Welcome 2014

It was such a crazy year of growth, angst, and friendship.  I’m grateful for 2013 but a so looking forward to the changes coming with 2014. It’s quite something to spend the holidays on Maui away from the world of work, away from the snow and cold.

I’ve had time to write a little and to paint some. It feels good to be doing some of those creative things that seem to be swept aside at home with all of the other obligations.  Dare I say that this year will be different, perhaps because I’ve been talking about balance for a number of months.  The election commitment, my city council work, and the business expansion and renovations turned out to be a lot of work all at once.  Too much to handle well, and everything else landed by the wayside.

I’ve been thinking of the themes for the new year, and what they look like then they are fully addressed.  What things will have changed, what it will look like next year when we return to the island for the holidays.

I am writing a book.

A week to write away from every day life, and to do it in Maui is a real gift.  As I write this week takes me some time to quiet my mind from all that has been happening at home.  Citizens often forget that elected leaders also have feelings, can hurt and feel pain like all humans.  Often times that hurt is the suffering of the community.  We become vessels which carry the collective desire and fear.  Of course there is great joy as well.  There is an expectation of strength and of being able to resist and repel the muck and delight in the joy and success — to take nothing personally.  Easy to say and harder to practice.

Political life is not easy and yet it may not need to be hard either.  I’m learning to be with my feelings but also be able to observe them.  I’m learning to empathize deeply with my fellow citizens and yet be able to allow them to be with their own feelings.

this week I find it difficult to get past some of what I consider to be my own shortcomings in working with the community.  Sometimes my best is still not good enough.  I need to reconsider self compassion and so on Wednesday of this week I take some time to find a ‘fellow traveller’.  I search the internet for a yoga practitioner with experience in multiple areas.  I find Maire.  She and I arrange to meet at Grandma’s coffee house just past Kula on the road to Haleakala. It’s a bit of synchronicity since it’s one of the places on Maui that I enjoy the most.

As a pull up to the shop a few minutes late, I see Marie’s beautiful round Irish face pressed up against screen door looking for me.  I instantly recognize her even though she looks nothing like the photograph on the webpage.  Big smiles all around and the first thing we do is hug and say hello again.  It very much feeling like a reunion.

Inside we sit in one of the old wooden booths and talk about my writing and the direction it’s taking.  I conversation is very much about understanding self compassion and forgiveness.  We talk about how it’s impossible to work in community healing without first learning to be kind and compassionate towards oneself.

The coffee house heats up, and even though we are by a window which Marie as wedged open as much as possible, beads of sweat form on her brow.  It’s one of the drawbacks to having a full head of hair.  I’m grateful at the moment to be bald.  The conversation moves to dealing with conflict and it’s then suggest the time is right to be outside.

There is something about thinking and walking that works.  It’s as if the repetition of putting one foot in front of the other creates a rhythm and opens up space for understanding and dialogue.  Conversation never moves too quickly or slowly when I’m walking. Conflict is not a topic one wants to discuss sitting down.

Silver Cloud (2004)We walk along Thompson Road toward Oprah’s Maui home, toward a place formerly called Silver Cloud.  When Terry and I visited Maui for the first time, this is the road that we biked up.  I took pictures and later painted a piece in lieu of rent for the accommodations that were so graciously provided by some good friends.

Marie and I talk deeply about conflict.  I share that I avoid conflict and believe that there are better ways of arriving a good outcomes than having to deal with conflict.  However, we both agree that sometimes it simply can not be avoided.  It’s part of our humanity.  She invites me to consider conflict as a gift — something that I haven’t thoroughly considered in that context.  I spend some time in the afternoon and evening reflecting and seeing the usefulness of the question… ‘What if we consider conflict as a gift, where does that take us?’

The next day I have a chance to visit again.  This time we talk about art, about form and shape, and the nature of relationships between things.  I share how it’s not the edges of a form that give an object shape but the space around the form itself.  We do yoga under the clouds.  It’s an inspiring time.  I take all of that with me into my solitude as I sit and write this morning.

It’s been a brilliant time to be able to dedicate space and energy toward writing about something that I feel so passionate.  This space in Maui and this little condo has been a gift to me in the creative process.  It’s given me time and enough ‘white space’ for my ideas to flow out onto the page and for me to make connection with the universe.  What’s more is that there is some sort of organization that is beginning to appear in the work.  The form is appearing as a result of allowing the space around it to be.

I am not trying to write a book.  I am writing a book.

Renovations Continue

When we left Maui the 3rd week of August, our condo was in a bit of a shambles, we are renovating and at the mercy of some contractors. We did all we could on our own but some things are best left to professionals, something I always stress to my students. Its now October 6th. I arrived a week ago to continue with the redo. While we were gone the granite walls in the bathroom were completed. They are amazing. I have a great aversion to grout and grout lines, this option allowed our walls to be completed with one seam that is virtually invisible. Check out the pictures on our Photos page, if I can get them uploaded.
Progress has been good. The shower floor is now completed, grouted (I know grout and grout lines , but what is one to do?) and sealed. I was able to use the shower finally today which was a treat after showering at the beach for the last week and a bit. The glass for the 1/3 wall is on order as is the glass for the back splash in the kitchen again no grout lines. The glass back splash in the kitchen will be painted on the back with automotive paint to create an illusion of glass tile, Paul has dug out his paints and matched one of the colors in the fabric from the couch redo for the back of the glass.  The color will be very similar to the inside of the new sink and the rock and grout on the shower floor.  An electrician is on his way Monday or Tuesday to install the under counter lighting in the kitchen. Jason our main contractor will arrive back on scene on October 11 to start on the remaining wall in the bathroom which will allow the delivery of the 750KG rock pedestal sink from Bali, then the plumber can return to install the wall mounted faucet. At the same time I will be hacking a few holes in the closet to see if we can install a pocket door for the entrance to the bathroom. With all the beautiful granite walls, the current door hides the beauty of the stone.  I have been changing out all the electrical plugs and switches to decora white with screw-less switch plate covers.

Always planning ahead I recently checked the price of a rental car for our Christmas visit.  Holy crap, one needs lube to rent a car at Christmas this year, the economy must be rebounding.  $2200 for a Hyundai accent for a couple of weeks. I started checking on line, for cars, from home.  Without any success.  This prompted me to go car shopping when I arrived on island.  I checked the papers to no avail, then Craig’s list.  I saw a lot of crap for sale, looked at a couple that sounded like they may be decent, but not so much.  Then one morning a Lexus ES300 popped up for a really good price, too good to be true I thought, but called to go see it at Acura of Maui, Patrick was very professional and helpful in assisting me, well it was clean, runs great, no rust and a great price, so I promptly bought it.  No need to rent a PT cruiser any more.



Thursday evening we left for home.  Our good friends Yvonne and Lanny came over just before we left to help us close up the suite and take away the left over groceries.  Always, we buy too much.  We had met Marta and Brian and Hannah a few days earlier and so we invited them over at the same time, so they could meet Yvonne and Lanny.  It was a fun send off party for us.  We packed and tidied, and entertained all at once, quite keeping with the spirit of hale kipa.  It made our departure a little easier to be in the company of great people right up to the end.

The flight was as fine as can be expected for a red eye through San Francisco.  We arrived home just about 2:30 yesterday afternoon with about as much energy as an old cat laying on a summer porch.  After a very quiet night, 12 hours of sleep restored most of our energy.   Terry is off landscaping and I’ve unpacked and continued with the decluttering of house getting ready for the next round of our renovation project here.

It’s good to home of course but it’s easy to miss the islands even after a few hours away.  Our next trip will need to be in October when the parts for the shower have arrived.


Tiles and fabric.

Upholstery project

Upholstery project

We’ve decided that the old hide-a-bed has good bones.  With a little cleaning and some spanky new fabric it will be allowed to stay at the Tiki Resort.  Yesterday, after a lovely afternoon of pupus and Mai tais with new friends from Jasper, Alberta, we went on a search for an upholsterer. We found Island Window Coverings and Upholestry. Lisa was most helpful in finding us a great fabric that would fit our theme and be durable.

Earlier in the day, Greg from Surface Solutions came by yesterday and said that the floors cNew fabric.an be leveled and polished.  He’ll sort out the base tiles, the grout problems, deal with any flaws in the stone.  In the end it look as if it were installed properly.

The big plan is to send the sofa out just before the floors are leveled and then to have it delivered back after they are done.  Today we’ll order the fabric and after that it’s all about timing and coordination.


Bamboo Maui

After many days of searching Maui garage sales, second hand stores, and assorted furniture retailers for bamboo end tables and a coffee table, we finally discovered Bamboo Maui in Wailuku.  We were referred there by Debbie at the Maui Closet Company.  If only we would have discovered this place at the beginning of our renovations the end result would have been a little bit different.

Bernard from Maui Bamboo

Bernard from Maui Bamboo loading the Mustang

We were able to get two end tables, coffee table, a shoe rack which doubles as a sofa table,one lamp table, two stools some bamboo poles, and some bamboo quarter round to do some finishing along the cabinets.

They also retail bamboo plywood, and could have put us in contact with cabinet makers who could have built our cabinets on island.  Oh well now we know for our next project.

The only drawback is that they are no longer caring any furniture, we scooped some of the last pieces available.

Bernard was very helpful.  During out chats we learned that he traps the feral neighbourhood kitties, and has them spayed or neutered.  He’s managed to catch all of them except the momma, who has just pumped out another batch.  There is a program here on Maui that so long as people commit to feed the cats that the spaying and neutering can be done free.  There is a saying about the quality of man can be determined by how he treats animals.

One more sleep.

Well, this working vacation is rapidly coming to an end.  We haven’t got as much done as we would have liked but at the same time we probably got more done than we expected we could.

View from lanaiYesterday, Jan from First Glass came to measure up the kitchen and bathroom for glass.  We’re considering a coloured glass back splash and wall in the kitchen.  Not that we’ve decided on the colour yet.  As I sit here this morning on the lanai watching the sunrise, I also realize that we forgot to have him look at the windows.  We’re going to replace the jalousie windows, which are horizontal louvers, with sealed panels that will keep the dirt out when we are gone.  Although, cleaning and Mai tais hasn’t been a poor way to start vacation in the past.

Rainforest graniteThe shower is coming a long nicely as well.  We had to scrape the old paint and plaster off the wall yesterday so the rock would adhere.  It was an inch by inch process.  One of those tasks we’re you done look at how big the whole is, rather just the square you are working on the moment.  A very zen activity.  It look 2.5 hours.  We’ve decided to put in a sliding door into the bathroom so that there is more room and so that the door doesn’t hide the granite.

Installing shower pan

The professionals have started to install the felt waterproof membrane in the shower itself.  It’s a very interesting process which we’ve never seen before.  Tomorrow, the granite company comes to measure the walls one final time before they cut and install the walls.

We finished grouting the floors, sorted out some electrical wiring, and a few other odd finishing tasks.  Last night we started to reupholster a small chair seat.  Not a big job, but there were so many staples in the covering it took an hour to pull them all.

In the afternoon we went out looking for a new sink for the bathroom.  We’re looking for a one piece small sink without a cabinet.  Indolotus has some great things for the garden and we thought that maybe they would have something that would work.  It turns out there they may be something on their next container.  A sink pedestal made from a rock.  We’re looking forward to seeing that.

We had our good friends Lanny and Yvonne over last night for dinner which was very fun as we each shared our stories of the past couple of days.

Our last Monday.

It’s the last Monday before we go home to Canada, and we still have a lot of work to be done.  Today, the plumber will be here jackhammering the floor out of the bathroom in order to install a drain in the new shower.  They are suppose to be here at 8 a.m.  In the afternoon the tilers come to install the water proof membrane and the shower pan.  Then it’s a matter of drying before the granite can be installed.  I doubt we’ll get to see any of that before we leave but one can always be hopeful.  It’s a beautiful patterned granite called Rainforest, a dark olive green colour with bold veins of red and sand running through it.

We’ll have been here almost three weeks this visit and have been to the beach only three times… still it has been on of the best trips that we’ve had.  We’ve worked very hard together on installing the cabinets, lighting, painting, replacing the air conditioner, tiling, and reconstructing the bathroom.  We’ve finished replacing most of the old furniture and have rearranged the living space yet one more time.  It’s looking quite spacious and comfortable.

The uneven floor tiles that we’re improperly installed have continued to be an annoyance to us both, but yesterday we learned of a company called Surface Solutions that can come in a level and polish the floor with giant sanders.  They come highly recommended.  We will look into them, and try to recover some of the cost from the original installer.

Our new website matches the condo, half done and being constructed even as we start to use it.