But before we go…….

We have four weeks left here.  There’s so much that we’re trying to do before we leave.  The last few weeks have been invigorating.  K and I want to leave something behind that we can continue to contribute to even after we leave and alot of the pieces have been falling into place, but I’ll leave that for another post.

Four weeks left.  Almost 2 years behind us.  We’re returning to a place that you rarely see green, you don’t wake up looking at the sky, and mochi is not in abundant supply.  So while we were having lunch the other day I brought a notebook with me and we started our Hawaii wish list: all the things that I hope we get to do before we leave.  Some of these things we want to do together.  Some only one of us wants to do (ie skydiving (eg not me)).

1. Volcanos (Big Island)
2. Black sand beaches (Big Island)
3. Swim with dolphins in the wild (with a life vest)
4. Skydive
5. Take a surf lesson ( I don’t swim)
6. Molokai
7. Hana
8. Lanai
9. Stay on Kauai’s North Shore
10. Old Lahaina Luau
11. Merrie Monarch

These are sort of touristy things.  Hopefully more specific ideas will occur to me.
In four weeks we’re back home.  I find myself trying to take stock of all kinds of things:

what we want to do before we leave here;
what our new home might look like;
what kind of job I’ll get
…we’ll see….

wish us luck!



Last year I was in New York for Thanksgiving so K and I didn’t spend it together. This year we were invited to four people’s Thanksgivings which was so nice and unexpected.

We thought that we’d be able to go two. Though later we found that both started at the same time. We decided to go to our friend Mark’s house for a traditional “pre-Western contact” Hawaiian dinner and then to the Marine Corps Base in Kaneohe for dessert.

It would have been nice to spend more time at each place but either way it was an amazing holiday and I’m still full.

When we arrived in Manoa, the table was set so beautifully.

Mark had fish and breadfruit on the fire downstairs and I was so excited to eat. I love Hawaiian food: lau lau, haupia, and poi. Some people aren’t fans of poi because of its texture and bland-ish taste. But to me it’s like mochi pudding. I love it. I feel like I knew what it would taste like before I ever tasted it and I knew that I would like it.

We also had awa for the first time. Mark was straining it by hand for awhile before we ate. Kalei warned us that it doesn’t taste good and if she hadn’t I might have thought so. But you’re meant to drink it all down at once before a meal. It has a relaxing effect and prepares your body for the big meal ahead. Mark said that some people even use it to help them sleep. I drank it all and it wasn’t so bad…what was nice was the novocaine like effect afterwards. K wondered later ‘can you become an awa-holic?’ Mark answered ‘yes’.

The meal was so delicious but I got full so fast. I was all revved up to dig in and then all of a sudden everything on my plate was gone and I felt like I couldn’t take one more bite of food…and believe me I tried.

After dinner the sun began to set and it started to rain sideways.

Mark said that it was good luck. That if you looked at the mountain it looked like a woman’s face and the rain was like her hair flowing behind her.

It was a lovely dinner. But we were running late and had to head over to Kea’s for dessert. Before we did though, we had one more cup of awa.

When I was in college my boyfriend was in the Air Force. One Summer rather than go home to my parent’s house, I lived secretly on base with him. I have some really fond memories of that time. Life on base for an enlisted is not fancy, it can be kind of boring but there’s also alot of order and camaraderie. Which I really like. In some ways I was looking forward to revisiting a military base.

There were some construction issues so we drove around in circles for a little bit. It was interesting to see the neighborhoods–winding narrow roads lined by houses that looked very new, white and upright…like soldier houses. I was reminded by our host’s comment over the course of the night how easy it would be not to leave base at all. Everything you need is mostly there. K remarked how it felt like a city that could be anywhere–that we could have easily not been in Hawaii at all.

When we got to our friend’s house they had finished dinner hours ago and were busily cleaning up. The house was filled with young children and the TV was blaring Hotel for Dogs. There were alot of people there, mostly military families. The three men that were there had recently come back from Afghanistan and Iraq after multiple tours of being away.

At one point our friend’s husband offered to help the ladies in the kitchen with the dishes and everyone guffawed ‘the WARRIOR wants to help with the dishes!’.

Kea’s food looked fantastic. We were able to have some of her apple pie, pumpkin mousse, and home made sorbet.

She was very kind to pack up a little bit of everything she made and the next day we were able to have a whole Thanksgiving meal for lunch.

Without a dream in my heart…

image from T.K.

K’s friends Paul and Tom came to visit us one weekend from NY via Kauai. We grilled lobster tails on the lanai and had it with rice and poke. The World Series was on and we got to see the Yankees go-ahead run before going down to the beach to watch the full moon.

We spent most of the next day driving all over Oahu.  K was working so it was just the three of us.   I’ve come to love driving.  I marvel at how just a few weeks ago I was terrified of driving on highways.  Now, as K predicted, I prefer driving on highways to the stop and go of downtown.  I love driving.  I actually feel markedly happier when I get into my car to head off somewhere.

I had to parallel park with Paul and Tom in the car.  I usually can do it when I’m by myself but if there’s anyone in the car with me I get super self-conscious.  I told them this and Tom talked me through it.  In two turns of the wheel I was in the  spot.  Tommy was singing my parking praises and even talked about taking a picture of it because it was such a perfect parking job.  I smiled on the outside but on the inside I also did a little dance.


We woke up at sunrise

My Irving Rice travel mirror arrived from Bergdorf’s.

I asked K he wanted to drive to the North Shore for lunch.
He said ‘yes.’

45 minutes later, shrimp plates from Giovanni’s. I got the Lemon Butter Shrimp with a side of hot sauce.

We drove back home.

I fell asleep in the car. Ken was driving 70 mph. The sun we shining. I woke up to Boyz II Men playing on the radio. Ken said to me, ‘do you want yogurt or something?’

I danced in my seat.

I finished the yogurt before we even got home

….and it’s still only 12:30 in the afternoon.

The End.

A little house in the sky.

It happened.
We moved this past weekend.
I was instantly more comfortable in this house than places I’ve lived for years and years. Normally when I’m alone, I have to manage all kinds of irrational fears–including those of the supernatural realm. I spend most of my time looking over my shoulder… mulling over unfamiliar noises. I like to blast the TV to drown out any potentially alarming sounds. When K was here in Hawaii and I was back in NY, I went to bed every night with the TV turned up high. Every morning I would drag myself bleary-eyed into work at the museum with a venti coffee. I was so tired that many times I contemplated buying two ventis at once.


This house is free of bad feelings–free of dark corners or suspicious sounds. I was describing it to a friend and came up with a good metaphor. The house is like a labrador retriever: golden, warm, and solid. It’s like a big dog that embraces anyone entrusted to its care. When we’re out, I’m excited to come home. And when we’re home I’m constantly discovering new things. The other day, bringing in groceries, I peered into a giant pot which I thought was just a pot. Inside it was filled with water and tiny lily pads. Beneath the water I could see movement and when I focused I saw schools of tiny fish and tadpoles. In the morning a lotus blooms and emerges from underneath. As the day goes on it disappears only to come back the next day.

I love it here. All other places have dissipated.

Hawaiian Warrior


This afternoon was fantasy city.  K and I got to meet BJ Penn at Ala Moana.  He was signing autographs for two hours at Nordstroms. It was a decent crowd but not a long wait.  There aren’t so many people I would be excited to meet but BJ is one of them.  Getting closer to the front of the line we could see him hug and give everyone a paternal rub on the back.  Everything about his persona is warm and welcoming.  It’s nice to believe that someone can be a superhero.


After Ala Moana we had lunch at Nico’s.  My FAVORITE.  Ahi Furakake.  Dreamy Plate lunch:


I feel like Homer Simpson….FU  RA  KA KEEEEEE



Ugh.  I have to write new stuff.  The conference co-chairs gave us the date of the panel reading.  It’s called Pilipino Kahit Saan, Kahit Kaila.   Which roughly  means you’re Filipino wherever you are no matter what.

I found  my former teacher Kurt on the web the other day.  I need a pep talk from him…wish I could find him.  K suggested I write ‘for’ Kurt to make up for not being able to talk to him.  I think what helps is writing for Ruth.

Robin was going through Ruth’s writings and he said my poems were mixed in with hers.  He’s going to send them to me in case I want to use some in April.  He said there was one about Long Island that was quite good. I’d written it on the LIRR.  The last line was something like ‘it doesn’t get worse than this’.  I started laughing when Robin brought it up because when Ruth read it she said ‘oh it does’.

I miss her

I miss her

I miss her

Oh Bama


This is my last post before Obama becomes President.  After the election my rabid enthusiasm dwindled but in the last few hours I’ve begun to feel emotional about tomorrow.  It’s an exciting time: New Year,  MLK day, the Inauguration, K’s birthday, and then Monday is the start of Lunar New Year–like a categorical clean slate.

Sarah and I have gone to yoga at Open Space everyday since Saturday.  I’m amazed at how easily I’ve been able to relax back into it.  The great thing about Open Space is that the teachers are very present, skilled, and you feel that they really want to help you.  It seems like a good mix of skill levels among the students.  The fact that I can’t say for sure is really a testament to how well they run their classes.  I’m not focused on other people.  I’m comfortable enough to concentrate on my own practice and not feel the self-consciousness  or competitiveness you find in lesser schools.  I miss class with Dharma but this place is very special and I’ll absorb many benefits while I’m here.


I didn’t really understand why the school says it’s in the Historic Arts District of Chinatown but the picture above is Nu’uanu Gallery at Marks Garage one of the storefronts I passed on the way to class.  It was small but had really interesting contemporary work.  Speaking of which I wish I was in NY to visit this: Can. Did.


When Sarah was driving me home the other day she kept asking me where to turn and I just kept yapping away forgetting to tell her how to get to my condo.  I told her it’s because I have this idea that she knows everything about Hawaii.  It seemed natural that she would know how to get me home even though she’d never been there.  Things that Sarah has shared with me that I find interesting:

and lucky Mochi for New Year to put on your dashboard.


Finally here’s a video I really liked today.  Happy Obama Day everyone.  I pledge to be more gentle and find ways to help others in whatever way and whenever I can.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “MySpace Celebrity and Katalyst presen…“, posted with vodpod

Kanye Oh Hey

Went to Kaneohe today for mac nuts and coffee.  In comparison to Kailua, Kaneohe is musky, jungly, very very green.  I don’t know that I’d like to live there but I love when we drive in.  Even in the car you can smell the mossiness.  It’s intoxicating.


Driving to Tropical Farm you pass cows, orchid farms, little wooden kiosks selling ice cold coconut, and acres and acres of trees.  It takes us about 30 minutes to get there and that’s a long way to drive for coffee but it’s worth it.


When we got home there was a gift from Mary in the mail: a year subscription to Diner Journal.  I totally forgot that she told me to keep an eye on the mail so it came as a lovely surprise.

Having dinner with Mary at Marlow and Sons is one of my favorite regular things.  It’s funny, the issues they sent have probably been hanging in their restaurant all the way out in Williamsburg.  They smell lovely like a catholic school classroom at 5PM. Love Mary! She’s so awesome.


Another awesome thing which I meant to mention yesterday though not on any kind of profound level like Mary is Spoonalicious Hawaiian Fudge for ice cream.  It’s really good.  It’s not even like fudge it’s more like pudding.  Pudding to put on top of ice cream.  For lunch the other day I started thinking about it and ended up scooping myself a big bowl of  ice cream just to put  spoonalicious on it for dessert after my lunch.  This is meaningful for two reasons:  I’m not that into ice cream and even when I am I’m not into fudge on top of it.  So. There you are.


And here’s a picture of the people that take care of the trees and grass around our temporary home.Kinda weird to be Asian with Haoles fixing the yard.  They all look like a version of Chris Atkins from the Blue Lagoon.