Memorial For A Beloved Friend

 

Over the past couple of years that I have been writing this blog, some of you have gotten a glimpse of my handsome black cat, Kaimana. In Hawai`ian, Kaimana means “diamond.” He was solid black with a little white spot under his chin like a diamond necklace.

He’s been with me for about twelve years. He became mine when he kept pawing at me through the bars of his cage at the Humane Shelter. Only a little older than a kitten, he quickly took up residence in my heart and home.

In my home on Alii Drive, he worked diligently to climb up the railing of the staircase. If he fell off half-way up, he’d jump down and start over. The first time he made it to the top without falling off, he sat at the top proclaiming his victory.

 

Then he spent the same amount of time learning how to go back down the railing without falling off. Once he learned both directions, he went up and down, up and down.

 

Like most cats, he could sleep anywhere and at any time – in a bowl. . .

 

. . . in a bidet . . .

 

. . . on a high shelf . . .

 

. . . in a bookshelf . . .

 

. . . or tucked in among the pottery.

 

Kaimana was the ultimate “techno-cat.” Whenever he heard the ring of the fax machine, he would run upstairs, sit on top of the machine and watch the fax arrive. I think he was trying to get it out to bring to me.

 

A rocky medical history resulted in several major hospitalizations. Even though it meant extending his life by several years, wearing this collar made him quite angry.

 

He loved to wander around the property as I worked . . .

 

. . . or lounge on a fallen log . . .

 

. . . or nestle up to the geraniums.

 

Always content to be wherever I was, he also loved to watch what was going on outside his world.

 

I wonder if he thought he was hiding from me?

 

I found out how sick he was with diabetes while my daughter was visiting, so I made arrangements for him to be put to sleep this past Wednesday. She helped me find the appropriate place for his final resting place and started the digging process.

 

As Inga was digging, Kaimana came out to see what we were doing. After investigating, it seemed as if he approved of where he would finally rest, so he went up to the house to take a nap.

 

I have put together a slideshow of pictures for those who knew him, or who would just like to see a beautiful cat at play and at leisure.

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

 

If you would like to view a larger slideshow, click here.

A hui hou!

All Hallows’ E’en

 

All Hallows’ E’en was the night before All Saints’ Day, a time when the deceased were honored. It was also a night when the ghosts and spirits of our “dearly departed” roamed the world, looking for a way back to their other world.

This celebration was also known as Samhain (pronounced sow-in) and roughly meant “Summer’s End” in Gaelic, a time for harvesting the summer fruits and vegetables.

 

Not only is it a time of rejoicing over the produce, but it’s also a season for goblins and witches, black cats and trick-or-treaters.

 

It seems that vampires are popular right now. I’m not sure I’d like to meet up with this character on Halloween night, even if he is my brother! Hilton was a guest organist for a Halloween concert a few years ago and performed as Count Dracula. Please visit his Halloween post from a year ago to read more about it, and to hear one of the pieces he wrote to celebrate Samhain.

 

Pumpkins and scarecrows have a place in all of this hullabaloo. Inga’s autumn display is quite appropriate here.

 

No matter where I look, I see these piercing eyes watching me. It would be a little spooky if I didn’t know it was my beloved cat, Kaimana! He fits right into the spirit of this holiday, don’t you think?

 

Then there are those weird creatures that come up from the bottom of the ocean, like Davy Jones (aka Hilton Jones). I can hear him dripping seaweed all the way over here. I hope this sailor didn’t drown off my sailboar.

 

The waxing moon will be almost full tonight, a good time for letting the “old man in the moon” keep watch over us.

 

My word of warning for tonight is not to eat too many treats, watch out for the trickers, and be safe out there! (There’s that darn cat looking at me again!)

A hui hou!

Gallimaufry

 

Before you go scrambling for your dictionary, I’ll save you the trouble. The word “gallimaufry” originally came from the French and it was a hash made out of meat scraps. So that’s what today’s post is going to be – sort of a hash of miscellaneous items that I find interesting.

After my post on watermelons and blueberries, I got a note from my Cuz’n Don, telling me about his own watermelon crop. On a visit to their daughter in Atlanta, they went to a new nature center that had just opened up. I think you’ll enjoy his comment on that.

 

It was was a pretty nice setup. As we were coming out there was a large number of plants that gardeners had planted. I came up on a plant that I had not seen in years. A group of people and one of the volunteers were trying to figure it out what it was. It was the size of lemons and green and growing on a vine. I heard their conversation and told them it was a wild MAYPOP and we used to pick it from fence rows in Mississippi and pop them open and eat the seeds. This is the same fruit as your PURPLE PASSION [Passion Fruit or Lilikoi] or a variety of it. Anyway, I followed the volunteer back to her office and she wanted to find it on the Internet and sure enough there it was. Now I hear I have a cousin in Hawaii that makes jelly out of it. OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (from Cuzn Don’s email)

 

I’ve been thinking about what grows well in my yard, and what doesn’t – and about what is worth the effort and what isn’t. I put out some gladiola bulbs that grew quite well and had beautiful blossoms. The problem? It took a lot of precious soil to get just a few blooms that didn’t last but a few days. If they do something on their own, that will be fine, but I don’t think I’m going to waste a lot of water, soil or energy on them. I’d rather put that into growing something I can eat.

 

My latest project, after pulling out the last of my summer garden, was to sweeten the soil in my raised beds and add some fresh soil. So far, I’ve put out seeds for red leaf mustard, thyme, sweet basil, broadleaf sage, cilantro, string beans, and beets.

 

I never knew there were so many kinds of basil! I’m going to plant Cinnamon Basil, Lime Basil, and Purple Dark Opal Basil, in addition to the Thai Basil and Holy Basil I’ve planted before.

 

Is there such a thing as seed addiction? If so, I’m an addict! I always buy way more seeds than I’ll ever get around to planting, but I think that’s the hazard of gardening. Can you tell what I want to plant next? Pattypan squash, leaf lettuce, collards, and tomatillos. The little clear package in front will be an experiment – ceratonia siliqua, what most of us know as carob. The tomatillos and carob I’ll start in little pots for replanting later.

 

My small lime tree in a big pot is full of deep green limes that look like I could start picking right away. Container gardening seems to be the answer for many things here.

 

Orchids don’t seem to have much trouble growing here, but what did you expect? This is Hawai`i, after all! My plants are full of tall spikes covered with buds. Here are the first two to pop out!

 

My few sprigs of donkey tail are starting to take over my front steps. I need to make some hangers for them so they can gracefully hang over my deck.

 

Here are a couple more plants that should be hanging up instead of sitting on my steps. One of these days I’ll get around to making some macramé hangers.

 

One of my favorite growing things right now is the Thai hot pepper. I carefully pick off a few to toss into slow cooker chili or pulled pork, or anything that needs a bit of heat. They are such a brilliant color in my garden!

 

“There are never enough hours in the day.” How many gardeners have said that? At this time of year when the days are getting shorter I especially wish I had more daylight hours after I get home from teaching. Fortunately, I can grow veggies all winter long here without worrying about snow or frost.

While I wait for my seeds to grow (they’ve already sprouted), I have arugula, spicy mesclun and red leaf lettuce still available for a fresh salad, and plenty of red chard for stir-frying in extra virgin olive oil with lots of garlic.

The opening photo above is my daughter Inga’s two kitties. They are always so cute as kittens, and two make good company for each other. I’ll show you her summer garden in another post. She does so much in such a tiny space! But she has real earth!

A hui hou!

Happy Mother’s Day!

MY GANG
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MY GANG

 

There are many “Mother myths” from various cultures and faiths. Some reveal the mother as nurturing, maternal, care giving, full of a feminine mystery and power. Other mother myths portray a darker side of motherhood, but I won’t talk about those today.

In Jungian psychology, there is the archetype of “Mother,” or the Divine Mother. I will briefly tell you about only a few of these.

To start out, there was Mary, Mother of Jesus, who has been called the Christian Goddess of Compassion. She is a universal symbol for motherhood. As a pastor as well as a mother, I could relate to the Christmas story that surrounds the birth of Jesus. I often wonder how she made the trip on a donkey at the time of delivery!

The Virgen de Guadalupe (Spanish for the Virgin of Guadalupe) is considered to be one of the “Black Madonnas.” That’s a story for a later post, but this picture hangs beside my front door.

VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE
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VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE

 

Another beloved mother figure is Kwan Yin, or Quan Shi Yin, or Kuan Yin. She is the compassionate bodhisattva of East Asian Buddhists. The actual word used (karuna) means something greater than compassion, which is described as “a love for all beings, equal in intensity to a mother’s affection for her child.”

On the grounds of the Waikoloa Hilton Hotel here on the Big Island stands this statue, the ocean creating a wonderful watery backdrop for this Divine Mother. Please check out my brother’s post on Guan Yin today.

GUAN YIN
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GUAN YIN

 

When I lived in Arizona, I learned of Ha Hai-I Wuhti, the Hopi Divine Mother, who was thought of as the mother of all kachinas. I don’t have a picture of her, but here is a shot taken in Tucson on the church grounds.

ST. FRANCIS IN THE FOOTHILLS
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ST. FRANCIS IN THE FOOTHILLS

 

That earthy picture brings me to Gaia, Greek Goddess we might be more familiar with as Mother Earth, the symbol of a mother who nourishes plants and young children. What better way to show her nurturing than by showing some of the local flowers?

All along Ali`i Drive on the Kona side of the island, and many other places as well, you will see the night blooming cereus. I remember friends in Tucson who sat up all night to see their one plant bloom. Here they are in abundance everywhere and certainly spectacular. These had bloomed during the night, but I was able to get a shot before they were completely gone the next morning.

CEREUS
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CEREUS

 

Here is one of the many flamboyant flame trees you will see all around Hawai`i, often called “Royal Poinciana.”

FLAME TREE
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FLAME TREE

 

Hibiscus are also everywhere in dramatic colors.

YELLOW HIBISCUS WITH PURPLE CENTER
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YELLOW HIBISCUS WITH PURPLE CENTER

 

Four years ago, my children got together to celebrate my girls’ birthdays, and also to say farewell to my son who was leaving for his first tour in Iraq. They sent me the picture at the beginning of this post. At first I wondered who all those people were! I thought the shot included friends of my children.

Then I realized they were all mine in one form or another. There were my four children, their spouses, and eight of my nine grandchildren (one couldn’t get away to be there). Since then, two great-grandchildren and one spouse of a grandson have been added to this “rogue’s gallery.”

Of course, I can’t forget my “other” child – Mr. Kaimana Kat! Here he is hanging over a large platter that is a painting of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

KAIMANA AND THE VIRGIN MOTHER
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KAIMANA AND THE VIRGIN MOTHER

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and their children – and especially to my gang!