A Pink Birthday Party!

 

Every year on my birthday, I do something a little special on this blog in honor of myself. This year, I’m taking myself back to a “little girl in pink” with a trip to the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Honolulu.

For the past twelve years, always over Labor Day weekend, I have gone to the Hawaii Writers Conference. Until three years ago, it was held on Maui and known internationally as the “Maui Writers Conference.” Then they began holding it on Oahu where there were hotels who would handle the volume of people who came, and the name changed to “Hawaii Writers Conference.”

This year, it was held at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, well-known for its pink décor. Everything is designed around the theme of “pink.” And no matter where you are, you can see the pink hotel! This shot was taken from my window at the Princess Kaiulani Hotel, a block away. It almost looks artificial and Disneyesque among the modern hotels of Waikiki.

 

No matter what view you have of the Royal Hawaiian, it is always a distinctive pink.

 

And when you look toward the beach, there is a sea of pink umbrellas, actually quite colorful against the blue of the ocean and the sky.

 

There are pink columns, with pink flowers in the floral arrangements standing before them. Even though most of these tropical flowers last quite a while, someone comes around to redo all the arrangements with fresh flowers periodically.

 

I loved walking down this pink corridor with its display of Phaleonopsis orchids.

 

Here is a close up of one of the Phaleonopsis orchids. Even though they were white, they appear pink against the strong pink of the columns.

 

Tucked everywhere on tables or in corners, you will find little touches of pink in the floral arrangements.

 

Even the shops displayed their wares against pink walls, or in pink jewelry boxes. The dolls were made of pink sequins. I didn’t get the pink walls behind these silver and sequined shells but they were there.

 

One room showed an example of what to expect if you arranged for them to serve a special dinner for you and special guests, or just that special someone – and of course, all in pink! Very romantic, if you are into that sort of setting!

 

The pink theme is evident even when you are walking around the gardens outside the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

PINK GINGER
PINK GINGER

 

PINK HIBISCUS
PINK HIBISCUS

 

WHITE HIBISCUS WITH PINK CENTER
WHITE HIBISCUS WITH PINK CENTER

 

Even if not the true pink you find in most of the hotel, some plants either looked pink or were in the same color value, like red or lavender.

RED GINGER
RED GINGER

 

LAVENDAR ORCHIDS
LAVENDAR ORCHIDS

 

RED TI PLANT
RED TI PLANT

 

Although I’m typically not a “pink person,” I had loads of fun taking pictures of all the “pink” at the hotel. I hope you enjoyed my “birthday pink” celebration!

A hui hou!

Honokohau Harbor

 

Five years of my life were spent living on my 37’ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. It was something I’d dreamed of ever since I was a young girl. I remember reading many books about sailing and people living on boats, even though I’d never really been on a boat.

 

There are a few stories of my life of being a “liveaboard” on an old blog of mine. I sold that boat just a few years before I moved to Hawai`i, and I still miss it!

 

So when Judy Jones asked me to do a memorial service at sea for her husband, Bob, I jumped at the chance. Judy is a close friend, as well, and I assisted with the organization of a beautiful send-off out of the Honokohau Harbor here on the Kona side of the Big Island. Bob suffered a fatal heart attack while he was fishing on Christmas Island.

Here are a few pictures I took of that trip out into the Pacific Ocean when I wasn’t busy officiating. This first one shows some of the boats in the harbor as we pulled out.

 

This was the first time I’d seen Honokohau Harbor from the ocean side of the entrance. There is a mountain behind all that mist. We’d had small craft warnings all week. Then on the day of the service, it was calm and beautiful.

 

Here are a few more shots of the harbor from the ocean side. I probably should have put these into a collage, but I prefer looking at the bigger pictures of the ocean!

 

 

 

 

Friends joined us on their boats. When we were about five miles out, we had the ceremony and tossed leis into the water. The boats circled the leis several times, then headed back to the harbor. A beautiful Hawai`ian ritual! I wasn’t able to get a picture of that because I was in the process of officiating. I’ll need to leave that part to your imagination.

 

 

 

The skipper of the boat I was on had been Bob’s fishing partner on Christmas Island when Bob had his heart attack. He helped with the funeral the local Christmas Islanders held for Bob, and he placed Bob’s trusty fishing pole on top of the casket.

 

When we got back to shore, there was a huge potluck feast for everyone. It was a moving and yet joyous celebration of Bob’s life. He was well-loved by many.

A hui hou, Bob! You were well-loved by all!

 

Graduation Honors

NATASHA
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NATASHA

 

One of the highlights of the school year for both students and faculty is graduation. For many of our young people here in Hawai`i, they may be the first person in their family to ever get beyond high school, if that far. It’s a highly emotional time, especially when one of them stands up and tells her or his story of what college has meant to them.

The picture above shows one of the young women who took many classes from me, and actually gave the graduate talk at the ceremony several years ago. Her comment to the audience about how much I had meant to her brought tears to my eyes.

Because we are a University Center, we provide a place for students to get everything from an Associate of Arts degree (through Hawai`i Community College), a Bachelor of Arts degree (through University of Hawai`i West Oahu or University of Hawai`i Hilo), and even a Master of Arts degree. Students may elect to receive a certificate in Human Services, Culinary Arts, Substance Abuse Counseling, or Early Childhood Education. So it’s no wonder our graduation brings “dignitaries” from all the schools.

DIGNITARIES
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DIGNITARIES

 

So even though we are a small “parking lot” campus at this time, we have a fair number of students passing through our doors (for face to face classes) and computers (for online classes).

Today is the graduation ceremony for 2009. It is with pride that I join other faculty members this afternoon in “walking the line,” as we honor those who are receiving either degrees, or certificates, or both. In true Hawai`ian fashion, everyone gets leis from family and friends, almost up to their eyebrows to the point that they can scarcely breathe or see.

A couple years ago, I received an award for being an outstanding teacher, and I received my own share of sweet-smelling leis, actually more than this picture shows.

LUCY-HONORED
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LUCY-HONORED

 

Once, a colleague at the University of Arizona in Tucson said that graduation was like a “death,” because many of the students we’ve been close to for so many years are leaving and we’ll never see them again. He was so right! The nice thing about our graduation here is that most of these are young people who will remain in our community as teachers, counselors, or whatever career they go into.

So now it’s time to put on the “mortar boards” and head out for the 2009 graduation ceremonies.

GETTING READY
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GETTING READY

 

Congratulations to all the grads!
Congratulations to all the parents who supported them!
And congratulations to all the faculty who pass the torch of knowledge!

A hui hou!

To Our 44th President!


SURF AT BANYONS

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SURF AT BANYONS

There are many reasons why I am anxious to see Barack Obama inaugurated as our 44th President of the United States.

And there are two reasons that stand out strongly for me. One is that he was the Senator from Illinois, the state where I was born, raised, educated through high school. The other is that his background is the state of Hawai`i where I now live and work.

This man eats Spam musubi, as well as fresh ahi (tuna) sushi and sashimi. Not only is he a great speaker and orator, but he can talk and understand Hawai`ian Pidgin. He’s our man, one who knows how to body surf.

Now he will be the man for our country. May we all give him a chance to make changes that are greatly needed. May we all give him our full support, whether we always agree with him or not. It will take time to accomplish the miracles we expect of him.

Welcome, President Obama! Illegitimi non carborundum!