Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've moved - to a new site!

Hi Everyone,
I've moved to a new site. Join me at:

We've been celebrating the Year of the Dragon around here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Big Wednesday

Tuesday evening I received this text from Hawaii Dept. of Emergency Services:
"Hi Surf Warning Oahu, 10 am Tues. to 6am Thu. North 25'-35'. Take precaution against dangerous waves."

Wednesday morning we drove to North Shore to watch the waves. We stopped at every beach we could to take in the awe of Mother Nature. I don't think we saw any 25-30' waves, but the waves were intense. Lifeguards taped off certain beach areas and stood over the crowds to keep people off the beach. Waimea had the most surfers. Pupukea had a jet ski and a helicopter hovering over a group of surfers out in the distance. We never saw any of them take a wave. The weather was perfect. A slight breeze, sun, mid-70's. I'd say blue sky, but there was a persistent haze of vog from the Big Island.

When we arrived on Sunset Beach, the wind had picked up. Sand was kicking up along the dry areas. Waves churned with more white wash and spray. I couldn't help but picture three guy friends from high school. They were surfers and loved the movie Big Wednesday. They couldn't wait for its box office release. They quoted lines from the movie on a regular basis. They surfed when they could, mostly in Newport, San Onofre and Dana Point, but they also traveled to their secret surf/camp spot in Mexico. They were a lot like the guys in the movie. Thank goodness they are all still alive and didn't have a Vietnam war, like the movie characters.

Off in the distance I captured the last moment of a whale flipping his tail in the water. I looked out his direction and watched the explosive sprays from his blowhole shoot above the ocean along the horizon line. I may not be out there on a board floating as one with the ocean, but I sure appreciate the beauty and movement from Mother Nature's ocean world.

Here I was on January 4th standing on the beach where most of the movie was filmed. This was my Big Wednesday. I don't surf. Never have. But I was mesmerized by watching the waves roll in and crash on the rocks, reefs and beaches. This was the day I realized my life had changed. I live on Oahu now, not California. I left things behind, physical things, but also, a whole lifetime of memories in California. Life isn't the same. People have passed on, friends moved away and life is all new here. It was time for me to embrace the new. I turned to Mark who said, "We are so lucky. We live here." I agreed.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Service in Hawaii

Christmas Day we went to church. Greenery and candles lined the pews and walls, along with native antherium, ti leaves and weaved palm fronds. We sat in a pew and faced the high altar, waiting for the service to begin. At 10:30, the bells in the chapel rang joyous tunes. Still facing the front, we waited for the choir to enter in front of us, but we heard another sound. A conch shell called parishioners to enter the church. A conch shell. Only in Hawaii. But wait....
during the Prayers Of The People, the priest from Tennessee, prayed for King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. And the choir sang the Queen's Prayer - in Hawaiian!

The Queen's Prayer translated to English:
Your loving mercy is as high as heaven and your truth so perfect. I live imprisoned in sorrow; you are my light; your glory, my support. Behold not with malevolence the sins of humankind, but forgive and cleanse.
And so, O Lord, protect us beneath your wings and let peace be our portion now and forever more.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Honolulu City Lights

Here are photos from Honolulu City Lights, put on by the City and County of Honolulu at Honolulu Hale. There is so much more than what I've posted here, but this gives you an idea of the color and lights that surround City Hall and adorn the interior.

The lobby was filled with rows of Christmas trees, each decorated by a different city/county department, such as Office of Emergency Services which had a "Be Prepared" tree, complete with a can of Spam hung as an ornament.

Mark, our friend "Jake", and I wandered the lobby and inhaled the smell of fresh pine trees. "It finally feels like Christmas," we remarked.

I may go back again before the season is over.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas In Hawaii

I wondered how Hawaiians would decorate for Christmas. Would Santa come in a canoe rather than down the chimney? (Yes, he does. In Waikiki, at least.)

Here are photos of Christmas decorations I've taken all around the island. Look closely, you'll see ukeleles in wreaths and Santa's workshop isn't run by elves. The Menehune help Santa with the toys on Oahu.

I was surprised to find the manger scene at the Kahala Mall.

The real Oahu decorations are at Honolulu City Lights. I haven't made it down there yet, but I will and I'll share photos when I do.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Black Friday and Peace On Earth

Peace on Earth, can it be
Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

Remember those lyrics? Peace On Earth.

The Christmas carol duet performed by Andy Williams and David Bowie rang out over the airwaves as I listened to the radio in my car on Black Friday.

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care

I wondered, who is teaching the children to care about others?
It left the teaching curriculum a long time ago in California.

Hardly anyone I know still goes to church or brings their children to church.

The state? Daycare? Babysitters?

Then I came home and turned on the TV news. Pepper spraying fellow humans to greedily take an Xbox, people trampling, grabbing, pushing and even shooting in order to get what they want.

I mused over the degradation of our society and over the loss of people giving of themselves to help others. My grandparents taught me to leave things behind so others may also have them.

I was reminded of a time in Tahoe when I went to Safeway at night right before a blizzard was due to come in. There were two bottles of windshield wiper fluid left- the kind that doesn’t freeze and is vital to driving in snow and slush. I could have used two bottles, but my grandpa’s voice came to me. “Take two and you’ve taken from someone who might desperately need that bottle. You only need one.”

I left the other bottle there for someone else. I mentioned to a friend that night there were only two bottles of fluid left and that I had left the other one there in case someone really needed it. He seemed pleasantly shocked that I had considered another person and that two bottles was more than I needed at that moment.

Thinking of others isn’t the norm anymore. I really wonder what happened to our society.

What has this world come to? How do we find our humanity again? Where are the grandparents?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let's Help the Small Business During APEC

Shoppers are staying away from Ala Moana Shopping Center. Restaurants near the APEC Conference are closing their doors for the rest of the week. Small businesses have laid off employees for 4-7 days.Shopkeepers at Ala Moana Shopping Center are telling their employees to take a break and buy a cup of coffee to support other retailers.

APEC is hurting commerce in the Honolulu area surrounding the conference locations.

So, Mark and I decided to have dinner tonight somewhere in town, near the conference, but not in the secured zone. We want to help the local businesses. Anyone have ideas of where we should eat?

Let us know if you want to join us.

Update: The Chart House restaurant in Honolulu had an "APEC Stimulus Package" last night. We ate there when we saw the special - 40% off food! When have you ever heard of 40% off a dinner? I don't think I ever have. My mahimahi fish dinner was $18. They took $36 off our final bill. That's a deal!

Monday, November 7, 2011

APEC Traffic Fears

APEC's in town. (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation)

Streets are closed for security reasons. High-level delegates from 21 countries are here. Traffic warnings are posted everywhere. Beaches are shut down. Residents of Waikiki enter their own residences only with proper I.D.

Mark and I went to dinner in Waikiki on Saturday night, figuring it would be our last chance to visit for at least a week. We were shocked to find how empty the streets, hotels and restaurants were. Even Waikiki Beach was empty. Did everyone stay away, fearing massive traffic and hassle from APEC? The opening ceremony for APEC was on Sunday, yet Saturday was empty in Waikiki.

Maybe this is how we end traffic in Honolulu after all-just create traffic fears so bad that no one wants to enter the city.

I am heeding advice to stay away. Today I am home, hunkered down in our apartment. The streets may be empty, but I wouldn't know. I'm writing. And reading other people's writing. And that's a good thing.