Monday, December 24, 2018


Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus with poinsettias
in front of Honolulu Hale
Each year, I visit the downtown area to check out the Honolulu Christmas decorations. At Honolulu Hale, Santa and Mrs. Claus reign over the festivities: the tall Christmas tree, the Mele Kalikimaka toy display, and the Christmas wreath contest of unique wreaths decorating the walls. Hearing the squeals and chatter of school children as they enjoy the sights always brings a smile to my face.

The days leading up to Christmas Day are a time for just that, squeals and chatter, the joys of childhood, and remembering the pleasures of past holidays. In our family, celebrations were prefaced with attendance at mass, first St. Luke's Church, and later Holy Redeemer Church. Giving thanks reminded us not to take our many blessings for granted.
Today I am focused on simple blessings so often taken for granted throughout the busy year: colorful birds and flowers during my walks; the sweetly-tart juiciness of a chilled tangerine; and an unexpected exchange of friendly greetings. Burdens lessen as I concentrate on a few of my "favorite things."  

May your days be filled with merriment and peace!

*****     *****     *****

The following is an article I first posted in 2009. Much of the information remains relevant, although I haven't seen The Candy Cane Train in years and Santa on the roof of Ala Moana Center doesn't have a lei this year!

MELE KALIKIMAKA is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Remember Bing Crosby's 1950 rendition, accompanied by the Andrew Sisters? "That's the island greeting that we send to you  . . ."

The holiday season on the island of O'ahu opens with the Honolulu City Lights celebration. The Electric Light Parade travels through downtown to Honolulu Hale (City Hall) for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. This year's tree is a striking 55-foot Norfolk pine. Another tradition is "Nutcracker" performed on-stage at Blaisdell Concert Hall. 

At the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, rows of evergreen wreaths on grave sites honor fallen veterans this holiday season. The wreaths adorn 1,288 of the graves, part of the Wreaths Across America campaign.

Aunties like myself, keiki, and tutus all enjoy the entertainment of Hawaii's local groups this time of year - Na Leo Pilimehana, Makaha Sons, Kapena, and the Brothers Cazimero, to name a few; special hula dance groups (halaus) including Hoku Zuttermeister; and celebrities Amy Hanaiali'i Gilliom, Keali'i Reichel, and Willie K (the title of his Christmas song "Aloha Kalikimaka" reveals what the K stands for.) Music by the late Israel (Iz) Kamakawiwo'ole is always heard around the islands. 

Candy Cane Train
At Ala Moana Center, our open-air shopping mall, children ride the Candy Cane Train and watch musical productions on Center Stage, the illusion of snow delighting the young at heart. Hula performers draped in colorful regalia entertain with beautifully choreographed, swaying movements.

Santa gets lei-d for the holidays
But it isn't officially the "season to be jolly" until the Santa Claus statue is assembled up on the center's rootftop for all to see!

In Honolulu, jolly ol' St. Nicholas arrives in an outrigger canoe, landing on the shores of Waikiki! 
And we do have real snow here. Recently, my cousin reminded me of the snow-covered mountain of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Low temperatures on Maui's Haleakala also attract the white fluffy stuff that folks in the northern states take for granted this time of year.

Hawaiian Menehune

Kalikimaka is Hawaiian for Christmas.
Mele means song or chant; also, merry.
This is truly the locals' traditional way,
Of sending holiday greetings,
To say Merry Christmas. To you.

Aloha Nui Loa,
That's Hawaii's way to say
"a canoe-full of love."

Although some traditions come and go, the spirit of the holidays always remains,
and around the Islands, people of all faiths share the spirit of

*****     *****     *****

Friday, November 30, 2018

What's Love Got to Do With It? #WATWB

Welcome to We Are the World #WATWB Blogfest 
November 2018. 
Our stellar co-hosts are:
Please do visit them and any others with the #WATWB tag.
Simon Falk:
In Hawaii, the favorite greeting is "Aloha" which has several meanings. The most important is easy to explain. The word means "the presence of breath" or "the breath of life."  "Alo" means presence, front, and face; "ha" means breath. Aloha is not only a way of living, but a way of treating others with respect and love.
Tina Turner's musical query, the title of this blog post, and Yanni's Love Is All look at love from opposite ends of the spectrum. One questions its validity; the other is bolstered by its presence.
When searching for a feel-good article for this month's post, I came across a timely story about a children's pageant. One child accidently misspelled a word, adding a priceless touch to a traditional play. The message gave me a sense of happiness that has stayed with me. Please enjoy the story here:
December is filled with holidays and traditions
around the world.
I hope all are celebrated with love.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

My 3 Motives for Participating in #NaNoWriMo18

Visit my NaNoWriMo page at:
National Novel Writing Month begins each year on the first day of November. Each writer commits to writing fifty thousands words during the thirty days of this month. Whether a person completes 50K, 5K or 50 words in November, that's more words written than by those who set no goals and wrote no words.

Time moves at warp speed during November when you participate in NaNoWriMo (you will see it on Twitter also as: #NaNoWriMo18.) It's hard to believe this is already the last day of the first week of NaNo18. So far, my word count is increasing at a steady pace. I expect it to continue in the same vein. What is my plan? I'm glad you asked.

The obvious answer is to have a plan. Whether you write by the seat of your pants or outline each chapter, a clear pathway from 0 to 50,000 words is your best solution to a surmountable challenge. Each year my plan varies. This year, I made a game of writing my 50 thousand words.

Until the end of October, I hadn't fully committed to doing NaNo this year. I have two manuscripts ready for editing, ones written for NaNo 2013 and 2016. In July, I published the manuscript that I worked on during NaNo 2015 and 2017 which became the novel SHARDS OF MEMORY Oral History in a Heartbeat.

With that much of a backlog, I figured my attention should be directed at editing and marketing. Granted, writing an original draft feels far more creative than revising and checking facts to support a train of thought within the story. But what convinced me to join NaNo this year were three better ideas:

1.) I would write a string of short stories that blended in with the parts of the 2016 manuscript that didn't make it into SHARDS OF MEMORY.

2.) These short stories would then be used for the April 2019 AtoZ Blog Challenge that lures me in year after year, just as NaNo does!

3.) The final product would become a companion piece for SHARDS OF MEMORY.

I'm not one to count my chickens before they're hatched. For now, I am enjoying the pleasure of writing the short stories. Also, a lesson has emerged: I'm learning so much about getting the beginning, middle, and ending of the story set, regardless of the length. (Did you know the only difference between a short story and a novel/novella is all those words in the middle?)

So, how am I doing?
G etting
R eally
E xcited
A bout
T omorrow
How is #NaNoWriMo18 going for you so far this year?
If you are interested in any of my NaNo publications, you can find them here:
available at