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Entries in learn (28)


beach read: moloka'i

growing up, my understanding of kalaupapa was limited to the occasional classroom mention and wandering past father damien's statue at the state capitol. then i borrowed moloka'i from my mom which turned out to be a beautifully written tale of how the dreaded epidemic upended the life of a seven-year-old girl.

the fictional story transports you to old honolulu and its inquisition-like investigations of the whispered about ma'i pake before journeying across the kaiwi channel where the inflicted were expected to embrace life on a forsaken slice of 'aina. and while tear-stained pages are inevitable, little rachel kalama stubbornly proves that happiness, even if fleeting, is possible in small moments of freedom be it secret surf sessions, teenage escapades, and unexpected friendships that blossom during an almost lifelong colony existence.

if you adore a good story, this is a must for your summer beach reads list!

p.s. there are plenty of copies waiting to be discovered on the shelves of your local library.


hello again!

many mahalos for your patience during my time away to tend to family matters. your notes of condolences brightened my days and i certainly missed sharing all the summer goodness that happened during my absence. btw, hello, hello! to everyone who is following me on twitter where it's all about last minute sale updates and other random tweets.

anyhoo, the entire process was quite the learning experience so a few helpful, if off topic, tidbits from me to you should you ever find yourself in similar circumstances:

  • hospice rocks. if a loved one is ever in an end of life situation, find your way to the wonderful people of hospice who are quite simply the definition of tlc when your LO needs it most. (many many mahalos to the st. francis hospice west 'ohana who took good care of my mil!)
  • funeral planning sucks. this was our first experience behind-the-scenes and early on we learned that funerals can be a pricey affair. the tab for your LO's final farewell can add up quite quickly (in just two weeks time, the funeral expenses ballooned to over half of our entire wedding budget which took years of planning to spend) so make your wishes known to avoid guessing games and unwelcome surprises.
  • the selling strategy for caskets is not unlike a car dealership complete with a manager hiding in the shadows who must be consulted for the prices of goods not displayed on the showroom floor. internet dealers offer deep discounts (even after factoring in shipping to the islands), however a phone call to a local competitor shaved $500 off the list price of mortuary no. 1 for the exact same design.

    in fact, the price tag of mortuary no. 2 ended up being a bit lower than the online price plus air freight to hawaii so it pays to shop around (fyi - the mortuary you hire must accept a casket purchased from another dealer and it is against the law to charge an additional fee for doing so). my sil also discovered that the top casket manufacturer has a distribution center on oahu so i suspect that the hefty price gap would have been pure profit for mortuary no. 1.

hopefully, an entrepreneurial soul with the demeanor of six feet under's fisher clan will consider setting up an alternative funeral service in hawaii to help guide the bereaved through what can be a stressful and confusing process for a fraction of the cost. or offer the chance to become part of an artificial reef in the pacific or return to the 'aina with an eco burial.

more helpful tips can be found on the funeral consumers alliance website.

p.s. big mahalos to irene & danielle of sweet blossoms who coaxed a variety of pretty petals into an adorable puppy basket that my mil would have loved.

p.p.s. remember to check back later today for a fun surprise!


merrymaking goes upcountry

while the economic slump has everyone fretting about their holiday budget, the upside may be a little less commercially manufactured cheer and more appreciation for handmade goodness, festive moments with family and friends, and dazzling displays of twinkling lights.

one way to celebrate the season without dreading the arrival of the post-holiday bill collector is to kick off a new tradition with the help of ali'i kula lavender which is hosting weekly wreath workshops on its maui farm.

the hour long session includes materials and instruction, you just need to bring a little craft moxie to deck your space with a fancy wreath for a fraction of the cost.

  • when: every fri, sat & sun (until dec 21st) - 10am
  • where: akl, 1100 waipoli road, kula
  • fee: $30
  • fyi: reservations required

easy rider

electra huli huli cruiser

with more people opting for two wheels in face of higher prices at the pump and as a way to reduce their carbon footprint, you may have flirted with the idea of digging out that rusty old bike and taking it out for a spin. problem is it may be too small or, worse, too broken to get you on the road. enter the kalihi valley instructional bike exchange program (k-vibe) which will get you back in the saddle in no time.

a little kokua &/or sweat equity is all that's required. simply trade in your (or your keiki's) old bicycle for new wheels or help fix up bikes donated to the co-op and pay it forward. no bike and no time? no worries, a donation (which goes to stock bike parts and tools for the program) will get you rehabbed wheels so you can pedal along with one of the community bike rides organized by k-vibe.

click over to the official k-vibe blog to stay in the loop.

p.s. new bike owners are also welcome to stop by for a lesson in bike maintenance 101.

{via knittybird}


historic honolulu architecture tour

washington place

one of my favorite walks growing up was the one that took me from my mom's bishop square boutique to the state library along the pathway sandwiched between the capitol and iolani palace. i always stopped to say hello to the queen lili'uokalani statue and fought the urge to swing from the tendrils of the many banyan trees dotting the palace's backyard.

those saturday mornings spent in town gifted me with an appreciation of the graceful buildings that take you back to an earlier time, and, while doing a little research for a reader who inquired about mid-century modern homes on oahu (which i think would make a fabulous tour just in case an architecturally savvy reader is up to it), i recently discovered that the honolulu chapter of the american institute of architects (aia) offers kama'aina and visitors a walking tour of historic honolulu from an architect's perspective.

you'll wander the streets of town from the hawaii theatre to kawaiaha'o church picking up insights and anecdotes about the buildings along the way (juicy tidbit: the ywca building was designed by julia morgan, the country's preeminent female architect who squeezed in the project while working on hearst castle).

a map and bottled water are provided (but i say byo reusable bottle) so all you need to bring are comfy shoes made for walking and an enthusiasm for design. reservations are a must or, if a saturday tour doesn't fit into your schedule, self-guided tour booklets ($5) are available at aia's office. a custom tour may also be arranged for your group with advance notice.

  • when: saturdays - 9a to 11:30a
  • where: aia, 119 merchant street, suite 402
  • tix: $10
  • fyi: minimum four people

meet one of the aia's top guides over at the star-bulletin.