Eight Degrees of Contact…

Home, neighborhood, town, county, island, state, America, World

I remember when it was popular to track you six degrees of whatever it was called. Recently I’ve been thinking of all the ways we come together though apart in this health crisis and politically charged atmosphere. My eight degrees starts with my home. It’s been terribly neglected as of late. I can’t seem to muster up the enthusiasm to even mow my grass or pull my weeds. I do love my little cottage but it’s beginning to feel like I’m living in the jungle that is closing in a little closer daily. So, I’m venturing out a bit more. I’ve discovered in my neighborhood we have had several street-side fruit and vegetable stands pop up. We also have a couple who sells homemade kettle cooked bagels, a man who sells papayas with a money slot for trusted buyers. We have a woman who sells fresh raw honey and a fisherman who sells fresh ahi. I do try and buy from as many as I can. We also have a home who has set up a roadside pantry. People can drop off goods and take an item or two as they need. It’s nothing short of a miracle how we find ways to support one another.

My towns of Kea’au, Pāhoa and Hilo are slowly opening up. Many of the stores are open for business with protocols of safety to follow, but welcoming. Every other week I dance hula on the sidewalk of Downtown Hilo to promote the opening of the stores, restaurants, gift shops. Dancing hula in the heat, wearing long dresses and a mask is an experience I’ve not had the pleasure of having before.

We should call ourselves the Hula Bandits! But, we are setting an example for the community to follow.

Our county and island has been suffering lately with an increase of COVID19 cases as residents become more complacent and start to relax the mandated masks, distancing etc. We have had 47 deaths all within just a couple of weeks. We seemed to have gone from 0 to 47 incredibly fast. Many were at care homes where we spent so much time entertaining guests in what seems like years ago instead of months. The Kona side of the island has had a recent increase at a college on that side. Unfortunately, this age group does not adhere well to rules. On October 15th our islands were opened up for the return of tourism. This gives me a feeling of both relief and dread. I loved dancing at the pier for passengers of huge ships and at the Mo’oheau Bandstand for those who venture into town. But, with an influx of outsiders, there will undoubtedly be an increase in CV cases. Some of the public schools are also slated to open soon as well. I’m willing to wait for a return to our everyday lives, but with so many businesses depending on tourism I can’t help but feel we need to at least try for some semblance of normalcy. I am back to my hula class. After 7 months of no structured classes, it’s such a blessing to be able to dance together once more. We have very strict regulations. Each enters with a temperature test and hand sanitizing, masked. We go immediately to our designated marked off six foot square. We are allowed one bag for our water and car keys which is set in the corner of the square. I feel safe and I’m more than happy to adhere to the safety instructions. My line dance class was cancelled until January, but a few of us get together at one house or another, wear our masks and distancing ourselves. It’s not quite as formal as my hula class, but so far there haven’t been any problems.

The state of Hawai’i, especially the island of O’ahu has had a 10,000 a day tourist influx. Everyone arriving is suppose to have a negative CV19 test within 72 hours and a second test locally if going to an outer island. 114 of those arrived without a test and were immediately quarantined until cleared. Why would someone arrive without the test only to be stuck in a facility for three or four days of their vacation? I don’t comprehend this. Until recently there was a mandatory 14 day quarantine for any arrivals. We had people arriving knowing of this and were remanded to their hotel or vacation rental. Many tried to skip out and were caught and sent back home. Why come? We, at the time, were essentially closed and not ready for visitors.

I feel lucky not to be living on the Mainland. Our problems are mostly local issues. We haven’t been subjected to rioting, armed militia. Our marches for Black Lives Matter, or for presidential candidates have been peaceful events. We have such a diverse population. On our islands we have Hawaiians, haole (White Americans), Black Americans, Asians, Indians, from both America and India, Polynesians, Micronesians, Samoans, Fijians, Europeans and I’m sure a ton of others. For as long as I can remember we have been a Democratic state. I have Republican friends with whom I have heated conversations on social media, but we keep our friendship free of politics when face to face. We have all learned to live together in relative harmony.

To me, our country feels so divided. We need to take time to heal. Because I have been a Democrat my entire life, though I have to admit I’ve crossed party lines occasionally, I fear our country has taken a turn for the worst. In my lifetime regardless of who is President of the United States, my own life changed little. But, this time it feels different. I worry that social programs that I depend on like Social Security will be cut, Medicare will be cut, Medicaid will be cut that many others depend on. My sons no longer want to bring children into this world so I will never have the joy of being a Grandma. I’ve seen so many good regulations cut or gutted, EPA, CDC, Osha. Policies that protected us. Climate Crisis denial while California, Colorado burn, Louisiana struggles through another hurricane while still suffering from the previous one. Drought in some areas, floods in others. We need to come together and put our country back together.

The world. We are no longer looked upon as the most respected country in the world. We are no longer welcome in many countries due to our response to the CV19 crisis. We seem to have alienated many of our allies. But, we will survive, grow again in stature and strive to assure our place in the world.

These eight degrees of contact bring us together in unexpected ways. It is our responsibility, our kuleana, to nurtured these contacts to bring about peace and pride.

The New Normal…

I know, like all of you, that this has been a challenging six months and I’m not going to go into the politics of it all although I have extremely valid opinions. I’ve come to realize that we are now facing a “new normal” and, as difficult as that may seem, it might be with us for some time in the future.

I’ve missed so many things in my previous life. I miss dancing for all the tourists at the pier when they disembark to enjoy all the wonderful things about Hilo town and the surrounding areas. I like to think that dancing hula for them will give them just a little taste of what our culture is about and what sets us apart from other destination locales. Even though hula is now all over the world and in every state of the union, it has a different feeling when dancing here where it all started. As you all know I sew for hula hālau and I have sent hula apparel to just about every state. I love sharing this tiny bit of Hawaiʻi with America.

At the pier

I miss dancing at the bandstand in downtown where tourists can actually get up and learn a few moves and hand motions, where they can learn to make a lei or kupeʻe (bracelet) made of ti leaves and flowers. Dancing to live music with renown musicians and having a radio personality MC for us. Itʻs so very special.

At the bandstand with Kuʻehu

I miss going to the different care homes and sharing our aloha with the guests. Sometimes we have serious hula and oli (chant), with a live duo playing the ʻukulele and a bucket bass that I just love. After a couple of years, these people have become like our family and not being able to see them now breaks my heart. Sometimes, we have hula that is just fun. We play ʻukulele or we dance with implements. The guests seem to really love these impromptu fun sessions. I wish I knew how everyone was doing. I did send a card to tell them how much we miss them.

At Life Care Center
Hale Anuenue Home

We danced at the Veterans Center and now I fear that many of the patients there have passed away as it has become a hot spot for Hilo with most of the deaths coming from this center. The staff is overwhelmed and though we were able to send cards and bake goods, I fear the morale is still low.

Right now our saving grace has been the ability to dance in downtown Hilo for the revitalization of the town. Many people don’t realize that downtown is open. So, we dance on the sidewalk in front of different stores for the drive-by cars with families. We have a marvelous story teller that recalls ancient legends and various musicians who take the time to come down to play for passersbys, some of which take the time to sit and listen or watch if one of us gets up to do a solo hula. Because of the health protocols set by our local government we dance six feet apart and wear a mask. We have been “smizing” a new word meaning smiling with the eyes. Expression is such a large part of hula and some of that is taken away with the mask, but I wear one for myself, my friends and my community.

4th of July in downtown before masks were mandatory

Things are starting to open up a bit more, with restrictions. I was able to go line dance once weekly until the recent outbreak. My official hula class will start up again on Oct. 5th. We will have to wear a mask, sanitize and distance, but it will be so good to be back to a new normal again.

Sew Me Hawai’i for real

When I first started writing this blog it was to be additional exposure for my new on-line business called, yeah, Sew Me Hawaii. I sew outfits and accessories for students or schools of hula. I was newly retired and ready to take on a new project that I could do at home. I have a passion for hula as is stated in my bio and absolutely never tire of making things from the beautiful Hawaiian print fabrics. Therefore, everything I make is made with tropical fabrics. I do believe my first blog was about the Etsy shop, but then it began to evolve. I started writing about things I saw or did in the islands. It started to look more like a travel log. I added poetry, photos of my yard. Lots of pictures of me dancing hula, my time on Maui and the many problems I had when I returned. Both my sonʻs weddings…

Now I am going to shamelessly promote my shop because I realize I have things in my shop that are not necessarily for hula. So, look out for photos that were originally made for hula, but can impersonate something else!

This is an implement bag for the different things we use in different dances, but I think they would make a great beach bag with pockets for a cell, a wallet, a tube of sunscreen, a book, towel and hat, etc. Or, if you have a little one who goes to slumber parties this makes a nice overnight bag.
This is a garment bag, usually used to carry dresses, skirts or blouses, etc. to performances, but they can be used for ordinary clothing as well. They come in a short size or a long size. They are fully lined with the full length zipper. Donʻt you think they look nicer that a plastic bag?
We dance with feathered gourds called ʻulīʻulī. They have a small gourd with little seeds inside that rattle and a top with rows and rows of feathers. These are covers for the feathers to keep them from sun damage, dust. However, I have used them as a bowl cover when at a picnic or at a potluck when the dish is waiting on a table. Or, a wild shower cap!

Of course, I make pā’ū (hula skirts), traditional tops, blouse, bloomers for under pā’ū, pull on “sleeves” to make a traditional top look a little more formal. And, more…

For your mug and muffin or cup and cookie. Helping to keep the crumbs off the keyboard! These are about 8″x10″–just right for a cup of coffee or tea and a snack.
Bring a little tropical splendor to your morning Starbucks…a coffee cozy. I always feel better about not adding to the landfill and they are so much prettier than cardboard!

For those of you who may actually dance hula or know someone that does, I will add a couple of photos of what I do the most…pāʻū and tops for adults and children.

This bright little pā’ū is perfect for a new dancer. She certainly won’t get lost in the crowd!
A beautiful adult hula pā’ū from my Etsy shop, no longer available, but oh so pretty.
Me, doing what I love the most. I did not make this dress. I do sew long muʻumuʻu for my hula sisters, but they are simply too much to do long distance and Iʻm not good at pattern drafting, so donʻt offer dresses in my shop.

Mahalo i ka hoʻomanawa nui–Thank you for your patience.

My Neighborhood Walk

The other day I did a YouTube workout–p.e. with Joe. Three days later my muscles are still aching so this morning I decided to go for a walk instead. I planned my route which is just about two and a half miles. I didn’t want to go any farther because for some reason I gave my good jogging shoes to the recycle center. I’m now having to wear my just walking around the mall sneakers. It is a beautiful spring day. The sun has just appeared so it’s still cool and it hasn’t rained yet this morning so I’m in luck. Talking about luck, when I walk I generally take my phone with me for assurance and I carry a face mask in case I meet someone on the road. So, as I walked I took the time to “smell the roses” and took lots of photos of my adventure.20200418_071700_00120200418_071521

So far…Lilikoi blossom, an unexpected pineapple, hybiscus – melemele & ‘ula’ula

Jade plant, Bougainvillea and Tahitian Tiare

More Bougainvillea, something I don’t know, I think a Century Plant

Okay, I don’t know what any of these are, but they were interesting. The first is growing on the trunk of a coconut tree, the second is a weed that grows everywhere, but it has really sweet purple flowers. The third is a tree that has a perfect ball for a fruit.

These are trees…the beloved ‘Ohi’a, a fan palm and a different palm.

There were many more but I think this is enough for now. The last three are from my yard, my Monstera, a Paclan, which is in the Magnolia family with fragrant small tiare looking blossoms that bloom every couple of months. The last is my Fern Tree and my tiny home behind. I’ve recently acquired a Pua Melia or Plumeria and it is just now getting leaves. Soon it will have heavenly scent blooms which are still my very favorite flower. 

Thanks for going on the walk with me. I glad I had some virtual company.

I’m ticked off.

I just wrote for an hour and when I went to publish it wouldn’t go through. After several tries, still no luck, so I had to close AND I lost the entire hour of writing. I’m so ticked off. What happened to drafts? I previewed it without a problem which generally saves everything, but this time didn’t. If I get more pissed, I will probably quit WP and just vent on Facebook! Any suggestions?

All the latest in my life…

It’s literally been months since I’ve had the time to just sit and write. I do miss it, but my life has been so crazy, so busy, but so much fun. First, on April 27th my youngest son Jaron got married to his sweetheart Alexa. The perfect union. The wedding was an Old West theme and took part in a State Park with a western “town”. A steam engine took us up to the site in the middle of a majestic redwood forest. As Jaron’s middle name is Nahele which means forest, it was apropos. It was beautiful. David and I were able to walk him down the aisle which was so cool! I got to wear my boots. And, I made this perfect outfit in the wedding colors. Both David and Jaron looked so handsome!

It was such fun. 100 happy guests. He and Alexa have wonderful friends who worked so hard at making it the perfect reception.

Then in June my line-dancing class traveled to Kaua’i for the annual Round-Up. We stayed in a condo in Lihu’e. We had two performances which were certainly different from the normal line-dance. One was a hip-hop, the other a cha-cha. The costumes were outrageous! But, everyone looks forward to our crazy costumes and dances.

Lately I’ve been immersed, as usual, in hula. My halau just competed in the Kupuna Hula Festival for the first time and won first place. I didn’t dance in the competition. I have enough stress in my life. But, I did get to dance in the Ho’olaule’a which was quite an experience. I’m the one in the middle area with the silver hair. I look back at most of my pics and my hair was still brownish red, but I like it natural. We usually wear our long black skirts with a black tee and a pareo tied at the shoulder as in the blue, or we turn a pareo into a kind of blouse as in the red.

The competition group wore beautiful long dark green velvet dresses with lei po’o, lei at the neck and both wrists. They were beautiful, danced beautifully and deserved the first place win.

My friend Kapoliokealoha in her competition dress

We dance at Life Care Center, Hale Anuenue, the Mo’ohuea Bandstand, The pier for those tourists getting off the ships. We dance at the Women’s Club and just about anywhere we are asked for a quick performance. We just love to dance hula! This next month alone we already have 10 performances scheduled. And, we have scheduled practices and we are even throwing in a couple of lunches!

In the future I will try and keep up a little better. I promise. The only problem is that most of my life centers around hula, so it’s difficult having other things to talk about, but I will try.

Pele Giveth, Pele Taketh Away

As most of you know by now, the island of Hawaiʻi has been under siege by Pele, the ancient goddess of volcanoes. The surge in the volcanic eruption is causing so much disruption in the local communities. Leilani is almost gone. Everyone has been evacuated or are at least on notice if they happen to have a home closer to the highway. They need a permit card in order to enter and since I donʻt live in that subdivision I donʻt have photos, however I will attempt to update this path of destruction. Over 90 homes have been overtaken by lava. Many of the main highways, in and out of lower Puna, have been crossed by 20 ft. berms of lava and are no longer available. There are now over 20 fissures which are spewing lava and associated sulfuric oxide gasses so even if oneʻs house is still standing, itʻs unsafe to live in Leilani

 

 

 

or Lanipuna. The lava is slowly moving toward the Geothermal Energy Plant. Two the wells have been breeched. All of the wells are plugged, but since this is a scenario that has never before happened anywhere in the world, the mystery of whether or not the plugs will keep the gasses from escaping is still unknown. The lava has entered in the ocean in a couple of places so this is causing what is called Laze, a mixture of ash, lava and glass. The lava has crossed major highways. Pohoʻiki, ʻOpihikao, Kahena and Seaview are now pretty much cut off from the rest of the island with the only road out being Government Beach Rd., which until recently had been just a “Jeep” trail. We are getting hundreds of quakes a day, most are minor and I donʻt even feel many of them. Up the mountain is Kīlauea which is causing these problems. Halemaʻumaʻu is erupting ash which is now going 15,000 ft. into the air, filling the sky with a gray blanket of misery for those close by. The community centers of Keaʻau and Pāhoa are now shelters and the larger parks are now tent cities. Most restaurants, parks, etc. have opened their restrooms to non-customers and, of course, members of the community are stepping in to help. Meals are being prepared daily, everyone has water. The centers are pet-friendly and animal food is in supply. There are many, many volunteers. The Lava Shack, a local club where we line-dance monthly, held a can-goods drive and the place was packed. Other businesses are stepping up as well.

So far, the only problems Iʻve encountered are burning eyes and lethargy. Iʻm not sure why the latter is happening but I just feel tired. Iʻm still keeping up with my general activies, my on-line shop, etc. but I think just knowing I have so many friends displaced is taxing. Today is raining which doesnʻt help those in alternative housing, but I think it keeps some of the ash from coming this way. However, the gray skies and the rain are not conducive to a cheery mood, though I do have a dress rehearsal for our line-dancing performance in Honolulu next week and that should cheer me up.

Pray for our island.

Seattle in the Spring

As you now know I was in Seattle for my son’s wedding. I had never been there before though my ex, David, says we spent a week there in circa 1972, but geez, who can remember back that far to sleeping in a VW Van.

Anyway, it is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been in. I’m from Hawai’i and we are known for our flowers, but wow! Seattle has more flowers than I’ve ever seen. Every house has a yard full of them. Most of which I have no name. And, the city is sooooo clean. I never see even a gum wrapper on the ground. Tiny two year olds ride scooters and tiny bikes without pedals. They just push them everywhere. Itʻs a fun city. The weather is lovely, chilly for this island girl, but layering helps.

I have a sweet “Nature Room” in an AirBNB which is about a block from Green Lake with bike and walking paths around the entire lake. Across the street from the lake are several little cafes and restaurants. I love walking the neighborhood. I usually walk down each morning for coffee and yummy scones. I found a small little Thai restaurant with aromatic delicious green curry.

I give Kai a couple of days with his friends and then we check out the city together. What a fun place to explore. There’s Pikeʻs Pier, the Public Market Place, the Seattle Needle, sculpture gardens, the Museum of Popular Culture (MoPOP) which my favorite. We go to a new hologram “Black Holes Colliding” which comes with 360* stars, suns, planets, etc. screaming over our heads, vibrating the floor we stand on. I thought I would be dizzy, but it is amazing! Other rooms in the museum hold original costumes from movies…the dress worn by Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, the hat worn by the Wicked Witch. There are lot of costumes from Star Trek and Star Wars, Alien.


I love the sculpture gardens. Very clean, colorful and creative.

We don’t go up into the needle as they are doing some work on it, but here’s me at the foot of it.

Ooops, the photo didnʻt go through and I canʻt seem to be able to edit that part.

Star Wars come alive.

views of the neighborhood…

All in all it was a fantastic trip. While there, things went awry in Hawai’i. 125 earthquakes in ONE day, two of which were a 5.9 and a 6.3. The volcano, Kīlauea, erupted in a nearby subdivision. There are 24 fissures spewing lava, 44 houses destroyed, people displaced. The glow from my house is almost overwhelming. Go into HawaiiNewsNow.com for photos that will blow your mind.

Musings for the Day

The vagaries of time play with my thoughts reminding me to take things a little less seriously and look for the whimsical in daily life. As of late, the mundane has taken hold and each day has become a replica of the one before. I think I’m shutting myself down on Maui eagerly awaiting my return to my home on Moku O Hawai’i, The Big Island. Throughout the day I do ask time to slow a bit so as to savor the sunsets, rainbows, mountainous streams of icy water, fields of cane. There are other moments when I ask time to accelerate so there are fewer days between living and leaving.

Some choices I’ve made come back to haunt me…life changes. But, living in the past has never been my style. So, I will pick up where I left off–better prepared, more discerning and perhaps wiser. I will enjoy the company of old friends, dance with abandonment, sing with a joyful noise and leave my heart open for new friendships and love.

Finally Found

I moved to the island of Maui from the Big Island of Hawai’i two years ago. I think one of the things I missed the most was my church. Kuhio Chapel is located in the Hawaiian Homesteads and has a large congregation of mostly those that live in the area. It was my idea of what a Hawaiian church should be. Kahu Brian gave sermons from the heart. He never used notes as he knew and lived his material.

On Maui I felt I needed a church again. I first went to Keawela’i. It’s a huge church with a huge congregation. However, most of those there were visitors and there was no feeling of local camaraderie. Although it is purported to be a Hawaiian church, it didn’t, to me, seem to be very Hawaiian. It is located in Makena which is pretty long hike from Kula. Later I went to Keolahou in Kihei. Again, quite a drive but a sweet church. There was a nice feel to it, lots of opportunity to play my ukulele. However, the kahu fractured the Hawaiian language. It too was quite a drive and when my days off changed and I now work on Sunday afternoon, it was difficult to drive all the way there, then home again to get ready for work and then drive down the mountain again.

I tried Ka’ahumanu, but the congregation was terribly small. I do so enjoy going to Ka’ahumanu for the monthly Picnic for Poki which is a Hawaiian musical series on the grounds under the Monkeypod tree. I heard there was a Hawaiian church in Waiehu (another drive) and another very small congregation–five including myself. However, I did enjoy Kahu Roy. He also spoke from the heart. However, it didn’t feel like a community and was another long drive.

I was then told of a Hawaiian church in Paia. Paia is a small Hippie/New Age town right down the mountain from where I live. I would have never thought of Paia when looking for a Hawaiian church. But, when I pulled into the parking lot, it reminded me so much of Kuhio Chapel. It’s a cozy church with an active congregation of about 35. There is a piano and ukulele. The Lord’s Prayer is in Hawaiian, the Doxology is in Hawaiian, the hymns are in Hawaiian. I felt so at home. Their Kahu passed away a couple of years ago so they have an interim kahu–Kahu Roy!  He is fluent in Hawaiian. I felt so comfortable singing (well making a joyful noise). I was moved to tears, so, I think I’ve finally found my Maui church.

Paia Hawaiian Church
Paia Hawaiian Church