Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jazz, a hardware store and a flash of humor

My friend Ralph and I were on our way to dance to the Jeff Gaeth Jazz Quartet at the Hilo Town Tavern yesterday when Ralph decided to stop by Home Depot. I stayed in the car thinking Ralph will be back soon.
Minutes passed and still no Ralph. I started getting antsy.  I couldn't wait to dance and we were already at least an hour late.
I decided to get out of the car and headed towards the entrance of Home Depot.
I realized after I had stepped into the store how cavernous it was. "How am I going to find anyone here," I thought.
I stopped walking and looked around. Not one of those in the checkout counters looked like Ralph.
Then without a second thought, I craned my neck high, opened my mouth and yelled at the top of my lungs: RAAAALLLLPPPH!!!
Deafeaning silence. Everyone stopped; many eyes on me.
I started walking out of the store  laughing  to myself. I didn't find Ralph and I didn't yell. But I was   grateful for  how my imagination worked to get me to relax, return to the car and practice the virtue of patience -- something my dad once said I very much need.

God is funny!

This was the flyer for the Jeff Gaeth Quartet's world-class performance yesterday. "Forgotten Reef," a track in "Portraits," the Quartet's latest CD release was voted #1 by KJAZZ radio  listeners in Europe.
Posted with Aloha!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Going with the flow (lava)

Even as  I write this, the lava flow is steadily burning its way downhill. It is projected to go through the town of Pahoa (in the district of Puna) which is directly on the lava's path towards the ocean. The assessment is that if the lava continues to advance  my small Pahoa town could be effectively severed from the city of Hilo -- the biggest town and the capital of the Big Island of Hawaii.

Where it took 30 minutes from my place to Hilo, that same trip will take at least 2.5  hours if the lava continues its procession to the ocean.

It's a rather dismal  situation not to have access to a major center for commerce, government, entertainment, health, etc.  Remember, the Big Island of Hawaii is just that --  an island on the Pacific Ocean. Mainland USA is at least a 5-hour plane ride.  Hilo is a very important city, if only for the east side of the Big Island.  Majority of goods coming from Mainland USA and the other Hawaiian islands are dislodged  in Hilo. Eventually, they find their way on the shelves of stores in Pahoa.

Being cut off from Hilo means, for one, not having ready access to goods and services that we are used to having. Worst case scenario is a minimum 2.5-hour drive one way. And that's not even considering that in long stretches, the road will not be of asphalt but merely graded over hardened un-flattened lava. You will most likely be  doing  15-20 mph.  for several miles.
Many have already taken  lock, stock and barrel and headed to Hilo. Suddenly, rentals in Hilo have become hard to find. 
But there were also many who opted to stay, take pride in their decision, and announce it to the world.

It may not be all bad if the lava crosses the Hilo-Pahoa highway and two of three alternative emergency routes.

We might have to pause, take stock of our possessions and decide on what our priorities are. What do we consider as "valuables" that we want to keep safe?  What conveniences are we willing to forgo with? What kind of life do we want for the rest of our remaining time as humans"? 
Maybe home- and community-based industries and services will mushroom to fill the void created from being cut off from Hilo's economic opportunities.
I would think that neighbors  will be visiting more than they do now, have meaningful relationships, and become more supportive and protective of each other. Maybe  communities will be more tightly knit.
Families will have more time to go camping, fishing, swimming together. Quality time will increase.
There  could be more time and opportunities to connect with the Aina (the land/environment) and everything else it represents.
"Pahoa will be to the Big Island what Hana is to Maui," I could still hear my principal broker, Dana Kenny saying.  
In downtown Pahoa, in front of  Chiroproctor Roy Lozano's  office,  a prominent sign proudly proclaims: "We are staying."
I thought it a beautiful statement of defiance; a refusal to be cowed by fear and uncertainty.
I thought it a beautiful  statement of  trust and faith.; that whatever happens  is all good.

I thought it was simply going with the Flow.

It is Aloha!

Puna resident and artist-photographer Ken Boyer's  "The Ominous Glow of the Pahoa Flow" 10/23/14 at 7:30pm

Photo source:

Lava advancing towards Pahoa town.  Photo

Click on this link to a newspaper article about the Pahoa lava flow:
Posted with Aloha!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Terms of endearment

People use many names for those they are fond of. "Babe, honey, sweetheart, darling, sweetie" are just some of those names.

Prince Charles of England and his wife Camellia reportedly call each other Fred and Gladys.

Heir to the British throne Prince William is called "Big Willy" by wife Kate, who in turn is "babykins."

Others have rather unusual terms of endearment. A friend, for example, calls her husband "Hobbit."

Another friend says her partner is "Yoda."

I used to call someone I was involved with "gorilla." My late husband was "bear."

But I like  best the French's "mon canard."  The term means "my duck" and ties in very well with one of my favorite French dishes -- duck l' orange'.

Photo source:

Posted with Aloha!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

All we have to do is listen!

Yesterday was not a bad day at all for a realtor like me even  if a client who wanted to buy raw land wanted me to make an offer on a listing that I discovered was already in escrow with a fully executed contract and no longer for sale. My client, who unfortunately ignored the list of still available listings that I gave him,  was about to board a plane back to  Las Vegas when he asked me to make the offer. It was too late to look for a possible replacement listing. And then the lockbox in the house I was showing another client wouldn’t work. I had to make a mad dash to the listing office to get a key. 

I thought that yesterday was a day for me to be annoyed.

To my delight, being loving and ever full of surprises, the Universe thought of brightening my day. When I went to the house of a friend for the first time, my spirit was refreshed by what my friend Sherri has in her 3-acre yard. Atop an imposing Banyan tree was a two-room tree house complete with a very large bed, a hammock and even a composting toilet . The yard has at least 4 rabbits, 3 bunnies and a collection of friendly white silkie hens joyfully having the run of the place.

But having lived most of my life in a large and congested concrete jungle of a city where seeing farm animals was rare, I thought that the crown jewel of my friend’s yard was an area with two natural and organic lawn mowers -- a donkey and a goat. Please see the photo below taken through my many-times-smarter-than-me cellphone.

It was as if the Universe was telling me – Don’t get annoyed over setbacks and kinks. They are temporary and even only illusory. TRUST! In the meantime, here, look at this eye candy and soak in the beauty of the aina (Hawaiian for land).

The Universe speaks! All we have to do is listen.
I am grateful!
Posted with Aloha!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Turtle Independence Day+

Friday, 4th of July, last week saw a group of friends and I driving over from the east side  to the south-west side of the Big Island. We were present for the "Turtle Independence Day" ceremonies in the morning. In the evening, we danced to the music of a band that we like a lot. And in between, we relaxed at the beach.

It was my first time to be at the Turtle Independence Day ceremonies although the ritual has been going on for 25 years now.

At the Mauna Lani Resort along the Kohala Coast four adult green sea turtles were released into the ocean. But it wasn't that simple. Of course. Nothing in Hawaii is simple when it comes to the environment. "Aloha" and  Nature are simply inextricable.

The turtles  were released, one by one, into the ocean after a winding procession from their  "pool-home" to the sandy beach of the resort and finally to the waiting blue Pacific. There was pomp-and- circumstance galore -- Hawaiian style.
Conch shell blowers looked up to the brilliantly blue sky and let out their haunting call as the leaf-wrapped cart containing the turtles  lumbered its way to the beach.
Although many like me ignored the beating sun and walked behind the cart, there were already people in vantage positions lining the beach and even soaked in the ocean. Some said that nobody better block their view. They've been in their places waiting patiently since the crack of dawn.
halau (cultural group) danced traditional Kahiko hula to drumming and chanting. I didn't understand a word. But from the hand gestures and the tone of voices, I imagined them paying homage to the Honu.

The ceremonies fascinated me. Fortunately, I managed to remember to bring my camera. But I wanted to kick myself for forgetting my wide-angle lens.

Below are some pictures I took of my  day.

The turtles were taken from a pond at the Mauna Lani resort

The turtles were transported from the pond to the beach in a cart decorated with palm and ti leaves.

This one apparently likes cameras and abruptly stuck its head right in front of my camera lens.

Conch shell blowing

Dancers of Hālau Nā Kīpuʻupuʻu 

Paying homage to the Honu.


 There was chanting on the beach as the turtles were released.

A turtle being carried from the cart to the water


Later at the beach

The gang  early evening just before dancing at the Blue Dragon in Kawaihae

We saw this rainbow on our way back home

Please click on the link below for a link to a video of Turtle Independence Day taken in 2011
Posted with Aloha!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Different strokes for different folks: studies in photography

Below are different versions of a single photo that I took in an area called Pohoiki on the eastern part of the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Posted with Aloha!

Monday, June 30, 2014

The all-embracing spirit of Aloha

Puna, a place on the Big Island of Hawaii, has always had a colorful reputation because of its "Punatics." It is quite difficult for me to describe what a "Punatic" is but there's something to be said when people no longer grimace when they hear someone called a  "Punatic." 

So when a  stark naked woman decided to create mayhem near a grade school in Puna, very few were shocked. They simply shook their heads and said, "She didn't mean harm, she was just being a Punatic."

These days to be called a "punatic" can be a badge of honor. Afterall, some people are even proud to be considered as renegades from mainstream lifestyles.

The people of Puna have been so good at being Punatics that the other day they inaugurated a landing pad in Kalapana that was built for visiting extra-terrestials.  I suspect that  E.T. scouts among Punatics played a huge role in making possible the "Hawaii Star Visitor Sanctuary," as the landing pad is called. You see, the spirit of Aloha does not discriminate. Aloha is all-inclusive and  all-embracing --  even to those from other galaxies. Please see related link below.

"Women of the Womb" chant to open communication during the launch of the Hawaii Star Visitor Sanctuary in Kalapana, Big Island, Hawaii. Photo credit: Hawaii Tribune Herald

Last Saturday, Punatics were at it again -- spreading Aloha -- this time among fellow Punatics.

Community organizations in Puna got together and distributed school supplies to keikis (children). The Neighborhood Place of Puna, a local organization,  spearheaded the project which aims to "provide basic and essential school supplies to East Hawaii's at-risk children so that they can begin the school year ready to learn."

Other local groups readily helped. Among those were the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset, Puna Lions, Men of Paa,  Kamehameha Schools, Bay Clinic, United Way, HOPE Services Hawaii, Kua O Kala Charter School, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

It took the whole morning to service the long line of parents and children but the palpable camaraderie among volunteers and the smiles on kids' faces were all worth the time and effort. 

Here are some photos I took of the event. Most of them are unedited and untouched.  I apologize for cutting off heads, torsos and appendages and for skewed and dark pictures.

The Neighborhood Place of Puna spearheaded the supplies distribution project

Members of the Rotary Club of Pahoa Sunset

Those crayons look so yummy!


Some brought refreshments

Hawaii County District 4 council candidates Auntie Maddie Green and Auntie Emilie Naeole  in a tete-a-tete.


Pahoa Rotarian Jane Gibson in action

Puna Councilman Greggor Ilagan and former Pahoa Rotary Club President Alan Lakritz "shaka-ing"

Men of Paa in action

Incoming Pahoa Rotary Club President Craig Watkins and active community volunteer Ralph Boyea taking a break

Related links:
Posted with Aloha
- By Ariel Murphy