Computer Blues and Hula

I have spent the last three days crying over all the problems I’m having with my new computer, actually the second one I’ve owned in the past week. My last new one jammed up and refused to leave a page. I couldn’t exit, couldn’t cancel, couldn’t move the cursor and became a raging curser! The January woman, according to the sweatshirt for sale, has the mouth of a sailor…how true! I was embarrassing myself. Now I have another computer because I took the last one back. This one has just as many problems. I’m not a complete idiot when it comes to technology. I’ve been able to sync photos, make changes to my Etsy account, install apps and delete or uninstall programs without a problem. But, no, not this time. Everything imaginable has gone wrong. Half the time my browser is unable to connect to the internet even though I have a secure connection or it takes so much time to find the program it just gives up.
Here’s hoping I’m able to get through this post without having to threaten to throw the computer out the window.

For the past two or three months I have had soooooo many hula performances. It’s been such fun. I am now dancing at the pier for tourists exiting the huge ships. I’m dancing at Mo’ohuea Bandstand for the tourists who have made it into Hilo town. I dance at the Life Care Center, The Vets Centers, the Hale Anuenue. I’ve danced at a Quinceanera party for a 15 year old Mexican senorita. I’ve danced at the Visayan Philippino Party. We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in dresses I made for this season, Christmas with dresses I made for the winter holiday season. I’ve had the opportunity to wear most of my dresses that I’ve bought for our Merrie Monarch Hula Ho’olaule’a. It’s fun dressing up with lei and flowers in my hair–well sort of. My hair is short and flowers simply don’t attach well. Because we dance so frequently we use silk flowers so I glued or clipped mine to a headband. The band doesn’t really show and the flowers go right where I want them.

Ha’a Ka Wahine




The Hula Sisters and friends at the Bandstand in Hilo town


And with all the costume changes over the past couple of months, you have witnessed my hair color changes as well. I’ve decided to stop coloring my hair and letting it go natural. It’s prettier than in the Christmas picture. It’s silvery and I like it. My birthday is in a few days and I will turn 74. It’s okay if I look 74. I feel good, I look pretty good. I’m able to attend my hula, line-dance and ballroom dance classes and keep up. I think learning different dancing skills helps with memory, fitness and social connection, as well as brain health. I’m having fun and that’s an important part of living.


Sponsored Post Learn from the experts: Create a successful blog with our brand new courseThe Blog is excited to announce our newest offering: a course just for beginning bloggers where you’ll learn everything you need to know about blogging from the most trusted experts in the industry. We have helped millions of blogs get up and running, we know what works, and we want you to to know everything we know. This course provides all the fundamental skills and inspiration you need to get your blog started, an interactive community forum, and content updated annually.

What a Difference

During all the drama between the lava flow and the hurricanes, I took the time to drive to Waimea with my friend Kapoliokealoha for a hula performance. It was the grand opening of a realty office, a small space for only five of us. The office was right in the heart of Waimea next door to the famous Merriman’s restaurant. It was 10:00 in the morning and we only danced three songs. We were treated to a brunch which included pastries and frittatas, fruit etc. It was quite sumptuous and we enjoyed mingling with the guests. It was, however, over very quickly so instead of driving straight home to rainy Hilo we changed clothes, met another friend of Kapoliokealoha’s and decided to go on a hike. Actually, it was more like a walk, but then that doesn’t sound as much fun. There is a lovely nature reserve right above the town so we started our walk of the Alawai o Waimea. It was absolutely beautiful. Flower landscapes, glorious trees and a flowing stream. The meandering course of the stream took us about a mile along its banks which turned out to be loop that took as a mile back. No rain, no wind, no lava. Just a beautiful day of friends enjoying the day together. I took a few photos along the way…

The beginning of our trek

Along the stream


There were seven different colors of  lehua, however only the red was flowering at the time.

A stunning yellow hibiscus.














A day later the hurricane had passed, the rain and wind had stopped. I was driving through downtown Hilo and realized that our town is gorgeous. The shower trees were flowering and we have some beautiful heritage trees.

The flowering shower trees



A Monkeypod in all its glory

nce a month I dance at the Mohouea Bandstand for the locals, the tourists off the ship and those at the farmer’s market. We dressed in our new modern outfits and three of us dance monthly at different care homes on the island. We have retro 1960’s outfits for this.

And the Wāhine Aloha



My Love/Hate Relationship With Summer

When I was young, and probably foolish as my skin is now attesting, I loved summer. I spent many many hours riding horses in the sun, baking in the sun with coconut oil slathered over my skin. I surfed in the sun, I sailed in the sun and I really did love every minute of it. But now, summer has become a lot hotter, a lot more humid and just sitting at the computer with open windows and a tradewind blowing, I’m dripping with sweat…hmmm, I’m glistening. The oddest words pop into my head–languid, lethargy, ennui, enervating, all of which I’m feeling in one form or another today. Summer is also the slowest season for my online shop. Hula halau (schools) are no longer gearing up for May Day or May Fest or Spring Fest or Merrie Monarch Hula Festival, so I don’t have a lot of sewing projects to get done. I should be sewing for my shop, but it’s 94 degrees in my little studio. I find myself watching The Hallmark Channel, crying over the sappy love stories and wishing I was one of the characters. I’m taking NAPS! I haven’t taken naps during my entire life, even in kindergarten. But, when it’s so hot and humid it just saps my energy. I eat bowls and bowls of salads. Don’t get me wrong, I love salads and eat them many times with my main course, but now they have become my main course because turning on the stove or oven leads to a heat I’m not willing to bear. I do find the sun helps with making “Sun Tea” which I consume by the gallons. I have too much yard work to get done but just keep putting it off. I really want to get my garden going again and I have the most beautiful, fragrant, wormy compost ever just waiting to nourish an abundance of veggies, but the thought of standing in the sweltering humidity planting is more than I can imagine these days. I can’t even turn on my ceiling fan until dusk as it just blows hot air around the room.

I’m so looking forward to fall, but then, that’s followed by winter which means I will be living in sweat pants and sweat shirts for about five months, complaining about the cold and yearning for spring. Oh, to be young again and be in love with all the seasons.

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 for photos that will blow your mind.

The Wedding of Our Dreams

As some of you know, I just returned from a wonderful trip to Seattle for my eldest son’s wedding. Neither Aric nor his now wife Kanani are what you would call traditional in any sense of the word. They are both private people. They each have a few very close friends that they hold dear, but prefer each other’s company rather than a big social scene. Their wedding was perfect.

The ceremony was held in the lounge of their apartment building, a common room so to speak. There was no decoration, no flowers, no aisle, no bouquets or garters, just a few friends and family to share their commitment to each other. They walked in together–Kanani in the most beautifully breathtaking dress I’ve ever seen…a Victorian style with a high ruffled collar, long full sleeves and cuffs with tons of buttons. A beautifully detailed bodice. It was not your traditional white, but was a stunning vibrant red. I loved it! Aric, dressed in a wonderfully tailored three-piece suit with a red tie along with his “dress running shoes”. The ceremony was short. They said their own vows to each other in a embraced whisper. This was so intimate, not caring if anyone else heard as they were meant only for each other. The minister and guests dabbed at teary eyes. There were no I do’s, no honor, cherish, obey and all that traditional verbiage. They had the ring ceremony and that was that. Ten or twelve people to witness, then on to a celebration dinner at one of Seattle’s finest restaurants–The London Plane. where they served an incredible seven-course meal with wine. Fifty friends, co-workers, bosses and family attended. There was no usual wedding cake (few people like it anyway), no bouquet or garter tossing, just a happy, joyous celebration of love.

Characteristically, Aric and Kanani went on their honeymoon BEFORE the wedding. They came across a special event in London at the Museum of Natural History and they, along with 200 others, were given the run of the entire museum for the night where they slept at the feet of giant dinosaur bones. They spent the two weeks before the wedding traveling through the British Isles unencumbered by looming wedding plans. All had been taken care of. There wasn’t a lot of hoopla. Like I said, it was the perfect wedding!

Aric West and Kanani Kemp on their wedding day.

One of THOSE days…

As many of you know I sew A LOT! When I’m not dancing hula or line dancing, I’m in my little sewing studio answering the requests of Mainland halau for skirts, blouses, bloomers, garment bags, etc. There are times though when I have all my projects done, all mailed out and I’m able to do other fun things. So, when three of my line dancing friends asked if I would like to take a “Serger Class” at the local fabric store I jumped at the chance. I have a really nice serger for finishing off the seams of the many garments I make, but I bought the demo model and didn’t receive any information on it so I have sort of muddled through learning all it can do. When I got to class I was told we were making an apron using the serger. It happened to be the exact model I had. Whoo-hoo, this brought me back to 8th grade home economics class. I don’t remember making an apron then, but it certainly was the kind of project we would’ve had.

I’m an extremely messy eater so I thought the apron could double as a “bib”. Every one else put the pocket low on their apron but I put mine high, so I could pull it open a little and collect all the goodies I manage to drop down the front of all my clothes. I mean, I am famous among my friends! I enjoy food, have a great appetite, never take or order more than I can eat and I always clean my plate. So, I made all the fancy stitching around the pocket and around the edges of the apron and the last thing to do was to add the straps. I sewed on the neck strap without twisting it in the back, sewed on both the waist straps, but when I went to put it on, I couldn’t find one of the waist straps. Had I forgotten to sew it on? Was I imagining I had sewn it on? It had been a long weekend catching up on projects before leaving for the Mainland. I was a little tired, but not THAT tired. Then, I realized what I had done. Not paying close attention, I had grabbed the corner to sew on the strap, but the corner I picked was on the bottom below the one strap in the right place. I just went, in a very loud voice, Oh No! Which, of course, cause all the ten other classmates to look at me. We all started to laughed and since the camera cell phone is always available everyone had a camera and I was the focus of attention for the next ten minutes modeling my crazy apron with two straps on one side, one of which was dragging on the ground. I think I will actually make it into the weekly newsletter.

I’m sure we all have those days when things don’t go quite as planned. I took the apron home and fixed it in just a few minutes, but it will provide a great laugh for some time to come.

Oh, No.


As many of you know I have an online Etsy shop called Sew Me Hawaii. And though I started this blog to promote my shop, it took off with a mind of its own. Unfortunately, my shop has kept me so busy that the blog has suffered. I want to thank those that have hung in with me through all my writing absences.

This past couple of months has been a blur of activity! Not only have I been sewing for those participating in the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival performances, many of the Mainland halau are gearing up for their Spring Fests, May Day Programs, etc. So, Iʻve been locked in my “sewing studio” for hours on end. However, Merrie Monarch is now over and maybe things will get back to normal. I do love this week of hula. I try to go to as many of the performances as possible. I did have the opportunity to dance with my group in downtown Hilo, at the Moʻuhea Bandstand for the visitors who are in town. We had 14 mele in an hour…whew! That was a lot of hula to remember! But, it was fun. The audience was very receptive.

We also had a performance at the Life Care Center where this photo was taken (Iʻm on the far left). We dressed for spring. Our downtown performance was in our beautiful costumes, but I donʻt seem to have any photos. Maybe next time.

Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is always an inspiration for any hula dancer whether it be the competition performances or the many displays of hula all around town. One particular performance stood out for me. A halau was dancing on the lawn of the Grand Naniloa Hotel and they danced to Ka Lehua i Milia. It is a beautiful mele and brought back memories of when I danced on this same lawn doing a solo to this same song, many years ago. Later, at home, I started to remember the choreography of long ago and have now reprised it for maybe a future performance. My own halau competed this year and were amazing. My Kumu Hula is so creative and the hula is like no other. We seldom win, as the judges prefer the traditional hula, but Uncle Johnny doesnʻt seem to mind, he just loves sharing his manaʻo. The halau will assuredly be show on YouTube. Just look up Johhny Lum Ho Merrie Monarch 2018. It is worth the effort to find!

Now that MM is pau, I will be concentrating on my other future performance in line-dancing. Iʻve added another class, intermediate-advanced so now Iʻm line dancing 3 times a week and hula 2 times, both on one day, so I still have Wednesdays free! We are going to Oʻahu in June so are practicing our two display dances as well as the 60 other group dances. This is always fun. One of our dances is a hip-hop style and the other is a nightclub style. We will be in costume so I will try and get photos of that.

Well, Iʻve still got work to do, so Iʻm off. Keep on keepinʻ on.

Dancing My Way Through Life and Other Fun…

These past few months have been way too busy for me. I had three large orders in a row, each with a performance deadline, so my stress level seemed to stay up in the sky for some time. And, to top it off I added an intermediate/advance line-dance class to my already full menu of dance–twice a week hula, thrice a week line-dance. I’ve also had some extra practices for hula performances.

Last Wednesday we danced for the elders at the Life Care Center. We’ve been invited to dance there once a month to give the residents a little something extra in their day. It’s always fun and they are so appreciative. This time I was asked if I would like to dance a solo. This is something I don’t normally do and I think other than my uniki to alaka’i many many years ago, it was my first time. I chose a beautiful song I had learned when on Maui. On Monday, at practice, the downloaded music played and after the first verse all of a sudden a verse I had never heard before came on. Yikes! We had danced to a different artist on Maui. The one I had described wasn’t available, so in a couple of days I had to choreograph the new verse, learn it, and then REMEMBER it, all of which I managed to do. All in all my performance went very well. I can’t say that for some of the other dances. One dance I do with one other girl didn’t quite have the beginning we had hoped for. We’ve always had troubled deciding when to start She has always relied on me to hear the subtle differences…but I didnʻt this time. While the first verse started, without our usual vamp, we stood facing each other trying to decide how to get started. We finally, after a few false starts got it together and as our hālau members cheered we finished the dance. Then a couple of mele later we were dancing a fun Tahitian number. I knew the third verse well, but as I looked down the line, the other front row girls obviously didnʻt and were doing movements all out of order. In order for me to look like I didnʻt know what I was doing, I sort of followed their lead until we all got back on track. Itʻs a good thing most of the audience had no idea and this dance was followed up by another soloist who just charmed them back into attention.

Yesterday was a full day. I marched in the Women’s March and was so proud of Hilo and such a marvelous turn-out. Then I went to a wonderful Ho’ike (fundraising show) for a local hālau. The program line up was spectacular, the prizes for the many drawings were equally spectacular and the whole program moved along without any delays, beginning and ending on time. This is relatively new in Hilo as we run on “Aloha Time”. I followed this fun activity with line dancing at the Eagles clubhouse that evening where all my fellow line dancers made a big deal about my birthday which is actually tomorrow. I went to bed thoroughly tired, but sated. Today at church, I was sung to and then a friend took me out to lunch. Tomorrow another friend is taking me out to lunch, so I will have had three days of celebration! I may want to turn 73 again!


The Kahu of my church always has inspirational sermons, but todayʻs was both inspirational and thought-provoking. The sermon was about work and the expectations therein. He stressed the ethics of work that should include diligence, respect and sincerity. This is to say not prescribing in “fake it until you make it”.

The word sincere has Latin roots–sin meaning without and cere meaning wax–without wax?  He told the story of olden days when most pots, dishes, cups, etc. are made by hand by a potter. The potter works hard at his craft. He spends hours shaping a piece, smoothing and putting in the finishing touches. Then the piece is glazed and put into the kiln for firing. There were times, though, when a piece would come out with a crack. After putting in so much time and effort, sometimes the potter just fills the crack with wax, re-glazes and re-fires his pot. Although it would look perfect on the outside, the flaw was noticeable by the trained eye. This pot is not as strong as a complete, unblemished pot.

So, eventually pots that not only look perfect but are without wax  are stamped”sin cere” to distinguish them from those that are repaired with wax. It is a sincere pot. It is actually as good as it looks. There is no pretense. What you see is sincerely what you get. So, applying this to work in the modern world it means that you should be diligent and sincere in the workplace…not going in and sneaking off to spend time on our cellphone or taking a quick nap in the warehouse. It means if you are being paid for 8 hours of work, those hours will be spent DOING the work.

I know this applies to me. In the Hawaiian culture when you are, as for myself, sewing a pāʻū for a hula dancer, you want to put good mana into that skirt. You want to have good thoughts. You want to have respect for the garment. Sometimes when things aren’t going as planned, as in having to take out seams, etc. I have to think about the mana I’m putting into the pāʻū. If the thoughts are not good thoughts I generally take a break until the frustration or stress passes lest I pass this on to the dancer. I want to be diligent, respectful and sincere.