Monday, May 23, 2016

Making Food Safe To Eat Again – Highlights from the Center for Food Safety’s Talk on Maui, March 2016

Is it food? Or does it resemble cardboard doused with bug killer? It’s hard to know these days, because currently food is not labeled with GMO ingredients or pesticide content. Not everybody eats this kind of food, but it is commonly available in most supermarkets in the US and increasingly, around the world. It looks like food, tastes like food, smells like food, but is not food.

According to Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, “For the first time in human history, there are a lot of pesticides in food. The EPA has raised the levels of allowable herbicides in food by 20 times in the last 5 to 6 years.”

Pause for a moment. That is a disturbing thought especially to anyone with young children.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Salsa at Z-Land

Deep in the heart of Haiku, down a long driveway, on a narrow road, you’d never expect to find a custom-made dance studio for Cuban salsa dancing aka Casino Rueda. 

But Haiku is full of surprises. It’s more than hippies, chickens, and pot plants. Salsa rueda or Cuban style salsa has been hosted for years by Zephyr at his Z-Land dance studio on Friday nights. Dance lessons are free and last for a half hour, then are followed by an hour of beginning dance, then an hour of advanced dance.The entire session is free.

We drove in the dark, looking for a dance studio from the driveway. We ended up driving all the way down, and parked near a gate to a garden, walked around to a house with lights, but there was only one person visible from the outside, and he looked like he was cooking, so we drove back up the driveway where we heard music and a lot of laughter. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Seabury Hall Craft Fair

Seabury Hall Craft Fair is one of the largest and most delectable craft fairs on Maui. It will take place tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, from 9 am to 4 pm in Olinda.

Held every spring the Saturday before Mother’s Day, the Seabury Hall Craft Fair is an excuse to splurge, ostensibly on a gift for mom, but just as easily for oneself. Admission is $5 and includes parking. Children 12 years old and younger enter for free. The proceeds go towards financial aid for students who are smart enough to be admitted into this competitive and prestigious secondary school but whose families are not rich enough to foot the entire tuition bill. The yearly tuition is as much as some colleges and universities. 

La Patisserie - outside pastry shop
The craft fair is large, sprawling across the campus and filling several buildings. Outside, rows upon rows of booths display their wares, in a beguiling manner to entice shoppers.  Booths on the main path from the entrance pay the highest fees for their prime location.  The discerning shopper will make sure to wander through all the pathways to visit booths that are tucked farther away from the entrance, down side paths and by the food stands.

Towards the middle of the campus, the outdoor patisserie or French pastry café showcases a smorgasbord of desserts and baked goods. Some cakes and pies are donated by top notch Maui restaurants, while others are made by parents and students slaving away in hot kitchens. 

So many desserts, and this is a fraction of what is presented.
A specially priced ticket lets the buyer select three desserts from the table.  Sometimes this can take a long time, because the desserts are so tempting. The selection of desserts changes during the day: when one dessert is finished, another magically takes its place.

My favorite part of the festival is the area with bouquets. Flowers in creative arrangements fill bowls, vases, and containers of all sizes and shapes. Another table has different types of leis, flower garlands, that are not just colorful and pretty, but some are refined and sophisticated. Fresh produce and garden plants are also for sale.


One building contains silent auction items, donated by many businesses and individuals across Maui. Here is where one may luck out and snag tickets to a luau or private boat trip, accommodations for a weekend getaway, or a coveted restaurant gift certificate for less than the face value.  The gymnasium hosts a rummage sale and is filled with donated items – clothes, household goods, furniture, books - secret treasures which may be disguised as another person’s junk.  Another building has handmade student creations, which are no less interesting than the rest of the fair outside.

For children, there is a water slide in the back of the campus, a bouncy castle or two, face painting, pony riding, and games. Food booths offer a variety of choices so there is no need to leave the fair. All day long, entertainers provide live music. Usually the weather is cooperative and sunny, with occasional mischievous gusts of wind. It’s not uncommon to see crafters grab the table cloth or the tent wall to keep their display from flying.  

For Maui residents and visitors who live on the other side of the island, the craft fair is an excuse to venture Upcountry. Upcountry Maui puts on its most beautiful finery this time of year: the hills are dotted with flowering purple jacaranda trees. Seabury Hall’s campus has several purple trees, which lend a festive air to the occasion.

A flowering purple jacaranda tree on the campus.

Time: 9 am – 4 pm
Date: Saturday, May 7, 2016
Location: Seabury Hall, Olinda, part of Makawao

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Reflections on the A to Z Challenge 2016 (Was it FUN?)

Halfway through the A to Z Challenge, I realized I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t even sure of my participation this year, despite interviewing in January with Noble Portrait about how fun, fun, fun the A to Z Challenge is. Since I hadn’t been able to glue my butt to the seat to write – and preschedule - any posts before April, my commitment was weak. My hemming and hawing continued through the end of March, when I finally decided “What the heck?” and signed up.

Why wasn't it more fun?:

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 2016 Events At A Glance on Maui

Please visit the websites to make sure the event dates, locations and times are still correct. Event listings will be updated whenever possible.

Sunday, May 1. Last day of St. Joseph’s Feast. An Upcountry Maui tradition with crafts, food, music, and entertainment. St. Joseph’s Church, Makawao. Free! 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Zen Temple

The Rinzai Zen Mission is located in an unexpected place. Drive into the Baldwin Beach parking lot, see the lifeguard station, turn right in the parking lot towards Paia, pass the bathroom building and the second parking lot and whoa! Surprise! There’s a zen temple at the beach. It looks dignified and mysterious. One wonders what it’s doing here, but since it’s a zen temple, it might ask you same thing. 

There is a zen temple to the right, not shown in this photo.
Zen Buddhism is the religion known for infamous koans (teaching parables or questions) like:
What is the sound of one hand clapping?
If you meet the Buddha, kill him!

These are questions or stories designed to provoke and challenge one’s assumptions and to understand one’s true nature.

The Rinzai Zen Mission is based on the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, which particularly values koans, and is considered more challenging than Soto Buddhism. In Japan, there is a saying, “Rinzai for the shogun (Japanese warriors), Soto for the peasants.”

Rinzai Zen Mission main hall.

The Rinzai Zen Mission is Okinawan, and was established in 1932. Okinawa is an island, 400 miles south of Japan, but is part of Japan. In a similar way, Hawaii is 2500 miles from the continental US but considered part of the US. It is the only Rinzai zen temple from the Okinawan immigration period in the US. In the 1960s, there was a tsunami that hit Maui and a marker on the grounds that shows how high the water reached. In 1987, a fire burned down the mission and it was rebuilt. 

Today, the zen temple serves as an active temple for Okinawans on Maui, hosts community events like Japanese tea ceremonies, and the hall can be rented for private events. 

Photos of a Japanese tea ceremony I attended here.
More Information:
Website: (Great website too!)


If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May! Done! (Or in Hawaii, we say "All pau!" Pau rhymes with pow.)

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Friday, April 29, 2016

YMCA Camp Keanae

The YMCA Camp in Keanae is located on the beautiful and rocky north coast of Maui, along the Road to Hana. Keanae is like the “Halfway to Hana” point, when you know you’re almost in Hana, and just have another 30 or so one-lane bridges to cross and maybe 200 (or 300?) S-curves and switchbacks ahead. Keanae is roughly pronounced, “Kay – en – aye” like saying quickly “Kay and I” went to the store without saying the “d.” 

YMCA Camp Keanae is located right on the Hana Highway, aka the Road to Hana.
It has affordable camping relatively close to Hana, since halfway to Hana is a major accomplishment, with tent spaces and cabins. The YMCA Camp overlooks the ocean and has major facilities: a kitchen and dining area; buildings for yoga, workshops, or art shows; a gymnasium; bathrooms with hot, running water; and open grassy lawns for outdoor yoga and drumming circles.

The YMCA Camp is perfect for accommodating large retreats, gatherings and workshops for everyone from Boy Scouts, meditation groups, youth clubs, business organizations, and nonprofits. It can sleep up to 170 people. The Sufi Group on Maui has an annual fall retreat or “Sufi camp” as they call it. Source Maui held its Soggy Man festival – Maui’s answer to Burning Man – here. This is a great location for a big family reunion.

Overlooking the ocean at YMCA Camp Keanae.
But you don't have to be a large group either. They can accommodate individual campers too, as long as the entire campground is not being occupied by a large party. Camping starts at $25 per person or $40 for a family. If your idea of camping is room service at a hotel, then cabins are also available!

The main downside is that during the winter months, YMCA Camp can be kind of wet and, if you have a lot of people trampling around, muddy.

This is a pic of the "mud people" from the Source Maui 2012 Festival.
Nearby is the Keanae Peninusula, which is gorgeous and worth exploring. There is a banana bread stand and an old church nearby, plus other beautiful spots. 

Phone: 808-248-8355 

If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May! One letter left!

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