Monday, May 22, 2017

I just attended the most awesome funeral ...

... said no one ever. But just last weekend, I did.

Home again, I woke up this morning with a feeling that's hard to describe. Travel, jet lag, thinking juice, and whole lot of awesomeness combined to produce sadness and longing wrapped in a thick cushion of joy, nostalgia, love, and gratefulness.

We reconnected with people we haven't seen in a while, and we made new friends. We laughed, cried, and laughed some more.

And, celebrated. Family and close friends went to Buca di Beppo for dinner after the service and our large party was placed in a back room where, it appeared, all the large parties got seated. The first thing the waiter asked was, What are you celebrating?

A funeral, someone answered. Then, A celebration of life - which it was.

The room was loud with conversation and even more loud when a team of wait staff came to deliver birthday cake amidst clapping and singing in the manner one hopes one is never subjected to in a restaurant.

And, then, in a rare lull, someone at our table (and I know who) started clapping. I joined in and soon the whole table started clapping. No one knew why we were clapping but at that point it didn't matter. The next table joined in and it was certain we would have had the whole room clapping if we hadn't ended it with a joyous cheer.

As we left, someone at the next table asked, What were you celebrating?

Oddly, one responded, a funeral.

Actually, it was a celebration. And that's just the way Phil would have wanted it.

Rest in peace, Philip R. Compton.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Still Up

The Columbia River got as high as 17 feet in March but started to recede by early April. Before we left town, I was hopeful that the beach would be back when we returned.

It was not. 

A week ago, it was at 11 feet and is now around 15 above normal. I know it rained while we were gone, but jeez.

We were sitting by the river earlier this week. It was a sunny day and everybody was out, walking the boardwalk. Many were seeing the river for the first time since the last sunny day - sometime last August. They would stop and point to where the beach used to be and explain to their children, "Once upon a time, there was a beach. Right. There."

Interestingly, the Bonneville Dam's spill rate over the last few days was at a low of 134 and high of 259. (I think the unit of measure is cubic feet per second. Not sure about that.) What's going on there? 

On that same sunny evening, we watched as PDX reversed the flight pattern for takeoff and landing.
The wind appeared to be from the West as evidenced by the spinnakers on sailboats racing upstream and, for a while, we watched planes leaving PDX headed West.

Then, it reversed. Even as the spinnakers continued to indicate winds from the West, planes were now taking off to the East. We usually observe one or the other flight pattern but this was the first time we saw both in a single span of time.

Who makes the decision to reverse the flight pattern? If the wind direction is different on the river than higher up, at what height does it reverse? (I wish Phil were here to explain this to me.)

I don't have any answers but I'll be sure to keep an eye on the situation. I hope to post pictures of the beach when it returns.

Sunday, April 30, 2017


The Maui News continues to report on the export of sand, with Mayor Arakawa calling for a moratorium. Honolulu Construction & Draying, "the premier producer of concrete on Oahu," was identified as the exporter. Not to worry, they said, we are planning on importing sand from British Columbia to make up for it.

This is clearly above my pay grade.

Meanwhile, Maui County is under a flash flood watch. If I wanted to sit in the rain, I could have just stayed home where we had the wettest winter since 1895. No wonder I was depressed!

While a rainstorm could be the perfect recipe for a steaming cup of coffee, I recently discovered Japanese iced coffee. Boiled down, the method calls for replacing half the amount of water used to brew the coffee with ice. I made it using a 10-cup Cuisinart drip coffee maker and it turned out great, consistently. I highly recommend trying it, especially if your coffee maker doesn't make especially good coffee. It's quick, easy, and makes an incredibly smooth cold brew. Add some coconut milk, and you have the perfect island coffee.

Last, but not least, cancer sucks. I would love to say more on the subject but the words won't come. They'd be inadequate anyway. Rest in peace, Phil. And peace to everyone who loved him. He will be missed by many.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Shifting Sands

On April 23rd, in a regular feature of The Maui News called "Ask the Mayor," Mayor Arakawa explained the policy issues surrounding the export of sand from Maui to Oahu. On April 27th, The Maui News reported that $9.3 million is included for Kaanapali Beach restoration as part of Hawaii's proposed legislative budget for $1.1 billion in capital improvement projects.

Interested in the problem - even the concept - of beach restoration I tried to find out more about Kaanapali's restoration project. What I found was more about the problem than the solution - articles going back to December 1997. This one, prepared by University of Hawaii Sea Grant Extension Service and County of Maui Planning Department entitled "Beach Management Plan for Maui," does a good job of not only explaining the problem but references studies going back to 1971 which illustrates just how large a problem this is.

Regular visitors to Kaanapali Beach may be aware of the seasonal shifting of beaches as a result of currents. But unless they have been long time visitors, they may not be aware of the total effect of erosion.  Take a look at this promotional video from 1964 to see what the Kaanapali Beach looked like once upon a time:

You can get a glimpse of what it looks like right now:

Maui Eldorado Web Cam

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Got out of town after Tax Day.

The in-flight movie was The Accountant.

No, really.