Saturday, May 19, 2012


Because Susan needed a ride to AWOL, and because Kris’ Beetle would be a bit cramped for 3 Broads with all their stuff, and because I happen to have access to our Subaru that day, this field trip was done by 3 (not 2) Broads & 1 Subaru (not 1 Beetle).

After our wonderful AWOL meeting in Mililani, I asked, “Where shall we go to now?”  Not having been trained to lead us like Beetle does, Subaru did not move until Kris said, “How about Mililani Cemetery?”  Brilliant.  Kris was obviously channeling Beetle!

The reason why Mililani Cemetery is special to us is that in 2010 Kris and I had attended the funeral there of one of our early AWOL members, artist Ela Zapf.   

Walking back to the car after the service, I heard a tinkling noise and discovered that Beetle was parked by a tree that was hung with chimes.   

Whoever did that created something magical! The sweet sound of chimes spread an air of comfort and reminded us of the young children and little babies buried there.  

This time we were there the day after Mother’s Day and we found the cemetery dotted with bouquets of fresh flowers and balloons saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Besides flowers and balloons, there were other offerings as well:

I may as well tell you here about my plans for what to do with my ashes.  Hopefully I will have plenty of time left yet because I need some time to prepare a large number of small art bags to hold little plastic bags.  The idea is to fill each little bag with a tablespoon of my ash.  I swear if I didn’t have to be dead for it, I would do it myself to save everyone the trouble.  All of you will be invited to take at least one little bag of ash, but preferably more.  Please spread the ash of one bag wherever you want.  Then send the other bags to friends who live in other places around the world.  Ask them to please spread my ash wherever they wish.  This will give the post office some work and I’ll be truly, in death as in life, all over the place.  

Oh, and hang a chime somewhere... anywhere... for me!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Umi Mamori Jizo, the Ocean Protector Jizo.
In this rock carving Jizo holds the six-ringed pilgrim’s staff
 with his right hand to open the doors between the various realms;
in his left hand he carries the sun to shine light.

Whenever possible I like to stop by the cute Japanese fishing shrine on Kalanianaole Highway (between Hanauma Bay and Sandy Beach), even if it’s just to check out the offerings people leave on the altar.  In addition to the usual incense sticks and flowers, today there is an abundance of fresh papaya, mango, apples, and a package of crackers.  Also lots of coins that time has corroded.  The popular Bodhisattva Jizo, guardian of children, women, and travelers occupies the main part of the altar.  

Because fishermen and swimmers also call on Jizo for protection, first-generation Japanese in Hawaii set up shrines along East Oahu’s beaches and sea cliffs in the late 1800's to protect them as they surf-cast for deep ocean fish like the ulua. 

 You can see the top of the shelter that the fishermen built.
Barely visible is the line of fishing poles (top right of photo).
Is this the place they call Bamboo Ridge? 
For the (bamboo) fishing poles along the rock edge?

Jizo is also a companion to those who have died nearby. Because the road along the mountains is narrow and winding, and the view is spectacular, and therefore distracting, car accidents are not uncommon.  You've seen the occasional roadside altars, haven't you?  An annual ceremony honors the memory of those victims, as well as those whose ashes have been scattered there, like Ann Dunham's, Barack Obama’s mother.

Originally a Jizo statue was installed in 1932.  Unfortunately it got vandalized (Who would do such a stupid senseless thing?!)  It was replaced with the current lava rock altar in 1940.  The image of Jizo was carved by artist Sentaro Otsubo.

Priests from Shingon Shu Japanese Buddhist temple in Honolulu held the very first blessing ceremony for the original Jizo statue.  With the exception of the years during World War II, they have continued to hold ceremonies there every year, a wonderful tradition.  I'm curious to find out when they take place. If it's not a too early morning sunrise kind of thing, I might even be able to attend. 

The other side of the altar is dedicated to Kwan Yin (or Kannon), the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion.  Like Jizo, she is the protector of children, women, and seamen.  
A much bigger and more glorious statue of Kwan Yin used to adorn the altar here.  All that’s left of it now is its gilt-edge pink lotus blossom base, broken in half and propped up against the wall.  Vandalism again?  The replacement statue is much smaller and already pretty beat up -- listing, fingers missing, and other pieces broken off.  Sad.

Old me with beat-up Kwan Yin

 Kristine standing by in full glory!

Close up of beat-up Kwan Yin

View toward the road and mountain

View toward the ocean

Thursday, May 3, 2012


After our AWOL (Artist’s Way of Life) or Pen Women meetings, Kris and I are usually too wound up to go straight home.  That’s when we go: “Field trip?”  The answer is usually: “Why not.”  We get into the Beetle and let her decide where to go.

This time she nosed out to Nimitz Boulevard and onward to Sand Island.  Hmm, what’s at Sand Island other than the (rather unattractive) park?  Piano bar at Mariana’s?  Never been there.  Kris has, but she doesn’t remember how to get there and Beetle has no GPS.  Well, we can’t find it, so we turn back to Nimitz.  But just before we reach it, Beetle suddenly turns left onto a definitely uninteresting street.  The road bends right and shortly ends into a gravel road.  A sign on the fence warns us that this is private property.  Kris is ready to turn around, but I make her stay on it and see where Beetle is leading us.  We pass a holding area for Roberts’ yellow school buses and then I see a series of gigantic metal arms reaching for the sky…  

We’re in heavy equipment paradise!  
 My fetish kicks in and I indulge in some serious picture taking.   

Thank you Bob’s Equipment!  I need a cigarette now… 

Don’t ask me how, but it starts me thinking about William Levy.  I may be old but my brain is still wired between 25 and 35.  If you don’t know who William Levy is, watch him move on Dancing With The Stars.  Oh thank you, God...  
For heavy equipment…  
I don’t know what I'm saying.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Usually we let Beetle decide where to go, but for once we were on a mission.  We wanted to do a Releasing Ceremony.  For that we needed a quiet beach and flowers.  For a beach, beautiful Waimanalo Beach came to mind immediately.  But first we needed lunch.  Of course, we went straight to Ono Shrimp Wagon where Keoki served both as cook and cashier.  Hmm, garlic shrimp onolicious!  

For flowers we whipped over to Safeway at Enchanted Lake where we also found a little horsie to ride! You have no idea, but we’ve been going all over the place looking for a rocking horse.  They used to be a dime a dozen, but not anymore.  If you know of any still in use, let us know where.

So finally, we found one.  Kris slipped her lei around the horse’s neck and a quarter into the slot and… Nothing.  The quarter popped right out.  Put it back in again…  Nope, it would not take the quarter.  Undaunted, Kris dug up her best cow girl pose and yelled, “Giddy up!” 

Then it was my turn.  Well, graceful as always, I held on to the horse’s ears like they were horns and I was about to get thrown.  Yeehaw!

Onward to the ocean and what a sight it was!  Divine blue green shimmering waters made my heart leap with joy!  

 Perfect for releasing pain and sorrow.

Give it to the flowers and let the waters take it all away.

Let go and relax…