Lei Making

 

Instead of always looking up, sometimes it’s fun to look down, especially when you are looking down on a group of people making ti leaf leis.

May Day in Hawai`i is also known as Lei Day. Making and wearing a lei is such a soft, gentle, and loving way to honor someone.

In order to make the leis from ti leaves, you need to press with a warm iron to soften them. Then using your big toe as a holder, you begin twisting and pulling on the leaf. With each leaf, as you add a new leaf, you can leave a little point sticking out as you twist.

When everything is long enough, twist the ends together to form a circle. Tuck a few flowers into the twisting ti leaves and place it around someone’s neck with a kiss on the cheek.

Traditionally, ti plants are placed around a home to bring good luck.

A hui hou!

Lava Fields

 

The theme of “Look Up” this month for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) can also simply be to “LOOK!”

All over our beautiful island we can see evidence of the many lava flows over the years. The ones here in Ocean View are relatively new, ranging from late 1800s to early 1900s. Each day we receive news about what’s happening with Kilauea, our little volcano. We pay extra for housing insurance just because of the volcano’s proximity and the likelihood that we will have another flow in our lifetime.

I took this shot within a mile of my home along the highway. There is a strange beauty when the black lava contrasts with the bright green foliage. Until I really looked at this photo, I didn’t realize it showed where the lava had crossed the road.

While we can enjoy the unusual scenery, we often take our safety for granted. It’s so easy to forget that our entire island is a volcano that is constantly flowing somewhere. I suppose we should consider ourselves fortunate that the flow is slow enough for us to get out of the way, rather than a massive eruption like the one in Iceland recently.

A hui hou!

Earth and Ocean Fair

 

Last Saturday, on April 24, I was one of many who volunteered at the Earth and Ocean Fair at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort and Kahalu`u Beach, a county park that adjoins the hotel. I even took part in the raffle fun, which consisted of getting your card stamped at specific displays. This card was then entered into a drawing! (I didn’t win anything.)

I was told that this fair began about ten years ago as Coral Awareness Day in an effort to let people know how to protect our fragile reef. It is still one of the primary features of this fair. Volunteers train to monitor the reef that is forming around the Big Island.

 

Information about the Big Island Reef Fund was available.

 

Everyone was there several hours early getting set up for their displays.

 

All the displays gave information on how to protect our natural surroundings here in Hawai`i, especially our giant sea turtles.

 

 

This display of debris found in our ocean is eye-opening.

 

A Mini Cooper and a sailboat were on display. I never did find out if they were being given away or just for show. Both are economical ways to travel.

 

 

This is just one of several displays of solar power businesses.

 

Someone walked around inside this humuhumunukunukuapua`a (our state fish), reminding people to protect our ocean life. I’ll bet you can’t say that name fast (unless you live here on the Big Island)!

 

I couldn’t resist getting a shot of the tide pools and beach area. What a beautiful and restful place to have a gathering of environmental folks.

 

Several culinary students from our West Hawaii campus, led by Chef Betty, prepared a variety of meals so we wouldn’t starve. They offered regular chili, vegetarian chili, chicken Caesar salad, and more.

 

One of the insects that plague us here is the fire ant.

 

Groups of young people who are committed to saving our earth and ocean put up several displays.

 

We take so much for granted. Here is a cost analysis of what our Natural Resource Management puts out to protect plants and animals, and control the weeds and invasive species of plants.

 

A colleague, Betsy Morrigan, volunteered at the “Fish for Knowledge” booth.

 

Much of the work done to protect and monitor the waters that surround our island state is funded through Hawai`i Sea Grant.

 

One area of the hotel was available for local crafts. I love the hand-woven baskets.

 

Several of the local “aunties” were demonstrating how to do the Lauhala weaving. I want one of their hats!

 

 

 

 

I accepted a cup of kava and started to sip it. One of the men standing by said to just knock it down in one gulp – so I did! I can’t say it’s delicious stuff, and it would take me a long time to deliberately include it in my diet.

 

Another Hawai`ian traditional food is poi, or pounded taro. This is another of those “delicacies” for which I haven’t acquired a taste yet. One of my students used to bring fried poi balls to class occasionally, however, and they were absolutely wonderful!

 

These taro roots are ready to be made into poi. In the background, this mother is feeding her child a bit of poi.

 

There were plenty of crafts for children. Betsy is holding a fish for them to add their colored thumbprint to the fish.

 

This is only a sampling of the many local crafts on display.

 

I was delighted (and proud) to see a former student, Ruth, representing the National Park Service.

 

Of course, no Hawai`ian festival is complete without a band and hula dancers.

 

 

 

 

 

It is nearly impossible to show you all the displays. I hope I was able to capture a feel for the day. You might Google this event because there were articles in the newspaper and other places. I love living in Hawai`i. Please do what you can to help preserve this Paradise!

 

A hui hou!

Big Island Resort – Waikoloa Hilton

While many of my friends and relatives are suffering under severe winter weather, I’m living here in sunshine and warm weather. I have had my share of cold, snowy and icy winters, so I’m not sorry to be living here now.

This past summer I attended a conference that was held at the Hilton Waikoloa here on the Big Island. I drove up from my home to attend. It was great fun to act like a tourist on my own island.

I spent several afternoons walking around the grounds and taking pictures. There were too many to put here individually, and the collages I’ve made don’t do it justice, so please look at this slide show before you read another word. http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

 

For a full-sized slideshow, click here

I first visited this hotel in 1995, fifteen years ago, and I’m still never tired of finding something new around a corner. I enjoy the dolphin area most of all. They are so playful. Check out the Dolphin Quest to find out more.

 

Most visitors are captured by the romance of riding to your room on a boat through the lagoons, even though they are man-made.

 

Along the edges of the boat ways you’ll find statues and birds of all sorts.

 

I have traveled extensively throughout Japan on many different occasions, so I loved finding the strong Japanese influence on the décor throughout the hotel and grounds.

 

Around the swimming pool you’ll find statues that represent the animals of the Chinese zodiac. I don’t think I got them all. Some were hidden from my line of sight.

 

Down the walkways of the hotel you’ll find works of art and more statues of Kwan Yin and other Bodhisattvas. I’ve done another post on Kwan Yin, but I didn’t show you all of the ones I photographed there.

 

A hui hou!

 

My Vacation in Hawaii

 

A question visitors often ask those of us who live in Hawaii is “When you live in Hawaii, where do you go on vacation?” It’s hard for anyone to imagine wanting to leave our beautiful island state and go somewhere else to relax.

Believe it or not, there are times when a person needs to get away from the normal routines, no matter how wonderful it is where you live. When I’m home, it is too easy for me to see all the work that I “should” be doing around the house, or to get caught up in preparing for classes, or respond to the gardening that beckons.

So my answer to the question in the first paragraph is “I go to another island!” From time to time, I visit other islands, but my favorite destination is the Kula Lodge in upcountry Maui.

 

This sign above one of the doors is an excellent example of how I feel when I’m there. “Live well – Love much – Laugh often.” What a great philosophy! It’s also an example of the charm this lodge holds for me.

 

Even the closet has a special appeal, with its lace curtain and dried flower arrangement on the wall.

 

One attraction of this lodge is not having a telephone or television in the rooms. I take my computer, not with the intent of actually “working,” but for some reason I find it much easier to let my thoughts flow with ideas when I’m away. I’m not caught up in checking email, or paying bills, or any of the various activities that require internet connection. I focus on writing. I have myself set up quite nicely here, as you can see.

 

Each room is given fresh Anthurium, Bird of Paradise, Protea and other tropical flowers. All the little touches provide the setting its allure, like this dry spray above another door.

 

Did I mention that the beds are very comfortable and cozy?

 

There is enchantment everywhere you look. I love to sit out on the deck and have a snack of cheese and crackers with juice.

 

There are small cottages, where I usually stay, and there are larger chalets where I have stayed when the smaller ones were not available.

 

These have two levels for sleeping, ideal for families or several couples. I loved the electric fireplace on a cold wintry evening.

 

Children (and even adults) must have fun climbing up the ladder to get to their sleeping area.

 

There is a good restaurant at the Lodge that serves from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a wall of glass, offering an unobstructed view over the valley. Because they like to support the local farmers, their salad greens and other veggies are freshly picked, and of course they use Maui onions! Their pizza is baked in these wood-burning ovens just below the dining area.

 

Close to the ovens is a trail leading down the hill, giving visitors an opportunity to walk along and admire the many tropical shrubs and flowers we have here.

 

Outside the lodging areas, a tall hibiscus hedge produces blooms larger than I’ve seen anywhere. It’s fun to sit on my little deck and listen to visitors “ooh” and “ah” over the enormous bushes that hide me from their view.

 

No, I didn’t get a free meal or free lodging in return for this post on a wonderful place to go, but I did get a world of relaxation and time away from my responsibilities on the Big Island for a few days. That’s worth more than money, isn’t it?

A hui hou and Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!
(See you later and Happy New Year!)

RMS Queen Mary 2

 

In March, 2006, Kailua-Kona had the privilege of having the RMS Queen Mary (QM2) sail into our harbor.

Fortunately, I happened to be in Kona that day getting my car serviced. I took the picture above from the back yard of the King Kamehameha Hotel in downtown Kona.

As I sat on the outside deck of the Kona Public Library sipping a coffee drink, I took this picture. It shows the difference between the QM2 and one of the regular cruise ships that visit us.

 

Later, as I waited to get the oil changed on my car, I took this photo from the dealership. There was a great deal of excitement in our little village of Kona that day.

 

When the RMS Queen Mary 2 was constructed, she was the “longest, widest and tallest passenger ship ever built.” Even though she no longer holds that distinction, she is a fantastic ship and I hope to take a cruise on her someday! For more you can read here and here.

A hui hou!

A College Feast

 

Even though Thanksgiving passed a couple weeks ago, and we are looking toward Christmas now, I could hardly wait to post this. I am part of the Social Science faculty at the University Center at West Hawaii in Kealakekua. Our Student Activity Council provides a major feast for students the day before Thanksgiving. All the cooking is done by our superb culinary students. The festive feeling and memory of gourmet food gets us through exam week and into the holidays.

This is a top notch culinary school. I love their insignia!

 

Jim and Marvin sweep up leaves so people can eat under the trees. Jim Lightner heads up the Hospitality section of our school. Marvin Medeiros is the main “go to” man when we need something done.

 

Chef Betty Saiki is the instructor for the first year culinary students, the ones responsible for the Thanksgiving feast. She’s busy in the kitchen, keeping everything on schedule.

 

They gave me special permission to enter the kitchen as they were finishing up the preparations. Lots of bustling activity going on! Some of the students were busy cutting up the ham.

 

Others concentrated on cutting up the fish.

 

Still other students were carefully cutting up melons.

 

Pots were bubbling away on the stove.

 

“Hamming” it up and helping out was Chef Paul Heerlein, instructor for the second year students.

 

Everything seemed to be going according to their working list of who was responsible for which dish or process, just like the cooking shows on TV.

 

The beautiful wooden serving containers were ready and waiting for the food to be brought out.

 

There were lots of my starving students anxiously waiting for the food to come out of the kitchen.

 

The hungry office staff (Marvin, Joeanne, Keahi) waited patiently . . .

 

. . . and the media men (Chuck and Stan) spent their waiting time wiring us up for good sounds.

 

Some of our Hawaii Community College dignitaries joined us from Hilo.

Guy Kimura, Rockne Freitas (Chancellor), Noreen Yamane, Beth Sanders (in back)
Guy Kimura, Rockne Freitas (Chancellor), Noreen Yamane, Beth Sanders (in back)

 

Just reading the signs can make you hungry!

 

Some of the foods were covered up so I couldn’t take a picture, but here is a sample of what graced our table.

 

After a pule (prayer), everyone finally lined up to eat.

 

The hard work completed, all tummies full, now it’s time to relax a bit and pose for pictures.

 

This was one tired cooky! I guess he just couldn’t wait any longer for his nap.

 

This happy and hungry student was in one of my classes last spring.

 

I’d have to say that everyone seemed to get their fill – and more!

 

I can hardly wait for next year’s Thanksgiving feast, when a new batch of chefs will get the privilege of showing off their talents again.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

For a slideshow of all the photos I took that day, you can either watch the one above, or for a larger one, click here.

A hui hou!

Christmas in Waikiki

 

We may not get snow, and Santa may be wearing his surfer shorts, but here in Hawaii, we do everything we can to create a holiday atmosphere. Tiny ukekeles adorn this holiday wreath.

A stroll through any of the hotel lobbies in Waikiki definitely needs to be on your agenda, if you want to experience the true Hawaiian Christmas spirit! Each hotel has its own unique way of decorating.

The Moana Surfrider Hotel, built in 1901, has an interesting history. Click on this link to read about it and thumb through pages with old pictures of Waikiki from its beginning. Their Christmas display in the lobby includes a snowy version of the hotel.

 

This shot of their Christmas tree gives you a glimpse of the interior.

 

Outside, lights swirl around the stately columns.

 

Across the street, you’ll find another charming display in the Princess Kaiulani Hotel lobby. What a delightful snowy village in Hawaii! This hotel was built on the estate of Hawaii’s last princess, Kaiulani.

 

 

I wrote about the Royal Hawaiian Hotel earlier this fall. The tree outside that hotel towers over shoppers and sightseeing visitors to our wonderful state.

 

MELE KALIKIMAKA
(Merry Christmas in Hawaiian)

Christmas Parade of Lights

Honolulu Parade of Lights
Honolulu Parade of Lights

 

From 1979 to 1996 I owned a 37’ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat named Lothlorién. Five of those years, I lived on board in the Oceanside Harbor of Southern California. Each year in December, the sail fleet of the Oceanside Yacht Club had their Christmas Parade of Lights. Just before I moved to Hawaii, I sold that boat and I still miss her.

The first Christmas I spent in Hawaii, I went to the Annual Parade of Lights and stood at the Aloha Tower Marketplace to watch after dinner. It brought tears to my eyes, remembering the joyful times I’d had on the Lothlorién. The photo above is only one of the boats that night. It was dark, so I’m not sure you can see it clearly. But look at the crowd of spectators that gathered at the docks to watch!

There was a great ritual around that parade. Because we were sailboats, we didn’t have the electricity that the powerboaters had. So there was the process of trying to locate a generator to power up our lights. Then the night of the parade, there was a big scuttle to see in which order the boats would go.

Of course, all the boats were always moving, so lining up wasn’t an easy task. Once we were all in position, the local Coast Guard cutter led us out to sea and along the coastline. We all finished up at the Yacht Club for a little more celebration.

I love the simple beauty of sailboat Christmas lights. We would string up lights fore and aft making it look like a giant triangle, or Christmas tree. It was rather stately, I thought.

Please pardon the bias, but the powerboats were usually too loud and gaudy. You might already know that there is a friendly rivalry between sailors and powerboaters. But in the spirit of Christmas and human kindness (Mitzvah), it was all in fun!

A hui hou!

Black & White Night in Hilo

On November 6, 2009, Hilo held its 9th Annual Black & White celebration. My natural tendency is to avoid events like this. I much prefer to stay home and write or work in my garden. A colleague at the college convinced me that I needed to get out more. Being the “loner” I am, I begrudgingly agreed.

I’m so glad I went! Not only did it give me some good blogging material, but I actually had a good time!

She made reservations at Uncle Billy’s Hotel for us to stay over that night, rather than drive back to our homes several hours away. The hotel receptionist graciously agreed to use my camera to take these photos of the four gals. The background is the patio area of Uncle Billy’s Hotel.

 

While this picture was being made, 87 year-old Uncle Billy himself wandered by. When I first moved to the Big Island thirteen years ago, I often saw him on his bicycle cruising the main drag of Kona. You might enjoy reading this article about the award he received a couple years ago and learn a little more about Uncle Billy (William J. Kimi Jr).

On our way to start the evening with supper, we came across a panda person running down the street, a black and white dog, and a barker dressed in her black and white. Everyone was dressed in black and white – some fancy costuming and some rather plain, but fitting into the black and white theme.

 

We met a fifth friend at Puka Puka Kitchen, a little hole in the wall with outstanding food! I can hardly wait to go back. Each of us chose something different.

 

My plate was a falafel pita and like a pig, I could have eaten two plates of it! What a pleasure!

 

I tried to get a picture of the menu, but the flash kept getting in the way.

 

But I did manage to get a good shot out the door toward the street and ocean.

 

While we were there, I asked someone to take a picture of the newly formed “Black Hat Society” ladies. Need I tell you we attracted quite a lot of attention? (giggling) I’m the one on your left, in case you couldn’t tell.

 

All the stores were open, and most offered some sort of pupu (snack). We wandered in and out, enjoying the merchandise and art work. Here the fifth addition to our foursome is examining these beautiful hand-woven baskets.

 

Here are just a few of the paintings on display (and for sale).

 

There were dresses . . .

 

. . . shorts and more made from rice bags. . .

 

. . . and hand-painted shopping bags. . .

 

. . . and novelty items like coasters made to resemble “slippahs” . . .

 

. . . and lei scarves hand-painted by Maya . . .

 

. . . and turtle sculptures.

 

You could buy any kind of produce . . .

 

. . . and plenty of other homemade goodies that were for sale.

 

My favorite of all the attractions was the number of street musicians everywhere.

 

Believe it or not, this introvert intends to go back again next year! Maybe I’ll see you there? In the meantime, if you’d like to see all these pictures individually, plus others that didn’t make it to the post, check out this slideshow.

http://picasaweb.google.com/s/c/bin/slideshow.swf

To see it in full size, click here .

A hui hou!