Calling all Immigrants,” reminding us that most of us came to Hawaiʻi and to the US from somewhere else. (I loved the United Methodist Church members marching in their ethnic dress.) We are most fortunate to have a rich cultural heritage on the Big Island; a true Global Village. Every group that has come here has contributed to our global soup. Perhaps we can be a role model for other places. In these times, making the link between Peace and Immigrants is an important humanitarian effort.

Feeding people for free at Peace Parade: Cooks and servers – Phaethon, Elijah, Ravi, Paul, Annie (and Lynn, not pictured)

A vivid example from this year’s festivities was the vegetarian Indian meal served at the parade. In the Sikh tradition of langar, it is customary to feed others for free regardless of race or religion. Sikhs open their doors to people of all denominations of Christianity, Hindus and Muslims to share food as a way of acknowledging that all people and all religions are equal. Here at the parade, Ravi, Annie and others served multiple pots of rice and two kinds of dal they had made that day. They were a symbol, both of new immigrants seamlessly integrating into the culture of the Big Island, and ordinary people peacefully addressing the humanitarian needs of others.

Above: the Honokaʻa High School Jazz Band. Below: the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko performers and their blue lion

The Festival continued the family-focused celebration with the Honokaʻa High School Jazz Band led by our beloved Mr. Washburn, the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko performers and their blue lion, aerialists and jugglers led by Ms. Alea Backus, even an address by our island-wide mayor, Harry Kim.

Aerialists and jugglers led by Ms. Alea Backus

Mayor Harry Kim and Reverend Bruce Nakamura address those gathered.

Reverend Bruce Nakamura from the Honokaʻa Hongwanji Buddhist Temple led the invocation and expanded on the need for peace to include other species and the land itself in his address at the Festival:

“ALOHA dear sisters and brothers … Thank you one and all for joining together in these 2018 Honokaʻa Peace Day activities and events … Let us pause for a few moments … amid the scurry of modern day living and its pressures. PEACE – Is it simply … the absence of fear, hurt, conflicts, violence and killing? With our shared desire for peace, (let’s) explore its deeper, dimensions rooted in the actual world we live in.

All beings, animate and inanimate live and exist interdependently in a flux of change joined by inter-relatedness. This net of constant flux requires the taking of life whether, human, animal, plant or minerals. As human beings, we inevitably benefit taking life indirectly or directly. This sustains our well-being, and the irony is, we have not discovered a way of subsisting as a species without hurting and destroying other organisms – animate and inanimate.

Photo courtesy of Sarah Anderson.

How piteous the human animal, lacking True Wisdom not to take that which should not be taken nor given to him … At times even in his arrogance of religious piety, he claims the right to utilize what the creator has endowed him in providence and for prosperity.

Hence, grasped by Great Compassion, let us enlarge our shared responsibilities to ‘Aina and to our brothers and sisters in need in our human family … Evoking the Name of Great Compassion – Na Mo A Mi Da Butsu – Na Man Da Bu – Na Man Da Bu – Na Man Da Butsu … Thank you everyone.”

I know I need peace in my life. How about you? As the song goes, give peace a chance.

 

I’d like to acknowledge Mr. Miles Okumura for his leadership on the Peace Committee for the past 12 years.

Prior essays about Peace Week:

Our little town invites world peace

The ones left behind,

Meditation, fellowship and the dentist

Useful links:

The Peace Committee FB Page.

The Peace Committee Website

See also Big Island Video News:

http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2018/09/22/video-peace-day-parade-held-in-honokaa-2/

http://www.kitv.com/Clip/14635081/honokaa-holds-peace-day-parade-and-festival

Bon dance at end of Festival – all are welcome to participate

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Posted in enjoying other cultures, Gary Washburn, Honoka'a, Honoka'a Peace Day, Honoring tradition, Making community | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

I found a new tribe – Packer Bar in Kona, Quinn’s Almost by the Sea.

Did you ever walk into a crowd of strangers, and just know that you had a deep connection with them? It happened to me last week at Quinn’s Almost by the Sea. I discovered it in 2013, and love the vibe. This place is the Southernmost Official Packer Bar in the USA, so proclaims their website.

My sister was visiting, and we decided to celebrate the Packer’s 100th season by watching the opening game against our biggest rival, the Bears, at Quinn’s.

So we went early and got a good table. Before our lunch even arrived, we were already acquainted with the Southern California gals at the next table, Carol and Barbara (with Dallas fan husband, Jerry). These gals have been Packer fans for years, and have even flown to Green Bay for a game. That’s more than I can say. It’s on my bucket list – a Packer game at Lambeau Field some year before the weather turns cold. But this could be a long time coming, because according to Wikipedia, the Packers have sold out every game since 1960. And even if I still lived in Wisconsin, forget about season tickets: at least 115,000 names are on the waiting list with a wait time of 30 years.

The young couple on their honeymoon was from Montana; the older couple behind us was from Alberta. A bunch of local guys sauntered in wearing Packer shirts. A Minnesota couple arrived, she a life-long Packer fan, he a Viking fan. It would have been fun to sit with them at the Packers-Vikings game.

The bar room was also packed, everyone rooting for the Packers. Here I found some Wisconsin refugees, Kimberly, her husband and son, and a silver fox from Wauwatosa. Photos and hugs all around, the whole restaurant seemed like one large family reunion. All you had to do was make eye contact, grin, and raise your hand for a high-five to start a conversation.

Even the dismal Packer performance did not seem to dampen the mood. When Aaron Rodgers was carted off the field, the atmosphere toned down, but we never lost faith. Down by 20 points in the third quarter, we prayed for Aaron’s return. Reporter to Rodgers: “What goes through your head when you look at the scoreboard and see 20 to 3?” Rodgers: “7 times 3. We gotta score three touchdowns.” What a comeback, playing the rest of the game with an injured knee!

With only 2:15 left in the game, Chicago was still ahead 23-17. Everyone was on their feet, praying, yelling, and willing the team on. Then Rodgers connected with Cobb for a 75 yard return and a touchdown. Such a noise! When the game ended with a Packer victory, the crowd went wild. It was the largest 4th quarter deficit the team had ever overcome in 100 seasons of play.

 

I had so much fun last week, I decided to go again this week with Game Two of the season against the Vikings. My sister had gone home where she was assured of getting the Packers telecast for every game. Not so for me; if I want to be sure to see every game, I’ll have to drive to Kona. This was a noon game in Green Bay, which meant a 7 am kick-off in Hawaii. Yes, Quinn’s opens at 7 am on Sunday during football season. I left the house at 5:30 am, and picked up Stacy at 6. When we arrived at 7:10, there wasn’t a seat open in the bar or adjacent dining room. Just then, Jerry (the Dallas fan husband of Barbara) walked up and said he had two seats saved for me. YES! There they were, Barbara and Carol, already cheering for the Packers.

Around me were people from Oshkosh, Beaver Dam, Rice Lake, Kenosha, Horicon, and a suburb of Milwaukee. The folks from Beaver Dam and Kenosha also have condos here in Kona. Wow! Even Stacy’s Dad was originally from Wisconsin, so I’ll count her too. There was one lone guy in the bar wearing a Vikings shirt. Even he was welcome. I told him he was a brave man and he gave me a big hug. Quinn’s is my kind of bar; everyone is on their feet for the Packers.

It was way too early to drink beer at 7 am, even at a Packer Game. So I contented myself with coffee and a breakfast that could only be dreamed up by someone from Wisconsin – a Reuben omelet complete with sauerkraut, corned beef and 1000 Island Dressing drizzled on top. It was good! But the game was so intense, that I barely finished it. The game went into overtime and still ended in a tie. At least we didn’t lose.

On the way home, Stacy and I stopped off at the beach for a long swim/bob, the best way to work off all that energy from the game. This is not something I could do after watching a game in a Wisconsin Packer Bar. So what more can I want? I’ve got my team, my bar, my tribe, and am lucky enough to live on the Big Island. I am so grateful.

For more on Quinn’s, see Packer pity party…in Kona!

 

If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in Honoring tradition, Kona, links to my past, Wisconsin roots | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Dating after 65

I’m tiptoeing back into the dating game after 30 years on the sidelines. It’s a very different world out there.

In 1988, there was no such thing as dating apps. We used singles magazines and newspaper personals. After my divorce in 1987, I moved from Wisconsin to metropolitan Atlanta, determined to be single but dating for a long time. I didn’t know anyone there, and after spending six months dateless, the Atlanta Singles Magazine looked a lot less dangerous or weird. So I decided to place an ad.

Of course the writer in me required a lot of time to compose it. At the time I was a scientist for a big corporation, so I played with that:

Independent, career-minded research scientist seeks lab partner. Experimental objective: active social calendar filled with fun, adventure, and mutual nurturing. I am a DWF, recently transplanted from the Midwest, intelligent, multi-degreed, 35, 5’10” (legs!), and trim. No dependents. I love music (classical to New Age), nature (hiking, X-country skiing, cabining, and campfires), ethnic cuisines (especially hot foods), wines and dancing. I am enthusiastic, impatient, and looking for excitement after a decade of boring humdrum. Don’t write if you have stopped learning, refuse to dance, or are hooked on tobacco, organized religion, or babies. Do write if you are a S/DM, 30-45 years old, tall, professional who is intellectually curious, physically playful, and spiritually growing.

Wow. I still like it. Some things have changed: I like my food milder than back then, I’m not as “trim” as I was at 35, I much prefer walking to hiking, and haven’t X-country skied in decades. I also got hooked on babies as I matured – my babies, now 23 and 19. But otherwise, this description still fits. These days I would add that I love ocean bobbing (my friends call me a beach floozy – willing to go bobbing with anyone, anytime), yoga, meditation, beachcombing, travel, seeking new experiences and learning about other cultures.

I can’t believe that I saved all these letters! Even more impressive was finding them. Time to purge.

Back then, I eagerly waited for the next Singles issue. I had no idea what was about to hit me. Believe it or not, one key mode of communication in those days was through letters! The hand-written ones were clearly more impressive than those which were photocopied. My phone also rang non-stop for a couple weeks. I wound up having semi-serious conversations with 36 men, and dated 24 of them. For a solid week I had Dutch-treat dates for every breakfast, lunch, and dinner, each with a different guy. No kissing or hand-holding; this was serious work. And with some, it was clear I wouldn’t even be flirting on this first (and last) meeting. It was exhausting.

I did continue to see three gentlemen for three months. Keeping my schedule straight was a job in itself. And I did marry one of them, despite my determination to remain single. But now I’m back in the same spot, 30 years later, hoping to date and have some fun, and definitely not get married again. As my sister warned me, many older men are just looking for a nurse or a purse, not that I am age-restricting my search.

My daughters suggest that I use a dating app. I don’t know. I think the chances of finding someone to date on the Big Island using an app are very slim. It’s nothing like living in cities with populations of 6 million (older daughter) and 12 million (younger daughter).

Just do the math. We have 185K people living here (2010 census). Statistically, half are men, but very importantly, the ratio of single men to single women on the Big Island is 87 to 100. Then 26% of the population is under 18, and half (50.6%) are married https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii_(island). And among states, Hawaii has the highest percentage of people who self-identify as LGBT (5.1%).  So we’re down to about 85 eligible men. Of that number, many live too far away (it’s a BIG island). And some just aren’t interested any more. That last part was a real shock; I guess I’ve been watching too many romantic comedies.

On top of that, those remaining would have to be using the same dating app as me. So I set out to find the most popular dating app in Hawaii. One reference declared it to be Grindr. Unfortunately, that app is for gays; just my luck.

Another reference says it is Coffee Meets Bagel. As with Grindr, this is for the whole state. That means many more of the potential men will live too far away – most likely on another island.

Conclusion: a dating app may not be useful in my situation. I guess I’ll stick to asking the Universe, Manifesting what I desire, and using my social networks. Hint, hint Girlfriends: please invite me to dinner with your eligible male friends who are intellectually curious, physically playful, and spiritually growing. You can show them this photo as an example of me trying new things. LOL.

 

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Posted in asking the Universe, life choices, links to my past, Manifesting your life the way you want it, Personal growth, Single again, Using my transformation tools | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Big Island: if you don’t like the weather, drive five miles

Today Hurricane Hector is supposed to be arriving on the Big Island. I live on the eastern side, the direction first to get hit by rain from hurricanes. I woke this morning to a steady rain and thick humid air. When I lived in Wisconsin, we used to say, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. Here on the Big Island, with 10 of 14 climate zones, we say, if you don’t like the weather, drive five miles. So I dashed to my car.

Today is my swimming day with Stacy. Last night I got a text message from her: “Hey sister, we’re going to the beach in the morning. Don’t freak out over this stupid storm. It looks like our beach is going to be beautiful. See the map.”

Indeed, the map showed heavy rain everywhere except on the interior and western shores where we swim. That’s proof enough for me, despite the ominous voice of my father in my head: “What are you nuts? Swimming when the island is under a Tropical Storm Warning?”

So I packed a nice brunch for us (freshly made guacamole and taro chips with kombucha), and headed to Waimea to pick her up. The rain turned into the fog and cold wind-blown mist that is common in Waimea. It’s at a higher elevation (2500 ft versus Honoka’a at 1000 ft), and so as you drive up the mountain, you enter the clouds.

Stacy lives almost on the divide between the wet and dry side of the island. I have seen hard rain abruptly stop and mere feet later, be driving in sunshine. So as we left her house, we were treated to the rainbows often seen here.

The drive down the mountain on the dry side showed that we would indeed have beautiful weather at the beach at the Mauna Kea Resort. I love the view of the ocean down the mountain on the dry side: moist air behind me spilling over the mountain, and sunshine ahead.

The air was warm but not too humid. There was no breeze to speak of, and even the warning sign had no posting on it today. Normally the sign has at least a yellow caution posted. Where was Hector?

We indulged in bobbing on perfect 1-2 foot waves for at least an hour, while the eastern side of the island had wave warnings for 12-15 footers, the effect of Hector. But Hector is only moving at 16 miles per hour, so it didn’t spoil our fun at all.

Driving the 26.5 miles back home, I retraced the weather path of this morning: warm and sunny at the resort, shifting to the cold sideways mist of Waimea, turning into fog on the downward path to Honoka’a and finally the warm steady rain of home. By the time I got there, the Tropical Storm Warning had been lifted. So Dad, you can relax.

Here on the Big Island, we are lucky that if we don’t like the weather, we can just drive five (or 25) miles to find something that suits us better. I like to think of this as a metaphor for my life. If I don’t like my circumstances, I can manifest something different. How about you? Do you believe in the power of manifesting?

 

If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in driving in Hawaii, Manifesting your life the way you want it, weather in Hawaii, wet/dry side of island | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Making new family traditions in Boulder Junction, WI

This year is the 64th year my extended family has been going to the same lake for vacation. (See Family Traditions – 63 years at the lake near Boulder Junction WI.) We’ve been enjoying the same family activities every year through multiple generations: competitive Scrabble, fishing, swimming, the Tuesday Flea Market in Boulder Junction, pontoon rides to see the loons, and watching for deer. This year I even saw my first albino deer up close. Boulder Junction has the largest population of albino deer in Wisconsin.

The Scrabble is just as competitive, now that Generation 4 is playing with those of us from Gen 3. The swimming is just as iffy with cold snaps driving us to more Scrabble. I still make chili and potato salad for the group suppers, even though I can’t eat either on my Gundry lifestyle diet. And I still gratefully sauté and eat the bluegills and perch my brother-in-law brings me. The supper group all eagerly await my other brother-in-law’s annual offering of short ribs and bratwurst.

The Flea Market is just as worthy of the hunt for a kohlrabi to grace our dinner tables or some special treasure. I so love the friendly “hellos” from strangers; everyone is approachable except for the few disgruntled-looking people wearing Bears T-shirts here in Packerland.

Strangely, during this time of strong traditions, something happened: we did some NEW things. This year, Gen 4 brought a new toy with them: a paddle board. It was a big hit. All the cousins tried it and nailed it their first time out. Gen 4 Dad “rescued” a Gen 5 passenger off the raft and paddled her out into the bay and beyond. The more adventurous Gen 4 adults even paddled way up the river to enjoy the serenity and appreciate the wildlife.

I admired the adept moves of the younger generation, but luckily did not allow that to hinder my own attempt at grace on the water. Unfortunately, I required a couple of trials before I could stand. Even then, it’s clear I still need to practice the return to shore. I finally found my groove in Trial Three by sitting cross-legged on the board. I’ll try standing again next year if they bring the paddle board – a new tradition.

My sister and I also tagged along with our niece, an expert thrifter who showed us several vintage stores and thrift shops in Minocqua and Boulder Junction. I had fun adding to my blue and white vintage Pyrex collection. This could definitely become a yearly hunt. Why I hadn’t done this before Up North is a mystery, as I love thrifting. It might have something to do with now trying to make room in my suitcase for these new treasures.

The most unlikely new thing we did was to go dancing in Boulder Junction one evening, for Music on Main Street. The event has been happening every week in summer for eleven years and this is the first we heard of it! That just told me we hadn’t been looking to expand our horizons beyond what we already knew – so unlike me.

But my sister and I were eager to go. The band was Unified Soul, playing R&B and soul, perfect for dancing. I still have Soul Train wafting through my brain. (Next week Music on Main Street is featuring polka; still good dance music, but glad we caught this group.)

I immediately started dancing, by myself. Everyone else had brought lawn chairs and didn’t move out of them. My sister needed a bit of encouragement, but joined me quickly, and we danced every song in the set. Bare feet on grass, avoiding the big dog turd in one spot, we boogied pretty much alone until Gen 4 and Gen 5 showed up. Then it was dance, dance, dance with my sister’s daughter and grand-daughter. Though my knees were sore the next morning, this will definitely be a new tradition for years to come.

We also explored a new swimming lake. While we love our lake, it does have leeches, and it helps to keep moving to ensure a leech-free swim. We have also driven to and enjoyed Crystal Lake for years, but it’s spring fed, and really cold. It’s also crowded and you have to pay to get in. So we checked out a free and leech-free warm lake a couple miles from town. There were only two cars in the parking lot when we pulled in. The ladies enjoying the quiet beach begged us not to tell anyone about it, so I won’t mention the name. But it is listed as one of three good beaches on the Boulder Junction website. Unfortunately by the time we found it, the week had nearly ended. It’s something to anticipate for next year.

Finally, we began a new food tradition: prune pie! Mom used to make it all the time, but only once Up North that we can remember. My Dad loved it “piled high to there” with real whipped cream. No matter that it sat like a bowling ball in my stomach for hours afterwards, we will do this again. (By the way, that piece of pie is sitting on a dinner plate.)

When our last day arrived we woke to a steady rain. No matter. What’s important is being with family. We readily slipped back to one of our standard traditions, good day or night, rain or shine: Scrabble.

 

For other essays about our annual lake reunion, see:

Engaging my senses at the lake

Nature Connections

My father’s ghost is here

Family Traditions – 63 years at the lake near Boulder Junction WI

 

If you like my blog, please leave a comment. You may also enjoy my book, Manifesting Paradise, available on Amazon. Receive my posts automatically by filling in your email address in the “follow” box at the top of the right column.

Posted in getting out of my comfort zone, Honoring tradition, learnng new things, links to my past, living full out, Wisconsin family, Wisconsin roots | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

No, Kilauea Volcano is NOT menacing me!

Dear friends and family,

It’s wonderful that you are so concerned about my welfare during this latest volcano outbreak. But I’m on the Big Island. It’s called that for a reason – it’s big. As of May 26, about four square miles of residential land has been covered by new lava, on an island that is 4028 square miles. (Update, 8/5/18: now 13.4 square miles of land has been covered.) And I live on the north end of Hawaiʻi while Kilauea is in the south, three hours away.

Let’s look at a map. This is the official map showing the different volcanic activity zones on Hawaiʻi (which is the actual name of the Big Island, but we call it the Big Island because it helps people not confuse us with Oahu. Everyone thinks Oahu is Hawaiʻi because that is where Honolulu is – the center of the Universe as far as those on Oahu are concerned. The rest of us are just the “Neighbor Islands.” But actually, the island of Hawaiʻi was the center of the Universe in the days of King Kamehameha. Sorry, I had to get that rant out.)

Back to the map. It is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the most likely to have a volcanic incident (as is happening today) and Zone 9 being the least likely. I live in Zone 8.

It’s been interesting to see our story being covered by every major news outlet, every day for three weeks. The BBC led off with the volcano for several days. But even they got things wrong. They talk about Hawaiʻi as having five active volcanoes. No. We have one extinct volcano (Kohala, the one on the north end of the island), one dormant (Mauna Kea, last erupted 3600 years ago), and three active volcanoes. Hualālai in the west looms over Kona. It last erupted in 1800-1801. When it goes off again, it will certainly affect Kona.

The second, Mauna Loa, is in the middle-south. It is the largest mountain on earth and is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It last erupted in 1984, though lately it has again been showing signs of unrest. Hilo sits on Mauna Loa’s eastern flanks and has had its share of excitement from past lava flows, with the 1984 flow coming within 4.5 miles of the city.

Art about Pele at Jaggar Museum

The third active volcano is the one that has everybody agitated or nonplussed depending on your point of view. Kilauea, on Mauna Loa’s southern flank, has been “erupting” every day since 1983. It sits inside the Volcanoes National Park, which is now closed due to the volcanic activity. Hawaiian culture reveres Pele, the source of the fire in the volcano. In fact, the Hawaiian word for lava is pele.

Hawaii volcanoes are shield volcanoes: very broad with gentle slopes. When the lava decides to move, it (usually) flows slowly enough for people to get out of the way. This is in contrast to stratovolcanoes like Mt. St. Helens which erupt violently in a pyroclastic flow rather than with a flow of lava. A third kind is a dome volcano.

The current situation has two sources of excitement. The fissures in Leilani Estates (latest count is 24), and Kilauea’s summit crater, Halmaʻumaʻu. The fissures or vents are creating the fountains of lava, some hundreds of feet in the air. Since this subdivision is situated on the flanks of the volcano, the lava is also creeping downhill, engulfing cars, houses, roads and anything else in the way. That is a highly local phenomenon, affecting only the immediate area around them. So, no, I cannot see the lava fountains.

The vents are producing sulfur dioxide, the poisonous gas the media is discussing. Yes, the gas is harmful to humans which is why people are using gas masks. It has also killed nearby vegetation that has managed to escape being burned or covered by the vent lava. But again, it’s a local event; I do not need to wear a gas mask. And while some communities farther away from the volcano have smelled the rotten egg odor, Honokaʻa is largely immune from these smells and even vog (volcanic fog or volcanic smog), because the trade winds blow them away from our part of the island.

The Kilauea summit provides more interesting possibilities for far-reaching effects. When it started putting out plumes, my friends again asked, “Are you okay?” Yes. I cannot see the smoke. I cannot feel the acid rain. I cannot see the ash or the refrigerator-sized boulders being hurtled. I cannot hear the constant booms coming from the volcano and the vents. And no, I am not breathing the laze (or lava haze) now that the lava has oozed it’s way to the ocean. I have felt one earthquake out of the thousands that have occurred since May 3. When the news reports that “residents have been asked to evacuate,” they do not mean me or most of the people on this island.

What I and everyone else on the island ARE doing is sending supplies and food to the people who have been displaced from Leilani Estates and adjacent areas. Some have lost their homes to the lava and are starting over from scratch.

Meanwhile, most of the island has not been affected. The skies in Waimea and Honoka’a are so intensely blue (when it’s not raining) that they almost hurts the eyes, with layers of fluffy cloud in front. People tend to their business, go to church and the post office, care for their horses, cows, and goats, buy groceries, cut the grass, pick up their kids from school. Here in Honokaʻa, I enjoy a clear view of the ocean from my yard and we are all abuzz with Western Week. Everything is normal.

Photos from my yard this week

Life goes on, except for the sudden drop in tourism, up to a 50% projected for the summer season. This is silly. Now is a perfect time to visit the Big Island. Flights are extra cheap at the moment. Come on over! Aloha.

Resources:

From one location one can see: top- Mauna Kea, middle- Mauna Loa, bottom- Hualalai

Note I have tried to add references for the photos I did not take myself. But social media does not always make it easy to trace back to the original photographers.

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Posted in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, lava, Pele, volcano | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments