Holiday Letter 2002

Hawaiian Gothic 2

Hawaiian Gothic, Take 2


It has come to our attention that many of you think our life in Hawaii is one endless summer where we spend our time admiring the view from our lanai, sipping fruit drinks with little umbrellas by the pool, and typing a few keystrokes on our computers. We thought you might like a photo of what we often look like as we attempt to wrestle Mother Nature to the ground before she completely overruns the place. The photos were taken after a routine palm trimming where we took off about 500 pounds of coconuts and fronds from just one of perhaps 100 palms on the property. We spared you the photo of Sharene in waders cleaning fish and toad droppings from the bottom of the koi pond. (You’ll have to pay us a personal visit to see that!) But it’s like the guy cleaning up after the circus elephants who says he doesn’t mind because “I work in show business!” We don’t mind because “We live in Paradise!”

People often ask if we have a bed & breakfast here. The answer is YES…and all our guests are friends and family! Two sets of Harrison’s cousins came to visit in 2002, as did his wonderful Aunt Sue from International Falls and her friend Marge. We LOVED having them here; their Minnesota accents were so strong we felt like the cast of A Prairie Home Companion had come to call! Sharene’s sister and her husband were here, and Sharene’s brother and his new bride came and spent part of their honeymoon with us. Arline & Nick and Marilyn & Pete from our B&B days came all the way from the East Coast. Three sets of Sharene’s colleagues from WorldRes and our dear friend Jane from Harrison’s Stanford days made the trip, plus our best friends Rick & Maggie and Fritz & Andrea took the time to visit. Unfortunately Rick & Maggie barely saw the sun (not what they hoped coming from the Pacific Northwest in February), but they promised to come back and give us another try this summer. Sharene’s best friend from high school and her fabulous children were here in January and our friend Carolyn came during the summer. We had two separate sets of friends come halfway around the world—thank you, Sarah and Patrick & Chantal, for flying 24 hours from Switzerland to say “aloha” to us in person. As a special treat, singer Maria Muldaur stayed with us for a few days while she performed on the Big Island. We hope everyone went home with wonderful memories because they certainly left us with many.

When we weren’t tending to guests, we launched three new websites related to hotels in Hawaii (see for an example), we continued to manage our own condos, and we created a small business out of the requests we turn away. On the home front (besides trimming coconuts and cleaning toad poop), Sharene has gotten involved in water gardening and Harrison is quickly becoming an expert on fertilizing and verticutting. We also achieved a major milestone when, after Harrison personally laid 650 feet of ½-inch cable television trunk cable across the property, we were able to get high-speed Internet service. It’s hard to convey the enormous impact that has when your life revolves around the Internet.

We managed to make it through another year without any major illnesses or tragedies and for that we are very thankful. We still absolutely love it here and we have no regrets about moving to the middle of the ocean. We have developed a very interesting and eclectic circle of friends and those friendships, along with the peace and beauty of Hawaii, continue to enhance our lives. So if your travel plans include the Big Island for 2003, let us know; our guest rooms will be ready for you. We send each of you our warm personal wishes for a Merry Christmas and a new year full of health, happiness, progress toward your own personal goals, and a little paradise in your everyday lives.

Hawaiian Gothic 1

Hawaiian Gothic, Take 1
or why Kolo, our cat, does not appear in the final photo