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.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=lujotast-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0446675474&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

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!)

Ocean View Salon

 

This post is completely out of character for my blog, but it does tell you of one of our local businesses. About two years ago, I treated myself to a pedicure for the first time ever in my life! I always thought I had ugly toes and feet (I still worry about that), but I discovered that a good pedicure can do wonders! My ugly toes are gone forever! (Oops! See addendum below.)

Christie Gibson is well known beyond Ocean View for her unique designs and results. Check out her website to read more about her, to see photos of unique nails, articles by and about Christie, and much more. Click on the picture of the salon group on her website to see the entire staff.

If you enlarge that photo, Charlie (the one with the red streak in her hair) is the one who always does my pedicures. And Charlie learned from Christie, the very best. It’s fun to know that our little community of Ocean View is home to so much fame. Here is Christie at work on a customer.

 

There are so many colors and designs to choose from, even for the lowly toe!

 

The earrings are made by Marty, and I have bought several pair of the big ones, of course.

 

Here is a little photo story of my pedicure last week. While I relax in a vibrating massage chair, my tired feet get a good soaking. Gardening in lava is hard on feet!

 

Pictures cannot describe the delight of having your calluses sanded, followed by a lower leg massage. I got Charlie to stop concentrating on her work long enough to take her picture.

 

After nails and cuticles are trimmed, the painting process begins.

 

The color coat is brushed on in two layers. There were other things brushed on, too, but I’m not sure what they were for – perhaps to make sure the paint stayed on longer?

 

I usually get something in blues or purple, sometimes even green. This was the first time I opted for cherry red. I decided on little white footprints for my “nail art” this time. In the spring, I had tulips. You can see the footprints in the opening photo as one of many choices. Charlie is carefully painting them onto my big toes.

 

At last, here’s the finished product, waiting to dry before I head home.

 

As I left, I took a shot of the length of the salon from the front door. You’ll find this shop tucked in the strip of shops on the mauka (mountain) side of Ocean View, near Ace Hardware.

 

It’s a friendly, professional, and neighborly place to spend an hour or so. I try to get a pedicure with a new and different paint job every couple of months as a special treat for myself. I highly recommend it for anyone! This isn’t a salon for “women only,” by the way. Men come here for haircuts or for a pedicure to ease their tired and sore feet, also.

A hui hou!

Addendum: Two days after I had this pedicure, I stubbed my right toe and ripped the entire beautiful toenail right off! OUCH! It is wrapped in a bandaid now, while I’m hobbling around, wondering if I should see a podiatrist. All that fun with Charlie for naught!

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!)

Bite Me! Fish Market Bar & Grill

 

The first time I visited Bite Me! was within the first week it was open, and I was … uh … hooked! I love fresh fish, and if there is anything I love more, it’s fresh fish tacos. I’ve eaten them in many places, and made my own on the beaches of Puerto Peñasco in Mexico, and more recently, at El Pachuco right down the street from where I live.

 

When I’m in Kailua-Kona, I love taking friends to Bite Me! for their fresh fish tacos and any of the other fabulous fish on the menu. You can find the menu on their website.

“Fish” is the resident kitty. I tried to take a picture of her, but she scampered away. Look closely and you’ll see her tail disappearing among the bar stools.

 

Later, she came to me and jumped up on my lap while I was talking with Captain Brian, owner of Bite Me! He held her while I snapped this photo. He and I discovered we’d both been “liveaboards” on our respective sailboats, but in different parts of the world.

 

He said another friend had caught a rare picture of Fish. He sent it to me to include here. Many mahalos to Brian’s friend for letting me use it.

 

Inside the market you can pick from the very freshest fish to take home.

 

Most of us dine outside on the deck overlooking the harbor.

 

You can also eat inside . . .

 

 

. . . but who would want to do that when you can sit outside, enjoy the sun and fresh breezes – and watch the boats? It makes me homesick to watch others on their sailboats!

 

A whiteboard sign at the entrance shows the day’s specials.

 

At the table you are presented with a full menu. I love the cover.

 

Their dessert menu is one of those “to die for” listings. My friend Judy always asks for a root beer float, while I just order another fish taco.

 

As you leave, there is a full array of t-shirts you can buy to boast about your own “catch of the day.” You can enjoy a day of fishing on one of Captain Brian’s Bite Me! boats.

 

The next time you are hungry, head out toward the Honokohau Harbor in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawai`i, drive past the docks on the right to the area where boats on trailers are being launched and retrieved. Look for the Bite Me! sign, and you will not be disappointed.

A side note: I found out later that Tim, the chef at Bite Me! and Captain Brian have been good friends ever since their childhood. What a neat way to honor that friendship!

A hui hou!

Fish Tacos at El Pachuco

 

In November, I wrote a post about El Pachuco, the Mexican café at the bottom of my road. I love to stop by there to pick up supper for myself as often as I think I can afford the calories. When I drove by yesterday, there was a sign out on the road that said “fish tacos.”

Well, that’s my favorite way of having tacos, so I couldn’t resist going in. Evie had acquired some fresh ono, a delicious local fish. For $6 I had two huge fish tacos filled with fresh ono chunks lightly braised in olive oil, dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, grated cheese, and sour cream, plus beans and rice. Oh my!

“Ono” means “delicious” or “good to eat” in Hawai`ian and there is no doubt that these tacos were ono! Thanks again, Evie, for being there!

A hui hou!

Road Sights

 

The theme for NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) is “looking.” So I am always on the lookout for sights along our Hawaii roads that might not be typical in other parts of the world. The sight above is fairly normal on the Big Island – driving into the vog, sulfuric air resulting from our volcano.

As we drive into the area of Kilauea, the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, you can see the steam vents alongside the road.

 

Then take a look at this load of outriggers I was following not long ago. I think this is what they call a “wide load!”

 

A hui hou!

Banyan Trees

 

Don’t you just love the old banyan trees lining Banyan Drive that circles a small peninsula extending out into Hilo Bay? The banyans there were planted as saplings by celebrities a mere 75 years ago. A plaque by each tree tells who planted it and when.

The banyan is actually a fig, a member of the ficus family. What we see are aerial prop roots that surround the actual trunk, making it spread out and look many times larger. The largest of this species is in India, but another one was planted in 1873 in Lahaina on Maui, and now covers almost an acre. The link above shows a picture of that particular one. Scroll down until you see it on the right.

I took the photo above one afternoon when I stopped at the beach park in Hilo to take a nap in my car. The cool shade and sea breeze made for perfect snoozing!

A hui hou!

Ka’u Coffee Festival

 

Right away, I headed for the food booths. I know how delicious Pahala foods can be! The 4-H booth served beef plate lunches from home-grown beef.

 

Typical local-style plate lunch is a meat, “two scoop” rice, and macaroni salad.

 

Dane and Terri Shibuya are good friends. Dane is the Community Policeman for Ka’u District. They are also owners and operators of Masazo’s Pig Farm.

 

Their oldest daughter was missing in this Shibuya family photo, because she is on the mainland working on a graduate degree. Their daughter Brandi was First Princess of the Ka’u Coffee Festival.

 

After a huge plate lunch, it’s time for dessert!

 

Is that a “shave ice” he has?

 

Honu`apo, a local beach also known by some as Whittington Beach, had their own booth . . .

 

. . . and the women working the booth showed off their beautiful shirts. The profits go to return the beach to its original state.

 

New plans are underway to continue renovation of Honu`apo. For a previous post about Honu`apo, click here.

 

There will be a special ho`olaule`a (festival) on Labor Day Weekend, 2010 at Honu`apo to celebrate. Watch for more information.

The Coffee Festival brought out folks from all over the island, and probably elsewhere.

 

Inside the exhibit hall . . .

 

. . . various coffee growers had their coffees on display and available for tasting.

 

There were also displays of foods by local culinary students and chefs.

 

Be sure to look at the slideshow at the end to see each of these individually, and read the names of the dishes. It’s too bad they weren’t available for tasting! I’d love to have some of these recipes.

 

Other booths featured crafts, some decorated with traditional Hawai`ian designs . . .

 

. . . and various items made from coffee bags. Ka’u coffee is quickly taking over the Kona monopoly in flavor. If you get a chance, be sure to try some.

 

I had a chance to visit with my friend, Kazu, who caught me up on various other people who had been members of my church there in Pahala.

 

There were “choke” (plenty) food booths. You can tell the people of Ka’u love to eat!

 

Anywhere else, we might call it all “ethnic foods,” but here it’s just “local.”

 

Here is a luscious display of local Ka’u produce. The weekly farmers’ market is usually loaded with wonderful fruits and veggies, homemade breads and more.

 

No gathering in Hawai`i is quite complete without a good local band.

 

Pahala is a small sugar plantation village. When I moved there in early 1996, the plantation had been closed less than two years. They seem to have rallied over the years. If you are driving around the Big Island, be sure to stop and visit this historical spot.

 

To see individual pictures of all these photos, view this slideshow.

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

 

Click here for a larger view of the slideshow. You will be rewarded!

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!

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!

El Pachuco

 

When I lived in Tucson, I had a friend who was dating a Mexican girl. He went to her family’s home for Thanksgiving dinner where they had a turkey and all the trimmings that we’ve come to expect in the USA. In the middle of the table, however, was an enormous bowl of refried beans upstaging the turkey. As American as they thought they were, they still had to have their refried beans.

So instead of writing about a more traditional Thanksgiving meal, I thought it would be fun to I talk about one of my favorite places to eat at any time, including Thanksgiving.

If you are a visitor driving around the island, please stop at Evie’s El Pachuco for some wonderful Mexican food. You’ll find it on the corner of Tiki Lane and Highway 11. Watch for it on your left as you drive through Ocean View going from the Kona side to Hilo. They are open from 11 in the morning to 6 in the evening, Wednesday through Sunday. Tamales are available on the weekends only.

 

Here is a copy of her menu so you’ll know what to expect. There are also weekly specials that are not on the menu. She promised to make a mole soon.

 

Evie was just delivering two plates of chicken enchiladas with rice and beans to two customers when I walked in. I restrained myself from grabbing one of the plates.

 

Back in the kitchen, her husband, Jimi, let me take pictures of the food in the hot serving pans – chicken, pork, rice, beans. He was making an extra batch of beans because they were about to run out. He’s the strong arm around the place.

 

A little background on Evie and Jimi Gonzales: Jimi was originally a welder shipfitter/pipefitter building commercial fishing boats. Evie was a bookkeeper. In the 70s, Jimi bought an acre in Hawai`i Ocean View Estates (HOVE) with $50 down. They continued to work in California while they paid it off. Then during vacations, he began to build.

Like many HOVE residents, Evie and Jimi eventually moved to Hawai`i to get away from the air pollution in California and to provide a better environment in which to raise their young son (now a DJ on Oahu).

At first their new home was a simple shell with no walls, but it did have an outdoor shower and outdoor toilet. Using the talents of his trade, Jimi built an outdoor cooking area similar to a barbecue pit where Evie made their meals over a fire – including even baking cakes!

About 7 years ago, Evie brought her mother back from Arizona to live with them. She also brought back a thirty-pound block of masa, planning to use it a little bit at a time. When she got it to Hawai`i, it was frozen solid. She had to do something with all that masa, so she made a big bunch of tamales, sat on the side of the road on the back of her van to sell them. Within a couple hours, she had sold them all, and decided that might be a good way to make a little money.

The kind of masa Evie needed wasn’t available here so she started buying small bags of maseca to keep the tamales rolling. She found a distributor and now buys maseca for tamales made of white corn in fifty-pound bags.

I first met Evie when she catered for a Leadership Conference I attended a few years ago. It was some of the best food I’d tasted since I left Tucson – and I knew Ocean View had a gem. But I didn’t know where to get more of her food.

Then I discovered her again one day on my way to our Ace Hardware here in what many residents call “The View.” She was parked alongside the road, selling tamales and more out of her van. For several years, I would buy Evie’s tamales on my way to pick up those items a homeowner can’t live without.

Then she moved down to the parking area of Ka’u Outpost on the highway, just down the road from my house. Almost every day when I drove home from teaching, I saw her sitting patiently on the back of her van. If I had stopped to pick up something every time she was there, I wouldn’t have been able to get in the front door of my house! But I did stop as often as I dared.

 

They have now found an indoor home in one section of the Ka’u Outpost, with little tables where you can eat or wait for take-out. If you’re lucky, she may have some freshly baked brownies or other baked treats to tempt you, as well.

 

I started this post to help spread the word about this special little Mexican restaurant, but didn’t realize I’d get drawn into such an intriguing history lesson. When I asked “What does Pachuco mean?” I was taken to an entirely new adventure. Evie said “It’s the description of a certain kind of person,” and began to tell this story.

In the 30s and 40s, young Mexican-Americans formed their own subculture and were called “Pachucos,” or “Chukes.” I had no idea they were the original zoot suiters. For great pictures and an interesting commentary on this era, check out this article. Also, I recommend that you turn up your speakers and go to this site to get a flavor of the zoot suiter. I’m old enough to remember guys wearing the zoot suit! There was no zoot suit for Jimi today!

 

Jimi came from Chavez Ravine, which is now the site of the Dodgers Stadium. Originally, this area of Los Angeles was the home of Mexican-American families tending their small farms. In the early 50s, L.A. declared eminent domain over the land and the home owners were offered a paltry sum of money for their properties.

The next ten years were violent ones as the owners resisted being ousted to make way for the Stadium. The unfortunate and sad story can be found here. There is a reunion of the Pachucos from Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles every July.

The story of Chavez Ravine and the Pachucos come together because Jimi’s father and Evie’s father were both Pachucos. The logo for El Pachuco, our very own authentic Mexican restaurant, shows a “Day of the Dead” (“Día de los Muertos”) character in a Pachuco stance, wearing an aloha shirt and khaki shorts. I love it!

 

To read a recent account of the situation at Chavez Ravine, read this article.

A side story: Jimi was cooking in the kitchen as I sat at one of the little tables talking with Evie. I had placed my purse on the floor near a door in the kitchen, but Jimi came running in to say I should get my purse up off the floor immediately! He said that if you set your purse on the floor, all the money will run out of it and you’ll always be broke. This site gives a more complete answer to that saying. It’s a sign of respect for your hard-earned money not to put your purse on a dirty floor. I don’t think my purse would ever get dirty on the floor of Evie’s and Jimi’s kitchen!

 

A hui hou!

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