Happy Aloha Friday

I am off touring guests this morning. I hope you can find your aloha knowing that your milk has to be cheaper than the prices we find on our little island. 

Regular grocery story…I promise! You can get a savings card that will drop the price a couple of dollars. Costco, Sam’s and the Military Commissary are counted among my blessings here.

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It Opens At 10

Yesterday when I should’ve been cleaning and preparing for guests, I enjoyed a tour of the historic red light district in Honolulu. We are super excited to see Uncle Mike, Aunt Sharon and Nana but they may be coming to a dirty boxed up house since I got to play with my friends yesterday. 

I will have a whole post about the tour, I promise but I wanted to mention one highlight…The oldest bar in Hawaii.

According to our guide, naval ships were assigned bars. Between the men shipped in for plantations and sailors there were an extra 50,000 men on the island. It was important to keep a little order somewhere. We saw picture after picture of men lining Chinatown in Cracker Jack uniforms. They would line up at the bar. Rules were you could serve only 4 shots to one person at a time. So each man would pay his money and take four shots of Five Islands Gin. Then they would go to the back of a very long line…if they could walk.

There is no real paper trail of anything called Five Islands Gin. The rumor among the locals was that it was just moonshine that was made on the back side of Diamond Head to avoid import taxes. Can you imagine 4 shots of pure grain alcohol? I remember a bad night in college and an even worse morning that included fewer shots of tequila. 

(My children, listen to me. I can’t think of anything good that comes from shots…ever. Don’t do it. Learn from your mother’s mistake. It’s a life lesson you really don’t want to have.)

Oh yes, back to my story. Smith’s Union Bar was the assigned bar of the USS Arizona. Because it’s on the national historic registry it is the only bar on the island that opens at 10:00am. I was there at a few minutes after 10. More than one patron was enjoying a Longboard. I plan to go back at a more reasonable hour and toast the crew of The Arizona but it won’t be done with Five Islands Gin.

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I Missed My Calling: Iolani Palace

In my effort to suck all the aloha out of this place my new mission is to fully explore the history of the island. Procrastination much? I’ve been reading historical fiction and fallen head over heels in love with the ali’i. (Hawaiian high Chiefs or royalty) Naturally, I had to make a trip to Iolani Palace. 

My friend Jen is possibly as sad as I am to have a PCS date looming. We picked a Friday and ventured out to walk on the same grounds as King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Lilioukalani. As Arleigh would say, we were clearly having a fan girl moment. After reading about the parties and balls held at the palace I ached to walk up the front steps.

Alas, we were asked to enter in the rear and to the side. No pretending to be a true guest of the ali’i for me.

One of my first thoughts is that the palace doesn’t seem so grand according the east coast mansion standards. My experience of mansions is limited to the Biltmore though so what do I know?

This majestic home houses the largest freestanding koa wood structure. It’s a beautiful staircase that adorns the great hall.

The architecture is nothing short of amazing. The palace has undergone some pretty extensive restoration. After the monarchy was overthrown, everything on the inside was sold off and sadly it was used as government offices. As we walked through old pictures and saw attached trailers and dividers my heart hurt. It all seemed so disrespectful. 

We saw a quilt that Queen Lilioukalani stitched during her house arrest. Crazy quilts were the fashion of the day but I heard a rumor once that Liliuokalani loved them because they represented her life. There were good pieces and bad pieces but far more good than bad.

 The Throne room is where I knew I missed my calling. Sitting between 2 grand thrones you’ll see the puloulou, consisting of a gold sphere atop a 7-foot spiral, ivory tusk from a narwhal whale. 

We also got to see Queen Liliuokalani’s butterfly pin. She purchased it in Europe. I don’t remember how many diamonds that butterfly had but I do remember that the wings fluttered as she walked. I desperately want a butterfly pin like that now.   
  It was a good day! Thanks for tagging along with me Jen. Now we’re off to find the next historic adventure before I lose my aloha.


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Middle School Healthcare 101?

Repeat after me, “I love public school. I love public school. I love public school.” No really I do. I do love public school. I love the experiences they are having from Bria and Jack preparing a hula for May Day to Arleigh’s honor band and Hanan’s production of “Into The Woods, Jr.” We chose public school and this morning, I have to stop and remind myself why it was the best thing for our family. 

After prayerful consideration, we knew that we couldn’t hide Arleigh from the world. She seemed to have an innate understanding of the Great Commission in preschool. She was telling people about Jesus, encouraging them to go to church with us. I didn’t want to hide the light in a bushel so to speak. I went to public school. Ray went to public school. We turned out reasonably okay. The cost of schools and what we could do with that money was also a factor. We understand that different families choose different things. We needed to do what was right for us. Public school was our clear answer. That said, right isn’t always easy.

We’ve had our fair share of aggravating educators. They can’t all be as great as my mother. Of course those are hard shoes to fill. We’ve had lazy. We’ve had complacent. We’ve had one that I don’t even know how to describe but the thought of her makes my skin crawl. Having four kids with a combined number of teachers at around 37 give or take in the last 9 years and only wanting to complain about exactly 4…By far, the majority have been excellent, caring, compassionate teachers who really care about my kids. In fact, I worked a concession stand with one on Saturday night. Why can’t they all be like her?

Anyway, I’ve mentioned that all of my children have been born with an extra sensitive chip. One has been troubled by something lately. She just knew her teacher had to be right about what she said. She brought it up on the way home from church. As we had a discussion, my child had a minor meltdown. In part, this is the information my child said the teacher had been giving her.

  • America’s healthcare system is one of the worst in the world. We are killing our own citizens.
  • People are dying of cancer because they don’t have the money to pay and it’s not fair.
  • No one should have to pay for an education. Other countries have free higher education just like public elementary schools. Why should we pay for college?
  • She mentioned moving to Cuba for healthcare, France to have a baby and Germany maybe for education. 

This is just a small sampling of what was said to my very impressionable 12-year old. Worst of it was my daughter had the distinct impression that this teacher that she looks up to thinks our country isn’t just bad but is slowly killing us. That was a hard pill for this military spouse to swallow. Let’s add to it that this isn’t a social studies class. It isn’t economics or history. It’s her science teacher. 

Guess what I did after a long hard talk with Hanan. Well, I called my Mama of course. What am I supposed to do with this? Confront the teacher? Report her to the administration so the chip on her shoulder can grow? Sigh. 

Here are a few of the things I said to my daughter.

  • Yes, healthcare is expensive. The system isn’t perfect and is maybe even broken. If I had to pick a country to be sick in, I’d pick the United States. We don’t wait that long for care. Research is expensive and we are paying on the back end with the medicines we purchase. If you can’t afford healthcare, there are things like medicaid. And… we help people. The church helps people. If we know others truly need something we share. I want to know where my money goes. I don’t want the government to take it and distribute it. 
  • (These are Ray’s words not mine.) You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. This teacher omitted information that would be valuable when making your decision. 
  • I’m hurt that your teacher doesn’t see how great our country is and the freedoms that it offers you. I’m hurt that she doesn’t seem to understand the sacrifices that people make. At the same time, people made those sacrifices so that she could tell you what she thinks. 
  • Our family has seen the ravages of cancer. Some cancers are easier to treat than others. Grandpa’s was really bad. Amy’s Dad’s cancer was really bad. Your dad’s uncle is in remission though because our testing caught it early. Our treatments helped him. He was able to add a supplement plan to his insurance that helped with the cost. They aren’t rich people and they could pay for their healthcare because they planned ahead. 

We had other talks about how nice it would be if we could all be educated for free or had really good healthcare for free. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Research costs money. Uncle Sann needs money for his house and his kids and his student loans and his malpractice insurance. There was lots of good discussion. 

We told our daughter that we never want her to listen to information someone gives and take it at face value, even her know-it-all parents. She needs to do her own research, form her own opinion. I want her to be prepared. What if she goes to college and her professor tells her that intellectual people, people who study and know things couldn’t possibly believe in God? I want my kids to be prepared for that. To stand for something. I want my kids to understand something J.K. Rowling said, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

One last thing that I want my kids to consider and yes at least the two older ones will be reading this later, if you are passionate about something, go after it. If it is nagging at your heart that cancer isn’t fair, set your mind and your heart and your passion to helping find a cure. Don’t sit back and complain about it. Go and do. The last thing I’ll say is our family motto that Ray has been preaching to the kids. Always remember to Be Good and Do Good and we’ll come out okay. The do is an important as the be.


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Rapunzel Rapunzel

Hanan is Rapunzel in Aiea Intermediate’s school production of “Into the Woods, Junior.” Opening night was Friday and this is one proud Mama! She was perfection. We joked that she started preparing for the role by screaming and crying at age 2. Both were almost too real in the play. It’s hard to listen to your child shriek in terror and not jump out of your seat. 

I don’t want to give the entire thing away since there are two more performances. I will share some things that happened during the the show though. 

The book revolves around intersecting fairy tales. That’s how Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk all come together. At one point during the play someone is searching for Jack. She’s yelling, “Jack! Jack! Where are you?” Another Jack has been playing some pretty serious games of hide and seek with his sisters. He just couldn’t help himself and yelled, “Hey! I’m right here!” in the middle of the performance. Thankfully it wasn’t too distracting for the actors but it sure gave us a big chuckle.

Bria found the witch to be a bit scary but not enough to really care. Jack loved the music. My favorite number is somewhere between “Agony” and “Ever After.” That’s weird. I’m sure that’s a blog post on it’s own. In all seriousness, I just love Rapunzel’s prince. Mason dreams of being on broadway one day. He also dreams of marrying Indina Menzell and wanted to long before anyone ever thought to “Let It Go…” 







In other news, only in Hawaii do you get to hold chickens after the show. Met Chichi.

And only my Hawaiian wannabe red neck children would ask to hold the chicken. Even Jack wanted in on the chicken holding. Unfortunately he somehow tried to grab the Chicken’s tenders every time and she flapped those wings too hard for him to get a good hold on her.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful Rapunzel. We tell Hanan all the time that she could be one of the princesses at Disney World. She’s so good with little kids.

It was a good night. If you are on my little island we would love to see you at either of the next two performances!





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