Yes this is pretty much how he responds to me when I want to talk to him

How do I find common ground with my  preteen grandson?  For that matter just finding common ground with any of my grand kids has left me wanting.

I don’t want to just be grandma, the old lady that always wants a hug and a kiss. Of course here in Hawaii that is a given. Regardless of age, you would not dare enter a room without giving your kupuna (elder) a hug and a kiss. That type of respect is ingrained from day one.

I want to communicate. I want to discuss, to ignite conversation and encourage my grandchildren to experience life beyond cell phones and games.

Two of my grandsons love photography.  One lives about 20 miles away and I rarely see him. The other, Nico, lives in the same house as I do. Our communication has been limited.  “What’s for dinner?”  “When are we leaving for school?”  “Why did you pick me up so early from school? I was still talking to my friends.”  And last, but certainly not least, “Good night grandma, I love you.”

So Nico gets a Camera for his 12th birthday. He no longer has to take photos with his phone, he now has a DSLR!

Here we go, the common ground! “How would you like to go on some adventures like when you were younger?” I ask him.  Quickly I add, “I mean we can go to different places to take photos.” So far, he has used his cell phone to take photos of buildings as he drives by, photos of feet, close-ups of his dog and things around the house. Fun photos I admit, but his area is limited.

To my great surprise he says, “Yes!”  I suggest a drive to Haleiwa, ( where else?), we can go in the evening and photograph the sunset.  The date is set and surprise again, he reminds me that morning about our plan.

As we get ready to leave he heads out with his camera bag. I start to tell him that I would rather he put his camera around his neck, and he pulls a face on me and starts to get grumpy.  So I let it go.

When we get in the car I tell him to let me know if there is something he wants to photograph along the way. Out comes his phone and before I know it he is deep into YouTube.


Unfortunately his phone arrives with him. Notice his camera is now around his neck. “Sort of late,”  I tell him as people will notice that we put his camera bag in the trunk. “Oh well,” I think to myself, live and learn.


I try to call him over to explain about the two Hawaiian flags. How  the Hawaiians were forced to take down their flag and put up the American flag. He is having none of it.


When we arrive at the beach he wants to know how long are we going to have to wait for the sun to set. I feel like he is the kid in the back seat of the car asking “are we are there yet?” I tell him, “Look around you.  The mountains are behind us and the clouds are setting on them. You can photograph that.” Too late, his phone is back in his hands.

P1010054At last he exchanges his phone for his camera and is starting to take photos. I think to myself had he been dressed all in white he would have blended right in with the windmill farm behind him.


The sun is setting quickly and I’m not sure if he is still taking photos but I don’t want to miss it. This view was worth the hassle, and I marvel at the fact that it is now past 7 pm and the weather is still nice enough to be out in the ocean swimming. I want to tell Nico to try to get some people in his photos but I push that out of my thoughts. He will do what he wants to do.

After the sun has gone down he shows me his photos of the sand, his name in the sand and photos of things around. I did see one really nice sunset photo but he was clicking through his images so quickly that I’m not sure.


I snap one last photo of the sun going down

P1010024I say goodby to the shack and beach where “Bay Watch” was filmed.

Maybe one day he will let me show him how to put his photos onto the computer so that we can see them together. I won’t hold my breath though.

As we head back home I resign myself to the fact that I have once again failed to communicate with him. “Nico, we don’t have to do this anymore I know you did not enjoy it.” But he surprises me and says he really did enjoy it and wants to do another adventure again. Wow! Communication at last.

He pulls out his phone and down the road we go.

Postman’s Holiday


Though I’m not giving tours today I’ve  come to the museum to view a special exhibit that will open to the public tomorrow. The above bird is part of that exhibit.

This is the oʻo. The few yellow feathers on him are the feathers used to make the capes that the Alii wore. (High chiefs)

The Hawaiians who collected the feathers could not kill the birds by order of the King. The bird became extinct because of all the insects and animals brought to the islands by explorers and industrialist such as the sugar and pineapple growers. 


This is a cape worn by the alli, Kalaniopuu. He was a warrior to recon with. He was also the uncle of Kamehameha. It was this cape that he gave to Captain Cook on Cooks third and last fatal vhoyage to Hawaii.  The yellow feathers came from such a bird as the oʻo above. 

  Along with the cape he gave the Captain the above mahiole . (Helmet) this was also made of feathers. The cape and helmet went back to England along with Cook’ body. It made its way to a few different museums where it came to rest in a museum in New Zealand. It is now on a long term lone to  the Bishop. 

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained


Wailua Sugar Mill



The road to Wailua

I went over to Wailua this week. I had to pick up dog food . I noticed  sign to a nursery. It was behind the sugar mill. So I thought I would explore it as I had been thinking about finding a nursery for some seeds.

IMG_4421Lokahi Nursery

It was just a small five-minute walk through from one end of the nursery to the other if you were counting time. But it was packed with roses, herbs and native plants.
A young girl was kneeling down working on some plants. She was the owner of the nursery and was a wealth of information.

What started out as curiosity for me turned out to be a shopping trip for a new rose, several herbs, a gardenia and pikake.(Jasmin)






I also picked up the above three herbs called Tulsi basil.They are of the Tulsi family but  I can’t remember what their individual names were.  I was told that they are very good tea herbs that are considered some of the best among health teas. Can’t hurt, so I am trying to grow them now.

If you would like, you can read about the herb here
The owner also offered to take a large cutting from my Aloha rose. ( the same rose cuttings that caddie ate. The cuttings  were just beginning to sprout.) she is going to  sprout them for me. I am so happy as I have never been successful after the caddie  incident.

I just love it when I find these unexpected places. It’s just a matter of taking a drive down the unknown path. Yes and I gain a lot.


Chinese New Year 2016 in Honolulu-The Year of The Monkey


I Had such a wonderful day in China Town today. It was the celebration of Chinese New Year. The year of the Monkey. My grandson Nico’s year.

It has been at least 40 years since I attended the last one. Same old, same old. “Oh I so want to go down and see the celebration” but I just always put it off.

Not this year. My family was going down and I was invited too so I went! Here is the proof in photos.

IMG_4308Some of my family



IMG_4251These three are my favorite. There were so many of these toys, tee shirts and food lining the streets. We strolled all morning and spent lots of money.

IMG_4315I could not figure out what this was and I had a hard time understanding the Chinese man’s accent. He was patient and kept repeating until I figured it out. Red Dates!

IMG_4301So hard to choose. All was freshly cooked and smelled so good.

IMG_4312One of my favorites. Char Siu. Bought to take home

IMG_4310Can you tell we are in China Town?

IMG_4316This is one of the most popular bakeries in China Town. You have to get to it early or this is what happens.

Odds and Ends Along the Way

chinese New Year 2016 - 60




chinese New Year 2016 - 62

A tip of the hat to my dear friend

chinese New Year 2016 - 61My daughter couldn’t resist all of the colorful cartoon items Inside the bookstore

IMG_4276At last what looked to be an authentic Item. When I went to check to see how much it was I was told it was being used by the fortune teller and not for sale. Sigh.

IMG_4300Guan Yin Goddess of Mercy. There is a wonderful blog that tells you all about her at

IMG_4282And what is Chinese New Years without a Lion Dance. Here the lion hesitates. Should he enter the smoke?

IMG_4285But then his companion catches up to him and says, don’t worry little buddy I’ve got your back

IMG_4283And little buddy feels brave and stands tall and into the smoke he goes

IMG_4264These are other members who also participate in making the lion dance. They all wait their turn as the dancers change out quite frequently

chinese New Year 2016 - 44Here you can see them changing out. Notice the woman with the blue arm sticking out towards the green lion. She is offering him money for good luck. This is also how the club makes their money.

IMG_4294Oh the lion is so happy to have been fed.

IMG_4274So my daughter feeds the lion too. We can all use a bit of luck.

IMG_0391And I can use all the luck I can get.

IMG_4333Then these little lions came along. I could not resist following them as they would stop and wag their tail end.

IMG_4339The little lion makes it up the stairs and heads to this woman who definitely wants good luck for her business. See all those red papers on her desk? She has been feeding many lions and she must be feeding them well as the lions don’t give those papers to just anyone.

IMG_4342And there he is giving her another good luck paper

IMG_4330And these are the little children who are dancing that lion. They start from a very,very young age.

So what a wonderful day I had. I loved the banging, drumming and all of the commotion. I watched the smiles on all of the old Chinese people’s faces and wondered just what memories were going through their minds. For me I loved seeing all the different nationalities co-mingling. I thought what a wonderful island this is that we all celebrate and enjoy each others differences. That is why I can honesty say “Hawaii No ka oi.” (Hawaii is the best)

I Can See Clearly Now That The Vog Is Gone

FullSizeRenderLos Angeles has smog and San Francisco has fog and Hawaii has vog. You are looking at a photo over looking Pearl Harbor. If you have really good eyesight you might even be able to see Diamond Head in the middle back part of the photo.

Vog is sulfur dioxide from the volcano that mixes with other gases and emits a type of pollution into the atmosphere. When the winds blow from the Big Island of Hawaii towards Oahu the above photo shows the results. People start complaining of headaches, sinus conditions and coughing.

IMG_1613Ah, but when the trade-winds come back they blow away all the vog and your eyes clear up, your headache goes away and you can see forever.

Tuesdays at Bishop Museum



My mind has become very dull. I need to challenge it. By dull, I mean giving children’s tours at Bishop museum has made me complacent. Giving adult tours always keeps me on my toes.

Fridays at Bishop have an abundance of docents and none want to give up their public tours. Not many want to do the children’s tours either. So when the museum re-opened their doors on Tuesdays I jumped at the chance. I knew I would once again be able to do regular adult, public tours.

After the museum had closed it’s doors on Tuesdays, for financial reasons, a way was found to once again welcome the public back that week day.

Kids aren’t my thing. As I had said my brain was starting to atrophy having to talk down to them. When I did get to substitute on Fridays and do adults I was finding I was having a hard time describing artifacts and culture in a more mature way.

Now having started in the last part of 2015 on Tuesdays I am once again researching and trying to switch my tours up to a more interesting subject to keep adults interested. I am not complaining. I love research but the funny thing is I’ve discovered I miss the kids. So starting the first of January we started booking them once again now on Tuesdays.

Guess who is able to do both children and adults? Me! With mixed feelings I have started back with the kids with the provision that I still get to do one public tour each week along with the kids. My brain is being challenged. I do realize now that it takes just as much work to keep the kids interested as it does adults.

Today on my children’s and adult tours I stopped to talk about the Hale Pili. I always ask the children what they think this particular Hale (house) was used for. You can read about it in this past post

Today with the adults it was interesting as they asked questions I was not prepared for.


It was a simple question and one that I could not answer. So I had to do research. Someone had asked me where did the adult children who married go when they needed their own houses. Hmmm. Well I knew families did stay together but just how?

What I found was they added on a hale or house in the compound where the parents lived with other families or they built a large Hale to accommodate everyone.  I found this quote from the book ” Arts and Crafts of Hawaii” on page 77,  amusing. “…some persons had no houses but lived on the hospitality of others,” and he refers to such person contemptuously as “o-kea-ili-mai (drift gravel) and “uni-pehiiole” (stone to throw at a rat).” Even back then they had the problems with unwanted guest.

On further research I found hales had one door. It was a very low door so that you had to crawl into the sleeping house. This had a purpose. When winds would blow it helped to keep them from wafting through the dwelling. Also in the middle of the sleeping hale was a small pit to keep a fire burning throughout the night. Though it helped to heat the area its main purpose was to keep spirits that roamed during the night out of the house.

There were many common areas too that everyone shared so it was just a matter of one or two houses being needed for sleeping. Cooking was done by the men, women ate together with the very young children in their own hale, and men ate together in theirs. They had hales for fishing equipment, working on household items such as kapa, baskets and mats.

I never thought about this but it makes sense. They did not have problems with bugs or pest coming into the sleeping hale at night because they did not have any. It was not until the Europeans and whalers started to arrive bringing pest and illnesses with them.

The larger introduced animals also meant big problems as they started to eat the grass off of the Hawaiian’s dwellings! They also ate the grasses and leaves used to make the hales. It gave new meaning to being eaten out of house and home.

I am so happy to be back to the public tours and having this one simple question has given me much to add to my bag of tricks so to speak. I know the kids will really enjoy hearing about the cows eating the houses. Oh those kids they laugh at the darnedest things.

Information about the Hales comes from the book “Hawaiian Culture”page 198-201

Be Careful What You Wish For

I’m getting old! I want to totally retire. Cutting down Bamboo, taking a pick to the yard  and dragging green waste from back to the front of the house made my knee swell.

As I would sit in the house no longer able to stand I would think, wouldn’t it be nice to lay in a hospital bed recovering from something or another and just read and knit?

Now don’t tell me there aren’t some of you out there who have not wished for the same thing. Yes, laying in a bed having my breakfast brought to me and watching what ever crummy program was on TV while knitting a pair of socks appealed to me.

Well finely I got it! At the beginning of 2015 my knee got so bad I could hardly do the museum tours anymore and could not stand longer than a few minutes. And guess what? Joy of joys my doctor said it was time to replace my knee.

The appointment for the surgery was made I packed my book and knitting and off I went to the hospital. I was not worried, not apprehensive just smiling. I could not wait for the 3 days in the hospital to just relax and kick back. Well maybe not kick back as my knee might not be able to do that for awhile but relax for sure.

Waking up from surgery I was up and walking within a few hours. Oh the doctor was pleased and so was I because the pain was tolerable and I thought, “Oh this is going to be a breeze.” In fact I must admit there never was really any pain other then stiffness and swelling.

But it seemed every half hour they were shoving pills in me and then I started getting so sick I could not function. Oh but I could walk with the aid of the walker and the therapists were ecstatic. The reading went out the window and it was too uncomfortable to even pick up my knitting needles. So much for a pleasant rest.

What in the world was I thinking. I was having major surgery and if I was going to have to be in the hospital there was a reason. Definitely not to vacation.

Well it seemed the doctor was so pleased with the ability I had to walk so well that he sent me home in two days. But I’m sick I told the nurse I feel horrible. She just sat stoically and made out a list of pills I was to take for pain (that I was not having)to take me with me upon discharge.

So this is in March. I was bound to my bed for six weeks. Sleep was non-existent and I could barely eat a piece of fruit. I was so sick. But no pain mind you. After a couple of trips to emergency and never figuring out why I was so sick the last thing I was going to do was write in my blog. So that was my life knitting and reading. Ha! Tis to laugh.

By August I was finely able to get into my car without pain when I bent my knee. I could finely sit at Starbucks without the cold a/c locking up my fake knee, and I was no longer sick. To tell the truth though I was glad enough to leave Starbucks as the place is so uncomfortable. But my friends wanted to meet there so I tried.

IMG_2280The swelling in my knee finely went down this month. I can now do a squat and am able to go up and down stairs with no pain. Best of all I can give 3 hour tours without having to sit down every half hour.


This was the view from my upstairs bedroom window day and evening


The field was just 3 houses up the street from our house. I just loved it. But because of my knee I had since moved down stairs and my view now is of the house next door. Yeah, blocking the air and nothing to look at.

To continue on with my year. It’s now June. I’m doing dishes and my grandson comes in the house and tells me to go out and look at field and mountain. “Not now Nico. I’m busy.”

Then I smell smoke. Nico neglected to tell me one thing.

IMG_3118The Hill was on Fire!!!

Three houses away the fire was heading down towards our block. My daughters brother in law is on the roof of the house with a hose trying to hose down the weeds of the the house that belonged to a widow and her girls. They were not even home.

IMG_3116The firemen turn on the hydrant in front of our house as the fire draws nearer.

My daughter and I are in the house fighting with the four dogs trying to get their leashes on them as they are going nuts. I’m not much help because my leg is still stiff and sore and I can’t bend to get them to get their collars on. Finely we get them taken care of  and in the car. We manage to get any important papers and prepare to evacuate.

IMG_3117Though the fire looks to be raging they are actually getting it contained. Through the night the firemen worked on spontaneous flair ups but these wonderful guys got it all under control. Our house smelled like a burnt out log for days. That was OK it was better then it BEING a burnt out log.

Now  it’s August and my knee and therapy are in control. I’m fine, so my Eye doctor said I was well enough to have my cataracts removed. So one eye was done in August and the next in September. I was not able to be fitted for glasses until December so Reading was not all that easy. But oh the world was so much brighter.


So here it is January 2016 and I’m hoping for a much, much quieter year. Also to be more regular with my blogs. I’ve decided to make them much shorter as I tend to blab on to much but make them a little more frequent. I hope that your new year will be a good one and remember, be careful what you wish for or you just may end up like me.