Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Streets of Gold

Aloha, Friend!


Click on the pics!

"Other people may not have had high expectations for me...

but I had high expectations for myself."

Shannon Miller

"The defining function of the artist
is to cherish consciousness."

Max Eastman

"I felt it shelter to speak to you."

Emily Dickinson


Every Day

Every day there are miracles
So "average" that we take them for granted:

Sun-set, sun-rise
The voices of birds.

Who could fully appreciate
The daily gift of a loved one’s return?

A L O H A, cloudia

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Your Abundance

Aloha, FRIEND!

Click on the photos, eh?
Anubis, Lady Liberty; Lady Liberty, meet Anubis
(courtesy, Seth Wenig, AP)

"There is nothing new under the sun,
but there are lots of old things we don't know,"
Ambrose Bierce

"Don't go on discussing
what a good person should be.
Just be one."

Marcus Aurelius

"A sheltered life
can be a daring life as well.
For all serious daring
starts from within."

Eudora Welty

Welcome to my office!


In our culture we equate 'abundance' with finances.
But as I gain a broader understanding ,
truly begin to live, and to appreciate,
the abundance that is already in my own life,
the more I notice my attitudes about this changing.

I am starting to notice
and experience
all of my previously unappreciated abundance.
And it really has little
to do with money.

Instead of focusing on perceived 'lacks'
as we so often do
I have come to value,
and to celebrate,
the gifts that are already in my life.

GRATITUDE is bubbling up!

And living with gratitude
begins to change
attitudes and perceptions.

So that life blossoms into a gift,
no longer a problem to solve,
or a job to accomplish.

A L O H A, cloudia

Sunday, March 28, 2010

All These Angry People

Aloha, Friend!


Click on the pictures!
"A sage may hide in many disguises.
The person giving us the hardest time may actually be saving our lives.
We can never tell from one moment to the next if an event is for our well-being,
so it is wise to give everything and everyone the benefit of the doubt."
- David A Cooper

"I'm not young enough to know everything."
Oscar Wilde

Blogger in training :)

"When a friend speaks to me,
whatever they say is interesting."

Jean Renoir

Judgmental people are fragile people.

They so fear what might occur
that they preoccupy themselves with rules.

The ones they judge most harshly are themselves,
but that is cold comfort for their many targets.

As a rule, comfort with diversity grows
along with spiritual self-confidence.

Ironically it is the tolerant who are truly living up to good values
and a high standard. They are confident that Right will prevail,
and so are usually patient with others,
inviting them to join in the joy of goodness
at their own pace
and in their own way.

The tolerant can find good almost everywhere they look,
and are more concerned with fixing problems and healing hurts,
than in finding someone to blame.

Meanwhile the judgmental scrutinize everyone they meet
with a suspicious eye.

They live in a frighteningly lawless world
that may misbehave at any moment.

You see, their god is terribly weak.

They believe that He needs their help
to root out all the world’s sin
or He might miss something.

Emotional passion so rules them
that they believe that hatred,
even violence,
are superior to prayer and compassion
as tools to change the world for the better.

They need our compassion!

A L O H A Cloudia

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Living on a Boat

ALOHA, Friend!

The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out."
- Annie Dillard

"Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms."
- William J. Bennett

"The sea pronounces something, over and over,
in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out."
- Annie Dillard

"Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms."
- William J. Bennett

"The cure for anything is salt water
- sweat, tears, or the sea."
- Isak Dinesen

"For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea."
- e.e. cummings

"Praise the sea; on shore remain."

- John Florio


"He that will learn to pray,
let him go to sea."

-George Herbert

In places where population is high, or real estate is otherwise dear, some folks live on the water, like the boat families of Hong Kong harbour or the artists of Sausalito.

Honolulu homes and apartments are rather expensive, so people who want to live here must accept pricey accommodations that they would turn their noses up at elsewhere. Home ownership seems unreachable to the average person without a “family head-start.”

When an old friend of ours asked: “Why don’t you buy so-and-so's boat?”
My reasonable husband reasonably asked: “And do what with it?” Then our friend made a bold suggestion that has changed our lives by taking us off of the beaten path of normalcy: “You could LIVE on it.” He let that sink in for a minute. We HAD sailed around the Caribbean out of sight of land, and fantasized about living on the homey new motor-sailors at the boat show, but that boat?! Perhaps with a bit of (read TONS of hard, dirty) work? Hmmmmm.

The politics of harbor life was another education all together! Our Island state has fewer recreational boat slips than many land-locked states back on the continent boast of. State operated harbors have been permitted to become shamefully threadbare over recent decades, and the wait-list to get a boat slip (let alone a live-aboard slip!) is something out of Kafka.

The day we got our slip we had been boat owners for several years; That day was something akin to being freed from slavery: we were our own people at last!

Today I’m (still mostly) happy to live with my husband, our cat, and all my memories and demons, on board our 55 year old, locally built, cutter-rigged pinky-stern line island trader. She’s steel, like a solid old car (or a dumpster!). This is not the boat that comes to mind when you hear the word “yacht” but it’s functional, funky, and “home.” Actually, it’s the boat a child draws: mast, Popeye wheelhouse, high bowsprit, and three round portholes on both sides, port and starboard.

Electricity, phone (and Internet), water, and even cable TV come aboard via hoses, cables & cords. Storms make for exciting times as the falling rain drives into the roiling sea all around us. Breezes stir us at the end of our ropes, winds rock us to sleep, and high winds handle our home like a petulant kid. But there’s no one upstairs, or through the wall (no humans anyway). There is a sovereignty about boats. “Permission to come aboard?” “DENIED!”

At night it’s beautiful to be at the town’s edge, between civilization and the immortal sea. Jumping on board is entering a special world. Of course, there are unsavory “issues” no one wants to talk about: our “waste” is not merely “flushed” but must be contained and conveyed appropriately – enough said, except that it is NOT elegant to be carrying one’s night-soil or chamber-pot to the receptacle! The giant tractor trailer-sized diesel engine in my “dressing room” is not what you would see in the closet of a fashionista. But I do have time to read, to write, and a great story to “top” any posturing stuffed shirt that I may meet: I live on my boat in Waikiki. Sure, sometimes I dream of a real closet, a real kitchen (instead of the tiny “camping” refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave I make use of now).

My closest neighbors are reef fish like Moorish Idols, Trigger Fish, and the occasional sea turtle like neighborhood favorite “Patty” with her missing fore flipper. Oh! And Boxy, my pet box fish. He looks eerily like a big, soulful face, with brown expressive eyes grafted onto the front of a square fish body like a psychedelic nightmare. If he weren’t so sweet natured he’d probably really creep me out, you know?

My human neighbors are a special breed, too: boat people. Folks with nice boats who come down for recreation on the weekend; there are also those of us persistent and patient enough to finally hold coveted “live aboard” slips. And always there are cruisers: folks in serious boats who stop here while circumnavigating the globe via the poles, like the big, steel Russian (the boat AND the captain) that was here a while ago, or retired couples from New Zealand on their way to San Francisco (or vice versa). We also see seasonal cruisers; folks who call no dock their home, just their trusty boats, along with their extended networks of connections in little coves and indigenous villages around a world that tourists never get to see.
Boats that I have known, or just marveled at, are just now cruising up the Thames, through the San Juan Islands, Central America, or the smaller islands of Samoa.

The bulk of humanity does NOT live afloat, so most of us who do have an interesting story about what lured (or chased!) us off of dry land and the steady life. It’s a bit like motorcyclists, or hot air balloonists: “How did you get into this?” Yes, the sea has always been a safety net, safety valve, or alternative, to societies structures and life’s responsibilities ashore.

The always immediate and changing eternal sea makes light of today’s “important” concerns. Things always look different out here on the water, off shore, un-tied. Even boats that rarely leave the confines of the harbor remain attached to solid land only by a slender line of rope, a rope that may be thrown at any time. Floating out here at the edge we have furled sails, the sleeping engine, full water tanks, even boxes of canned beans. We are ever ready to slip away on the tide that always seems to be flowing somewhere. else. Yet…yet we stay in Waikiki…

Yes, our home is constantly moving, bobbing, swaying, and heeling with the wind. Such a home nurtures different certainties about home and foundations. Our main attachments are to nature, and to each other: other boat people. We have learned that boat people will always catch your thrown rope and make it fast. They expect that you will do the same for them, that’s just the way of the waves.

One day, the neighbor in the next slip will be gone, leaving only an empty space of water. Then a new neighbor in a new house will arrive to share our narrow dock to solid land. Boat people know that nothing is forever, except maintenance. Shipmates will sail on different tides at last, and nothing really lasts except the dear harbor itself, the frigate birds, sailing clouds, monthly jellyfish, and the sea itself, all constantly morphing, eternal with it’s ever changing light, spinning seasons, and our passing wakes stretching out behind us. Nothing else remains- except Diamond Head (that sphinx!), and the way we choose to feel about it all.
Here at the edge of Waikiki.

Thoughtful Diamond Head shields us from the earlier dawn, letting us sleep in a bit, and Splash the harbor cat stirs in the pink basket of a little girl’s bicycle chained to the rack at the head of G – Dock. Little feline “Radar O’Reilly” will follow her hunger unerringly to a friendly early fisherman, McMuffin sharing tourist, or juicy trash can fish head. Then, satiated and casual, she will patrol the docks, keeping an eye on the Kolea and Java finches feeding on “her” bit of lawn. Then it’s time to snooze again, no doubt under the dark blue canvas of some neighbors covered boat, till it’s time to work for her dinner again, posing for vacation photos, and licking her paw in the afternoon sunlight. No one exactly “owns” Splash, but she has lots of friends, and lots of names, and is clearly too friendly and self possessed to be a feral wild child. She is simply part of the Ala Wai Harbor, part of our community.

Older (or younger!) couples whose very appearance screams: “Maine!” “Ohio!” “Stuttgart!” or “Beloit!” thoughtfully muse upon the tethered boats, and our alluring harbor bulletin boards where boats for sale, and crewing positions to Tahiti, are offered. Till the wife (usually it’s the wife) gets hungry for breakfast at the Harbor Pub and, clutching her discount coupon, drags her husband away from what “might have been” and ultimately back to their normal life elsewhere. Having fallen under the harbor’s magical spell a lucky, blessed few of us never leave.

Like Splash the harbor cat we awaken to another gentle Waikiki morning.
What will there be to eat today? Who will I smile upon or talk with on my slow progress up the beach this afternoon?

I hope that I will awaken here in Waikiki as long as my boat, my mooring permit, my luck, and my body hold up. Each day here is unique in beauty. . . like all the others, just because it opens its petals here in magical Waikiki. So the white doves of Fort DeRussy, Splash the harbor cat, and me, we’ll hold a place for you under the palms, right in front of the Hula Mound.

Till then. . .
A L O H A! Cloudia

Friday, March 26, 2010

You Could Eat Off It

Aloha Friday, Friend!

click the photos please
Friday Night Begins in Waikiki.


"Arriving at one goal

is the starting point
to another."

John Dewey

Nothing cool here. . .
wait a minute! Look a little closer. . .

"Anger, if not restrained,
is frequently more hurtful to us
than the injury that provokes it."


King of the Shrubbery!


"Give me a place to stand
and I will
move the world."



Scientists report that Hawaii is one of the least dusty places on Earth.
(Of course, they haven't seen below decks on our live-aboard boat.)
But recently I discovered
that some of our forests
are fertilized by blown-in dust from elsewhere.
Even some kinds of sea life
are aided by dust
that fertilizes the ocean.

There is an epic panorama
in every shaft of light. . .

because of the graceful processions of

Glorious dust!

And you can write your name in it!

Perhaps Shay will write a brilliantly irreverent poem
involving fairy Dust.

Today we celebrate the dust
with which
we will dance again!

At least that's what I'm telling myself
about the dust growing on the book shelf.



Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oh Yes We Can

ALOHA, Friend!

Welcome to

Spring Time



Click on Chinatown images:
I love strolling in the oldest China Town in America,
right here in Honolulu.

"Many of the significant problems in our lives are more about recognizing the obvious
rather than discovering the mysterious or hidden.
One of the classic ways we deceive and hide from ourselves
is by refusing to recognize
the obvious, and shrouding what is right before us
in rationalization and false complexity."

Jonathan Zap

You run into the most interesting folks there.

"One must look with the heart."
The Little Prince

Dr. Sun Yat Sen spent his school-boy years here in our town,
before he went on to shake the world.

"The whole world is one family."
Dr. Sun

Who is this, under that giant hat, taking picture after picture?

Undemocratic sore-loser forces in our country
have ramped up the intimidation
against their Congressional representatives
who's votes on health care they dislike.
The video below is a great answer to their adolescent outbursts:

ALOHA, cloudia

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Aloha, Friend!
Today We Celebrate
The Making of

click on the miracle of the day:
We long to join the birds in their freedom. . .

"The man who is anybody and who does anything
is surely going to be criticized, vilified, and misunderstood.

This is a part of the penalty for greatness, and every great man understands it;
and understands, too, that it is no proof of greatness.
The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure contumely without resentment."
Elbert Green Hubbard

The progress of humanity has been a long journey. . .

"Any person in a position of prominence
must always keep in mind
that if he is going to accomplish anything worthwhile,
he must have courage and fortitude
to stand against the abuse and criticisms of others."

Paul Osumi

It seems folly, trying to get new ideas to fly. . .

"Greatness does not approach him
who is forever looking down."

And sometimes, as if in a dream, they fly. . . They FLY!!!

"The Way of Heaven
is to benefit others
and not to injure.
The way of the sage
is to act
without competing."
Lao Tzu


"All violent feelings
have the same effect.
They produce in us
a falseness in all our impressions
of external things. . .
the 'Pathetic Fallacy.' "
Ruskin, 1856


It has been much worse than pathetic watching transcendentally hypocritical blow-hards like Boehner weep crocodile tears about extending health care to the millions of our fellow citizens who lack it. It has been beyond sad to see the slurs hurled at civil rights veteran Congressman John Lewis, at Representative Frank, and others who aroused the ire of "Tea Bagger" demonstrators in Washington this past week by having opinions different than theirs, but mostly for being "different" from the bulk of the demonstrators themselves.

But we did it.

It included over 200 amendments proposed by Republican members of Congress
but not one of them voted for it.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says that the new law will reduce our deficits
by one trillion dollars in the next ten years; but the opposition says that we cannot afford it,
despite current trends in health care costs that will bankrupt the nation if they continue as is.
Americans, alone of all major nations' citizens, must fear bankruptcy if they have the misfortune to become seriously ill - and these are people who have insurance! Every day too many of us lose our insurance, or are denied critical, life-saving care. To say nothing of those, including children, who cannot even GET insurance coverage.
Now all of that will likely end. Republican leadership calls it "Armageddon."

So today is a historic day. As people benefit from the new law, they will forget that they were ever against it, or why they feared it. Those who called FDR a "devil" did not decline their own Social Security checks.

In a neat bit of timing, our historic accomplishment marks 45 years to the week
that Martin Luther King said:

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long,
because "truth crushed to earth will rise again."

How long? Not long, (Yes, sir) because "no lie can live forever."

And, behind the dim unknown,

Standeth God within the shadow,

Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long,
because the arc of the moral universe is long,
but it bends toward justice.

How long? Not long, (Not long) because:

His truth is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;

He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.

Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on. [Applause]

Martin Luther King
Our God Is Marching On!
March 25, 1965. Montgomery, Ala.

ALOHA, cloudia

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Play on, Illusion

Aloha, Friend!

click on the clouds to rise among them
"The Poets down here don't write nothing at all
they just stand back and let it all be."

Bruce Springsteen

"The miracle is to think of our career
as our contribution,
however small,
to the healing of the universe."

Marianne Williamson

"Who is rich?
He that is content."

Benjamin Franklin


We ran from the tsunami
weathered the hurricane
bailed each other out of jail
and into the emergency room.

Let's keep going,
the adventure continues.

Happy Birthday
my Favourite Husband!

ALOHA, cloudia

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lost a Newspaper? News Morphosis 2.0

Aloha, Friend.
What do You Know

you GOTTA click on this baby!
"There is one thing more powerful
than the armies of the world,
and that is an idea
whose time has come."

Victor Hugo

please excuse these "shot into the light" pictures below
John Temple

"The contest, for all ages,
has been to rescue Liberty
from the grasp
of executive power."

Daniel Webster

David Shapiro (John Stewart 1.0)

"A joke is a very serious thing."

Winston Churchill

The Provocative Sarah Lacy

"The price one pays
for pursuing any profession,
or calling,
is an intimate knowledge
it's ugly side."

James Baldwin


Has your hometown lost a newspaper recently?

It was here a moment ago. It was always there.

Maybe as a kid you got up early in the morning, like I did, to deliver it to your neighbors. Newspapers have been a part of the rhythm of life in America since Thomas Jefferson said that, having to choose between government with no newspapers, or newspapers without government, he'd have to choose the latter.

Now don't worry.

This isn't going to be another boring lamentation of Journalism's death blaming all the usual things: the internet, bloggers (that's you and me, guys!), opinion-shouting cable TV (the ersatz feedback loop of talking points posing as news), decreasing attention spans in our youth (that we raised and educated). . . Blah blah blah. Yeah, there used to be these civic institutions called newspapers, public town squares that needed to sell lots of car ads to keep going, but now are being destroyed by Craigslist.

The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, founded in 1882 as the Evening Bulletin, published its first edition on February 1 of that year. 1912 saw it merge with the Hawaiian Star to become the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. (Wikipedia). Recently this institution has been put up for sale in the current panic atmosphere of cash-hemorrhage and closure among newspapers, leaving many Honolulu locals to assume that we will soon be down to one major daily, the Honolulu Advertiser (celebrated it's 150th anniversary in 2005 or `06).

Meanwhile, several of our local TV stations have recently "consolidated" their news operations, which means running the same news-cast on 2 stations, and re-broadcasting it at a different time on a 3rd station. Their news director, Chris Archer, tried to sound upbeat at a conference on March 18 here in Honolulu: NewsMorphosis 2.0 How the Transformation in our News Media is Transforming our Society. I wish him well as the operation prepares to take on it's first Merrie Monarch Festival, a revered local institution sometimes called the Olympics of Hula that brings dancers, fans, and eyeballs from around the world to sleepy Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii every Spring. You could tell he was excited about this "away game" far from Honolulu City lights. So I was much too polite a small fry in that room of somebodies to ask him why his smiling, likeable anchors regularly deliver incomplete, and sometimes misleading, information, and why the same badly-written line is read the same way on the next newscast. I call it "you know what I mean journalism." But I do wish the local HAWAII NEWS NOW team well - they're much too important to this town!

Into this trembling moment steps a millionaire. (Billionaire?) Pierre Omidyar. Omidyar who was born in Paris, came to the USA with his physician father as a boy, and graduated from Tufts in 1988 with a computer science degree, but not before spending some time as a student in Honolulu at President Obama's high school ala mater, Punahou. Among other things, Mr. Omidyar started a little on-line auction company called Auction Web in 1995 largely so his Bay Area friends could more easily trade and collect Pez dispensers. He later changed the name of that company to eBay in 1997. Cue the angelic choirs of capitalism!

This tyro with a local connection has confirmed his genius by moving back to Hawaii with his wife Pamela, and has lately been spreading the wealth around in socially constructive ways, such as a 100 million endowment of the Hawaii Community Foundation (our school kids are still being "furloughed" on some Fridays, as are many of their State employee parents, and the redoubtable Meals on Wheels program, that lifeline of too many of our Kupuna (seniors), is perpetually hurting for funds, but who am I to wonder about that stuff...).

The generous Omidyars were also instrumental in the launching of Kanu Hawaii, a grass roots movement of "9,443 islanders committed to protect and promote island living - a connection to the 'aina (land), a culture of aloha, and local economic self reliance."

Now, the philanthropists are investing in an interesting new endeavor: Peer News. John Temple, Pulitzer award-winning editor, president, and publisher of the late lamented Rocky Mountain News is the founding editor, and the newest intellectual landmark on Oahu, drawing a virtual who's who of Honolulu media, communications, policy, tech, and entrepreneurial types to the conference.

I sat between my old friend Kim Coco Iwamoto, elected Hawaii School Board member, and the sharp Susan Yamada, Interim Executive Director of the University of Hawaii's Shidler College of Business.

Star tech reporter and author, Sarah Lacy flew in from Asia for a lively panel, as did William Moss ( CNET Asia, China Economic Review). The founding Executive Director of the George Washington University Global Media Institute, former general manager of CBS Radio News, Michael Freedman spoke, as did, locally based lights including the day's informative Keynote, Avi Soifer, Dean of UH's high-ranking
Richardson School of Law.

With the enviable freedom of a visiting writer whose reporting continues to be sought, lauded, and deservedly rewarded,
Sarah Lacy pointed out that in today's landscape of personal, even portable, news options, the "traditional media is doing a worse job. I read things in the New York Times tech section that is just wrong." She also made the attending local newspaper pooh-bahs squirm when she scorned inauthentic "astro-turf tweets that are just re-packaged paragraphs by established news people who don't really comprehend the medium."

Mr. Temple inspired some stirring of excitement as he spoke of "lots of reasons for optimism in this age of surprises, twists and turns." Content being the critical issue, not platform. "I am not prescient," he said, but "we're gonna approach things differently at Peer News. "People feel concerned and disconnected. PN is aimed at providing a different voice, giving folks entre` and a fresh start.
Our mission statement is simple:
To Create a New Civic Square.
Citizen contributions will be as integral as paid journalists.
The reporting is a resource, sort of a living history on topics as things develop. Big Picture will be inherent, not just today's 'story.' We'll start with the readers' needs, and be question-oriented, driven by asking 'why?' Let's talk about community. Reporter/hosts working for readers, not as detached chroniclers, no slightly re-written press-releases.
And no faceless comments.
In the civic square we can see each others' faces.
Discussion and debate will be hosted.
It's about speaking to hard issues but with Aloha
which I am beginning to learn about.

I envision a dialogue with other views, straightforward, to fulfill common needs." Temple says that he expects to present "content and an experience worth paying for' and to launch early in the second quarter of this year.

The pithiest remarks of the day came from my favorite truth-teller,
much respected local editorialist/blogger, David Shapiro
who responded to his introduction as one of the best Hawaii journalists by saying that it was
"like being called one of the best dinosaurs in the tar pit."
He commented on the hubris-panic of the traditional "gate-keepers" by advising them to realize that the gate is "now a swinging door" and that they have morphed perhaps into filters.

Now David is a kind reader of my little Hawaii novel, and a respected long-time internet friend. His often brilliantly funny jabs at the local circus of power called State and City government are the best thing in the Advertiser and @ their website.
Yesterday I got a chance to hug him local-style.

Wish I had thought to build on his swinging door analogy by wittily adding to it:
"Yeah, a swinging door. Just don't let it hit you on the okole!"

So I am sorry if you are losing one of your local institutions,
but I'm happy to say that our Honolulu seems poised to enjoy the birth of something truly hopeful and groundbreaking.

One thing I DO know, is that a local outsider, small fry, columnist/ blogger walked into that conference feeling like a nobody, but I walked out feeling empowered, feeling like the future, feeling like a million comments on this blog!

ALOHA, cloudia