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23 Jan 2011

Updated Sep 26, 2010, adds From Turf to Surf: Wave-watching Season Opens

Labor Day 2010

Symphony of Colors and Sounds

FROM HAIKU, MAUI (HAWAII)

Labor Day 2010

Symphony of colors and sounds

HAIKU, Maui, Sep 6 -  Greetings from the Rainbow Shower!  Happy Labor Day 2010! How time flies... here we are, already another Labor Day weekend (see the 2009 Labor Day in the Gulch story and video).

This year, our holiday flags have crossed the gulch and are happily flying on the other side, too.

By contrast to 2009, this year, the Rainbow Shower (tree) after which we named the entire property is also celebrating Labor Day with us with its resplendent colors (last year, it was a late bloomer).  Not to be outdone, the Rainbow Shower's "La Patrona" is also sporting this year a festive "Lady in Red" image.  Bet you would have never guessed from the way Elizabeth looks that we have been through several tough setbacks since her Aug 12 major surgery in Honolulu.  Don't worry, we are managing.  She is getting better.  Slowly.  But it has just been an uphill recovery road.

Joining the symphony of Labor Day colors were also two large rainbows that greeted us this morning.  The booming Impatiens flowers which I planted last spring at the Palm Rockery also looked as beautiful as ever.  And big.  They must have grown about ten times the size they were when I put them in the ground.  Of course, occasional watering through some dry spells helped.  They are showing their gratitude and paying us back in beauty.

Not to be outdone, the good ole Steinway has contributed to the celebration of Labor Day.  It was not so much by her looks (shown here disemboweled during surgery that took up most of yesterday, Saturday, while the Steinway tech worked on perfecting its sound and action).  It was by the beautiful sound and a lighter keyboard feel after the operation. 

"She sounds now like a real Steinway concert grand," the tech said self-contentedly after he was finished.  "Give her a try."

I did.  And I had to agree.  She is now about 95% perfect.  We still have one more relatively minor adjustment to make in November.  After that, I hope she will be 99.9% perfect.  (Nothing is 100% perfect except the Creator's creations).

Nonetheless, even now, this baby has opened up a whole new range of musical nuances for the pianist.  I have been basically having to explore and rearrange all of the tunes I play so as to take advantage of the new possibilities and capabilities she offers.  It's like learning to drive all over again.  Handling a Lamborghini, Buggatti or a Lotus is a whole different kettle of fish from driving a Honda or even a Mercedes. 

So my dream of achieving utter beauty and perfection of a Steinway sound is coming true. Any remaining flaws after November will be that of the pianist.

Beautiful Flowers, Snow-white Mushrooms

HAIKU, Maui, Sep 24 -  Where has September gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were celebrating Labor Day.  And here we are, already past the Equinox full moon and three days deep into the autumn. So here's a quick update from the Rainbow Shower...

First, Elizabeth has now fully recovered from her surgery in early August.  She is right back in the swing of things.  Which, at this time of the year, means making delicious Lilikoi (Passion Fruit) and Guava jams and syrups, in addition to her many art projects. She is finishing another beautiful quilt (see below) which, along with her Texas quilt creation, she is planning to enter into the competition at the Maui County Fair next week. If you want to taste some jams and syrups, click on that sign on the right.

And while on the subject of art projects, you can also see above updated Rainbow Shower logos, along with the tree, now in bloom, that gave our property its name.

We now also have another piece of "gulch art."  Several weeks ago, landscaper, who said he loves coming to work at the Rainbow Shower because the place has such a good "mana" (aura), had carved our initials into a tree at the Palm Rockery.  But he never told me that till this week.  So now I embellished his "gulch art" a little (above left). Right next to it are the Impatiens I planted last spring.  They have now grown to be so enormous that they are covering starting to overtake the big rocks around them (middle left).

Who says there is no snow in Hawaii?  Take a look at the snow-white mushrooms I discovered on the slopes of the Orchard Road two days ago after an overnight rain (three right shots).  It's just that our snow is not as cold as the fully stuff on the mainland. But it is just as white and beautiful.

We also got some locally grown Lychee (right) which are a delicious addition to our tutti-fruity breakfasts.  They also looked so pretty that I told Elizabeth that could be her nest "still nature"-type artistic challenge.

Musical Quilt of Love

Speaking of artistic challenges, Elizabeth finished her new musical quilt tonight (two left shots).  The quilt is a intricate pattern based on a Japanese design.  But the musical theme is all Elizabeth.  I watched her slave over it patiently during the last four weeks.  It was an amazingly short time for something as complex as that.  She said she intended it for me as another sign of her love.  And tonight, she presented it to me.  As you saw earlier, she will also enter it next week in the art competition of the Maui County Fair.

My today's gift to Elizabeth was not as elaborate.  But it was both beautiful and fragrant.  You can see a four-flower arrangement from our garden (middle right).  Three of the four are wonderfully scented.  Can you tell what they are? (click here for answers).

Thunderous Chinese Drums

Finally, we attended a live show last night at the Castle Theater which was unlike anything else I have ever experienced in a concert hall. 

The Hands Percussion Group from our Malaysia, on their first visit to the U.S., offered an amazing blend of sounds and motions that raised the roof in the large concert hall.  Their artistry on Chinese war drums and other percussion instruments was combined with acrobatic moves and choreographed into a truly unique mixture of music, dance and marshal arts.  The 11 young performers really rocked - in every sense of that expression.  But since the American public are programmed to relish modern rock rather than the ancient arts, the large concert hall was half empty.  As a result, the occupants of all those vacant seats were the losers last night.

On our way back home from the concert, I told Elizabeth a story about my first ever experience with the Chinese drummers.  It was in June 1999, during an anti-war protest at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. After my speech at the Vietnam Memorial, I had a chance to walk alongside some Chinese drummers as we marched across the Potomac river to the Pentagon.  The sound of the drums that close by was truly earth- and ear drum-shattering.  No wonder the Chinese used them to rally the troops in wartime attacks.  Their blood-curdling power makes the western trumpets seem like child's toys.

ANSWERS: Citronella, Lavender and Rose.

 

 

Greater Rainbow Shower Anniversary

HAIKU, Maui, Sep 25 -  I woke up this morning at 8:05AM.  Almost immediately, even before getting out of bed, I was transported to the same hour and the same time a year ago...

It was our first morning back home after a two-and-a-half week-trip to Europe and New York.  I woke up at exactly the same time (around 8AM).  Except back then, it was to the sight of a giant rainbow over the Greater Rainbow Shower.  It took three picture frames to capture it (crudely stitched together above).  Then the phone rang.  It was our real estate agent.  She said our deal for the extra five acres which we added to the Rainbow Shower had just recorded.  That's when I realized the significance of our first morning rainbow.  It was a heavenly welcome home and a blessing to the enlarged Rainbow Shower.  It spanned the exact boundaries of our new property (see Heavenly Rainbow Welcome Home, Sep 25).

Here's the same panoramic scene blended together more seamlessly from the same three frames using a professional photo software.

When Elizabeth got up this morning, I reminded her of this day a year ago.  We then compared this morning's view with that in the above photo.  So much has changed since then; so much love and sweat has been poured into the land.  But only a trained eye would be able to spot the differences in this panoramic view. Which was the point of all the labor... to make the land accessible for human enjoyment and use as a sanctuary/park, but not to change it too much.  You can see the way it looked four months ago (again to the day, hour!), in another panoramic rainbow scene (right).  It was the only clear sky-rainbow I have ever seen.

Kula Fair, Goat Farm

Enough reminiscing.  We did not waste any time getting on the road up the mountain to the annual Kula Fair.  It was held on the ground of St. John's Episcopal Church.  And it offered heavenly views, along with food, open air market and art & entertainment...

 

... all at an altitude of over 3,000 feet.  Instead of a breakfast at home, we enjoyed a brunch sitting on the grass, listening to Hawaiian music, and enjoying the spectacular views of Lanai and the West Maui mountains. 

While Elizabeth perused some jewelry and other man-made creations, I was admiring the Creator's artwork.  Check out the Orchids and Anthuriums, for example (two left shots).  We also saw a beautiful Protea flower which I visualized in that golden vase at home (right) even before we bought it.  On our way down the mountain in search of a Surf Goat Farm, about which Elizabeth had read something in the Upcountry Maui magazine, we passed many beautiful Bougs, like the ones above right. 

"Maybe one day, my baby Bougs will also look like that," I was thinking and hoping.  I was referring to the four "Grandchildren Bougs" and the two Bougs for Elizabeth and I which I planed on top of the Eucalyptus Hill.  I have been hauling 10 gallons of water up the hill every other day during this dry season to give them a headstart in life.

We almost gave up hope of ever finding the Surf Goat Farm when suddenly we spotted a surf board with its name on it.  "So it does exist after all," I exclaimed as we turned onto a long, winding driveway also lined with beautiful Bougs. We bought some cheese and spent about 20 minutes chatting with a nice Hawaiian lady about the farm.  It incorporated 42 acres and has 151 goats at the moment.  Every January, the farm welcomes about 50 new baby goats.  The group having a siesta under the shade of that Mesquite tree is probably the 2010 generation.  The older one kept eating, rain or shine.  The new kids sure ain't what they used to be even in the goat world...  

From High Turf to High Surf

Wave-watching Season Opens Early This Year

HAIKU, Maui, Sep 26 - We went from high turf to high surf in just 24 hours.  Yesterday, we marveled at the views from the Kula Fair in Upcountry Maui.  Today, we jumped into our Jeep and drove four miles down the rough dirt road to the Jaws, the place where the world surfing record was set in 2001 (75 feet).  Well, we are happy to report that the wave-watching season is starting early this year.  The surf has not quite yet reached those gigantic winter season levels, but even at 10-15 feet, the big waves were very beautiful.  Check out first these two panoramic pictures...

I named the first one - Surf Snow Mountain.  The second one looked like a Surf Avalanche to me.  What would you title them?

And now, here are the rest of the photos, including the two from which the above two panoramic scenes were cropped...

Have a great week!

And that's all for now from the Rainbow Shower so far in September.

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