October 29, 2011

No I Was Not In A Car Accident

I wish I had a more exciting story to tell about my scars. I forget about them and then see the reaction on peoples' faces and remember. It's the scar over my graft that's the worst. It looks like someone cut a slice out of a cocktail weiner and plopped it next to my nose.

That said, I look 98% less like roadkill than I did a few weeks ago.

I haven't been too good about my scar treatment, mainly because one set of scars is healed but could use it, while the other is still scabby and not ready. Last night I went ahead and used Blaine's silicone scar pads on everything. The height of my graft scar was reduced by half overnight. No kidding. It's not worked that remarkably on anything else, but I am very grateful for what it's doing on my cocktail weenie.

Tater Harvest

It's about that time of year, or at least I think so. I have not been schooled in potatoes -- I simply toss them in a tub full of dirt and see what happens.

Today was a summer day that just happened to occur in late October. The weather was warm, there were estate sales, and mrguy was out practicing for a show next week and rescuing a bird that needed to go to the wildlife rescue center.

I stayed home with the cats and sewed them two catnip toys. Then came the pineapple guava harvest. Then I just couldn't keep my hands off the potato tub.

This was today's bounty:

All that and our alula is finally in flower.

October 9, 2011

October 8, 2011

Eddie G.

After a few dense and meaty days back at work, I took two days off to enter into my latest project with my surgical dermatologist.

We both underestimated the extent of the work. In the 4 days since, have slowly been regaining the original shape of my face, but not before morphing into a monkey / Einstein beast, and finally settling into a few days where I resembled a young Edward G. Robinson. Darn!

Not only that, a necessary graft saw him cutting into a frown line to fill in the hole he'd made elsewhere. I have two public engagements this week, so I'm just going to have to smile a lot and hope that people don't notice?

Hawaii 2011, Day 8

What did we do that last day? We mostly puttered around Honolulu. Mrguy took me to the Queen Kapiolani Hotel, where we tried to find the painting featured on the cover of the Na Kane record. It took a while, but we did it. And we set foot in the Peacock Room, where Na Kane used to play. Mission accomplished! The lanai at the Queen Kapiolani has this terrific closeup view of Diamond Head. They also have live entertainment there, so I think we'll come check it out next time we're in town.

It started to get hot. HOT! We tried to have lunch at Ojiya, but it was closed for the day. So we dragged our hungry sweaty selves into Pho #1, which turned out to be amazing. The goi ga was so delicious. The restaurant was cold like a refrigerator. No screaming children. Few tourists. We will definitely be back.

Then off to Antiques Alley, where I picked up a little something for someone. AA is what the antiques stores in Kailua could be if the people who owned them had taste. There is still way too much crap, but the owners buy interesting stuff and are genuinely nice. I love this store. It is a feast for the eye. And the owner gave me a Konishiki POG piece. What a sweetheart.

As is often our ritual, we drove around for a while doing an architecture tour, and we also tried to find some of the sculptures from Sculptures in the Sun. We revisited the Queen Emma Building and took many pictures of the Hawaiian Holiday Apartments, a true fiesta for the eyes. Hawaiian Holiday Apartments feature a three-story cement bas-relief by Hon-Chew Hee of people in all manner of activities, even dancing the hula, fishing, and eating breadfruit and pineapple. For a good time, go to 1320 Wilder St. in Honolulu and have a look:

Time for another shout out to Sculpture in the sun: Hawaii's art for open spaces. I've been trying to locate Hawaiian Holiday for years after seeing it on a previous trip, and it was listed in this wonderful book.

After architecture gawking, we went back home for a little rest before seeing Cyril Pahinui.

Cyril was good. I wish he spent more time talking about himself and less talking about his talented young bandmates. You can't really fault him for his generosity of spirit. He's a real mensch. A wedding party was seated next to us, so after his first set we moved next door to the Halekulani.

The Halekulani was...the Halekulani. The mai tais are $12 now. There are no chips and dip on the menu. Good thing I figured out the recipe for the tobiko sour cream! I make it at home when I can. The lovley Kanoe Miller is as wonderful as always, and the music was fab.

And that's Hawaii 2011. I don't think we could have done more than we did. We let go of a lot of old stuff, found new stuff, and have new places we want to go for next time (more Kailua, music in Waimanalo, and I definitely want another mochi anpan from Nene Goose Bakery).

Here's to new stuff and the next trip to Hawaii.

Hawaii 2011, Day 7

We're getting into the final stretch, here!
On Tuesday we went to Kailua via Waimanalo. We made our pilgrimage to the Akebono statue. Then we went to the nuts and ukulele store next door. The sweet guy who owned it wasn't there, and it just didn't have the same vibe. I don't need to go back (except to see the statue).

Then we went to Kailua Beach Park, which we'd been hoping to do for years. It was lovely. We found some shade in an area that had a minimum number of screaming children and relaxed for a bit. It was sooo beautiful.

They also use a beautiful font to mark the women's room:

Hunger overtook us, so we went into town to look for Ba-Le, the Vietnamese sandwich shop that we had loved so much last time. Waaaah! Not only closed, but also fenced off.

Reaching into his new/old book on okazuya, mrguy decided we needed to go to an okazuya in Kailua. It was in a strip mall far away from town. It was just empty store fronts, the place where you go to get your vehicle registered, the okazuya and a bakery. We went into the okazuya and they hardly had any food left. Just some oden items bobbing around in broth. Clearly it was going to take us a while to find something to eat, so I suggested we go to the nearby Nene Goose Bakery for a beverage. mrguy noticed this review that said that their specialty was mochi anpan. No idea what that was, so we bought some.

We took a seat outside a salon on some plastic chairs. And then the ladies who were ahead of us at the bakery struck up a conversation.

Roughly 40 minutes later we parted after having had the BEST conversation of our trip. They were very surprised to see us in this out of the way spot eating mochi anpan, and extra surprised when they figured out that we were tourists. One of the women was from Waimanalo, so I mentioned that we had just made our pilgrimage to the Akebono statue. Then we explained that we were big sumo fans. Turns out that this woman is Konishiki's sister-in-law, so that started a long conversation about Hawaiians in sumo (one of my favorite topics), Jesse's (Takamiyama's) entry into sumo, how much this woman thought of Chiyonofuji, and the kindness and smarts of the local guys who went to Japan to enter sumo. I can barely have a conversation about sumo anywhere I go, so it was a real pleasure to hang out with these ladies and talk about sumo and local goodness. We asked them what they like to do when they're on vacation and the woman from Waimanalo went into a hilarious monologue about booking a hotel room in Waikiki for her family, using every amenity and never leaving the hotel.

They were curious about the other kinds of stuff we do when we're on the island, so we talked about music. Turns out that one of the new joints next to the Akebono statue in Waimanalo is owned by the family of one of these ladies. It is a bar with live music and we have their blessing that we'd fit in o.k. This will be on our list for next time.

Our ladies also knew where Ba-Le had gone. It's one of their favorite places to eat also, which further blew their minds. With their help we found it and had a yummy lunch. Coconut taro tapioca? Yum.

Then we went to Hungry Ear Records, always great, and the antique stores. I never need to go to those stores again. Happy to sit in the car while someone else does it. That one guy is still extra grumpy and the lady who owns his place and the other place has TOO MUCH STUFF!

Later that afternoon, the farmer's daughter met us over at the Ilikai Bar & Grill for a few sets of Waipuna. They have been joined by David Kamakahi in this incarnation, and were really great. Much better in person because they're so dialed into each other and you get Kale Hannah's dry wit. He's the bass player from Project Kalo Patch who, at the end of their set at Aku Bone last visit, heckled us from the stage, saying "We played an extra twenty minutes because you was late". This time his between-song banter included trying to auction off young David Kamakahi. Funny.

We felt inspired after seeing Waipuna. Can't wait to see them again, and hope to catch the farmer's daughter the next time as well.

Hawaii 2011, Day 6

We started our day with breakfast at Ihop. Sometimes only an egg breakfast would do. Then we went to see some of our favorites in Kaimuki. Some of my favorite facades are hanging in:

The Goodwill didn't have the good stuff we remembered. But Harry's Music, where Jerry Byrd used to teach steel guitar, is still in business and as idiosyncratic as ever. I hope they stay in business for a billion years.

It was blazing hot and we were somehow hungry so we had lunch at Town. Town continues to be a great restaurant at a more than reasonable price. The Town Lemonade is still as full of parsley goodness as I remember.

Then back to the convention center for the exhibit crit session and appraisal. Appraisal? Not for me. I slunk off. Time for more new stuff with mrguy.

I had found Chuck's Cellar in some of my pre-trip research, and it seemed like it had been there forever and could be cool. This is mrguy's new favorite place. It's cool, very dark, and is an old school place to have a steak or lobster dinner. There is also a long bar for those who are not as interested in dinner. I had thought that Betty Loo Taylor would be the musical entertainment for the evening, but it turned out to be Satomi, who mrguy had read about in the New York Times. She was really great.

Everything about this place was great, to tell the truth, except for the food, but that's not why we were there. No crying children. Air conditioning. Happy hour. Slinky jazz. And a shout out to our bartender, Virginia, who genuinely likes people and is good company. We wished that The Big Guy could have been there with us. He would have loved it, and we'll be back.

The night was not over. We had heard that there was a viewing party for Hawaii Five-0 at Apartm3nt. This consolidated many favorite things into one place: Hawaii, Hawaii Five-0 and Century Center, one of my fave buildings.  This interior detail is a quotation of the exterior detail on the lower floors. Above? A large mirrored high-rise.

Apartm3nt is in this building and was causing us to enter. So good! It was Monday, so the place was pretty empty. Our waitress was dressed in satin shorts, like a cigarette girl. Overhead, multiple flatscreens showed the movie Labyrinth. Here's the nightly special:

We supped and hoped that others would arrive to watch Hawaii Five-0 with us. Finally a table of people arrived to join the party, and one of them was an actor who had appeared in this episode (and next week's). He was excited and his family was excited. Local flavor :) This episode also featured the Wailana Coffee House, a local landmark which is right next door to the hotel where we were staying. We could actually tell that from one shot to the next, a person being pursued would not have ended up where the camera went. So fun!

At long last we went home, very satisfied with our day. Here's to new stuff!!

Hawaii 2011, Day 5

On day 5 I went to early sessions and then we went to Akasaka, the small yummy restaurant behind the Ala Moana, for lunch. They are always so nice there and the food is so good. Very restful. Plus we had the restaurant to ourselves. Mrguy took me back to the convention center early, and I spent about 40 minutes listening to Uncle Matt Love play slack key and sing in his gorgeous falsetto. Here he is conferring with a woman who he was coaxing into performing a hula for us. It was really inspiring to hear him.

The rest of the afternoon, spent at the Mission Houses Museum was also inspiring. The guy who toured us has made many partnerships that help him get things done at a minimum cost. Akamai!

Evening was the best, though. An evening at the Bishop Museum had me hanging out and learning to pound poi with Uncle Sol Apio. I had him all to myself. I can't even tell you how exciting that was.

Then I caught up with the farmer's daughter and we hung out and I ate my pai ai and listened to the band. Later, the lava presentation was really dramatic. This is the setting:

Once the lava was remelted and poured out onto a sheet pan, it began to spontaneously explode. Very impressive. I wish I could have taken mrguy. While I was at the museum, he scoped out our future destinations for Tuesday and Wednesday's nights out :)

Hawaii 2011, Day 4

Was this the day we went to Jelly's Honolulu? I think so.
But not before we saw the Aloha Festival Flower Parade. It turns out that the parade passed right by our hotel, so our lanai gave us the perfect perch for watching the festivities.
There were marching bands, lots of people in Volkswagen bugs with floral sprays mounted onto their hoods, horse riding groups. Super fun. Each of the riding groups that was in the parade was followed by a highly decorated pooper scooper wagon. Even the poop wagons were announced as part of the parade.

My favorite part? A local Christian high school band played an instrumental version of Koni Au. If you are unfamiliar with the song, here is a translation of the hui:

I throb, I throb for liquid
I throb for cool liquid
Royal liquid, gin
To make life cool and peaceful

Go Team!
After that, we went to Kaka'ako Kitchen. It felt weird to be there without ms scandiwaiian and the Finn, but we were hungry! Kaka'ako makes the weirdest, tastiest veggie burger. Egg whites, vegetables and something else (tofu?), grilled until crispy outside and creamy inside. Super yummy.
At Jelly's in Honolulu, mrguy found "Sculptures in the Sun," a book I've been looking for about public sculptures in Honolulu. Now I know which artist made the sculpture we admired at the Ala Moana yesterday. We bought a bunch more records.
The evening found us trooping up to the Liljestrand House, designed by Ossipoff, and later heading down to the Contemporary Museum, where we were introduced to the farmer's daughter. New character enters blog!
I bonded with some of my fellow conventioneers, and we had a jolly ride back to our hotel.
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