Archive for December, 2007

Holiday Evenings in Downtown Honolulu

Bishop Square and its pools of waterI have to admit that downtown Honolulu, at dusk, is a place where people start to watch their back as they move through the darkening streets on their way home or on the way to their cars or the bus.

At Christmas time, things change just a little. Bishop Square at 1001 Bishop Street is one of my favorite spots. As early as mid-October, there are people with trucks and mechanical lifts who start wrapping the trees in beautiful red, green and clear lights. After working all day and leaving for home around sunset, somehow the site of something quietly festive provides a sense of security. I can’t quite explain it, obviously. 🙂

Bishop Square at sundown

Some of the trees remain lit the same color while others alternate between red and green making this simple-sounding display quite a sight once the evening shadows have started to fall.

The best part of it all is that the landscape of Bishop Square is sprinkled with a variety of man-made pools of standing water that reflect those beautiful lights and add even more to the magic and whimsicality of it all.

Bishop Square just after sundown

Maybe I’m just weird but I look forward to this little part of the annual Christmas displays that appear around Honolulu’s business and municipal districts every year. The businesses may still have staff who are working while others may be having their Christmas parties elsewhere. But, this little square is just peaceful to watch as the lights change colors and sparkle off the water just after sundown.

Kona Brewing

Li Hing MargaritaLet’s see, what do you do on a Sunday afternoon, in Hawaii Kai, when there’s a marathon going on and the streets are pretty well blocked off? You find a place to have some lunch! When all else fails, eat!

There are several places we could have gone but being that travel was a little… less than convenient, we decided to try something different to make the afternoon just a little more interesting.

So, we opted to visit the Kona Brewing Co. in Koko Marina Center. We had eaten there before but it was a long time ago, so we were due for another visit. It was kind of nice because, it was pretty empty. Most of Hawaii Kai had either gotten out of town or decided to stay safely ensconced in their homes.

Outside the front of Kona Brewing Co.

Even though the day started out rainy and gloomy, the skies continued to clear up and it was actually turning out to be a nice afternoon.

Overlooking Koko Marina

It was still overcast but not like it had been in the early morning hours when the runners all started out drenched.

Inside the Kona Brewing Co.

It was actually kind of nice to be in a restaurant on a slow day. It was quiet and the staff were helpful and moving at a more comfortable and relaxed speed but still getting us fed. I was hungry!

Greek Pizza

They had a lot of interesting looking things on the menu, like this Greek pizza.

Guava grilled fish

I opted for this grilled fish… not sure what kind of fish it was but it talked about grilled and guava in the description and it was accompanied with steamed vegetable that I happen to like a lot, so it wasn’t hard to choose! 🙂

Mango sorbet

Sometimes it’s fun to eat at places that seem to cater to tourists because they have fun things to eat… like this mango sorbet. It was a nice, smooth dessert that was good tasting and not too sweet. It was just enough to top off the fish and kill any sugar craving without be too overbearing.

Big Island Steak House that used to be in Aloha Tower Market Place downtown had a mango sorbet that was excellent! I’m not sure what happened to them but they closed their doors some time back. There was another restaurant that opened in that same location but they’re gone now too. It was on the second floor so that may be a bad location with a lot less foot traffic than the eateries downstairs at Aloha Tower.

Duck swimming by

Anyway, at Koko Marina Center in Hawaii Kai, the Kona Brewing Co. provided us with a very nice lunch. The restaurant is clean and inviting, and even the ducks like to swim by for a visit. The atmosphere was warm with their Christmas tree up by the front entrance and their little stockings hung across the walkway. Simone was our waitress and she was very patient with us as we kept asking questions while we were trying to figure out what to eat. Thanks Simone!

It suddenly dawned on me that “Kona Brewing” sounds like we’re talking about coffee. Not exactly… the Kona Brewing Co. brews ales, i.e. beer. Those are hand crafted ales, according to the little coaster under our drinks, and they’ve been doing this since 1994. I almost forgot that I wanted to include their little statement on that coaster. This gives you a feeling for the personality of the company:

The Powerful Volcanoes, the inviting waters of the Pacific Ocean and the free spirit of Island Surfing inspire us to brew our Liquid Aloha.

How can you go wrong with that?

Spreading Aloha Around the Globe

Colors of Friendship BadgeMost bloggers will tell you that meme are a little silly. They’re little fun things that bloggers do to… kind of break the monotony I think. Some meme are about sharing someone’s favorite hobby, a favorite topic, a way to see what other bloggers can come up with, etc. Some of them are designed for individuals to give “awards” to other bloggers who have shared something significant with the blogosphere. Some of them are just for fun.

I’m a little tired of MS Word and other softwares underlining blog, blogger, blogosphere and other blog words in red. They should have learned by now that blogs and their bloggers are here to stay. I was curious and tried to see what WordWeb would do with the word “blogger” and what kind of synonyms I would get from there. For the record, all three words were listed — blog, blogger, blogosphere. So there!

The definition was, of course, “a person who keeps or updates a blog.” The synonyms included words like individual, person, someone, soul and a few others. Soul, hmmm… good word. Bloggers, I think, have become the souls of the Internet. It’s no longer just a place full of mainstream media news and the Wallstreet Journals of the world, it’s the home of bloggers! Nothing against these media sources, and the Wallstreet Journal is a heck of a read let me tell you, but the blogs have brought the Internet to life. I can feel the Net breathing long before sunrise.

The interesting part of this is that you may not even know some bloggers and yet you feel a connection. There are the others, like the bestower of this badge, who connect on a more psychological level. The writers of the world can relate to the poetic nature of my “poetress” friend Jeane Michelle over at Binding Ink (I love that name) who shared these words with me along with the badge, “though time takes us on our own journeys throughout the blogosphere, I have not forgotten you my Friend. In a Universe where Hugs expand the Globe, I still rejoice in the Spiritual Connection we always share.” I thought that was a very nice thing to say.

I have received some laurels but I usually don’t feel worthy of them. “Amazing Blogger” was a kind title but one I was embarrassed to, at this point, even talk about. Somehow the word friendship gave me a sense of responsibility. My problem is that I have too many bloggers that I would like to share this with. I have all of the participants in the Carnival of Aloha, I have bloggers who will just shake their head at me if I give this to them and then I have the bloggers who don’t even know me, yet I have connected myself to them for no other reason than I like what they do and they have helped me in some way. Many of them would say, “Who?” if I listed them.

Since both the word color and the word friendship fit our Hawaii melting pot of cultures, I feel very comfortable sharing this here. There are so many I could share this with but I will keep it down to the designated five.

Colors of Friendship Badge

  • Skeeterbess who talks all about her “stuff” over at Skeet’s Stuff
  • Lynn, aka Auntie Pupule, who makes us laugh a lot, and sometimes cry softly, over at Lynn’s Lair.
  • Pzarquon, aka Ryan Ozawa, over at Hawaii Blog who has given me more confidence than he realizes. It doesn’t take much, Ryan, just a kind word.
  • Antman who has, for no good reason, provided support to me practically since I started and someone who I know will appreciate this little acknowledgment. My favorite Ant (I know so many you see) has created quite a buzz over at Cre8buzz!
  • Sheila over at Go Visit Hawaii who doesn’t live here but loves our home too and shares many of the sentiments that I do and provides a great sounding board and person to share ideas with.

This is a very diverse group. No matter how close they may be geographically, they are vastly different from each other yet representative of the “colors” of the Internet. There are so many others who have, for me, given so much of themselves over the past year. I am just amazed at the helpful and giving nature of the blogosphere. WordWeb’s definition of blogosphere? “All the web logs on the Internet.” That’s definitely “the colors of friendship.” Thanks Jeane, my Poetress friend! Right back at ya!

Honolulu Marathon Draws 27,000

The annual Honolulu Marathon is a huge attraction. The 35th annual was not exception. People came over from Japan, Ethiopia, Russia and all over the World to participate in this race. We even had a Danish prince! Some runners participate to see how well they do against the clock. Others just want to say they did it!

There are a lot of people who just don’t understand why anyone would want to put themselves through such an ordeal. Still others wouldn’t miss it for anything!

Hawaii Kai skyline

It was raining early in the morning but it cleared up as the morning wore on. It was still overcast and void of our beloved trade winds, but it was still a beautiful morning. — hot and muggy but still beautiful. Read the rest of this entry »

Colt Brennan is Our Winner!

Colt preparing to pass the football

Maybe not the winner of the coveted Heisman, but certainly the winner of the hearts of Honolulu and of the hearts all over the State of Hawaii! He had the stats, he has the talent, he is a senior, but, so be it. Being in third place got him there! He should have been there last year but that’s okay, he was there this year and he was part of the 73rd Annual Heisman Trophy competition.The good part? Since Colt is not coming home with the Heisman, that means he’s not going to be subjected to the Heisman curse! That means that the Warriors should come away victors from the Sugar Bowl! According to the other part of the curse, he should also have no trouble with the NFL draft. But then, we already knew that.

Okay, putting away my crystal ball and the urban legends, I just had a couple of quick thoughts that crossed my mind. Apparently someone called into the sports radio station 1420 this morning and suggested that the University of Hawaii Athletic Department retire his number. Good idea! I like that idea! I’m sure Colt will go in the first round of the NFL draft! I will follow his career as I’m sure many other Hawaii residents will as well.

University of Hawaii’s Athletic Department has certainly put Hawaii on the collegiate map many times in the past. We have enjoyed the winning seasons of the Wahine Volleyball team and the Rainbow Basketball team, but, this year, the Warrior Football team has gone above and beyond to bring home some much-needed financial support for the University.

Thanks you guys!  Looking forward to the Sugar Bowl!

Street Bikers United 2007 Toys for Tots Run

Last year (2006), in anticipation of starting a blog, I managed to swallow my fear, step outside my personal safety zone and get some pictures of this annual, newsworthy event. I was a nervous wreck, but I did it! The problem was that, aside from this personal achievement, it was over a month before the idea of blogging came to fruition. By the time Homespun Honolulu became a reality, the Toys for Tots story was too dated for me to talk about.

Street Bikers United Hawaii Banner

Street Bikers United Hawaii in cooperation with the United States Marine Corp Reserve hosted the 33rd Annual Street Bikers United Toy Run Parade. Anywhere from 4,000 to 5,000 bikers come together bringing toys for children for Christmas. They ride from Magic Island, through Waikiki and over to Kapiolani Community College. Once at KCC, bikers surrender their festive passengers to the military trucks waiting to carry them on to youngsters who will soon give these toys or games a home. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a Carnival by Canoe!

Christmas Canoe Paddle

Welcome to Chapter 4 of the Carnival of Aloha!

Let’s take our festive canoe paddle and do the Carnival circuit via canoe this month. That way we can take a nice leisurely cruise as we enter into December.

We need to acknowledge Thanksgiving just because it’s a very important holiday for all of us. We have a lot to be thankful for and I want to take this time to thank all of the bloggers for wanting to participate in our monthly Carnival of Aloha and to thank all of the readers who want to join us and share a little touch of aloha! You guys are the ones who make this all possible!

While we’re giving thanks, let’s join Lynn as she shares a great Thanksgiving story with us…

Lynn Vasquez tells us all about “KauKau Wagon’s Annual Thanksgiving Saturday” when she shares, Many Came ~ Many Were Fed ~ All Were HAPPY!” posted at Auntie Pupule. It takes a certain kind of person with a good heart to get herself involved in these things on a regular basis. Thanks, Auntie, for reminding us, once again, just what sharing the aloha is all about.

There are other people who need to be a little thankful right about now…

Lika presents Racist, me? posted at Lika’s Log. Some people have a lot to be thankful for and I think Mr. Chapman should be thankful that this topic is no longer at the top of the media’s list! Nice job, Lika, of explaining just how we are about ethnic name dropping. We use it all the time and The Dog was right… it’s just how we talk! Although most of us do avoid the “N” word.

Aside from the Dog’s verbal slip, there have been many points of contention recently and none smaller than the Hawaii Superferry! Did anyone keep a diary? Um, a web log? Mel did!

Mel presents Mel’s Internet Universe Weblog with Superferry-specific posts posted at Mel’s Internet Universe Weblog, saying that this link, “covers recent posts I did on the Hawaii Superferry. By the time the Dec. Carnival of Aloha is published, the ferry should be up and running.” Thanks, Mel, for keeping track for us and for sharing it all here!

Let’s keep the sense of humor alive that Lika started…

L.P. “NEENZ” FALEAFINE presents LAUGHTER. posted at INFINITY., saying, “A sense of humor in Hawaii is as essential as suntan lotion.” I like that line — very true! Neenz is always thoughtful and this post is no exception.

Since Lika seems to be the key to keeping this canoe moving, and since she mentioned Waipahu in her post, let’s welcome Karin to the islands, to the Carnival and into our festive canoe as she also finds her way over to the Leeward side of Oahu…

Karin Gallagher presents Go Ahead And Get Your Coffee, This Here’s A Long One posted at Double Duty Diary: Twice the Angst in Half the Time. Karin lets us know that, “This is my first submission to the carnival of aloha” as she takes us to Hans L’Orange Field to enjoy our minor league baseball!

Now I’m thinking about those hot dogs that Karin told us about! I’m hungry so let’s go get some good sweets…

Sheila has some Hula Pie! Oh my! that she posted at her Hawaii Vacation Blog – I think we should get some of that! It must be good because Sheila says, “My mouth is watering just thinking back about this pie. As my dad would say in one of his old-timers, Southern sayings, ‘It tastes so good it will make your tongue slap your brains.’ :-)”

This pie is on Kaua’i… it is so decadent we need some exercise now! Let’s join Andy, our hiking enthusiast, on his camping trip…

Andy Kass presents Salt Pond Surprises posted at A Kaua’i Blog. Andy always gets the best pictures! It’s great to see one of our monk seals basking in the sun and enjoying a little peace and quiet. Okay, that’s not much exercise for us is it?

While we’re at it, let’s check in with our other endangered beach dweller…

Cheryl presents the Best Big Island Hawaii Beaches to See Turtles in Natural Environment posted at Hawaii Vacation Gifts Blog – Hawaiian Blog. Cheryl has a knack for finding the best links to compliment her posts. I strongly recommend following those links just to see what she saw while sharing her passion with us.

Okay, we’re island hopping again. We weren’t done with Kaua’i yet. Let’s head back to Kaua’i and stop at Maui on the way back. All of this canoe paddling is making me hungry again…

Jamie presents Cheap Eats in Maui posted at Go Maui Card Blog, saying, “A guide to cheap eats in Maui!” Cheap is good, I like cheap… almost as much as I like food!

We return to Kaua’i to paddle down the river…

Pua presents Best Things to Do on Kauai – Wailua River Tour posted at Best Hawaii Vacation with Hawaii Vacation Blog, saying, “Best Things to do on Kauai Vacation” I didn’t know about this river — that’s a lot of water!

We’ve given thanks and moved down the river and back out into the ocean where we are about to welcome winter, or at least our version of it…

Susan Johnston brings us back to Oahu at Go Oahu Travel Blog » Blog Archive » Winter Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore posted at Go Oahu Card Blog, telling us about the “Winter Surfing on Oahu’s North Shore.” How did we get winter and surfing into the same sentence? As we very often say around here when things don’t sound quite right, “Only in Hawaii!”

Let’s dry off and go enjoy some artistic creativity…

Skeet took the time to share A Day at the Theatre over at her blog, Skeet’s Stuff, and quite a day it was! The topic of grave diggers and bones has never been so charming! There’s just something about meeting other bloggers in person that can make a day great!

I’ve been lucky to meet two of our blogging ladies in person. Just before meeting up with Skeet to spend “a day at the theatre,” I dropped by Lynn’s Lair and was equally delighted to talk story and share thoughts and stories with her. I’m thankful for these meetings too!

For those of you with family or friends on the mainland, or for those of you on the mainland with family or friends over here, it might be helpful to keep track of the Christmas shipping dates…

Angie over at True Aloha has given us Key Mailing Dates from Hawaii. This is something useful to print and tack up on the refrigerator! We’re heading into the yuletide season gang!

Let’s wrap up these Carnival rides and our canoe excursion with the State of Hawaii’s best ride of the month…

Evelyn at Homespun Honolulu (that’s me) had to tell the World, just one more time, that They Did It! BCS! BCS! BCS! I’m sorry guys but all other blog posts that I might have pulled in for this Carnival had to take a back seat to the UH Warriors! I was going to share the shopping post but the greatest gift was the one given to all of us, and to the University of Hawaii, by the Warrior football team!

That’s it for Chapter 4 of the Carnival of Aloha. Be sure to submit your blog article for Chapter 5 of the Carnival of Aloha using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page. If you’re new, guidelines can be found here.