Fire Dancer on Waikiki

Another attraction here is the Hawaiian Fire Dancer. I’ve known young children who were already training, showing great skill. Check out this past Monday’s post to see the Fourth of July fireworks. The fire dance performance took place at the Luau that marked the end of the conference I attended on Waikiki.

At one point in this YouTube, the dancer leaves the stage, but he went to get more fire. Don’t think it’s finished when that happens. He comes back!

I give my brother, Hilton, credit for the silhouette on Waikiki Beach at the beginning of this post.

A hui hou!

Fireworks on Waikiki!

One week ago we celebrated Fourth of July as a nation. I was attending a conference on Oahu, staying in a hotel on Waikiki. I had a ring-side seat to the fantastic fireworks display.

Waiting for the big event, I watched the sun drop down behind the horizon, something we all seem to love – and there’s nothing quite like a sunset on Waikiki.

I was able to get a short video on my little Nikon CoolPix camera. It may be a little blurry or shaky, but in case you missed the fireworks somewhere else, you can watch this YouTube. Pretend you are sitting with me on the balcony of my hotel on beautiful Waikiki Beach!

A hui hou!

“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!

Hawai`i Community College is 70 Years Old!

It’s that time of year when I get to show off my students and colleagues as we gathered for the 2011 graduation. This time Hawai`i Community College celebrated 70 years of existence! It’s impossible to describe everything that went on.

This particular graduation ceremony was for the West Campus of Hawai`i Community College where I teach.

This past Wednesday’s post showed how the kihei was made. Part of the celebration included everyone wearing their personal kihei. The students were presented a kihei as a gift and the faculty was given the honor of tying the kihei on our students.

If I’d taken a video of it all, you would have heard the chanting, the blowing of the (conch shell), or watched the dancing and blessings, or the tossing of hats at the end, or tasted the cake at the reception.

Since I can’t share everything about that experience with you, you can still watch this slide show and imagine yourself in the middle of all the excitement. Most are pictures of everyone making sure the academic hoods and kihei are hanging the right way with lots of moving around. The posed pictures are a few of my students and faculty friends.

Congratulations to all the graduates and those who received special awards. As part of the faculty, I can say I am truly proud of each one!

A hui hou!

Making Kihei

In preparation for our 70th Anniversary as Hawai`i Community College, faculty and staff have been making personal kihei to wear for the celebration. A kihei is a rectangular cloak, traditionally tapa, tied in a knot over one shoulder. You will see them being worn in my next post about the 2011 graduation ceremonies.

One of my great students at the college is Kapuailohia Van Dorpe, who offered to help me create my kihei. Kapua is the daughter of Puanani Van Dorpe, a master kapa cloth maker who is a living treasure of Hawaii. Her beautiful and intricate work is on display at Bishop Museum. Click here to see a painting of Puanani done by Herb Kane. Kapua is in the process of establishing her own clothing creations that will incorporate some of the traditional designs.

Ohe kapala (ohe = bamboo, kapala = printing) uses a carving done on bamboo, rolled with acrylic paint, and placed on the cloth. Here is Kapua’s collection of tools.

On Kapua’s couch were several ohe kapala pillows.

There is quite a process involved in creating the exact design you want for your personal kihei. Beside a wider brown border, I am placing a thin green motif that represents the maile lei.

The finishing touch was printing my own design I made out of clay. It represents two of the many aspects of my own heritage – Native American and Celtic. The right spiral represents migration, life and renewal.

Watch for Sunday’s post! You will see many different designs on other kihei as well as the finished product Kapua and I made.

If you would like to read more about the many artisans, storytellers, dancers, etc. in Hawai`i, check out this book.
http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0944134017&ref=tf_til&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

Ten pages in this book are devoted to the story and work of Puanani Van Dorpe. You will understand why it was such an honor to be guided by her daughter in making my kihei.

Mahalo nui loa, Kapua!

A Hidden Beach Wedding

One of the pleasures of teaching is my capacity as a retired United Methodist minister to officiate at the weddings of students when they ask. This past Friday, I had the honor to join two very special people in marriage.

We walked about 200 yards along the water on a gravel path to a spot that is fairly well hidden from the traffic of non-Hawaii visitors. Along the way, is this turtle designed out of the white coral, so perhaps it is not so well hidden as we thought.

The black lava gave a classic background to pictures of the bridal party.

Pounding surf provided the wedding music.

Obviously, I wasn’t able to take pictures of myself, so Betsy took the three photos in this post that include me. Here the couple are saying the vows the wrote for each other.

It’s not legal until the license is signed. Fortunately, we had a picnic cooler to serve as our table.

The wedding brunch was served amidst tropical flowers on the deck after we returned to the home that overlooks the ocean.

A toast was raised to the new couple with a mixture of pink champagne and mango nectar, topped with floating sliced strawberries.

We all took shelter when Jeff popped the cork.

Jeff made Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise for the main course along with crisp hash browns and sliced tomatoes. Local Ono fish took the place of the typical Canadian bacon or ham, with English crumpets instead of English muffins.

Betsy made Healthified Carrot Cake using my recipe and Jeff did his first cake decorating to show the names.

You can’t have a wedding without the traditional “cutting of the cake.”

Everything was delicious as well as beautiful!

Coffee with “Cream,” a canned whipped cream enhanced with rum finished the meal.

I wish the best of everything life has to offer to this beautiful couple! Recipes for the Eggs Benedict and Carrot Cake are below.

A hui hou!

ONO FISH EGGS BENEDICT (per person)

Ingredients: one third lb Ono per person (two filets), two free range eggs, two crumpets, one McCormick Hollandaise sauce mix, and lime or lemon juice. Each envelope of sauce enough for makes enough for two to three servings.

Cooking: Fry fish quickly and lightly in coconut or mac nut oil. Add lime or lemon juice while cooking. Mix sauce as directed adding lime or lemon juice to the sauce. Toast crumpets. Fry eggs once over lightly in coconut oil on very low heat.

Assembling: Place toasted crumpets on plate, add cooked fish, then top with one egg; pour sauce over all. Add parsley and thin sliced tomatoes for garnish.

Crab, lobster or mahi-mahi can be substituted for the ono.

HEALTHIFIED CARROT CAKE

Ingredients:

• ¾ cup sugar
• ¾ cup packed brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• ½ cup canola oil
• ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
• ½ cup whole wheat flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground allspice
• 3 cups finely shredded carrots
• ½ cup chopped walnuts
• ½ cup raisins

In a large bowl, beat the sugars, eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice. Gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended. Stir in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Pour into 2 9-inch round or square baking pans coated with a cooking spray. I prefer to use a 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan for a sheet cake (and smaller pieces). Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Frosting:

• 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 1 tablespoon fat-free milk (you can use soy milk or almond milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
• Dash salt

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk and vanilla until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and salt. Beat until smooth. Spread over top of cake. Store in the refrigerator.

Why I Love Teaching In A Community College!

Sharing what I’ve learned along the way, knowing that some might never “get it”, but those who do will be ready to take that knowledge to the next level;

Finding new ways to present old material that will make it more relevant to today’s young people;

Watching students struggle to understand a new concept in order for it to mean something in their world;

Catching the shy romantic glances between two people who don’t think anyone saw it;

Seeing the look in a room full of big eyes when they are truly surprised by new information they had no idea existed;

Hearing their excitement when they tell me there is a new baby on the way, but not due until after graduation;

Listening to the dreams of older students who have come back to school after many years of working and/or raising families;

Explaining the difference between high school and college to those who are recent graduates of the local high school;

Recognizing the pride in many of the students because they are the first in their family ever to go beyond high school;

Welcoming the daughters and sons of former students because their mother or father said for them to be sure to sign up for my classes;

Worrying when some of the students don’t pass the class;

Pondering schedules and requirements with those who aren’t sure what they want to be when they “grow up”;

Striving to make each class better than the one before it;

Accepting the challenge of keeping my brain active and alive;

Empathizing with those who have to work more than one job while tending a family while they take classes;

Admiring the young healthy bodies of those who can’t imagine ever getting as old as I am;

Learning new names for each class member and actually knowing how to pronounce them;

Praising those who grow out of their timidity enough to give an oral presentation in class;

Crying on the last day of classes because I will miss the students over the summer holiday;

Celebrating with them when they finally receive their Associates Degree before moving on to the next level of education.

A hui hou!

Expressive Arts Project

Several weeks ago, I invited an artist and colleague to lead my “Psychology and The Expressive Arts” class in an art project. She had the students work in dyads and write out three definitions of “home.”

Then they were given a page of lines from a book of poetry by another professor at our school. The book is Lele Kawa: Fire Rituals of Pele, by Taupōuri Tangarō (Kamehameha Publishing). After choosing three of these lines that most represented their definitions of “home,” they were to create a poster out of various materials that were available to them.

Click here to see a slide show of those posters that describe “home.”

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!

A Season of Changes

It has been a summer of emptying old boxes full of junk, planting seeds, watering because of (or perhaps in spite of) the drought, reading delicious murder mysteries, writing a little here and there, and even spending some time being totally slothful.

Now on this sixteenth day of August, 2010, I am officially back to work as a full-time instructor in a community college. A week from now, classes will begin, each class full of students eager to learn. Well, I think most of them are.

At one point, I was working so hard to catch up with chores here at home that I was ready to go back to teaching so I could relax. By the end of summer, those chores were (mostly) completed and I had more opportunity to kick back, have a little fun.

So while I’m looking forward to the first day of classes, some new faces, some familiar faces, several students looking toward graduation so they can either go off to a four year school or get into a depressed job market.

Summer isn’t officially over, first day of autumn is still a month away, and winter is practically nonexistent here in Hawai`i, although there are seasonal changes. In the area where I live, the plumeria (frangipani) loses its leaves, there is a bit of briskness in the morning breeze coming down from the mountain, the hens are not laying as profusely, and I am delayed by school buses that manage to get ahead of me.

All of this rambling leads me to say that I’m a mixture of reluctance, anticipation, joy, relief, sadness. Through all the changes that happen in life, I hope I will continue to inspire even a handful of students to become who they are meant to be. Isn’t that what teaching is all about?

A hui hou!