Category Archives: Books

“Wine and Words”

If you haven’t checked out Kona Stories, give yourself a treat and stop by. There is much more than books to be found as you cruise through, and comfy chairs where you can relax.

Kona Stories was begun five years ago by Brenda Eng and Joy Vogelgesang. They recently moved from Mango Court to the Keauhou Shopping Center. Be sure to check out their web site for the many events going on there.

For me, one of the highlights offered by the shop is the monthly “Wine and Words.” This happens at 6:00 pm the first Tuesday of each month, when various local authors are invited to read excerpts from a book they have written. As you wait to listen, you can visit with friends, browse the shelves and enjoy a glass of wine (or water) along with a few pupus.

Last week I attended with several friends to listen to Nancee Cline, who teaches English at our West Campus of Hawaii Community College. There was standing room only as Nancee read from her book, Queen Emma’s Church in Kealakekua: Crossroads of Culture. She began by saying it was so much more than simply a history of the church. Her book is rich with anecdotes, interviews, and more.

After the reading, people lined up to visit with Nancee and buy an autographed copy.

I didn’t get a chance to cruise through the shop as much as I would like because it was way too crowded. That won’t be the last time I stop by, however. I want to return for a visit with the store’s mascot!

Congratulations, Nancee! We’re proud of your accomplishments.

A hui hou!

Cats!

Katrina Relaxing
Katrina relaxing

As a child, I only had one pet, a dog I named “Sugar.” This was in the days of WW II food rationing, and sugar was hard to get, just as the dog (when he would get under the house) was “hard to get.” After a few days, my parents decided we didn’t need any pets at all – and the dog was sent away.

Since I have became an adult, it seems like I’ve always had a cat, along with miscellaneous dogs. Deep down, I know I’m mostly a “cat person,” although I do love the dogs I’ve had in my life.

My dear friend and colleague has a beautiful Birman who reigns supreme. She is so covered with fluff that I often wonder if there is any actual body underneath the fur.

A close up shot of “Darlin’ Miss.”

Last week, I attended a “Wine and Words” evening at Kona Stories in the Keauhou Shopping Center. Once a month, various local authors read excerpts from their books, visit with those of us there and share in the pupus. Naturally, I was drawn to this beautiful gray, also enjoying the social event. It looks like this beauty had her/his share of crackers, cheese, and wine.

Many of you know my beloved Kaimana who lived with me for many years before he became too ill. He is buried beneath an ohia tree on my property.

Later that same year, I was given Katrina, a feisty little kitten who is finally becoming a lady. I took several pictures of her playing (and hiding) in the garden, but she kept moving around so much that it was difficult to get a clear picture. I probably should have taken a video, but check out this brief slideshow.

Watch for another post on one of the authors (Nancee Cline) and her book from the “Wine and Words” event I attended.

A hui hou!

Writing Hang-ups

As an avid reader, I am fascinated with the many ways words are strung together to create a story or an essay, a poem or a play, a letter or a memoir. Along with my obsession for reading came my own need to start stringing words together. Almost as soon as I could spell my name, I started to write.

I have been writing this “Lava to Lilikoi” blog since May, 2008, and I wrote other short-lived blogs before that. In addition to blogging, I confess that I have written three novels, and have started a dozen others, not to mention outlines on another dozen or so, a memoir and several non-fiction books.

Other than the blogs, I have only had a couple of academic articles published and a self-published e-book of fables I wrote and used in my counseling practice.

I attended the Maui Writers Conference for many years, and the few years after it became Hawaii Writers Conference on Oahu, plus various other conferences for writers over the years. I even teach a “writing intensive” class at the college as one of my regular courses.

But like many people, I love the creation, not the marketing. I’ve put in a valiant effort to get past that hang-up, and I honestly do know what I “should” be doing. So I read and study and read some more about marketing. I subscribe to 60 writing blogs and there are many others I wish I had time to read. All of this is an excuse to avoid marketing!

This brings me to the real reason for this post. I want to start sharing my own journey toward being a published author. By making a “public” commitment, perhaps I’ll finally get off my okole (I doubt if you need to look up the meaning of that Hawaiian word!), and do some productive marketing as well as writing.

If you can suggest any good blogs or if you have any words of encouragement that would help me actually submit my writing to a publisher, please do so! I need all the push I can get!

A hui hou!

Watch Out For Garden Gnomes!

When I was sent a copy of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (And They Will)
by Chuck Sambuchino to review, I had no idea what to expect. This witty and humorous little book can be read in just a few minutes, or you can take your time and truly contemplate what to do around your own home to prevent a Garden Gnome attack!

After reading this book, I am positive that there are many places around my own acre where these gnomes are lurking, multiplying and planning an attack. In fact, now that I think about it, I imagine it’s only my external motion-activated lights that have kept me safe so far. Also, I am convinced that gnomes are the reason I don’t find as many eggs in the nesting boxes as I did last year.

This will be one of those books your guests will pick up out of curiosity because of the title, then not hang around for tea because they want to rush home to fortify their property against the gnomes. They are as bad as rabbits in procreating (the gnomes, that is, not your guests)!

The book makes a terrific gift item because this is the war we should be fighting! In addition, if you order the book through my website now, you’ll be helping to support my fight against these critters.

Now if someone would just write a book about surviving the eminent attack by those pink flamingos!

A hui hou!

Living on the Earth

This is an article I posted over two years ago on an old blog before I became “lavalily.com,” but there are some great books discussed here. I thought some of my new gardening friends might spot a book they want to read.

Since I wrote this article, my beloved Kaimana has been put to rest, but I have a delightful Katrina. She started out like a hurricane, but her storm has subsided and now she’s merely playful and mischievous.

I hope you enjoy looking through the books I’ve discussed below!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I can’t remember a time when I was not in love with books. Even before I could read well, my parents made regular trips to the little libraries in whichever town we lived in at the time. I spent many hours looking through the books in my grandfather’s library. They were on a huge revolving stand, and although they were much too deep for me at the time, I would take them out and thumb through the pages.

Kaimana thinks he can read some of my books, too, but I think he just likes the smell of paper.

The first books I actually remember being able to read myself were the Raggedy Ann and Andy books. Then came the Bobbsey Twins, Elsie Dinsmore, Heidi, Nancy Drew – and I was hooked. Whether for personal pleasure or academic reading, my library grew from there. I still have books for math, French, Spanish and literature from my high school years!

But books travel to places unknown, and over the years I’ve lost books because of floods, being stomped on by horses, through two divorces, loaning them to people I’ve forgotten, and numerous moves from state to state.

When I moved from Ali`i Drive to Ocean View, I gave over a thousand books to the Friends Of The Libraries, Kona, plus four grocery bags full of books on gardening to Kona Outdoor Circle. I still have over a thousand books here in my home, plus at least that many in a storage unit in California. This next shot shows part of my attempt to sort out which ones to keep and which to give away.

It was in the early 70s when I read a book that changed the way I lived my life. I was re-structuring my life as a single woman, and although I didn’t embrace everything in the book, it did start me moving toward a more “natural” way of living. It’s one book I’ve kept over the years, and my copy is a bit tattered. I was surprised to find it can still be purchased.

I had three years of Ornamental Horticulture classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo under my belt, and I’d always had an interest in gardening. From that point on, I couldn’t get my fill of reading about ways to garden and provide sustenance for myself. If you’ve been reading these posts on a regular basis, you know that I also lived on a 37′ sailboat for 5 years. My gardening slowed considerably during that time, but my interest in gardening never waned. In fact, I grew cherry tomatoes in hanging pots and kept a pot of aloe vera on hand for sunburned passengers.

When I lived in Tucson on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, I found a wonderful book that provided me with ways to use the “Fruits of the Desert.” Many of the author’s recipes and information on those fruits can be extended to some of our own produce. The cover is beautiful, and I’m sorry that Amazon doesn’t have an image of it to show you.

One book I forgot I had until just recently, is Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally, by Robert Kourik. It’s a large and rather detailed book, but full of good information for the gardener who is serious about planning an edible garden.

If you are interested in an adult version of a picture book and dream book, pick up a copy of In a Mexican Garden. I drool over the photos in that book! I would label this book and others like it as “garden porn.”

This should keep you busy for a while, and I will be telling you about more off-the-beaten-track garden books in the future.

In the sidebar of this blog, I have listed books I use on a regular basis for my gardening ideas. If you are interested in buying one of those or ones I mention in this post, please order through this site. It will help support my purchase of more gardening books. Please note that I receive a small commission from Amazon to help support “Lava to Lilikoi.”

Is this an addiction that I want to cure? I think it’s too late!

Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my new book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange, unexplainable way.

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and have handy at all times. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are male or female, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

If you are an e-book reader, you can get your copy of Feral Fables by clicking here. If you prefer to have a hard copy, a place where you can write notes in the margins, then a hard copy will soon be available. I’ll keep you posted.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.

Aloha!

The Magic of A Book


There is one book I have read over and over ever since its first publishing date in 1959, and that is The Magic of Thinking Big (Paperback) by Dr. David Swartz. No other book has had quite the impact on my life as this one.

In the early months of 1973, when I was a newly single woman and mother of four, I needed something to keep me from going over the edge. As I started absorbing the messages in this book, I found a few short key phrases from each chapter that struck a deep personal note.

Then I wrote those out with a felt marker in big lettering on a piece of paper that I taped to the dashboard of my car. No matter where I went, those words were right there in front of me. Only when I felt the message had penetrated, would I put up words and phrases from the next chapter.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply those phrases stuck with me, even to this day. In spite of my degrees in theology and psychology, I find it too easy to forget how to apply what I know to my own life. This book helps me do that.

My original copy is held together with rubber bands, and the pages are torn, smudged, tear-streaked, and almost unreadable. This past year, I finally bought a new copy. I suspect I’ll end up buying yet another copy before my life is over.

There have been over 4 million copies sold at this point, so I’m not the only person to find direction in The Magic of Thinking Big. I can almost guarantee that you will find something in this ageless book by Dr. Swartz that will improve your life, even if you don’t think you need it.

I haven’t told you which phrases I used to strengthen my life. In reading, you’ll discover the ones that apply to you alone.

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I am obligated to tell you that if you click on the book and order it from my website, I will receive a few cents from your purchase, but please don’t let that stop you. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Mahalo!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Biblioholism?

The subtitle of my blog is “homesteading, food, travel, and philosophy from the side of a volcano in rural Hawai`i.” If you read this blog even semi-regularly, you’ll notice that I have evolved from simply writing a saga about gardening on my acre of lumpy lava to offering you recipes of good food, and occasionally venturing into travel and other philosophical meanderings.

You may have noticed that I have added a post in the early part of each week that concentrates more on the “philosophical” aspect of my life. With each post I write, whether about gardening or food or travel, my thoughts always seem to drift toward how a book would fit in.

As a substance abuse counselor, I know that a behavior is considered an addiction if it interferes with your life and creates a problem. This leads me to wonder if I have a true “addiction,” like some people have an addiction with substances (legal or illegal) and behaviors (legal or illegal). If not an addiction, it is certainly a “dependency.” Anyone interested in a 12-step program for bookaholics?

I started checking the internet to see if there was such a word as biblioholism or if a group existed for bookaholics. Try looking up either of those words and you’ll see how many sites address this very thing. One site I found gives reader comments that complete the statement “You know you’re a bookaholic when…” All of the comments there are true of me, and my favorite is “…when you select your handbags based on whether they are big enough to fit a book.”

No matter where I go, I have a book in my purse. You just never know when you’ll have a couple minutes to read a paragraph or two while you wait for someone to show up, or for your car to be serviced, for instance. And sometimes I carry a book with the sole intent of going somewhere only to read. I have a different book sitting next to each of my reading places, and I go back to read some of my favorites many times.

Another site gives an excellent definition of “biblioholism” that describes me exactly (and probably you, too). “Biblio” means “book,” so this site states that biblioholism is “the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire and consume books in excess.”

The only feature of biblioholism that definition doesn’t mention is writing. I do an obsessive amount of that, as well, but I never bother to market what I write. (And that’s another whole problem I need to address at some point.) I write in several genres, usually with several in various stages of completion at a time.

Yes, I also read and write e-books, but nothing will ever replace the feel of paper as I turn each page. When I am forced to part with books, it’s as if I’m killing my children! Rather than give away the thousands of books I have, I simply have more bookshelves built.

Does being a biblioholic disrupt or interfere with my life, or cause a problem? Only when I have to move all these books!

Mahalo for joining me on this segment of my journey!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Seven-Link Challenge

One of the blogs about blogging I read is ProBlogger. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? This week, there was a challenge to respond to seven categories. I decided to take part, mostly because it requires some thinking about my posts in the past and where I’d like to go in the future. Here are the seven categories:

1) My first post.
I started this blog as a record for myself only. I was trying to make soil from compost and other materials in order to get something to grow on this acre of rocky lava we call a`a.

2) The post I enjoyed writing the most.
The reason I enjoyed this post is that it is about a special family event I wasn’t able to attend. My first granddaughter got married in October on the mainland and I couldn’t get away from teaching to fly over. Also, I didn’t take the pictures, but it showed several of my children and grandchildren. Needless to say, I shed a few happy tears as I put it together in a post.

3) A post which had a great discussion
I’ve written about lilikoi (Passion fruit) several times and each post brings more discussion than anything else I write about. Mainland readers probably don’t have a clue what lilikoi is, so it’s mostly Hawaii residents who get into great discussions about this fruit with an unusual flavor.

4) A post on someone else’s blog I wish I’d written.
My brother writes a blog that is way more popular than mine, and he tells of great things to do in and around the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. Like me, he writes about his travels. He and I had just been to England, and we both loved London. I absolutely love this post he did all in black and white photography. It gave me an entirely new perspective to London.

5) My most helpful post.
This post was about a little book that has guided my life and the lives of others over and over. If you are looking for a way to set goals and objectives for the next year, this is the book that will help you.

6) A post with a title I am proud of.
I think the reason I’m most proud of this title is because it represents several decades of waiting to have my book of the same name published. It is about a book I used in my psychology practice and with students. It can also be a self-help book by exploring some hidden meanings in your life.

7) A post that I wish more people had read.
This was posted to honor AIDS Day, and invites us to look at our lives and how we respond to unexpected events in our lives. AIDS awareness is growing, but still not enough.

It took me a while to decide on each of these categories. There are so many posts that would fit into each category. After looking at these seven posts, I get a good sense of where my pleasures reside in writing this blog. My topics have evolved quite a bit over the past two years, and on an unconscious level, I think I have been going in the direction that most suits me best.

I hope you are finding these rambling posts helpful when you garden or cook or travel or reflect on life.

A hui hou!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Look Up!

 

As a member of NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month), I occasionally decide to do a post each day during the month. Since school is (almost) out, I decided May would be a good month to get my mind around something besides grading assignments. The theme for NaBloPoMo changes each month, and the theme for May is “Look Up.”

This can mean many things, of course, but one of the meanings is to “look up” reference materials. I’ve shown only one of my many bookcases here, to give you an idea of just how much “looking up” I can do!

Yes, I’ve read all these books, and I still refer to them when I’m preparing for a class, or when I’m writing an article. I have gardening books, cookbooks, music books, history books, books on theology and psychology, books on sailing and horsemanship, even fiction – and on and on. So many books, so little time to re-read them all!

This is the end of a semester, and some of my students are graduating. I know, however, that many of you who read this blog are past your school years. May I suggest that you not stop learning, but continue to “look up” anything that you either aren’t sure about, or whatever you’d like to learn more about.

It’s fun, and the best way to keep from aging is to keep your mind active. Go “look up” something this week!

A hui hou!

My Cookbook Addiction

 

I confess! I’m addicted to books! But I have read all the books I own and continue to use them all as reference and/or for teaching.

My addiction carries over into cookbooks, and I doubt if there is even one of these books that hasn’t been used for at least one recipe. Like many cooks, I use recipes for mostly for guidance to come up with my own variation. My cooking has never been an exact science.

The shelves of cookbooks shown above are in my kitchen/dining area, and I have another shelf of cookbooks in another bookcase, because there wasn’t room for them all here. I even borrow cookbooks from the library to read!

When I moved onto my boat from a large house in the late 70s, I gave a book box of cookbooks to each of my four children. This is what I have left!

I know I could probably find the same recipes online, but there is something deeply soul-satisfying about sitting down and reading through an old book of recipes that my mother, or grandmother used. Tucked into each book are other recipes given to me by friends, or that I have cut out of a magazine.

Yes, I think you can say I’m addicted!

Now, you may think that with all these recipes at my disposal, I’d be cooking delicious dishes every day. The fact is, I usually have only myself to cook for and if I ate the way I’d like to cook, I’d be as wide as the channel between here and Maui!

So this week, instead of sharing a recipe with you, I thought I’d tell you about my favorite books on these shelves, and even tell you about some of the recipes in them that I love.

Probably the oldest book I have is a little booklet from the Metropolitan Insurance Company. Several of my books date back to the 30s, but most of what I have date to the 50s, when I was a young woman. My first Christmas as a married woman, I received the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, a three-ring binder that is barely holding together.

I also love my specialty books, like Mme. Bégué’s Recipes of Old New Orleans Creole Cookery, from 1953. I can’t tell you how many pages are spattered with oil and tomato paste! Someday I’ll post the Shrimp Creole from that book that I make often.

I have quite a few Mexican cookbooks, but my favorite is Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking by Elena Zelayeta, blind, but she kept on cooking. Her “Caserola De Pollo Y Elote” (Chicken and Corn Casserole) is full of green chiles and wonderful!

Farm Journal’s Complete Pie Cookbook is another tattered book on my shelves, also full of messy pages! And Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook probably has most of the comfort foods I make.

The Rodale Cookbook published by the Rodale Press is where I go for breads and other wholesome foods. I have several other of the Rodale books and they are all great.

As I peruse the books, it’s fun to see how many phases and stages of eating I’ve gone through. You will find low-fat books, low-carb books, vegetarian/vegan books, and all sorts of specialized diet books, all of which I still use. Then there are the regional books that show where I’ve lived – Guam, Alaska, Arizona, California, Down East, Deep South, the Orient.

Even though I still buy new cookbooks, like those by Martha Stewart and Mark Bittman, I still go back to my old “tried-and-true” standards when I want to make something special for friends. Maybe someday I’ll stop reading them like novels (which is what I do!) and actually use them for cooking.

Now I’m anxious to go find a new one to try for you!

A hui hou!

Your Best Year Is Coming Up!

Tonight at midnight, it will become 2010. I’ve never believed in making resolutions for the New Year. What I like to do instead is set goals, both long-term and short-term. These are usually in several categories.

My favorite book for this is Your Best Year Yet! by Jinny S. Ditzler. It’s just a little paperback that asks ten questions “for making the next twelve months your most successful ever.” I’ve used it for the past ten years or longer, not only for myself but for my students.

This book can be used in any area of your life, from income to relationships to self-esteem. One reason I love this book is that it starts out with looking at what you accomplished over the past year. This acknowledges the positive aspects of your life rather than just those things that didn’t work out.

We may think we know what we want for our life, but until it is written down with a bit of structure and planning, it goes nowhere. We cannot leave our life up to chance.

At the end of just a few hours you end up with a one-page summary of your plan for the next year. They become your own words of wisdom for the year. This kind of exercise can help to change your life from merely “good” to “great!” That’s something we all deserve!

May you create joy and abundance in all things this next year!

I’m off to work on my own 2010 goals!

Hau`oli Makahiki Hou! (Happy New Year!)

The Black Madonna

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Guadalupe

 

I have been collecting representations of the Black Madonna for many years. I’m not quite sure what my attraction is, but I suspect it’s because she’s not the untouched virginal White Madonna we often think of at this time of year. The Black Madonna has been through the fires of experience and has survived, each time stronger than ever. I have photographs of paintings, sculptures, icons, and more.

The Black Madonna is a national symbol in Poland, with Polish Catholics making the pilgrimage as often as possible to see her. The story of how she came to be known as the Black Madonna can be found here. A list of countries where the various Black Madonnas can be found is here.

There is a beautiful essay online by Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox written in 2006. I highly recommend that article to you. He talks about the “Return of the Black Madonna” as being a sign of our times. The conclusion to the article is here.

Of all the female religious icons, the Black Madonna is my favorite, and of those I favor the Virgen de Guadalupe (Spanish for the Virgin of Guadalupe). Most of my collection is of her. I even have a mouse pad with her picture on it, although someone once asked if I didn’t think it was sacrilegious to be running a mouse over her.

I love to light rose-scented candles labeled “Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe” that are very popular with the Mexican population. When I lived in Tucson, I kept one burning on the altar in my entryway at all times. What a warm welcome the smell of roses gave each time I walked in my door.

The photo above is a painting that hangs by my front door of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I also have a huge platter with her image painted on it, that even Kaimana seems to love!

 

There are several books available if you are interested in reading more about the Black Madonna. Three exceptionally good books of all the ones I own are:

1) Longing for Darkness: Tara and the Black Madonna, by China Galland
2) Our Lady of Guadalupe: Faith and Empowerment among Mexican-American Women by Jeanette Rodriquez
3) Dancing in the Flames by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson.

If you are interested in having one of these, click on the Amazon.com ad on the right. Not only will you be getting a good book to enrich your life, but you will be helping to support this web site.

A hui hou!