Bye-bye 2013, aloha 2014


Time to wrap up the year and look ahead.

2013 brought more closeness to family, and the challenges that accompany sharing space with other adults.  At work, and among family and friends, it has been a topsy turvy year:  Travel was down, but house-sitting was up.  Very little plane time, but more car and boat time.  Little romance, but lots of baby love.  Not much hiking, but extra ocean time.  Reclaimed the kitchen – more clean and healthy, without completely forgoing the familiar and comfortable and sweet.  Had a few disappointments, had several new experiences, visited new places.  Family-sized CSA box is good, electric company stalling the solar installation not-so-good.  Joyfully uncovered unknown branches of genealogy, only to discover family patterns.  And then there’s that new branch of the family that goes back 4 generations that we didn’t know about!  Savings down, volunteering up.  Homemade baby food, homemade birthday cakes.  Lots of time with the keiki, lots of germs from the keiki. Fewer donations, but heightened sense of purpose, greater awareness of my own values.

What’s in store for 2014?  Big changes at work will happen almost immediately.  We could have a new executive director as soon as this Friday, or not.  There’s so much potential for change, but still full of unknowns.  I have my own couple of work-related goals, but since I’m not self-employed and there are still unknowns, I’ll keep these resolutions close to my chest…for now.

What else in 2014?  For starters, a baby pā‘ina followed by my father’s 79th birthday.  Then, I have a practical list of things to strive for this year:  plant an edible garden, but be sure to include rosemary and basil.  Commit to a cleanse early in the year.  Teach the mo‘opunawahine to sew.  Renew my license.  Spend a weekend with my Maui nephews.  Plan for Tahiti in June.  Read more, read biography, read to the keiki.  Get new hiking boots.  Be patient.  House-sit more.  Continue the genealogy research.  Walk that wall that goes through Ka Wai Nui Marsh.  Initiate the Curmudgeon Files with my dad.  Camp on the beach.  Tell my daughter I love her.  Finish two articles.  Hike the Mānoa ahupua‘a boundary.  Somehow teach the little family to use fewer towels.  Purge some boxes, divest some furniture, build some shelves.  Set goals, share what’s going on, try to forgive myself for all I didn’t accomplish.  Write more, starting now.

Lonoikamakahiki!  E ho‘omaika‘i i ka Makahiki 2014!

Morning stars

“for six years sitting alone still as a snake in a stalk of bamboo, with no family but the ice on the snow mountain… last night, seeing the empty sky fly into pieces, he shook the morning star awake and kept it in his eyes.”

Nansen:  The Point of Departure, by Osho


And I am back from Puerto Rico and still reflecting on the experiences and unable to post.  Have been up early watching the morning stars. Heartbroken.

Morning in Mākua

Later this month, I will be joining four other Hawai’i women in a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico and, most importantly, the island of Vieques to join other women from around the world at a conference on demilitarization.  I was encouraged to jump in to this trip because of my involvement with the island of Kaho‘olawe and its connection to Vieques–and, for that matter, Culebra.  I couldn’t be more excited.  The reasons will become clear over time. 

The preparations have included collaborating on a presentation; thinking out what makana, gifts, to give to our hosts and co-travellers; learning oli and hula for cultural exchange opportunities; and reconnecting with ‘āina, as possible.  The latter comes easiest for me, so this past Sunday, two of the young women, Elise and Eri, joined me in Mākua Valley with members of Mālama Mākua.

Women’s Voices Women Speak

 Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Morning in Mākua

“Rather than building up for war, we could be working toward peace,” Fred Dodge, MD, co-founder of Mālama Mākua.  Click here to read more…

The group has an official blog ; click above or right here.  There, we will feature the preparations and activities related to the mission of the delegation.  I’ll be adding more personal notes right here.  So check back!

Mahalo, gracias

Wahine coming together

When I was a young mother, my priority was raising my daughter.  I involved myself in her school and social activities, worked more than full-time to provide, went to school, and made sure a revolving door of relationships was not a part of her reality.  I was interested in the world around me, but my only community work was related to my child’s school, sports or scout activities. 

Like my grandmother, I pored through the daily paper with a pair of scissors and clipped articles every day.  They went into one of three files.  Can you imagine that?  Aside from my bills, I had a grand total of 3 file folders:  Environment, Hawaii, and Women.

Over time I added files.  Environment begat more files in subtopics as diverse as Recycling, Hiking, and specific places.  Hawai’i evolved into subcategories:  language, specific cultural practices, sovereignty groups, Hawaiian history, etc.  Eventually Women became Women & Children, and the subcategories evolved that had to do with single mothering, dating, women in workplace, girls’ schools, migraine headaches, the feminine mystique and more.

Now, I have file cabinets, and boxes, and shelves, and bags and bags full of files folders and clippings of these topics and more that have come to interest me.

My interest in women’s issues never waned, especially those related to motherhood.  I had been a Girl Scout and I found myself leading my daughter’s troop for more than 10 years.  I sent my daughter to an all-girls, non-parochial school beginning in 7th grade, and during the time studied all the literature on the bemefits to women who attended all-girls schools.  I belonged to a preservation organization founded by turn-of-the-century society women, and eventually participated in several different hui of women in cultural and service settings. 

Among the professional projects I’ve had the privilege of working on in women’s community have been a report on domestic violence , a project of the Hawai’i State Commission on the Status of Women; organizing a schedule of women’s health activities for the same Commission; and facilitating discussions in reproductive justice for Women’s Fund of Hawai’i.

  • Na Wahine of Pa Ku'i-a-Lua honor the 'uniki of Debbie Nakanelua-Richards to 'olohe. (Dec 2003)

And during my training in lua, Hawaiian martial arts, it was natural for the wahine to break away from time-to-time to commune on leadership issues unique to women.

So, it’s no surprise that I’ll be participating in a gathering for Hawaiian women.  On February 4 a mini gathering, or ‘aha, will be open to the first 300 women, who will eventually begin planning for a larger gathering this summer.  The mini ‘Aha Wahine on February 4 is an early opportunity for Hawaiian women to identify with one another and come together sharing information and tools that will contribute to healthier futures and families.

To learn more about the upcoming gathering, see the preview here.  For more information about the mini ‘Aha or to register, go to

Loom of life

We sleep, but the loom of life never stops and the pattern which was weaving when the sun went down is weaving when it comes up to-morrow.  ~  Henry Ward Beecher

Sunset - Ala Moana, 1/6/2012

Sunset - Ala Moana, 1/6/2012

Sunrise - Waimanalo, 1/7/2012

Sunrise – Waimanalo, 1/7/2012

Sunrise - Waimanalo, 1/7/2012

Moonrise - Kailua, 1/7/2012

I spent the first few days of the new year in a (virtual) cave.  Determined to reconnect, I started in the water and looked up.

Fare thee well, 2011

I’m a little slow in reviewing my year, probably because it ended so sadly.  But 2011 was a good year for communing with nature

MAY – Honokanai‘a, Kaho‘olawe.  Participating in filming for a documentary, I was on island with my offspring and a handful other families.  I swam with dolphins for a divine 30 minutes, and explored the island with the babies.

MAY – Phoenix, Arizona.  Following a couple of days of meetings, spent a weekend with my cousins Leslie, Lynn and Leah and their husbands exploring the Southwest, first time in many years.

JUNE – Nu‘alolo Kai and ‘Āina, Kaua‘i.  Marking the Summer Solstice with ceremony in back of the valley with dear friends.  This was Year 7 of Kel’s 7-year commitment, of which I participated in Years 1, 6 & 7.

JULY – Great Northwest.  Two of us began a road trip in San Francisco, driving through Oregon and Washington to Vancouver, Canada joining others.  Seven gals total tripped around Vancouver island, too.  Spent my birthday back in California.  Such good fun.

AUGUST – Mākua.  Hiked the valley twice this year (once with vertigo–bad idea), and camped out for the first of several times this year.  I dig camping on the beach, and I’ve quickly warmed up to grown to love Mākua.

OCTOBER – Kealaikahiki, Kaho‘olawe.  Bade au revoir to the Tahitian sailing vessel Faafaite and her crew as it left Hawai‘i for Tahiti in an historic departure.

DECEMBERBethesda, Maryland.  Though I was working, being with other native women who are or have had mothers, and who have experienced loss, was the best place for me to be   Without exchanging words, I found comfort in the presence of these sister-aunties.

Throughout the year, the keiki grew, girlfriends reached out, a relationship blossomed, and major projects were implemented in April and October.

And then, in November, my mother left us, suddenly, though not unexpectedly, and now we’re going through the motions to move forward without her.

Throughout it all, we realize that we have ‘ohana and we have friends who provide the love, support and knowing when we needed it most, even providing that we didn’t know we needed.  We are a little lost, but know that we’re loved and that will carry us through.

Farewell 2011…