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What ‘appened?

2014 January 3
by Rachel Turiel

When Col was a toddler we spent one year in Humboldt County, where we kept a space heater in Col’s bedroom. Col was briefed on not touching the heater, though at some point in the day would surreptitiously plug in his heater and then run to find us, hands in the air like a troubled soap opera star, crying out: “What ‘appened?!?! What ‘appened?!?!” (Which was his way of creating mischief and then alerting us to the mischief, just in case. Also, like the British, he dropped his “H’s”).

Which is a little how I feel right now, like: The Holidays…Multiple Airports…Multiple Time Zones (kids are now sleeping in until 5am)…Visiting Family on my mom’s, dad’s and Dan’s sides…The Atlantic, then Pacific…What ‘appened?!?!

njLighting Christmas Eve luminarias at Nana Judy and Grandpa Starks’ place in NJ. Also, as I overheard some teenage neighbor saying “one big ass flag,” which is probably not approved language for old glory, but if the shoe fits…


Christmas was quiet yet festive, and I had a glass of wine (after 4 months of alcohol abstinence) which felt completely holy.

nj fam

Nana Judy accommodated all my healing diet specificities, which was heroic, including pots of bone broth awaiting my arrival like a friend you just can’t shake.


We drove from NJ through NY to CT feeling like we were inside some Billy Joel song, to visit my relatives. My dear dear cousin Amy’s dear boys, treated Col and Rose like siblings in the very best way. When I heard Jack say to Rose, “that’s enough pinching, Rosie,” I knew all was well

And now we’re on the island of Kauai, with and thanks to, my parents.


The kids do not wait shyly outside the door of the big, wild ocean assessing it (for jellyfish, temperature, blood-letting rocks).They fling themselves in with their whole hearts as if leading the retreat on living fully.


The Island Ways are seeping in. I heard Col tell Rosie ten minutes after arriving at our condo, “you don’t need no shoes.” Daily, Rose gathers fallen plumeria and hibiscus flowers off the ground and places them around our condo like the madam of a tropical bordello. The saltwater is curing problems we didn’t even know we had, and the kids burn one thousand calories while I scoop the flesh from another avocado.

The sun makes you want to jump in the water. Flapping around in the ocean makes you hungry. Eating makes you a little sleepy, so you take a nap, wake up and start all over again. I’m usually, cumbersomely, trying to extract meaning from every event, efforting clumsily towards some Jewish notion of a Zen mind; but here it feels like simply relaxing and enjoying is a true sacred state.


We stop at every roadside produce stand and farmers market, because there is something so elemental and pleasing about buying food directly from the people who grow it (One Hawaiian man, when I asked if he had any lettuce, answered oh yes, and then disappeared to either yank a few heads from his garden or grab the ones he bought earlier at Big Save to mark up for tourists).




Could you resist going into the “Western-most Independent Bookstore of the United States?”

Yesterday the sky poured rain—heavy, wild and warm—for hours. Col and Rose devastated their clothes in the muddy slip and slide they created outside. Dan and I sat on the couch, reading, eating a few longans, taking it all in: the power of the storm, the children’s laughter, the feeling that there was nothing much else to be done.



12 Responses leave one →
  1. Andrea permalink
    January 3, 2014

    Sounds holy, indeed.

    And i am resisting the temptation to ‘covet thy neighbors christmakkah vacation’ where the rain is, ya know, warm. Safe travels, dear one.

  2. January 3, 2014

    yay for the update! yay for the Just Being! triple yay for the wine! love and miss you!!!

  3. January 3, 2014

    I spy lilikoi. My favorite Hawaiian treat. Enjoy!

  4. Emmanuelle permalink
    January 3, 2014

    How deliciously otherworldly these images and evocations are right now! Warm waves… Plump avocados you need both hands to pick from their lustrous greenish stand… Sleeveless flower dress on bare skin… I can’t remember how it all *feels* like ;o)

    And how great that you are enjoying it fully right now! Jeez.

    Thanks for sharing :o) and cheers from your French friend in high spirits in spite of a – 27.5 windchill in Montréal !

    • Emmanuelle permalink
      January 3, 2014

      – 27.5 Fahrenheit, of course ;o) and it was – 36 two mornings ago.

      A bit dizzying – how is it going to be in February?

  5. Melissa permalink
    January 3, 2014

    Please, oh, please let me live vicariously by sharing in the wonder of those tropical delicacies. What are the little red pokey ones?

    I haven’t had a crisp apple in months much less anything more exotic, and I’m woefully ignorant of all things island related.

    Love your blog!

  6. Carrie permalink
    January 3, 2014

    What a blessing..
    I can feel it
    It all
    Happy new year

  7. January 4, 2014

    Here it is cold such as I have not experienced in years, and snow everywhere, and though I remember such things, I cannot quite believe in such warmth and color as you are enjoying now in Hawaii. Do enjoy! And happy new year!

  8. Susan S permalink
    January 5, 2014

    Talk Story Bookstore? At least, a reason to go to Hawaii! :-)

  9. January 6, 2014

    “I’m usually, cumbersomely, trying to extract meaning from every event, efforting clumsily towards some Jewish notion of a Zen mind.” this made me chuckle.
    so much aloha!!! glad you are living it up. :)

  10. January 7, 2014

    My bro lives on Maui, really want to visit this year! Soumds like your kids are soaking up the world :)

  11. January 8, 2014

    Oh what fun! Don’t you just love being a traveler!? The best place to be to eat fresh and local…here’s to a healthy new year!

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