Archive for December, 2010

Taking part in the Hot, Loud, and Proud Meme

For those of you unfamiliar with the word, meme, YourDictionary.com defines it like this:

meme (m?m), noun

a unit of cultural information, as a concept, belief, or practice, that spreads from person to person in a way analogous to the transmission of genes

Interesting definition.  I just never bothered to look it up.  In a nutshell a blog meme is a sharing of like information between bloggers.  It’s similar to a blog carnival but not quite the same.  A meme is more focused.

Noel over at A Plant Fanatic in Hawaii brings us this meme.  I fell in love with the idea because I take pictures of the craziest things simply because they’re beautiful.

I don’t have my own garden but our local flora is always an attraction and now I have something to do with those photos that I couldn’t stop myself from taking!

Here’s how it works:

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Show us your tropicals and exotics, your hot mediterranean colors and wild combinations, amazing discoveries and unusual variations. Or how about something exciting you just saw, a crazy garden,  amazing garden art or design, an inspiring visit or hike?

This meme is open to all (you do not have to live in an exotic location to participate)  and will be on the last day of each month…so mark your calendars and lets do something fun on the hot, the loud and the proud meme. I’ll have the link available early, east coast time (USA) to catch you early birds and even earlier for those of you in other countries.

Here is the most recent edition put together by our Plant Fanatic friend, and what follows is my participation in this meme.

White ginger with a beauty matched only by its sweet fragrance

White ginger is so delicate but smells so wonderful and makes the sweetest lei!

Red torch ginger seen around more often these days but still used at graveyards for its longevity

We’ll use this hedge as a divider between the ginger and some of my hibiscus pictures. 

Looks like a mock orange hedge but its color is diluted green instead of forest green

The hibiscus go along with what our meme host, Noel, has done with his meme article this month!  Hibiscus seem to cry out to have their pictures taken!  I’m always on the look out for that perfect hibiscus, no matter what color it is.

A little yellow hibiscus from the grounds at Aloha Tower.

It’s interesting to see how the same overall color hibiscus can still look so very different!  

Beautiful, full, yellow hibiscus from the top of Nu’uanu

I wonder how much of this is soil content and/or environment.

Same yellow hibiscus but this one is from Mililani

While the yellow hibiscus is our State’s flower, there is certainly no faulting the beauty of the other colors!

Perfect pink is hard to find but this pink hibiscus came very close.

Again, we still see variations, albeit some are only slight differences.  

Bright pink hibiscus doesn’t have the perfect leaves but oh my the perfect color!

I’ve discovered that the hardest hibiscus to find in perfect shape seems to be the red one.  They are very alluring but perhaps the bugs and birds think so too.  They are often a bit beaten up.

Cattle egret stepping dangerously close to an oleander hedge

I’m using my darling bird friend here as another divider between the hibiscus and the bougainvillea.

Pink and orange bougainvillea

 Another bright and beautiful flower, the bougainvillea can sometimes be a challenge to maintain and keep tidy.

Lavendar bougainvillea are beautiful and the photo does not do them justice

They do create a lot of leafy trash. 

Bright magenta bougainvillea

There are a lot of bougainvillea all over the place and they are used for decoration and another favorite hedge-type plant.  They don’t always cooperate with the hedge idea and may require a few more trimmings.

These little yellow flowers are always eye-catchers

These little yellow guys are often used as ankle-high hedges and are being used here as a divider between bougainvilleas and the other miscellaneous oddities that I have found.

Pretty yellow and white flowers are actually weeds

These pretty little things are actually weeds.  All weeds should be so lovely!  

This spider lily looks oh so fragile

The spider lilies are always very pretty and so interesting. 

My favorite in this post has to be this little confused t-leaf plant.

Green t-leaf plant with red streaks

I can’t help but think this t-leaf plant was just trying to fit in and keep up with its neighbors!

This was fun!  Thank you, Noel, for letting us share the various forms of beauty that catch our eye and make us pull out our cameras!

The Birthing of Hawaiian Royalty

I have wanted to get to this place for the longest time!  I rarely get out to Wahiawa or beyond so, after I got my safety-check sticker, I made sure to take full advantage of this rare and infrequent opportunity!

Over time, the writing of this blog has created a much greater sense of aloha for Hawaiian culture and it has ignited a thirst for knowledge about that culture’s history.  Up until now, Kukaniloko was known to me only as “the birthing stones.”   When I found my way there, I was lucky enough to find a rather interesting group of people.

Students from a University of Hawaii, Manoa Geology class

This was a class of Geology students from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.  Apparently, Kukaniloko “is the geographic center of O’ahu…” thus making it geologically important.  They were actually there with their geology professor!  Talk about a stroke of luck!

I tried to get closer so that I could eaves drop on part of what the professor was saying to the class.  I have to admit that I was a little taken aback listening to Dr. Scott Rowland as he told his students how an alii was birthed.  “They did what???” I was thinking to myself, relatively horrified.

I’m not going to get into it but, let’s put it this way, the State of Hawai’i’s flyer about Kukaniloko says, “The birth of a child at Kukaniloko was witnessed by 36 chiefs.”  This stunned me a bit because that is not the kind of birth-giving experience that I would care to deal with while bloody, sweating, and in pain.

Of course there are women today that have an audience during the birthing process.  The whole visual of the process being described by Dr. Rowland just caught me off guard, I think.  Of course, if you’re in that much physical distress, perhaps your only focus is on getting past that pain!  Mothers can weigh in on this.  Seriously, please do!

Dr. Rowland did remind everyone that, back then, this area did not look like it does now.  It used to be a forested area and hence much more secluded and private.  “Good point!”  That made it a little better.   Today, as you can see by the photos, it is wide open to the world!

The group of stones at Kukaniloko

I was quite impressed by how well-maintained this site has been kept after all these years!  Before the class departed for its next stop, Dr. Rowland was kind enough to share a copy of his handouts.  Part of the handout that had been put together for the class stated that Kukaniloko,

“is one of only two locations in Hawai’i where children of chiefs were born (the other was on Kaua’i).  Kukaniloko may have been established as a royal birthing place as long ago as the 12th century.  Fortunately, W.W. Goodale of the Waialua Sugar Plantation as well as the Daughters of Hawai’i made sure that this place was protected and not plowed over for agriculture.”

Thank goodness!  That would have been an archeological and culturally-historical disaster!

Well-kept grounds at Kukaniloko

As I surveyed the area I became curious about the slightly-elevated area pictured above.  Was it ever used for rituals or halau performances or something?  It sort of looked like a hula mound.  Anybody in the know can share your knowledge on this too!

Any woman living in those times would have appreciated the honor it was to actually be giving birth to a chief!  Hawaiians had a great deal of respect for the alii, as they do to this day.  The birth of a new ruler was certainly an event to be celebrated!

Heiau at Kukaniloko

It was really comforting to see how the grounds are so well kept.  I was very pleased but I wanted to know more about this heiau.  Again, anybody in the know on this is welcome to comment!

Close-up shot of the birthing stones

Dr. Rowland indicated that one of these stones was the main stone but I wasn’t close enough to the group to hear which one it was.  The one in the center of the picture above may have been the one but I’m honestly not sure.  I knelt down and touched the surface of the stones — they were unusually smooth and even soothing to the touch.

Kukaniloko sign

This sign posted by the DLNR shows that the land here is protected, as it should be.  The sign has taken a beating over time but the simple message it carries is essential — “Please respect this sacred area.”

I came away moved by the beauty and serenity of this simple site that is listed on both the National and State of Hawai’i Registers of Historic Places.  While feeling a little more educated about this little tidbit of our historic culture, I still remain overwhelmed by the very complex history of our State.  There is still so much to uncover and talk about.  And you thought you were going to get off easy!

Getting a safety check is easy, right?

You’re not half as tired of reading about my car as I am of writing about it, or paying for it!  But, I have a few reasons for telling you this one so just bear with me.  I needed a safety check.  No problem, right?  Right blinker, left blinker, wipers, horn, etc.  They all work, “here’s you sticker.”   That’s how it usually goes, right?  Wrong!

It’s not that easy when the safety check is done correctly.  Apparently, what I just described is how some not-so-thorough businesses have managed to get themselves shut down — they have not been abiding by the rules.  I honestly didn’t know there was supposed to be more than blinkers and horns, etc.

See, I thought I would go to my Flagship friends because they have been so good to me.  It’s just a few dollars for a safety check but I want to support my favorite businesses when I can.  So, off we go to Waipio!

My too efficient friends are here at Waipio Flagship.

How was I supposed to know they are so damn efficient and anally accurate???  After two hours (they were busy) I was beginning to get mildly irritated.  Thoughts like, “Just gimme my sticker!” were running through my head.  Nope, not doing it.

They were looking under the hood, which I thought was strange, so I asked them, “What’s the problem?  You guys are making me nervous.”  Apparently my battery wasn’t tied down firmly because the tray it sits on was broken.  So? What does that have to do with anything?  I’m thinking: “What’s it to you?!?”  I did say, “You’re kidding, right?”  Then I got the scare tactic, albeit probably accurate.  Again with the accurate.

“You know those car fires on the freeway you hear about?”

“Yeah?”

“80% of the time those are probably because of the battery.”

He continued about sparks blah, blah, and unstable batteries, etc., etc.  Okay, okay, I get it.  “If I go get the tray will you guys put it on for me?”  Sure, they would do that.  Off I go to Checkers Auto Parts to get one.  When I asked for the tray the guy behind the counter grinned and asked, “Safety check time?”  Ahhh, this is not new.  New to me, but not new.

Back to Flagship with the tray and yet more waiting time.  Soon I was informed that the tray would not fit.  What?!?  The original tray has a funky shape so the generic tray wouldn’t fit.  Flagship gave me a temporary safety check — they were not going to let go of the sticker.  My car wasn’t “safe.”

Next step, call Toyota and ask if they have a battery tray for a 1992, blah, blah, blah.  “We don’t have any of those.”  A loud buzzer sounds in my head — WRONG ANSWER!  In typical Toyota fashion, this was a specialty item for a car that thinks it’s special.  She’s a brat!  What can I say?  Next move, call the junk yards.  After three junk yards I was out of luck and thoroughly disgusted.

This is an entire day gone — a day I will never get back!  A day wasted on a frickin’ safety check.  I just want to go home!  Stupid battery!  Flagship had to charge it for me at least two, maybe three, times because it kept going dead.

Wait, about that commercial — battery, battery, Battery Bill!  If they can’t fix it, nobody can!  They did.  That battery is not moving anymore.  At all!  This is why commercials with jingles are essential.  Okay, now I’ll go back on Saturday and get my permanent sticker.

Saturday morning comes and, “What do you mean you’re out of stickers?”  Apparently everybody else wanted their safety checks from them too.  What’s that?  Kapolei had no stickers or safety check person on deck.  “But our Wahiawa location has stickers.”  Wahiawa? I don’t know Wahiawa.  I’ll get lost.

I found it.  Apparently, it seemed, Waipio had already called them and given them the heads up.

The Wahiawa location of Flagship FastLube

You can’t say they are in the boonies.  They are in Wahiawa.  You can say that Wahiawa is in the boonies!  I have to admit that it was peaceful and very laid back there.

Another little building is the Customer Lounge!

This location was definitely big on customer comfort!  This customer lounge was air conditioned.

Inside the Wahiawa Flagship’s Customer Lounge

There were tall bar-stool-type chairs.

Coffee bar inside the Customer Lounge

There was coffee, a microwave, and a telephone — what else do you need?  I could get comfortable here! I didn’t need to get comfortable.  I got my sticker!

Check your battery trays, please!  Make sure those batteries are secure!  If you got your sticker and your battery is moving all over the place, you might want to think about changing establishments.  Be safe!

I will have NO MORE CAR PROBLEMS until next October! If I do, I just won’t tell you guys about it.  I’m not going to tell you that the front bumper of my car fell off.  Well, unless it leads to something interesting.

Kudos to Waipio Flagship FastLube for being fuss budgets about the Safety Check rules!  I can say that now — now that I’m done being irritated.  After all my annoyance it dawned on me that they may have saved my life.  Did I say that Flagship is a great place to take your car?  But, they’re still not on Facebook.

I made it to Wahiawa and got my sticker.  I was also able to get over and see something that I have been waiting to get to for quite some time.  But, that’s for another post.  A shorter one.  Coming Soon! 

Carnival of Interesting Finds

Cattle egret steps lightly along the hedge next to the Vineyard Zippy’s.

We have some wonderful things in the oddest places!  The lovely fellow you see above was slinking slowly across the top, yes the top, of the hedge in front of my car.  He was quite the circus act — not looking for Christmas presents but looking for lunch (bugs).  He was finding them too!

As I stuck my head out the window I was holding my breath hoping that he wouldn’t fly away before I could take this picture.  Relax, I wasn’t driving.  I was parked at Zippy’s, with a dead battery.  This handsome little guy was my entertainment!

Hawaii Beaches tells us all about the Best Hawaii Beach Bars in Honolulu posted at Hawaii Beaches.  Those are wonderful things in odd places!  No, these are not floating bars, they are establishments right on the edge of the beach.

Drinking in parks and on beaches is supposed to be illegal.   But, some people do like life on the wild side!  We won’t talk about the drinking variety right now.  We’ve got better ideas!

Katie Sorene likes life on the wild side! She asks, “Do You Dare? Hiking Hawaii’s Most Explosive Volcano” over at Travel Blog – Tripbase.  She explains with “background info and traveler tips for hiking Mount Kilauea, Hawaii’s most explosive volcano.”

Whew!  After that we need to get something to eat.

Jennifer Miner presents Three Best Restaurants in Honolulu, Hawaii posted at The Vacation Gals. Okay, we may have things to add to that, but I can always appreciate the culinary finds of our visitors!

Now that we’re full we need to go and relax a bit over at Bishop Museum!

Karen Awong touches our hearts with I Pledge Allegiance posted at kareninhonolulu, saying, “This quilt is hanging in Bishop Museum. It is known as the protest quilt and is said to have been worked on by Queen Liliuokalani while she had been held prisoner in Iolani Palace.”  Thank you, Karen.

Okay, ready?  Rested?  Come on, let’s go on another hike!

Jen presents Best Family Adventures: Hanakapi’ai Hike: 8.4 miles and they’re still talking to us posted at Best Family Adventures, saying, “Many people hike the first mile of Na Pali, but not many barely-8-year-olds make the 8.4-mile round trip to Hanakapiai Falls. But it can be done with time and patience.”

See?  You can do it too!  A little too much elevation?  Let’s head back down towards the ocean!

Friends of Falls of Clyde is Catching Up! on work being done on my darling boat.  You can read all about it over at The Falls of Clyde website.  Keep in mind that these are volunteers who are keeping these repairs moving!

Well, we started with a bird in a strange place, so let’s wrap this up with a bird activity asking us to find more of them in strange places.  Our friend, GrrlScientist, provides an interesting and fun holiday activity for all Hawai’i residents and visitors.

GrrlScientist presents The World Parrot Count posted at Punctuated Equilibrium. We need to find parrots in strange places.  This is for all islands!  I always miss things like this.  You guys are more observant!  If you see one, let them know!  Check it out — this will be great for the kids during Christmas break. I know those birds are out there but, like our friend above, they have to show up in front of my face for me to take notice.

That concludes this chapter. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Aloha using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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