Tuesdays at Bishop Museum

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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 https://kareninhonolulu.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=524&action=edit

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Cooking from the garden

  

I’m watching Venetia in Tokyo.  I love this program. Actually it is Venetia at home. Today she is showing how to cook lemon verbena chicken now I need to go by the
plant.

I’ve been so busy knitting and sewing that I have totally neglected the garden but this is a good push for me
First she cooks the chicken skinless inside of a wok filled with two bars of butter. I can’t remember what you call that. 
First she cooks the chicken skinless inside of a wok filled with two bars of butter. Can’t remember what you call that,anyway, she coats the chicken with salt and pepper and flour and puts it into the wok and cooks it until its Golden brown on both sides. After it’s cooked she empties the butter out of the pan and then put in some lemon juice and lemon verbena covers it and lets steam for about a minute and that’s it I have got to go get the lemon,a wok and lemon balm.

  So what has been happening with my family. I went to a hula competition that my children were in well two of my grandchildren.

The photo above was taken at the Hula Oni e. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you might have seen other photos of them. Well they’re growing up pretty quick. 

The competition is so beautiful but my favorite part is when they dance the Kahiko. These are the old historical dances. 

 
The above photo is my grandsons he is second to the left. They took first place in their division. 

NowI’m getting ready for Halloween and I’m starting on some Allen Dart patterns. These are little hamsters dressed up for Halloween I’ve got two done and three to go.  

   
  

When They Call, You Must Go

This is an experience I had years back when Hawaiian Hall at Bishop Museum was undergoing restoration. I love these experiences and enjoy sharing them. I hope you enjoy it too.

 

The sun was out, and the whole Koolau range was in view. Sun and blue skies equal no people at the museum. As I stood in the main entrance a few people passed into the Kahili room. Maybe a couple viewed the art in the vestibule.

In the quiet I heard someone singing. Now you have to remember that lots of people have had ghostly experiences in this hall and I was not sure what I heard. But the sound was definitely there. Then it became muffled. I didn’t want to trudge up the two flights of stairs to check what was going on. The only people who had ventured to the upper exhibit area was a very pleasant Hawaiian couple.
But I still heard the singing and it was coming from above. I called over to security and told them to look into their cameras to see if someone was singing in the photo gallery.
“Yeah, someone is, let me get one of the security over there.”
Now I could hear the singing clearer and it sounded like chanting. The young guard came through the main doors and headed up the stairs. Soon the chanting became louder and I was curious. So I ascended the stairs also.
The doors to the exhibit hall had been closed and now one was ajar. I knew that they were supposed to be opened. I entered and saw the guard talking to the male of the Hawaiian Couple. The woman was in a corner, arms raised in supplication, moving gracefully,chanting. I approached the guard who was now in a mildly heated conversation.
The Hawaiian man was being told that he could not be chanting or singing or doing anything in the museum without permission and that they had to leave.
In the past there have been demonstrations and even artifacts have disappeared and the guard was worried that this could be some kind of demonstration. The gentleman was stating that the things of the museum were part of his ancestry and he gestured around the room.
The woman was still chanting as the discussion went on and then the security received a call from the office asking what was status of the situation. He stated that a woman and man were singing and he was trying to get them to leave.
I on the other hand saw that they were chanting as I had seen many times before in the museum. I did not feel that they were protesters but that they were paying their respects. Although other chanters always requested permission before doing so.
After a time the woman finished and came over to us and started speaking Hawaiian. I only understood a word here and there but, really, had no idea what she was saying. When all was said and done it was explained that she had come to say a prayer or a pule. At least that is what I think she said.
They were from the island of Hawaii. The woman said that she had been called by the spirits of her Kupuna or ancestors. They had been appealing to her to please come to the museum as they were being neglected and hid away. She said that she came to reassure them and to honor them and help them to be at peace. Now she is telling me this in half English and half Hawaiian so I am not sure that I got it all correct. I just knew that maybe my boss, Kealoha, would arrive soon as he would know how to interact.
Really the chanting was beautiful and she was graceful and kind. And I guess when it comes to the Hawaiian culture my heart goes out to that community for all the suffering that has taken place in the past. I knew that once Kealoha arrived  he would make it all well.
I mentioned that though nothing was wrong with chanting and that what she was doing was fine they just needed to make arrangements and then I explained to her why the room that she was in was so changed. She was upset at seeing all of the artifacts, that were once in the room, were gone and it was now just paintings. She felt that was why she was being called. I told her that the room had been restored to its original condition like it was when the Museum opened in 1898.
I told her that many things were going to be different once all restoration was finished and that much more of the Hawaiian artifacts were going to be brought out that weren’t displayed before. She was very happy to hear that and asked if she could go on to the other exhibit areas. I said it was fine as long as she didn’t chant and that Kealoha would be in soon and she could talk to him.
As I got  back to the main floor many people had arrived and so I announced that I would be doing a tour and people began to gather. As I started to talk, Kealoha and the Hawaiian couple entered into the Kahili room. Soon sounds of chanting could be heard. All the heads turned. I explained what it was and let them listen for a while which they did with much appreciation.
As I was into the middle of my tour the coupled left and nodded as they headed out the door. I felt good, I believe the kupuna, also, felt good, and certainly the visitors enjoyed witnessing a bit of the Hawaiian culture. I love it when that happens.
The ancestors had called, they were heard and she answered.

It’s a Dogs Life

DSC_0063People pay thousands of dollars to visit Hawaii. Imagine their shock when approaching this Park  under the famous landmark, Diamond Head and being confronted by smatterings of tents with dirty feet protruding from the entrance of a one person domicile. Piles of black bags and bottles lean against the structures. This is the heart of Waikiki and of course these people, many who were in fact paid by their states to relocate here, are quite happy to have landed in, what is for them, paradise. The parks in this area have been cleaned up but still there are many who have moved on to the more local areas of the island. Even out to the outskirts to the bedroom communities.
Here in Hawaii we are having a tremendous problem with homeless. Many homeless come from the mainland as it is much easier to sleep in the warm weather on the beach then on a street in the freezing temperatures where they lived. I found this article I had written a while back that reminded me of the sad state of affairs society is facing and still, I don’t know the answer….
I was reading an article in the “Morning Honolulu Advertiser”
http;//the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/200i/mar/23/in/hawaii803230347.html
concerning stray dogs. It seems that the authorities have taken to rounding up all the pets that the homeless have been keeping while living on the beach. The photo in the paper showed a man and wife in their 70s at least. the photo was sad indeed.

I mentioned this to my daughter as I thought how low the officials were stooping . It wasn’t enough that these people did not have a place to live but now they were taking away a loved pet and much-needed protection. It was not so long ago when were reading about how people risked their lives to stay with their pets rather than evacuate and leave them behind as the New Orleans flood waters were rising.

Could Max have been one of the dogs that had been rounded up? Of course the Humane Society would say he was a stray. They would never say the dog was taken from his homeless masters as they were out helping friends, leaving them to feel that a member of their family had been kidnapped, as the homeless couple had stated.

Max was undernourished to be sure as his little skinny body showed. His fur was in dreadlocks. There were sores under his matted fur and he looked dull with his tail between his legs. But he immediately took to the family. He loved my little grandson right off the bat and he was so friendly. Not like most dogs who have been on their own so long. So I wondered.

My practical daughter pointed out that yes it was a very sad situation and it was upsetting but if I were to look at the bigger picture I would have to admit that if Max were one of the dogs, he was off to a very bad start and surely would not live that long in such a horrible condition. Now he is groomed, has picked up weight and has taken over my bed. Yes he is in a much better place.

But what about those homeless kupuna (http://www.calvin.edu/weblogs?/idisw20/january 14th/) ? The displaced and yes, even the derelicts who have no one to take them in or make sure that they received the proper medical care and nutrition?

Where have we as a society gone wrong that we sweep the beaches to take the dogs from the homeless to make sure that the dogs are taken care of and yet leave the humans to their own salvation? Yes there were other reasons that the animals needed to be removed but the bottom line seems that the animals are far better off. I don’t have a solution. I will have to think of a small way that I can do something but I can only say that somehow at this time and place in society, the human race seems to be going to the dogs.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Zoebird My Brittany Spaniel
A post from the past until I Post in the present.
The heading in my email from the dog treat site I subscribed to read “Baggens at Peace.” My heart sank. Before I even opened it visions for my Zoe started to emerge. I opened the mail and started to read. When I read where the writers dog had lain at her door, I saw Zoe. Her dog was dying and I knew every pain and emotion that she was going through and started to cry. 


Nico got worried, so quickly I dried my tears and got myself in order. Just then Max looked up at me and I felt the invisible tap on my shoulder. The whisper in my ear from nobody but yet I knew it was someone reminding me. “Max is only four but you can’t take him for granted.” 


I got off my chair and hugged him and ran my hands through his stiff, dusty fur. It had been a month since his last bath and worse yet two weeks since I’ve been able to walk him due to tendonitis in my foot. With his stinky paw  on my knee I told him, though it was late in the evening, he was getting a bath so that he could feel good again. 


That night he slept on my bed next to me. He smelled so good and felt even better. I was bound and determined to appreciate him even more. 


Tonight as I sat at my computer, frustrated, trying to figure out a program, Max put his paw on me. It was 8 PM and no one had walked him yet and since my daughter had hurt her knee and my son in law was complaining about his foot, I knew if Max was walked it was just going to be half a block. 


I tied on my shoes, loaded my phone into my pocket and grabbed my keys. Max knew the signs and was leaping like a lamb by the time I got to the door. I figured if I walked slow enough and let him sniff as much as he wanted it would suffice for not being able to walk at any length. 


We walked the half block to the park and he pulled me into it. I’ll let him take the lead, I thought, maybe he’ll do his business and head home. 


He walked, sniffed and peed from one end to the other. We made a full circle and then as we got back to the sidewalk, Max looked back at me. The wind blew and caught his fur just right. The fur covering his one eye lifted,and with that one eye, the look he gave me was as though he was saying, “can we go further?


 How could I not. 


Now were home. He’s laying at my feet, I’m eating a bowl of cereal watching “You’ve Got Mail” for the umpteenth time. Comfort food, a feel good movie and my companion next to me.


 For this moment everything is all right in my world.