Does Hawaii Have a Winter?

246772_2038314394142_3246539_nWith my raincoat and rain boots I was one happy kid on a winter day. The above house where I lived as a young girl in Daly City California was usually shrouded in fog. On a winter’s day which seemed to be all year-long I would dash out the door on my way to General Pershing Elementary and immediately jump into the gutter where the water was over flowing the curb.

I was a smart kid because I knew that the water would go into my boots and soak my socks and shoes. Why was that smart you may ask? I hated school and I knew that the teacher would see how wet I was and therefore sit me in the hallway on a bench with a heater under it.

Smiling, I would sit and miss a good hour of class. That was my winter in California.

IMAG0055This is my winter where I live in Hawaii. signs of winter? Well you can see there are not too many people on the beach in Waikiki. Who in their right mind would want to swim in 68 degree temperatures? You’ll notice that most of the people still have tee shirts over their bathing suits.Of course it is still early morning.

IMG_3104No leaves on the plumeria is a sure sign of winter. Oh, and you will notice there are gray skies above. But the plumeria seems to be the only tree that looses its leaves this time of year. Remember in Hawaii it’s a jungle out there.

DSCN0725Then there is this wall of orange flowers that has bloomed in the late fall. Pretty apropos since Halloween is just around the corner when you see this in bloom.

IMG_0696

How did the ancient Hawaiians recognize winter? It was during this time that the Makahiki season began. The above symbol for the god Lono would be carried around the island and offerings were collected. When this was finished the official season would begin.

The Hawaiians knew this season by the rising of the constellation Makalii or Pleiades and they would put away all intentions of war and would play games. Games that would demonstrate ones skills such as throwing spears, or slings among other things. These would sharpen their ability to fight during a war.

Of course this being winter, the ocean would be to rough to paddle canoes to carry warriors to battle so this all made sense.

DSCN2282

 

Navigating the long lines headed out to the North Shore  I see many signs of winter. Someone must have piled their stones to ask for big surf or maybe their work of art. In ancient times it was not unusual to see pohaku ( stones) piled or placed around a dwelling as the Hawaiians believed that stones could have mana or power.

DSCN2269But a dead sure sign of winter is this sign. I never get tired of looking at the waves. They are magnificent. Unfortunately I did not have my good camera with me and did not get any shots. I was having trouble looking into the viewer on my pocket camera and was lucky I even got these shots. Lessen here is never leave home without my Cannon.

DSCN2280                                    50 foot waves and higher are the surest signs of winter and that brings out all the surfers…..

1044422_10203000667967669_41725385_n                                     Gotta catch that wave.

DSCN2272                                                                                           and sightseers.

So you see, we do have winter in Hawaii. Ah it’s a bitter season but someone has to endure it. Never need my rain coat and boots anymore. Even if I had them it is too hot to use those rainy day items. What can I say. Lucky I live Hawaii.

Mau Kau Kau (Are You Ready?)

It’s Friday morning and I call my friend, Yvonne. “OK the paper says that “Saving Mr. Banks” is playing at 10:30 at Kahala Mall. So let’s make it for Sunday, that way there will be even less traffic for me to drive in.” Yvonne lives in Waikiki so she is close to the theaters. “We can watch the move and then go get some lunch” I add.

Yvonne thinks that sounds good and I think I’m pretty smart because if I go into town at that time and on that day I will save myself a lot of stress driving.

Sunday arrives, I zoom into town and I pick her up and we are at the ticket office by 10 AM. I get my ticket. Yvonne puts her money down and for some reason the woman who is selling the tickets ask Yvonne, “Do you want the 1:00 PM show. She never asked me that she just gave me my ticket. We both say “No!”

I look at my ticket and notice mine says 1PM. “We want the 10:30 show the one that was in the Friday paper.” Ohʻ she says. The schedule changes on Sundays.

“Oh no!” I’m going to be stuck in traffic. Yvonne this is the absolute last time you will see me. If you don’t take the bus out my way I’m just not coming into town! And so my day begins. Full blown curmudgeon. I’m here, I want to see the movie, I have no choice. I jam my ticket into my wallet and try to calm down.

So we decide to walk through the mall and stall for time and take in an early lunch. So we start our stroll with plenty of time to kill.

DSCN2235In the middle of the mall there is a crowd waiting for something to start on the stage

DSCN2209

The people were waiting for these little girls.  I whip out my not so trusty pocket camera and try to focus. For some reason I can’t get a clear photo. Trust me these blurry little faces were adorable.

DSCN2210Here again as in my last blog these children who are getting ready to perform on stage in front of dozens of people are so calm and can think of nothing else but what is going on with their wrist.

DSCN2230Well one of them is paying attention and is standing ready at the stage. But where are the others?

DSCN2213They are laughing and enjoying themselves in line. No longer examining their hands they start to form some sort of line with their little ukuleles held tight. Still they are calm and collected.

DSCN2226At last they stand by the stage. Mommy makes last-minute adjustments.

DSCN2221

DSCN2224They watch as their kupuna (elders) finish their performance

DSCN2227And now it is time for their little bare feet to step upon the stage and warm the hearts of all those friends, families  and shoppers.

DSCN2228Another Mommy makes another last-minute adjustment and…DSCN2234Mau Kau Kau?DSCN2215Ai (yes). There little bodies move, maybe not in unison but they dance their little hearts out. Who knows. Maybe the next “Little Miss Keiki Hula is in this halau.

Now I have to admit, I truly enjoyed this. I went to have lunch with my best friend we looked in stores and I found a few things I needed. We then enjoyed watching the story of the making of Mary Poppins even though it made me feel like crying remembering how much I loved Walt Disney, the man not the studio. As a child I was ever hoping that I would see him one day at Disneyland. But alas when he died my dreams were shattered.

Then it was time to go home. To drive in what I knew was going to be a mess of traffic. How did I know? Because I’m a know it all. And as they say “mau kau kau?”  for the traffic? Aʻole (no.) And was there traffic? Aʻole. But am I going to go back? Not anytime soon.

Hey Kids Let’s Go Ride a Horse. Equine 808

IMG_0331

The sharp crevices cut into the mountain range where I live has been a topic of a few of my blogs. The range  shelters the sun as it sets into the west leaving me staring from my window as it turns gold, orange, mauve and colors I can’t even identify.

DSCN0088

The range follows me as I drive up the long road to the north shore. It is shrouded either in clouds, rain or bright blue skies.

DSCN1128

Why the mountain range even gives a beautiful backdrop to my nemesis Monsanto as they plant all their Frankinseed crops.

family

family

This mountain is a ceaseless source of beauty for me and I’ve turned into it many a time to go to my post office or the nursery where I buy vegetables and plants

DSCN0113

There has been many a time when I’ve traveled up Kunia Road and I’ve seen this sign. But I’ve never turned in to see what it was all about until one day at my grandson’s school a couple whose child went to the same school invited anyone who would like to come and visit there and see what they were about. So I did.

DSCN0119

Turning into the mountain I watched the farmer working his field and wondered. His crops were planted within a stones throw of Monsanto’s fields.

DSCN0118

 

DSCN0092

Looking down from the mountain range into the fields for the horses and onto the farms and Monsanto. Off into the distance you can see Diamond Head just past Pearl Harbor. Not only was the mountain range beautiful to look up to but just as beautiful to look down from.

DSCN0091This was the road we traveled on to get up to the horses. When I got home the car was a totally different color. Talk about mad woman washing. I sure didn’t want my daughter to see the car and ask where I had been. She does not like my trips off the beaten path. Not to mention the beaten car.

DSCN0099

Here is one of the friendly faces that greeted us.

 

 

DSCN0100

This little guy was the companion of the above horse I believe. Not only do they rescue horses but there is a large population of Donkeys and mules that are also rescued on the islands.

DSCN0111

These guys have a great view of the mountain range too. Lucky stiffs.

DSCN0112And another view

DSCN0097I poked my head in everywhere. This tack room looked like a work of art to me

DSCN0106My main reason for going up into this mountain to check out these rescued horses was to try to interest my grandson in horseback riding. One of the ways that this foundation earns money is by giving riding lessons. Now what kid doesn’t like horses? Actually I think the question should be, what grandmother does not realize that not everyone is like her? Oh well. This is where the kids wanted to stay. Looking at the goats. None of them wanted to go near the horses. But at least I got to take a closer look into my beloved mountain range and pet a few horses into the bargain too.

 

Niihau Shell Lei, a Little Bit of This and That

 

IMG_1551

 

From the small little island of Niihau, 18 miles long and 3-6 miles wide, comes the small little shell, columbella varians sowerly, or more commonly known as the Niihau shell. How small you ask? Well in the above photo of a lei made from a variety of this shell you can count 7,000 of them!

And like the shell, Niihau is small but unique. Niihau was purchased in 1864 from King Kamehameha the IV for $10,000. Imagine owning your own little island at that price today. The Sinclair family bought it to start-up ranching. The native Hawaiians lived and worked there but no other people were allowed to visit or take up residence. It became known as the Forbidden Island. Through the years the island came into the hands of two brothers, the Robinson’s, who were descendents of the Sinclair’s.

The island being isolated for many years meant that the Hawaiian language and culture were in many ways preserved. The Hawaiians were employed by the Robinson’s and provided with places to live.

I had heard people say how there were no modern conveniences and that the only entertainment they had was a radio. I’m not sure how they lived as I never met anyone who had managed to get on to the island. Only friends or relatives of the residents there could visit. But in my research I was fascinated to find that their was a school for the kids that was supported totally with solar power that allowed the children to use computers. Now that seems modern to me.

Alas in 1999 the family had to shut down the ranching. That left residence with very little employment. Now there is said to be maybe 70 Hawaiians living there and during the summer when they go to visit relatives on nearby Kauai, there are as little as 30 left on the island.

The Niihau shell lei which can sell for more than $10,000 is considered now to be the prime source of earning an income on the island. Unfortunately with all of the people moving away there are very few left to collect these microscopic shells. This means that there are very few people who are carrying on the art of making the lei and there are few skilled artisans to make and pass on the craft.

Once a piece of art that you could buy for five dollars on the street may become a thing of the past. But for now the leis are still available and still quite popular. Here are some photos from the current exhibit at Bishop Museum. I’ve also included some sites where I have gotten some of my information from. You can check them out at the end of the photos.

 

 

IMG_1536

 

IMG_1537

Niihau shell drapes.  From the late 1800′s to early 1900′s. It would have been used to decorate a doorway or display over a mantle.

IMG_1543

 

IMG_1544

 

IMG_1546

 

IMG_1548

IMG_1531

 

IMG_1550

 

 

http://www.islandbreath.org/2005Year/a05-19-farming/0519-03robinsonlegacy.html

http://niihauheritage.org/niihau_today.htm

http://www.niihauheritage.org/niihau_history.htm

Hula And the Family, Hula Oni E 2013

IMG_2011Youngsters really, step onto the stage, but when the chant begins you become enthralled. So confident, graceful and thrilling. As I watch ,I admire the ability to step onto a platform and perform as though they were born dancing. The leis, hakus and costumes can take time and money.

Pain and hours and hours of practice is all behind them now as they immerse themselves into the past.

It is time for the Hula Oni e competition 2013 at the Hilton Hawaiian resort.

IMG_2281They aren’t just beautiful and graceful, they ARE the hula. In deep concentration, aware of every move, the face betrays none of this but relaxes as it tells the story.

IMG_1923My grandson has been dancing for about 3 years now and enjoys every step he makes. He has poise and confidence and executes his moves perfectly.

When his and other  performances are done  pockets of  audience disappear. We’ve managed to get our photos. I’ve managed to get back up with my camera from my kneeling position without falling over. I join the exodus. The families, excited, file out the doors and down the hall to greet and hug their kids and add their, “job well done.”

In the past I’ve tried to show some of the behind the scenes as well as types of performances watched. But this year seemed different. As families and friends we have come together now for a few years to watch. In doing so we’ve grown more and more involved as we see the kids mature and grow in their art.

So I thought I would share the love and pride that is shown among families and friends back stage. There are also a few behind the scenes shots that I thought were colorful.

IMG_2124

While waiting to perform these two boys kept each other entertained. “I’ll take a photo of  you then……IMG_2123you take a photo of me.”

IMG_2256

completely dressed to perform but keeping warm while they wait.

IMG_2131

These girls might have been from Japan as groups do come over from there to compete. They are concentrating on something. It might not even be performance related

IMG_2018

These young girls were adorable. They may even be related. But they were all dressed up and waiting and family started to take photos so I did too.

IMG_2014

I took a photo of these two as no one had a camera so I photographed them for one of the relatives and emailed it to them.

IMG_2135

This guy was relaxing with a cool drink of water and wearing his socks. I love photos that are so out of context. It remind me of the admonition that entertainers are no different than us because they have to put their pants on one leg at a time. :-)

IMG_2138Then when I went back into the auditorium to watch more hula here was the guy who was drinking water. He got up their as cool as could be and gave a powerful, solo performance.IMG_2251

This guy was posing and having a lot of fun while waiting to go on

 

IMG_2364

The kids are close in each halau as close as family and they gravitate to each other after their performances.

IMG_2335

The grandparents grab the kids making sure to get their photos together.IMG_2318

These two siblings compete in the hula and with each other.IMG_2314

Mom and auntie’s turn to poseIMG_2309

 

Grandma has something special  for her girl.( I just love how beautiful and long  Kili’s hair is gettingIMG_2023Proud fatherIMG_2079

By now the kids are getting tired and want to be with their friends but wait. There are more grandparentsIMG_2043

 

And Dad wants a photo with his sonIMG_2030

Mom is back again with both kids nowIMG_2239

And even the mentor who helped my grandson to stay on track throughout the competition steps inIMG_2247

and though my grandson has on his hat and is ready to make it he has still more family that wants those photos.IMG_2234And last but not least I manage to get  into one shot, all washed out from running around trying to take everyone’s photo.

but that’s what family is about and we support the kids in their endeavors. But families here in Hawaii extend beyond blood.IMG_2075

 

The most important family in hula life is the Kumu. You can see the admiration for kumu Snowbird on Kili’s face.IMG_2049

And of course there are the hula sistersIMG_2227And the hula brothers.IMG_2353

And the very touching love of friends.

I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough. What touched me most about living in Hawaii is how much children are loved. They, are to be seen, and they, are to be heard.

Time to give up Driving

IMG_1257

Just leave me in a coffee shop and come back and get me at the end of the day. I’ll be safer that way

I came out of the store this morning and walked to my car. It wasn’t there! Did I park it in that spot? Clicking the panic button didn’t get me any reaction. I’m getting so old I thought I might have parked it somewhere else. But my mind insisted, no it was on the store side of the parking. Click, click, click. But no alarm sounded back.

I went into the restaurant that fronted the parking to ask the young man in there if he saw anyone fussing with a black ford. He responded with caring concern and walked out to the parking space. All the time I kept thinking, my computer is in the trunk. What is Chris going to do if I lose her car.

The young man patiently walked up and down also pressing the panic button and then the lock button but nothing. “Calm down, keep your cool and just keep looking,” I chanted to myself. But nowhere in site. Then the young man said to me “are you sure you parked it next to such and such store?”

I looked at the store next to where I parked my car and lo and behold the store had changed places with the one I had parked in front of.  I walked down to the store my car was parked in front of and yes, luckily when they changed the store they had changed my parking too. There sat the car. The bane of my existence. Crummy radio and all.

I think my driving days are numbered.

Four Equals One

My kids were up all night packing. When they left with tents, three mountain bikes and food a part of me went with them. Cadie.

Photo on 2013-01-12 at 13.20 #3

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you might know how I feel about my four dogs. I should say the family dogs but they sleep with me, eat what I put down for them and gather around me when ever I sit out in the patio. Do you see how Cadie  in the above photo is looking at me so admiringly? That is how she looks at me all day long as she follows me from room to room. She is a White Boxer

When ever I leave the house she shakes like a leaf when I leave her behind. Consequently I have a very hard time leaving to go anywhere because it breaks my heart that I have to leave them behind.

IMG_0719

Now if Cadie could only behave like this when I leave I might not have told the kids to take her camping with them. I needed a “heart-break.” I am going to a knitting lesson tonight and I know I will be gone for many hours and the thought of leaving her home locked up just tears me to pieces.

So off she went without so much as a good-by as my son-in-law whisked her away with his quiet departure. I quickly pushed down the emerging sadness as I thought “I didn’t even get to hug her.” But I said to myself “be happy you won’t have to feel guilty when you leave tonight.”

 

IMG_0766Now this is Ka Mea. A Pit Bull.  And this is how he appears in the morning when he greets my daughter and I. He actually talks to us in long sing-song sounds. He is a happy little guy and when I leave he is just fine. He goes to his crate and settles in like a clam. No problem. He is Caddie’s pal and partner in crime if someone forgets to lock them up before they leave the house.

Many a time I’ve come home to my books and Nico’s books torn from the shelves and totally chewed up. I used to leave them in the yard until one day I came home to a snow storm. They had torn open all my yard furniture pillows and both sat at the sliding door looking at me with grins on their faces.

6689_1168430500950_1533576266_448836_2596211_nThis is what Max looked like when my kids first rescued him from the Humane society. He is a Polish Low Land Sheep Dog.His tail never lifted for the longest time and he walked sadly next to me when I took him out. But at least he was easy to walk.

DSC_0067_2This is “Mad” Max now. When we go for walks he pulls me down the street and his tale looks like Captain Feather Swords, sword. As Cadie and Max go whizzing by him he growls and grumbles. He pushes to be the first out to the yard. He barks at everything and everyone as they go by or don’t go by. He just loves to grumble. Cadie and he both stalk me. I have to make sure that I don’t give Max more attention then Cadie or it results in a big fight.

See that long mustache. That was Ka Mea’s playground when He was a pup. He pulled every bit of it off hanging off Max’s mouth. And Max never bit him.

DSCN0870

And last but not least is Kylie.

Kylie is part Beagle and part Basset Hound. She she is a rescue also and really could be part anything. We were told of her wonderful virtues  when we decided to get her. She was housebroken (but not when it rains we found out. She pees on any and every area rug she can find) She doesn’t shed (when she is standing still) and she is a picky eater (If they meant picky as to what spot she is going to pick like the counter in the kitchen where she throws anything she can find down to the other dogs and then helps herself to the better foods. And we still can’t figure it out as to how she gets her short little legs up there as she is no higher than two feet.)

DSCN0332

And Kylie and Ka Mea were best buds. UNTIL… Cadie. This brings me back to the beginning. Cadie became the toy hog, the pillow hog, and the dog hog. Ka Mea being the youngest loves to play and so does Cadie and Kylie. But Cadie won’t let Kylie play. I guess you can say she is the school yard bully. So Kylie has devised a way to get even with Ka Mea for dropping their friend ship.

When Ka Mea is all snugly in his crate rolled up into his pillow and Cadie is no where around. Kylie will stand in front of the cage and lean down on her two front paws in play position and bark a come out and play bark. Inevitably, Ka Mea will get out of the cage and prance and do his happy dance and Kylie will quickly go around him and run into Ka Mea’s cage and lay down on his pillow and go to sleep.

So those are the four. One is now camping and as I go into the house the three are not the same. Mea has been pacing and Max doesn’t seem to care that I’m not with him and Kylie? well she’s just Kylie. But as for me, how in the world did I ever think it would be a break for me if she went overnight with the kids? Three is not better than four. Would 3 limbs be better than four? Would  Three of my grand kids be better than the four? For that fact would 3 Hagen Daz Bars be better than a whole quart? Wait that’s not supposed to be on my mind.

No, I want my arms and legs in total. I want all my family together and without Cadie my pack is not complete. Oh well she will be home tomorrow.

And if you would like to see where the kids are dirt biking tonight here is a link to Kualoa Ranch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1dPL5vbDMg