Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Obama Hawaii New Year's Eve

Yesterday, the president-elect (and local son) took his children to the Honolulu Zoo to see the baby tigers that we visited last week.

Fireworks are "cultural" in Hawaii with our large Asian (and part-Asian) population.

Professionals will "pop" fireworks too, but most locals will be at home making their neighborhoods a smokey fairyland.

Red "Ahi" tuna is lucky food!

Some local families are pounding mochi rice in Usu with mallets; "THWACK!" Don't hit uncle's hand!!

"Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us." - Hal Borland

"For last year's words belong to last year's language; And next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning."
- T.S. Eliot

"And ye, who have met with Adversity's blast, And been bow'd to the earth by its fury; To whom the Twelve Months, that have recently pass'd Were as harsh as a prejudiced jury -Still, fill to the Future! and join in our chime,T he regrets of remembrance to cozen, And having obtained a New Trial of Time, Shout in hopes of a kindlier dozen." - Thomas Hood

"Good resolutions are simply checks that men draw on a bank where they have no account." - Oscar Wilde

"But can one still make resolutions when one is over forty? I live according to twenty-year-old habits." - Andre Gide

"A happy New Year! Grant that I May bring no tear to any eye When this New Year in time shall end Let it be said I've played the friend, Have lived and loved and labored here, And made of it a happy year." - Edgar Guest

"Of all sound of all bells... most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year." - Charles Lamb

"Every man regards his own life as the New Year's Eve of time."
- Jean Paul Richter

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man." - Benjamin Franklin

"May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions."
- Joey Adams

A L O H A! Cloudia

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Boat Living & Davo's Art

Click on photos to enlarge!
Kitty drops in
Flowers from Saturday's Kau Kau Christmas Street Lunch (link to post below)

Davo's Silk Screen "Smooth #4"


"The corner of a room is populated with 5,000 beings of which we know nothing." Tibetan Spiritual Saying

"There is no 'empty' space anywhere, even between the stars. Processes and events are occurring in multiple dimensions everywhere."
Brief synopsis of the latest findings of physics

Many of you kind visitors have asked about "life aboard." It is such an encompassing topic, unfolding on so many levels, that it is almost TOO daunting to describe. Suffice it to say, most of what comes to the average "land person's" mind about living on a boat is WRONG. This ain't no cruise ship! Where would I even begin?! As Dr. Johnson said: "A sailor is a man in jail with a chance of drowning." Conveniences that most "housed" folks take for granted are lacking afloat, such as space, flush toilets, and SPACE! Sometimes it is glorious, sometimes it feels like being floating "trailer trash." I have even described our cement and steel home as a "floating dumpster." And none of this even addresses the finer points of living in a State Operated (poorly) Facility. PLEASE, those of you who have questions, be kind enough to send them to me as comments to this post, and I will build my little Blogpost Boating Biography around the things you want to know: from basic (waste, power, Internet) to personal (nice an romantic, eh?). As you might ascertain from today's quotes I have been exploring Tibetan Spirituality & Medicine and discovering fascinating insights as well as illuminating parallels to other traditions, religions, and cultures. With the intellectual "permission" of our cutting-edge physicists I have been opening myself up to the energies and influences around us, especially in nature. What better place than Da Beach? As I deepen my friendship with this place that I love, it becomes increasingly natural to me to feel kinship with an "animate" world. The inert "stuff" of our modern view is revealing itself as personal, playful, dignified, and a repository of insight & healing. The green Ko`olau Mountains are a constant cathedral above the town; inducing reverence and perspective whenever I raise my eyes "unto" them. The sea's a ceaseless chorus. Birds are clearly messengers from high places, and sky gazing is grazing in a library of light and wisdom. . . Oh yeah! And Davo. I had the serendipitous pleasure of crossing paths with the Maui artist yesterday. Above, you see him holding a favourite print from his latest project. He told me that this one is titled "Smooth" because he was listening to pal (and part-time Maui resident) Carlos Santana's eponymous song as he created it. Then he generously gave it "unto" me! ("You can sell it if you need the money." he told me) Davo's work is at the IMAGES Gallery on Front Street in Lahaina . He told me that his little hale ('hah lay') on it's little acre shares a boundary with Oprah's huge property. . . So send in those boat questions! Here's the teaser: The day after we moved ALL of our possessions aboard, Hurricane Iniki drew a bead on Waikiki. What happened next? Stay tuned! Just don't ever get into line behind me at the bank ;-) But DO return here to Da Spiral often. Your visits and your comments, even just a "Hi" are wonderful messengers of "Aloha" along with angels and all birds . . . .
A L O H A! Cloudia

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Merry Year

"The merry year is born
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn."
- Hartley Coleridge

Each age has deemed the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer.
- Walter Scott

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential."
- Ellen Goodman

“The Fish Dance

It’s season again for the fish dance. Next time you are walking the Ala Moana Blvd. Bridge over the Ala Wai Canal, pause on the mauka (mountain) side to check out the intricate maneuvers underway by dozens and dozens of fish. The first time I noticed, I thought it was a flotilla of leaves on the water. Then I saw the do-si-do, the alaman left, the schools splitting into separating spirals. Fish are packed so close together that some in the middle are pushed partly up and out of the water. All together now! What are they doing? I don’t know. But back when I was taken to see Nureyev dance at Lincoln Center I didn’t need a knowledge of ballet to be amazed by the way he hung in the air at the arc of an unbelievably high leap. Well these tilapia are just as absorbed and expert in their corps de ballet. Spawning? Eating? Hula competition judged by mantis shrimp? I just don’t know. Do you? There are great new parking improvements at Makapu for those hiking around the slope to the lighthouse. Stop at Costco’s snack bar in Hawaii Kai for hot dogs, pizza, chicken salad, drinks on your way, and then you can park safely away from traffic and walk a paved path around the slope to the amazing view. Tip: full moon night hikes here are memorable and special! If you are inside Costco, or Star Market, or any food store with a fish department, try buying what you see the locals buy; even squid or seaweed won’t kill you. And if you see opihi you’re in for a special treat! It’s expensive for a reason. Like the song says: “Opihi man in the sun, opihi man grab your bag and RUN! Opihi man another swell is coming your way.” People do drown harvesting these delicious morsels from the tidal zones of sea cliffs; in fact I’ve heard this innocent little Hawaiian mussel called “fish of death.” Worth a taste? Continuing up the Saturday road through Waimanalo, with its miles and miles of white sand and turquoise shallows just yards from your car, I saw that the beach park was humming with activity. When you pull into a beach park among all the local folks who are spending their day off with their families do so humbly and with a good spirit. Easy does it. Remember: weekending families are not cultural exhibits or chamber of commerce employees. Regular folks work very hard simply to make it here, and they enjoy their weekend relaxation just as you do. Please understand that the closest beach is like the neighborhood’s living room, even though it’s “public.” Be laid back and you’ll probably meet some new people, or even be welcomed in inimitable Aloha style. Offer to share your stuff first, like a juice to a child, or a slice of pizza to the guy sitting right next to you. I could recount many stories of visitors being invited to the baby luau, the wedding up the block at somebody’s house, given deeply personal tours, or even invited to stay over. Nice people do find each other, bad attitudes: just keep driving! Back in Waikiki, joining the throngs walking, running, gawking, biking, unloading surfboards on Diamond Head Road, I got to thinking that to visitors, DH is a famous visual emblem. But it’s so much more than that to us; for example, we use it to describe seasonal conditions: “Look! Diamond Head is so green!” (Lots of rain) or brown (lots of no rain). To locals it’s not just visual though, ole DH is like a beloved uncle that we playfully climb all over. We hike the trails and enjoy the view FROM Diamond Head (his shoulders). We sit on his lap: DH park one and park two, green oceanfront enclaves made peaceful and private by their lack of parking, brides are photographed here as limos hover. At the foot of the cliffs, below Diamond Head Road, are intimate little beaches where naturists and meditators can be left in peace. So you see, we locals don’t just SEE DH; we play with it, smell the flowers, hear the surf and enjoy the birds. And at the right time of year it’s perfect for spotting whales spouting and splashing out to sea. Even the tightly scheduled tour van groups that pull into the lookout seem to hush at the majesty of the vista, as their harried drivers relax for a smoke. It's the perfect spot to “watch the submarine races,” or simply to loose the grip of hours and minutes. . . Misty Technicolor clouds blowing over the mountains, blue heron, red sails in the sunset. . . Hot shower, cold beer, and warm welcome; how can every pau hana (after work) be uniquely wonderful? Guess they’re just like snowflakes. . . Remember snowflakes? In Hawaii it’s OK to smile at others. Everyone is beautiful here- but it’s from the inside. In our tropical climate makeup runs, but true aloha just glows through your expression, your skin, and your face, like a light from within. . . SUPER FERRY! The Alakai, the largest all aluminum ship built in the USA, is here. We can now take our own vehicles to Maui. We all need to get out on the water sometimes. . . just so we can take our turn. . . doing the fish dance. . . Aloha! Cloudia

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gilding the Pill

Feeding the 5,000
M. Duke (left)
Kitty Look Out! A Giant Mouse!

OOOO A Rainbow!

Bye Santa-

"For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once daily. People even more than things have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Never throw out anybody. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows."
- Audrey Hepburn's 'Beauty Secrets'

"The river looked at Siddhartha with a thousand eyes. . . it seemed to him that whoever understood this river and it's secrets, would understand much more, many secrets, all secrets." - Herman Hesse

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case you lose by default." - J. K. Rowling

"Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer."
Dr. Johnson

Street outreach worker, Sharon Black, has fed the hungry people of Honolulu's streets for many years. Her Kau Kau ('food') Wagon provides meals every Saturday at a little park we used to call the "Gateway to Chinatown." Yesterday was her annual Christmas meal for all that would come. Out of her "little" Mz. Black has provided this bounty (top picture) by appealing to restaurants, hotels, and kind individuals throughout our community. Even with my own background as a street outreach worker in these same streets, I had never met the lady face to face . . . till yesterday. I brought my flute to play, saw many familiar faces to wish "happy holidays" to, and ended up holding the leash for one of Sharon's giant Great Danes (a licensed therapy dog - picture above). All the ladies were given bouquets of flowers, and though I didn't eat I was happy to walk away with my own bounty of flowery loveliness. . . Sharon's friend was telling me how much admiration she has for the lady, but feeling honest I reminded her that helping others is addictive, a compulsion. We smiled together at that and wished those waiting in line a Happy New Year . . .
A L O H A! Cloudia

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oahu Obama Power Outage

click on photos to enlarge!

"Morning After" -
All good here!

Shadow's da star!

"Where no one has walked before . . . " Oh never mind!

Another radiant banyan tree with some palm pals

"May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind."
- Author Unknown

"To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, Every cubic inch of space is a miracle."
- Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

"Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, people cannot live without a spiritual life." - Buddha

"Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call."
- Richard Lewis

As you may have heard by now, we here on the island of O`ahu lost our electric power last (Friday) evening after rare tropic lightning struck the Kahi Power Plant on the rural leeward coast of the island. A festive Friday night turned into an adventure as folks walked the sidewalks and actually spoke to strangers from all over the world. Street artists on battery power like caricaturist Bill McQ in front of the International Marketplace were the only show in town other than acoustic guitarists, ukulele strummers and street walkers. Emergency generators kept elevators available and many local people enjoyed a respite from their frenetic holiday schedules just to be together. By the light of Hanukkah candles, sabbath candles, Christmas candles, emergency candles, and battery operated "torches" & flashlights, people rediscovered each other and themselves. Pets came indoors, sensing something unusual, and slept near at hand. . . Local guy Obama reportedly went to bed early, as usual, while government generators hummed efficiently nearby, maintaining communications and security infrastructure fit for a President-Elect. Just to be sure, Hawaiian Electric delivered additional generating equipment which was politely accepted at the Kailua compound and duly plugged in as 18th back-up. The press corps in Waikiki had the good fortune of being un-plugged from their Blackberrys and having the opportunity to stroll Waikiki Beach by torchlight. The Hilton launched their weekly fireworks right on time, and they were all the brighter for the dark skies and new moon above. This morning power has crept back on weekend cats feet - actually, Hawaiian Electric seems an exemplary outfit, their people quietly competent with modest esprit de corps befitting "local style." Hard hats off to them and to O`ahu motorists who waved each other through unattended intersections with true Aloha. The dawn rose bright. Ah, the light! . . vast schools of fish in the Ala Wai canal are massing, dancing and churning the waters with their seasonal celebration. . . A year is passing, but LIFE goes on.
A L O H A! Cloudia

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Recovery

"One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things."
- John Burroughs

"People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas." - Anonymous

"The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated."
- William James

Christmas is the family holiday, for one day the world feels like our collective living room, and we want everyone to share in the joy. It's all about families gathering, gathering up the lonely, and seeing to it that every child has a present, every person a festive meal. Now New Years will be about our friends, about excess, and that all-important special other; we all want someone to kiss as the old year ends, someone to look forward with as a new year begins. Welcome to limbo week. Slowly the shoji screens of our life slide into place for the next performance of living. So take a moment to take a bow. All you people at the airport, all of you responsible for the explosion of Christmas in your domestic sphere - and for it's clean up; here's to us, all of us. And if it's a bit early in the day for a libation where you are, I say have one anyway, in the spirit of Christmas, of Hanukkah, of Kwanzaa. Take a break from the treadmill to take a look around. You've done pretty well this year, all in all. . . . Cheers &
A L O H A! Cloudia

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy To Da World!

"I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it." - Rita Mae Brown
Today I wish joy to the world; to the creatures, to all people, and to the dear Earth itself. Each day that we spend here is a gift that deserves our gratitude. Dogma matters less than kindness. Today, start with yourself! Aloha, Cloudia

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Waikiki Christmas

click on photos to enlarge!

"A sailor in a boat is a man in jail with a chance of being drowned."

"We all know what light is; but it's not easy to tell what it is." Both quotes- Samuel Johnson

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
- Edgar Allan Poe

“Does This T-Shirt Make Me Look Malihini?”

Leaving home today I wondered: “Is my ‘local-ness’ evident in this New York City t-shirt?” maybe I should just change into my ratty ‘University of Hawaii’ number from undergrad times? Not that there’s anything wrong with being a visitor, y’all are the WHOLE point of the daily festival that IS Waikiki! I think that my “Honolulu Chinatown Lion Dancing” shirt became my absolute favorite one during last Chinese New Year season while I was watching some local kids performing my second favorite dance (after Hula). “Is one of the kids yours?” another woman asked me. I’ve also been asked - by visitors - if I’m Hawaiian. What a wonderful compliment! My love of this place is as clear to them as. . . a slogan on a t-shirt. “I’m a malihini" (newcomer) I tell local folks who ask how long I've been in the islands, "only been here 21 years.” And when those that know me say: “Naw. You local already!” well, that’s one of the greatest compliments I could ever receive: to be accepted as family, ohana. That speaks for itself anywhere in the world, but especially in Polynesia where it’s the cornerstone of everything- and not just at holiday time. . . A handful of years ago I facilitated after-school peer meetings for special kids at two local High Schools. No, not special like that, these were attractive, smart kids who had issues in school because of circumstances beyond their control – kids who just needed a place to open up, to share, to feel safe, and to grow. I mostly just showed up (with food, local style!) listened, cared, showed up, and listened. At age 14 they were problem kids barely hanging on in school. By graduation (and yes, they beat the odds, stayed in school and graduated – most of them) they were tall young adults with some confidence. Wow! Knowing them has been one of the great things in my life. The other day at the plate-lunch place I didn’t recognize my friend Ho`o from one of the groups (pronounced: 'Ho-Oh') at first. So grown up! And so happy to see me! That hug and clear smiling face will warm me into the new year for sure. Just think for a moment of the Ho`os in YOUR life. People you think of, but rarely, who’ve not forgotten something that YOU shared with them. Those folks are among the truly important investments in anyone's life. For what is quality of life really? It’s other people, yes, just like hell can be. What are you investing in? If you want to learn something about 21st century modern culture, why just walk around in public smiling! Notice how folks look at you. Even as most of us are starved for smiles and sincerity, we’ve learned to suspect that smiling stranger. They usually do have something to sell! But if quality-of-life consists mostly of how we view, think about, and interact with others, then perhaps the Hawaiians of old had it just right: Aloha is not a soft concept, but rather a very smart investment! A while back, there was a letter-to-the-editor of the Honolulu Advertiser that I snipped out of the paper titled: “Sharing of Aloha Makes Visits Nicer.”
“It’s time to leave again. Thank you, Hawaii. Thank you for your aloha. In this world where people pass each other without a glance, you acknowledged others. Whether we were walking, riding the TheBus or enjoying the music in a lounge, you smiled, spoke, offered directions, talked story or shared a song. Mahalo. Your aloha will help make this world a better place. (signed) Lanny and Phyllis Younger, New Lenox, IL” Nuff said. . . . . We often get to see strange and wonderful sights off shore of O`ahu: the USS Missouri completing her final voyage to Pearl Harbor, or the voyaging canoe Hokule`a setting off to retrace the oceanic travels of those who came here first. The black and red Chinese Junk in the picture above turned up here this week, rather cool, I think . . And our local guy, Barack Obama is relaxing on the island for his usual Christmas visit home. It was just a few years ago that he could walk unnoticed and unmolested around Waikiki just as you and I can enjoy. Today he joined with family members to spread the ashes of the grandmother who helped to raise him. She died just a day before the election, but her boy came home to pay his respects. Her ashes join those of Barack's mother off the shores of our Oahu. . . Aloha and local ways are powerful bonds, and much more than just slogans on a t-shirt. I know that Ho`o will agree next time we meet up. . . Just walking here in Waikiki
. . .


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Hula

cclick on photos to enlarge!
The Happy Hula of Kumu Hula Mapuana de Silva & Halau Mohala Ilima
"Kumu" means "Source."
She is a source of hula to her dancers and to us. . .

"How can we know the dancer from the dance? ~William Butler Yeats

Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance. ~Mr. Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid, 1994

Dancing is like dreaming with your feet! ~Constanze

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and in its music. Bodies never lie. ~Agnes de Mille

Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn. ~Sweetpea Tyler

Dancers are the messengers of the gods. ~Martha Graham
You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~Author Unknown

There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them. ~Vicki Baum

To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. ~Agnes De Mille

Dancing with the feet is one thing, but dancing with the heart is another. ~Author Unknown

It is of course possible to dance a prayer. ~Glade Byron Addams

Stifling an urge to dance is bad for your health - it rusts your spirit and your hips. ~Adabella Radici

One becomes in some area an athlete of God. ~Martha Graham, c.1953

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair... ~Susan Polis Shutz

Dancing is the poetry of the foot. ~John Dryden

Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself. ~Havelock Ellis

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state of the soul's weather to all who can read it. ~Martha Graham

Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain. ~Martha Graham

The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word. ~Mata Hari
We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive... and part of the living, incarnate cosmos. ~D.H. Lawrence

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I see dance being used as communication between body and soul, to express what it too deep to find for words. ~Ruth St. Denis

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room. ~Kurt Vonnegut

Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking. ~John Wain

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak. ~Hopi Indian Saying
Socrates learned to dance when he was seventy because he felt that an essential part of himself had been neglected. ~Source Unknown

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown

Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing. ~William James "
A L O H A! Cloudia

Monday, December 22, 2008

Writing Respiration in Waikiki

click on photos to enlarge!

"Red sky at night . . . sailors' delight!"
Banyan Beauty

Hilton Rainbow Tower ("Worlds Largest Tile Mural")

"Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist." - Emerson

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude." - Denis Waitley

President-Elect Obama is home for Christmas here on the isle of his childhood. This t-shirt was made from an image of him body-surfing at Sandy Beach, Oahu.

An Angel has been here! (below)

"Elephants, like many of us, enjoy a good malted beverage when they can get it. At least twice in the last ten years, herds in India have stumbled upon barrels of rice beer, drained them with their trunks, and gone on drunken rampages. (The first time they trampled four villagers; the second time they uprooted a pylon and electrocuted themselves.) Howler monkeys too, have a taste for things fermented. In Panama, they've been seen consuming overripe palm fruit at the rate of ten stiff drinks in twenty minutes. Even flies have a nose for alcohol. They home in on it's scent to lay their eggs in ripening fruit, insuring their larva a pleasant buzz. Fruit fly brains, much like ours, are wired for inebriation." Burkhard Bilger in the New Yorker

The writing life, mine anyway, is a balancing act, a metronome; Back and forth, in and out: like respiration. Inspiration/inhalation - experiencing the world - then circling back inside to download pictures, to craft the words . . . . to exhale my mana`o (thought) and to share it all with YOU. . . This circuit repeated evolves into an upward spiral, a spiral of comfort, as we rise together on the minds wings. . .
.. .. .. . . . . . . A L O H A Cloudia