Entries Tagged as 'Holidays'

There’s nothing like food to get your attention!

Well, it works for me. The topic of food seems like a great way to start a person writing, too! As you can see, I seem to have decided that blogging is a semi-annual thing, or a quarterly thing at best. Based on previously posted items, the former seems to be the adopted definition. So, let’s talk about food; I am always willing to talk about that!

June, I read somewhere, was National Fruits and Vegetables Month! I found that acclamation again — San Mateo Public Library confirms it! They have a beautiful picture to go along with sharing this foodie holiday.

So what? What does this have to do with Honolulu? Well, there is this little “business” that was sitting right in my own backyard, so to speak. O'ahu Fresh logoIf you live on O’ahu, doesn’t the logo on the left look just a little familiar? I’ve seen the van and I thought they delivered to the stores, grocery and otherwise but I was wrong. They deliver to us!

O’ahu Fresh gathers local-grown produce and delivers the items they gather in a bag of goodies to you either every week or every other week, depending on how often you want them. If you work in Downtown Honolulu just pick a spot where they already drop off the bags and add yourself to the list. That’s what I did.

I even called O’ahu Fresh to change my order from bi-monthly to weekly because, “June is Fruit and Vegetable Month!” I was aiming to share this here on Homespun Honolulu because food it such a great topic and O’ahu Fresh would benefit from my blabbering, and I could learn how to make new things, and, um, well, it’s JULY! O’ahu Fresh still benefits, local readers still benefit, I have already learned new veggie things, I am still excited about it, I have a new friend over at Oceanit (where I pick up my bag) so the only one to suffer really is Fruit and Vegetable Month. Oh well.

Local produce

O’ahu Fresh has managed to introduce me to some weird things — things that you can actually eat. “What’s that? Never heard of them!” They may be grown here but they are new to me! Fortunately, the O’ahu Fresh website tells you, every week, what is in the bag that week. The best part is they provide definitions for the strange items and links to recipes for all the items!

Do not let the oddities scare you — if you have your pick-up spot close to work, you can always find someone at work who will eat what you will not, or cannot. I hate tomatoes. I hate cucumbers. I hate lychee. Between taste and texture they are all out the door for me. Blech! However, I have found a recipe that works very nicely with cucumber and I found a recipe for katsup! I love ketchup! There are a lot of recipes for catsup! There are even more recipes for ketchup than there are spellings!

With O’ahu Fresh you are not stuck with just produce. They will bring you dairy products, jams and jellies, coffees and teas, and even meats, if you want to add any of those items to your bag. These are all locally grown items which means that beef is free-ranging, grass-eating cattle (compliments of the Big Island farmers)! They have actually, recently, mentioned fresh fish!

Be still my heart with those dairy products and the beef that is as healthy as you can get beef to be! Love fresh produce, I love my home, therefore, I love O’ahu Fresh! Coming up I will share recipes (mine or theirs) and keep it all with local-grown Aloha in the process. Maybe I will be lucky enough to meet up with some of their farmer partners — that would be cool! 🙂

Sharing with the Keiki

2011 Toy Run
The Street Bikers United Hawaii – Oahu Chapter shared information about the 2011 Toy Run on December 4th.

The following is a list of the charities that received toys from Toys for Tots Hawaii: 

Alu Like
Adult Friends for Youth
Agape Assembly of God
Armed Services YMCA
Banyan Street Manor
Catholic Charities Maililand
Central Samoan Assembly of God Chursch
CFS Healthy Start Oahu
Congregational Samoan Christian Church of Maile
Cup of Water Outreach
DHS First To Work Downtown
Domestic Violence Clearinghouse And Legal Hotline
Drug Addiction Services of Hawaii
Emmanuel Temple Church
Family Programs Hawaii
Family Services Center Preschool
First Judicial Circuit
First Lap
First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church
Friends of Foster Kids
FSCCC-Maili
FTS The Salvation Army
Good Samaritan Church
Graham Builders Inc.
Hale Kipa
Hawaii Children’s Cancer Foundation
Hawaii First Samoan Assembly of God
Housing Solutions Inc.
Honolulu Church of God
HCAP Leahi District
HCAP Leeward District
442 Head Start
HCAP Central
HCAP Kalihi-Palama
HCAP Windward
Honolulu Samoan Assembly of God
Ho’omau Ke Ola
Hope Chapel Kahuku
IHS Women and Families Shelter
Jesus Is the Way Church Of God
Kahana Community Association
Kahikolu Ohana Hale O Waianae
Kalihi Valley Homes
Ke Ola Mamo – Ko’olaupoko Unit
Kokua Kalihi Valley Family Services
Kukui Tower
Ku I Ka Mana Program Coordinator
Life Foundation
Lighthouse Outreach Center
Linapuni Elementary School
Makakilo Assembly of God
Mauga Olive Assembly of God
Mutual Housing Assn – Palolo
Naval Reserve Center Honolulu
North Shore Mental Health
Oahu Salvation of Souls AG Church
Once a Month Church
One Love Ministries
Pacific Gateway Center
PACT Family Center
PACT Respite Care
PACT Ohia Domestic Violence Shelter
PACT Teen Program
PACT Intensive Support Program
PACT EHS / HS
PACT Administrative Offices
PACT Kaneohe Community Family Center
PACT CPS Program
PACT Hana Like Visitation Program Waianae
Palama Settlement
Palolo Valley Homes
Papakolea Community Development Corporation
Poly USO Productions
Puuwai Momi Resident Assn
River Of Life
Solid Rock Fellowship AOG
St. Patrick’s Outreach
Sts Peter & Paul Outreach
Star Program
The Salvation Army Leeward Corps
The Salvation Army ARC
The Salvation Army ATS
Vietnamese Catholic Community
Voice Of Christ
Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center
Waipahu Assembly of God
Wings of Love Samoan Assembly of God
Waianae Neighborhood Place
Waianae Community Outreach
Word of Life
Waianae Coast Early Childhood Services

Wow!  That was quite and event!  Merry Christmas to our keiki!

Having a Carnival Christmas!

You’ve got to love a Panda that eats saimin!

Welcome to the December edition of the Carnival of Aloha!  This will be the last chapter of our Carnival for 2011.  Suffice it to say, 2011 has been a strange year in many ways and it will stick around for quite some time in many of our memories.  We need to take the edge off so let’s have a drink together as we move closer to the end of this interesting and sometimes troubling year!

Sheila shares 4 Favorite Places for a Sunset Drink in Waikiki posted at Hawaii Vacation Blog – GoVisitHawaii.com, saying, “What happened to 2011? The year went by so fast! Well, let’s all toast to the close of 2011 and the welcome of 2012 with a Waikiki sunset drink. :-)”   Thanks, Sheila, you have always been a great person to share with and a great help to my nerves!

Now we need something to eat so we don’t get too tipsy!  It gives me great pleasure to introduce a local blogger who has been around for quite some time but we have never connected until now.  Since that panda at the top of this post is not going to share his saimin, Kay is going t0 feed us a Hawai’i favorite!

Kay actually shows us How to Cook Opihi!  Some time back someone let me try opihi, directly off the rocks, and I thought it tasted a little like sunflower seeds — it must have been the salt from the ocean.  Kay’s recipes posted over at Musings sure look a lot tastier than sunflower seeds.  I like the comment she shared about them tasting like the escargot someone had while on a cruise ship.  It does sound much more appetizing to eat opihi made that way rather than snails!

Now we need a little bit of intellectual stimulation.  I found something I thought you would all find interesting.

Jan TenBruggencate over at Raising Islands–Hawai’i science and environment was talking about Hawaiian volcano science: why Kilauea sits on Mauna Loa, but is a sister of Mauna Kea.  This is interesting information that I thought it would be great to share.  It is always fascinating to learn the secrets about what goes on underneath the surface and creates the beautiful scenery and great photo ops we all enjoy!  Thanks, Jan!

Are your fingers itching to write about Hawai’i?  Pua is going to help us out with that!

Pua sends out an invitation to bloggers as she presents 8 Best Maui Vacation Tips posted at Best Hawaii Vacation with Hawaii Vacation Blog, saying, “We invite people in love with Hawaii and Hawaii vacation to write a guest post on our blog. A short bio will be included. So, if you have something nice to say -NO advertising though – please, share with us like the writer of this ‘Maui vacation tips’ article did.”  Another place to share your island discoveries!

Need a ride?

Evelyn, that’s me, shares the Street Bikers United annual gift giving event — the 2011 Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run posted right here on this blog.   This is a great way to start the month of December every year.  Wouldn’t it be great if we could ride into 2012!

We may not have snow but we have all of your bloggers and readers with whom we share the holiday season!  Have a wonderful holiday season and please, please stay safe!

Aloha to 2011!  The next Carnival of Aloha will have us welcoming in 2012.   Come on and submit your blog articles to the next chapter of the 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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2011 Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run

What do you do on a peaceful Sunday morning?  Do you go to Ala Moana Park and paddle board?  Do you go sailing?

Paddle boarder and a sail boat off of Ala Moana Park on an overcast Sunday morning.

Some people do.  Is that why I was venturing over to Magic Island?  Uh, no.  If it’s the first or second Sunday in December, I’m there for one reason and one reason only — the annual Toys for Tots Motorcycle Run!

Motorcycle decked in blue and silver

The weather has been overcast all weekend so one can only guess that stuffed animals were not the toys of choice this year.  While there were a few soft critters, not all of them were toys for the kids.  Some of them were mascots.

GEICO gecko catches a ride on the back of a bike.

The GEICO gecko made sure to show up for the occasion.  In case you’ve missed the commercials, they insure motorcycles.  Actually, I wonder if this one was a going to be gifted.  If that’s the case, I need one for my car!  I seriously wouldn’t mind having him as a passenger.  This was actually the first bike photo I took as I thought, “They must be here.”

GEICO tent at the start of the motorcycle run.

Indeed they were, with bells on!  They were even ladies walking around taking monetary donations for Street Bikers United to help with the cost of the Toy Run, to keep it running!  It is a great cause and quite the community event!

Animated reindeer surveys the event.

I liked this animated reindeer.  He was just sitting there looking from side to side to see what was interesting, just like me!

All dressed up for the event.

The bikes are always a fascination but the people are too!  There were people who dressed for the Christmas event that this is intended to be.

Iron Circle Hawaii members dressed like bikers!

Then there were people who dressed, well, like bikers!

Santa and his biker chick.

Of course Santa was there!  He even found himself a biker chick!

A pirate biker joins in the fun.

There were the ones who attracted every camera lens.  A pirate!  Why a pirate?

Ocean Dive toy

This rider is a diver.  The toy gave that away.

Shark rides co-pilot with the pirate.

Of course the co-pilot shark kind of helped with that, too.  So, a pirate is the proper attire — anything ocean!  This is Hawai’i, how can you argue with outfitting yourself with anything ocean?

Biker vests tell great stories.

This one on the left was my favorite and I let her know that I thought it was too cool.  And you guys thought I was kidding when I mentioned biker chick.  Oh yeah, they were there too.  Awesome!

The beauty of this event is that nobody knows what these people do for a living.  Tank’s Lady may be a pediatrician for all we know!  (If she sees this, I hope she tells us.)  One of the other rugged-looking dudes might be an architect.  It happens!  That is the beauty of events like this and that is why I take every opportunity to squelch the negative opinions the seem to pop up whenever people hear the word “biker.”

Like anything else, riding is a passion that runs through a biker’s veins.  It’s like hunting, fishing, running, or any of the other events to which people devote their time.

Bikers are not the ogres people try to make them out to be.  Yes, there are bad a**es but there are those in every group of people.  This is just one example of good people trying to do something good for their community and enjoy themselves in the process.  Trust me, I was there!  I was at KCC with a four-wheeled vehicle (who wants to see a car at a biker event?) and still I was allowed to sneak in.  I witnessed the camaraderie among bikers, and I enjoyed the acceptance of this crazy blogger who was there with camera in hand simply because they were all there being who they are!

Patience, understanding and a lot of ALOHA makes this event what it is every year.  I witnessed it and I enjoyed the benefit of it — of course the “I Brake for Bikers” bumper sticker on my boring automobile may have helped with that part.

Christian Motorcyclists Association are “Riding for the Son.”

I so love it when people prove me right!  <sarcasm>Gasp!  Those horrible people!</sarcasm>  There is an annual bike blessing, by the way, in case you have friends or family that need to have their bikes blessed — which is not a bad idea on our Hawai’i roadways!

Hope for the Highway book of scripture.

Every year I come away with something in my hand.  This year I did not come away with a GEICO bandana or a Marine Corp flyer.  This little treasure brought tears to my eyes as I picked it up and found that it was the New Testament in its entirety along with stories that I will share with everyone later.

As I thumbed through it to see what was included in the text, I decided that I would have to share the stories with everyone later.  This is the best season to do so as most of them are recovery stories about overcoming some of the different challenges that life throws our way.

Santa’s sleigh pulled by a reindeer with a motor.

I always look for fun and fascinating things to share.  Santa’s sleigh is always an important thing to share!

Beautiful yellow bike with all the trimmings a biker would want.

In the process of seeking these fun things, I always seem to find at least one bike that makes me catch my breath.  This one was stunning!  If the owner catches this post, please share your story for this picture I have labeled, “My Star Performer.”

Pooh and what I belive was a group of Veterans.

Everyone loves Pooh Bear and the Veterans are no exception.  I’m assuming these were the bikes of Veterans.  Anyone is welcome to correct me if I’m wrong!  Please do!

The lot at Ala Moana Park by Magic Island kept filling up as the morning progressed.

With every turn the lot was filling up quickly.

More bikers file in.

One biker from this large group noticed the camera.

Bikers continue to arrive at Ala Moana Park to join in the ride.

They just seemed to be coming from all directions

Either way you look, bikers made thier way into the staging area.

There must have been more this year than in the past.  It was getting crazy at the starting point but it was unbelievable at the end and police officers had to direct the traffic for the stream of bikers filing in to drop off their toys!

Line of bikers dropping off their toys with the Marine Corp.

So many bikers, so many toys.

The Marine Corp waiting to accept the gifts for all of the children.

I asked the Marine officer who was taking in the toys if these toys were for the children of military, disadvantaged children, or whose children.  His response was that the toys are for all children.  My assumption is that they are for all any and all children in need at this time of year.

We even have a biker dog!  Very cute looking Pomeranian mix.

I leave everyone with this little mascot.  A biker dog!  What a cutie!

Someone asked me, “Do you ride?”

“No, I’m a coward and have too much road rage — it would be a suicide mission for me to become a biker.”  That small bit of intelligence on my part does not change my desire and my admiration for those who do!

My one regret this year is that those ladies collecting donations were doing so to support the event itself and I missed an opportunity to show my support.  But, all is not lost!  If you want to make a donation to help keep this event running, please do by making your check payable to “The Toy Parade Inc” and mail it to: SBUHI, P.O. Box 5003, Kaneohe, HI  96744.  I am!

Heartfelt appreciation goes out to Street Bikers United, the Marine Corp., and all of the bikers who participate in this event every year.  Thank you for sharing your excitement and passion with us, and mahalo nui for letting me live vicariously through all of your passion and events!

Dia de los Muertos is a Celebration of Life!

November 2nd was Dia de los Muertos (the day of the dead) this year.  I was going to talk about this for the most recent Carnival of Aloha but I was too slow.  Talking about marigolds and a picture of these flowers was all I could muster.  The mystique of the marigolds intrigued a couple of readers and now I have to try to make this even more fascinating.

Birds watch over Puea Cemetery on School Street in Honolulu

I love how these white cattle egrets look so creepy sitting on those grave stones?  Most people refer to them as garbage dump birds but I’m going to go with Michael Walther at O’ahu Nature Tours and call them egrets.  Mahalo, Michael, for that information and reassurance!

Regular readers know how much I love and respect our graveyards.  Does this strike you as morbid?  It’s not!  Honest!  Let me explain.

CBS News Sunday Morning found itself on Halloween this year.  There were so many wonderful stories but I selected the best fit for this post.  I hope that link will work, at least for a while.  Fortunately for those strange people, like me, who are stricken with a touch of graveyard addiction, they spoke of all kinds of things like the tombstones of celebrities and some of the self-made monuments of the ultra-rich.

They even talked about the human fascination with, and dissecting of, the afterlife and near-death experiences that people often talk about.  I couldn’t help but be intrigued by America’s nerdy need to put a scientific explanation on it all.  Yeah, they actually think they might find one!  Good luck with that. Wonderful show, CBS, I so wish that I had taped it all!

What CBS missed, being stuck in Halloween, was a much more beautiful way to deal with the memory of our deceased families, friends, and yes, even celebrities.  I am anti-Halloween because I have read about its evil origins and, to be honest, it frightens me.  I love the silly dress up and the eerie nonsense, but the reality is not something I care to deal with if I can avoid it.

Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) puts the celebratory feel where it belongs — on treasured memories, not on ghouls and goblins.  Mexico doesn’t mourn their dead, they celebrate their lives!  What a beautiful way to remember loved ones and our ancestors.

I need to bring this all home to Honolulu.  Dealing with the memory of our loved ones and caring for their resting places is always a concern and very much a part of Hawaii’s culture, to be sure!  Sometimes the cultural observances of others overflow the borders of countries and are adopted.  Hawai’i should know all about this!

Don’t get me wrong; we celebrate too.  A good example of this is our celebration of the much revered King Kamehameha whom we remember with lei and a parade very year!  But, what do we do about our families and friends?  We take flowers, say prayers and/or recite words of love, and then weep.  I think I like the Mexican tradition better. 

I think we should blend the traditions.  Take flowers, say a prayer, recite a message of love, and then party!  Celebrate their lives and the people that they were.  What a wonderful tribute that is to them.  If they are still hanging around nearby (depending on your beliefs), they can join in and appreciate our efforts!

Marigolds from Home Depot

I know, you’re wondering, “Yes, but why the marigolds?”  My sister mentioned that they were a popular flower with spirits.  From what I’ve read, they are the flower of choice for Dia de los Muertos events.  Home Depot had a lot of them!  I noticed that many of them disappeared between the afternoon of November 1st and the morning of the 2nd.  Perhaps I’m not the only one?  Just an observation.

On November 2nd I quietly combined the traditions and took some marigolds, prayers, wipes, and water, and went graveyard hopping.  The sun was not always in my favor for picture taking but the photos are full of sentiment!  The places and the people may or may not be familiar to some but the message is universal.

Rose Pelayo stone at Puea Cemetery in Kalihi.

I started at Puea Cemetery because one of my readers who leaves comments from time to time told me that his grandmother was buried there.  I’m hoping that Rose Pelayo is Keahi’s grandma.  I have not seen him for a while so I hope he will let me know that I found the right lady!  If not, I’m still happy that I visited and prayed for someone there.  This little cemetery needs all the prayers and visitors that it can get!  These grounds are under the State of Hawaii’s jurisdiction and the State is in need of a reprimand but that’s another story for another time.

Nu’uanu has the best neighbors!  My dear friend’s grandmother is at Nu’uanu Memorial Park cemetery so I had to visit there.

Grandma Helen at Nu’uanu Memorial Park cemetery.

The sun was very warm that day and it was drying up my cleaning quickly!  The flowers seemed to like it though.

Zadoc and Lawrence Brown’s stones at O’ahu cemetery.

When it comes to upkeep and elegance, O’ahu Cemetery will not to be outshined by its neighbors.  It is worth noting here that my marigolds were not single flowers but rather a collection of little potted plants — that’s why they are not inside the vases.  The Brown family has a nice little area at O’ahu Cemetery and there is a lot of history there.  That is one thing that O’ahu Cemetery has a lot of — history!

Young Gill Jamieson buried at O’ahu cemetery.

I cannot, and will not, forget little Gill Jamieson whose story still shakes me because I know that story is what my own mother’s warnings were based on.  I washed his stone, gave him his marigolds, and told him that he didn’t die in vain.  His story has and will continue to protect children from the harm of messed up people like the one who kidnapped and murdered Gill at the tender age of 10.

Paticio and Francisca Yangson’s stone at Hawaiian Memorial Park cemetery.

Then it was time to shake a leg and move over to the Windward side and Hawaiian Memorial Park cemetery.  There are a lot of friends and family buried there.  I couldn’t find my own grandparents but I was able to find my husband’s grandparents.

James Wallace at the Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery in Kaneohe.

Behind Hawaiian Memorial is another military cemetery, Hawaii State Veterans Cemetery.   This is my stepfather’s stone.  The red dirt doesn’t help photography either.  I set a rule at the start of this day that I would not cry.  This was a day for the celebration of their lives.  Remember I said we are supposed to celebrate rather than weep? Rule broken.  I couldn’t help it!  This is fitting since today is Veterans’ Day!  Jim was more than a soldier for our country; he was a soldier for our family.

Mililani Cemetery grounds.

Mililani Cemetery is the best kept cemetery.  The grounds people are going at it constantly, and it shows!

Albertina Botelho’s stone at Mililani Cemetery.

Albertina Botelho is buried at Mililani Cemetery.  She was always a very dear friend.  I still remember things she said to me and the things I learned from her.  In my senior year, only a few months before graduation, she asked me for a graduation picture.  A few days later she was gone.  I had already broken my no-cry rule once today; I broke it again as I watered her marigolds.

I said my little prayer about eight times that day and used a lot of Lysol wipes. I wanted to do this — to celebrate with these dearly departed souls because the opportunity presented itself.  So, I did.  While exhausting, this was an accomplishment that felt really good, inside and out.  Um, I think I really like marigolds!

A Little Lenten Aloha

Phoenix Palms found at Home Depot in IwileiLent has been quite a struggle this year.  Many of us have been sick, Mom spent time in the hospital again, taxes are still looming around, and there is a multitude of life’s other dramas rearing their ugly heads.

Sometime back (a few years ago) I took it upon myself to put the palm leaves together for Church, to be blessed and shared with the faithful on Palm Sunday.  Because I live in a condo, palm leaves are not always easy to come by.  You would think that, since we live in Hawai’i, finding those palms would be simple. Right? Not necessarily.

To avoid “borrowing” branches and leaves off the side of the road, or worse, every year I buy a couple of little trees from one garden shop or another.  I take the little guys outside to my car, cut off the bulk of leaves, and then take the newly-sheared plants back into the store I got them from — so they can give them away to another customer who might like some free plants!  You should see the looks I get!

This year, even buying these little trees was a problem.  The ones I found were, to put it kindly, sort of scrubby looking.  I finally resigned myself to a couple of Phoenix Palms that were for sale at Home Depot in Iwilei.  While telling the cashier about my annual palm activity she looked a little puzzled.  The conversation went something like this:

“That’s all you want, just the leaves?”

“That’s it,” I replied. “I’ll bring them back and you can give them to whoever wants ’em.”

“Oooh, I would like those!” she said, actually taking an interest in the conversation.

“Are you serious?”  I asked, a little amused.  She nodded eagerly and I couldn’t help but smile at her.  “Then they’re yours!  I’ll be right back.”

The way she said it was so sweet and so sincere.  She didn’t think I was coming back.  Yeah, you got it, she took them home.  They were pretty bald but she was so happy to have them and thanked me for the gift. I gave her a hug and wished her a Happy Easter.  As I confirmed that she had a copy of the receipt so her employer wouldn’t accuse her of stealing, she still seemed incredulous.

Palms and pussy willows for Palm SundayTo lighten things up a little I grinned at her and said, “I’ll come see you next year to cut their branches off!”  She giggled and said she would let me know.  I needed that fun experience.  Just a moment of sharing a giving moment with a stranger who appreciated it — lent, and my life, go just a little bit better.  Seems odd?  I think so too.  I couldn’t help but want to share it here.

The picture on the right is what they became.  Since I attend a Russian Orthodox Church, it is tradition to include pussy willows because Russia has no palms.  At this time of year, the flora most in bloom in Russia is pussy willows — they grow even when snow still covers the ground!  So, we take palm leaves, some stalks of pussy willows, and tie them with a bow to be blessed!  That way we take advantage of both tradition and Tradition.

Do we grow pussy willows here?  Uh, not that I know of!  Watanabe Floral always takes care of that for me, and other floral needs, every year.  I also got the bows from them — and very beautiful bows they were!

Aloha spirit all around?  You bet!  Sending a huge mahalo out to Home Depot for hiring the right people and to Watanabe Floral for what they provide and for having the best staff that tolerate me, even when I’m horrid and grouchy!  Of course, flowers do tend to put us in a better mood.  🙂

Toys 4 Tots: an Event Like No Other!

There is no event quite like this one to light a fire under me to start “talking” again.  I miss writing, I miss talking, and I so miss sharing!  We’ll talk about the New Year and early resolutions in a bit.  Right now, let’s talk about Christmas and one of the landmark events that signal that it is upon us.

US Marines truck with Street Bikers United banner.

Street Bikers United Hawaii joined forces with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, just as they do every year.  The fun part is that there are always new surprises and fun things to see.

A big bear attached to the front of a big truck.

Every year I wait for this event, just because.

Phenomenons like this one happen across the country.  Hawai’i is not the only State to see this happen.  Yes, I call it a phenomenon because our bikers just show up with little provocation.  I’m obviously not the only one who looks forward to this!

There is just something so delightful about a bunch of toy-carting bikers that is enough to make people’s hearts all warm and fuzzy.  Of course that’s after they’re done scratching their heads.

It’s an awesome sight; let me show you!

Since I need to get rid of my wheels (since I have four instead of only 2) before I venture out with my camera, I find a safe spot to get rid of them and go the rest of the way on foot to Magic Island where the event begins.

Santa's a biker too!

Many bikers get close to Magic Island but some stop for breakfast before continuing — including Santa and some of his elves.

Bikes and participants begin to arrive.

When I first got there the parking lot was already starting to fill up.

Park continues to fill up.

It was amazing to watch the lot fill up and get more and more crowded.  Who would have thought that there were even that many bikes on Oahu?

Still getting more and more bikes.

The lot was filling with more bikes, more Santas, more toys, and more enthusiasm.  When all was said and done, there were over 6,500 bikes!

Still getting fuller.

As they continued to file in, I kept thinking about just how perfect the weather was for a day like this.  It wasn’t too hot but the sun was out and being its usual bright self.   🙂

Directing the incoming flow of bikers.

It was a good thing that it wasn’t too hot because the volunteers directing the influx of bikers were being kept very busy!  The bikers dressed in Santa suits must have been baking up pretty nicely as well.

Bikes lined up waiting for the start of the parade through Waikiki. /></p> <p>Of course there were more bodies than bikes.  A lot of bikers had their ladies with them.</p> <p><img mce_tsrc=

There were more people than bikes because a lot of the bikers had their ladies with them.

Ralph and Wanda join the event!

Here is Ralph and Wanda — these two go everywhere together!  I was looking for them because I really don’t know anybody else personally.  I found them!  These two are inseparable and theirs is a heartwarming relationship to watch.

Biker tot with toys.

Here’s a dad with his little lady.  This cutie got a lot of attention from those of us with cameras — you can tell by the shadows off to the right.  You can also tell that she was a little embarrassed by all of the attention.

Biker with human-size bear passenger.

There were a variety of other kinds of passengers too!

Stuffed toys make great biker passengers. A penguin for a passenger.

All of these characters riding with these ferocious bikers. Terrible, terrible! 🙂

GEICO staff at the start of the run visit with bikers and pass out bandannas.

Here is a favorite group of characters!  GEICO was there walking around and handing out bandannas.  In a feeble attempt to score a gecko scarf I said, “I don’t have a bike but my car is GEICO-insured!”

“It’s all good!” was the response.  Hmmm, that was not so feeble after all.  I ended up with a couple of crisply-folded bandannas tucked in at my waist — I was a walking advertisement!  Trust me, they didn’t mind.

The run/parade was supposed to start at 10:00 am but at 10:30 bikers were still filing into the park.

Marines loading boxes with toys from bikers.

At the ultimate destination, Kapiolani Community College, the Marines collected the cargo from the bikers and still the smiles of participants and spectators continued to appear on faces old and young.

Santa's sleigh with the Grinch with his hands tied.

Here, Santa had the Grinch all tied up!

Biker taking toy to drop location. The Grinch.

This Grinch was on the loose.

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!

The crowd gathered at Kapiolani Community College.

At the end of the line the bikes are more spread out so you can see all of the polishing that went on before this event.

Reindeer motorcycle.

You can also see a few more oddities that we missed at the beginning of all this.  I’m guessing those are moose antlers but they do quite nicely as reindeer antlers.  It’s Christmas time and these “reindeer” can fly!  As always, they should fly safely.

Sea of bikes at Kapiolani Community College.

Now that I’ve shared all of that, I have to say how happy I am to be sharing this fun event with everyone and I’m sorry that I have not been writing and sharing more recently.  The fire has been lit — thanks to Street Bikers United and our Marines!  I’m starting early with my resolutions.  I hereby resolve to post more often and try not to let a down time like this happen again!

I’ve got two weeks to whip this baby into shape!  

Terroristic Weather Report

Why am I writing this?  I have no idea.  Well, I had all of these pictures to start a blog post or two and I just have to talk about things that annoy me.  I have to admit, this all took some thinking on my part because the series and sequence of events all blended together at some point.  Let’s go back a few weeks and take it from the start.  Back on December 26th, Oahu’s power lines were hit by lightening.  They say lightening doesn’t strike twice but Hawaiian Electric Company took it in the electrical wires five (5), yes five times that day.

Kahe Point Power Plant

HECO Finds the Cause

I’m glad that Hawaiian Electric Company was able to pinpoint just how this calamity happened.  I will agree that nobody likes a company that sends them bills in the mail.  But, oddly enough, I’ve felt the need to jump in and back HECO up on this.  Mother Nature does what Mother Nature wants and I’m afraid HECO was outflanked this time.  Most people were out of power for something over 12 hours — it was 20+ hours for us.  I have no problem being without power for a while but I really hate throwing away all of that food.  Ugh!  In spite of it all, HECO still offered to provide financial restitution to those who apply for it.

Mother Nature the Terrorist

We’ve been through a sufficient amount of natural disasters recently that have left some areas a little shell-shocked.  there have been heavy rains causing some very damaging flooding, we’ve had high winds taking the roofs off houses, and there have been combination storms that have kept us in the dark for several hours.  Now that these events are over and we’re sufficiently on edge, what happens when the weather service warns of a windy storm on its way?  State officials and the Department of Education decide to close all public schools.  “They what?!?” They never did that when I was in school!  We always braved the wind, rain, waves, mud, etc.  It did not take long for the private and charter schools to follow suit.  Fine, whatever.

Wait, it gets better.  All State and City & County offices are closed!  “You have GOT to be kidding me!”  Let’s see, Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day so the general consensus was that they all wanted a four-day weekend.  Fine, whatever. What happened on that Friday?  Nothing.  No hurricane.  Maybe a drizzle, maybe not.  Traffic was a lot lighter.

A Trashy Day Off

Road Work Ahead sign

Absolutely amazing.  Road work?  It’s a holiday; what are they talking about?  Who put that sign there?  I’m nosy, I need to know.  I don’t see any road work, they must have forgotten to pick the sign up during the week — maybe they left in there on Friday when they were suddenly closed for the day.

Surprise!  They were indeed on the road side, on a holiday, picking up somebody’s opala (trash) that was dumped unceremoniously on the side of the road.

This stuff fries me!  It’s bad enough when people dump garbage and abandon vehicles in obscure locations, but when they dump it on the side of the road in a residential area, especially a rural relief area (that’s what I call them) that exists so very close to the city but is still so very peaceful and simple, it absolutely makes my blood boil!  Dump it in your own damn yard, you slobs!  Grrrr!

When I saw what was going on and successfully checked my temper, I realized that I needed to talk about this.  It took me all of about thirty seconds to turn my car around and head back to take these photos.  Doing so rattled the City & County workers.  Does that make me the terrorist?  🙂  I think I’ve mentioned before that people are afraid of cameras.  But, when they heard my snarky reaction to the whole thing, they happily joined my rant and understood the intent.

City & County of Honolulu truck

This is what was left after they filled their trucks the first time.  They reassured me they would be back for the rest but this gives you some idea of just what a big pile it was.  A comment was also made that citizens like us hire people to do a job, pay to have the trash hauled away, and this is where it ends up.  It’s hauled away alright but I’m sure the homeowner did not have this kind of disposal in mind!

Opala tossed on the side of the street

You know, if you’re doing a job that requires this kind of heavy hauling and disposal and you do not want to pay the fees at the dump, I suggest that you find some other line of work.  Those fees are part of the cost of doing business.  They are a legitimate, tax-deductible, business expense.  But then again, maybe you don’t pay your taxes either?  There was something else that troubled me — there seemed to be more than one line of business here.  There was a lot of flooring debris making up this pile but there were also several cans of paint.  Those paint cans do look old.  Alright, I suppose a homeowner could have done this themselves.  Auwe!

Opala sliding down towards the river

The City & County workers were the ones who pointed out that I “should see what’s over the wall.”  The river is right below this and we wonder why there are so many signs about dumping and cautions about contaminated water?

For the record, later that same day I saw a State employee leaving the Capitol and I said, “Don’t tell me you guys are working?”

“Yep, only half-day though. Since we had Friday off we came in to work half-day.”

Aha!  So they guilted themselves into working on the Monday holiday to make up for what didn’t happen on Friday.  Okay, you guys are forgiven.

Shore breaks off Maile

There may have been a storm but this is where it really went.  The only real evidence of any storm that I saw was the kicking shore breaks on the west side of Oahu, a nice 30+ miles away from where the City & County was taking away all of that trash.  The water looked so inviting but the warning signs and little orange flags kept everyone out of the water.  Just watching the water and smelling the salt air is enough to make us forget the problems and focus on the beauty that is our home. Why did I write this?  I don’t remember.

New Year Carnival of Aloha Reminder!

Decorated Christmas Tree

Okay, December just went way too fast!  It was like watching water go down the drain — the last part just goes, “sluuuurp,” and then it’s all gone!   

The deadline for the first 2009 Carnival of Aloha was actually today, BUT, I’ve extended it until Friday the 2nd.  🙂  I’m falling behind big time and, with the holiday season and all, I’m guessing that some of you guys are too!

Have a wonderful, safe and happy New Year celebration this evening and when you’re recovering from it all tomorrow, submit a post for the Carnival!  If you like, send in your favorite post of 2008 — just be sure to let me know that’s what you’re doing in the comments so I can make a note of it!

Mahalo to Richard Tajiri’s Christmas Hawaii for a picture-perfect tree that I almost didn’t want to decorate.  But, I did!  I’m hoping that I can be supportive of them at the start of the holiday season next year.

Who Doesn’t Want a Bike for Christmas?

The annual drive for the Toys for Tots campaign officially kicked off with the “Bikes for Tykes” event in Downtown Honolulu.  I didn’t know about this event.  It’s the third year and I did not know about it.  I missed it.  I will make it a point to NOT miss it next year!

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is on my list of wonderful organizations and the local Marines in Kaneohe do them proud!  The Marines and the Hawaii Chapter of Street Bikers United join forces, once a year, to take toys to the keiki — via their motorcycles.  I love this event because it is a rare occasion that we get to see so many riders all together at the same time and, best of all, for a common cause.  Regular readers know how much I love this event.  Guess what?  I missed that too!  The worst part is that I promised you guys last year to get it done this year!

Toys for Tots Bike Run 2008

Here is the one photo that I was able to get for this year’s event.  That’s it.  That’s all I have.  Last year I suffered from an equipment failure when my camera decided to have a memory meltdown.  This year, I was severely slowed down in the morning and then the husband locked his keys in the car (with it running) so I missed the end of the run too!

Needless to say, I was not happy.  Again.  This event only happens once a year!  I swear, next year is mine!  I will get those pictures that I discovered I really can get if I have to die trying!  Okay, maybe I won’t go quite that far.

I Have an Attitude Problem

So often seen as the kind of people you don’t want to take home to meet your parents, these tattoo-sporting, bike-riding, beer-drinking hooligans are, for the most part, just the opposite — they’re sheep in wolves clothing!  😉

These horrible monsters are taking toys to children.  Gasp!  Oh the horror!  Yeah, I’m being a wise a** but cut me some slack.  For all the “bad boy” or “hoochie mama” notoriety they get (yes, women ride too!), they’re just like the rest of us — they are passionate about what they do.  I keep grilling this “they’re good people” stuff into the ground, I know, but I can’t help it.  I can relate to that passion, be it as a loaner or as part of a group.

Any bikers reading this will be thinking, “Yeah!  We’re good!”  Then they hate me because I continue to caution them about safety and helmets and the like.  I can’t help that either!

I did tell the new downtown Honda store that they need a couple of motorcycles in the window if they expect to draw people in.  “We have a location for that,” was the comment.

“I know that,” I quipped back, “so have them lend you guys a couple to draw people into the store and then you guys can sell them the other stuff.  You need bikes on the floor!”  We’ll see what they do.  Trust me, if it happens, you guys will hear about it as soon as it does!  Then again, nobody listens to me so don’t hold your breath.

Anyway, if you can swing it, bikes are always good Christmas gifts.  Big bikes, little bikes, big tykes, little tykes, boys and girls — it’s freedom for the free spirited.  Don’t forget the helmets, knee pads, elbow pads…

I will add a link to this post later that includes all of the pictures that I have from the 2006 event.  Again, I apologize.  I also have four or five other posts sitting here waiting to be written.  Off to work!