Saturday, March 26, 2011


Rain—the kind that just turns on and gushes out of the sky fast and hard—gets Dan out of bed at 5 a.m. to close the front door. Five minutes later, the rain shuts off just as fast. We linger in the darkness, lazy. There is no rush this morning, nowhere we have to be. Baxter moves up from the foot of the bed for his morning snuggles and Lucy flounces up minutes later.

The post rain clouds at dawn

The sun begins to warm things up
Today will be uneventful. For me, I am going to write that restaurant review. I have been planning on doing it all week, but moved it down the line for the video. I’ll read. Maybe I’ll walk the bike path along the coast if it isn’t raining. 
Dan has been working every day for the last three to four weeks so he gets some downtime today. My guess is he’ll spend it on Facebook and gaming. He might play around in Illustrator. Although he does have to spend some time working on a graphic for a client, just some revisions so it shouldn't take all day.
We send love to our friends in Colorado who are already dealing with fires, one of them in our old neighborhood. I heard 10,000 acres were evacuated and people made it out safely. I don’t know the extent of the damage or if it’s put out yet but we hope folks are safe. Crazy world, between Japan and the fires in Colorado a lot of people are forced to restructure their lives. 
The state tells us there are minuscule amounts of radiation in Hawaii’s air. A friend said she was sure there was more. She complained of feeling sick; having headaches and vomiting. She said her dog was sick too. Dan and I feel fine and we don’t know of anyone else who feels sick. So, for the moment, we aren’t stressing ourselves out about it.
I got this heartening email from my aunt. Someone sent it to her.
Someone I am connected to in Japan sent this very touching letter on how the
Japanese people are "being with" their challenges. Beautifully inspiring.
Love to ALL,
from Yatra.
Hello My Lovely Friends,
First I want to thank you so very much for your concern for me. I am very
touched. I also wish to apologize for a generic message to you all. But it
seems the best way at the moment to get my message to you.
Things here in Sendai have been rather surreal. But I am very blessed to
have wonderful friends who are helping me a lot. Since my shack is even more
worthy of that name, I am now staying at a friend's home. We share supplies
like water, food and a kerosene heater. We sleep lined up in one room, eat
by candlelight, share stories. It is warm, friendly, and beautiful.
During the day we help each other clean up the mess in our homes. People sit
in their cars, looking at news on their navigation screens, or line up to
get drinking water when a source is open. If someone has water running in
their home, they put out sign so people can come to fill up their jugs and
Utterly amazingly where I am there has been no looting, no pushing in lines.
People leave their front door open, as it is safer when an earthquake
strikes. People keep saying, "Oh, this is how it used to be in the old days
when everyone helped one another."
Quakes keep coming. Last night they struck about every 15 minutes. Sirens
are constant and helicopters pass overhead often.
We got water for a few hours in our homes last night, and now it is for half
a day. Electricity came on this afternoon. Gas has not yet come on. But all
of this is by area. Some people have these things, others do not. No one has
washed for several days. We feel grubby, but there are so much more
important concerns than that for us now. I love this peeling away of
non-essentials. Living fully on the level of instinct, of intuition, of
caring, of what is needed for survival, not just of me, but of the entire
There are strange parallel universes happening. Houses a mess in some
places, yet then a house with futons or laundry out drying in the sun.
People lining up for water and food, and yet a few people out walking their
dogs. All happening at the same time.
Other unexpected touches of beauty are first, the silence at night. No cars.
No one out on the streets. And the heavens at night are scattered with
stars. I usually can see about two, but now the whole sky is filled. The
mountains are Sendai are solid and with the crisp air we can see them
silhouetted against the sky magnificently.
And the Japanese themselves are so wonderful. I come back to my shack to
check on it each day, now to send this e-mail since the electricity is on,
and I find food and water left in my entranceway. I have no idea from whom,
but it is there. Old men in green hats go from door to door checking to see
if everyone is OK. People talk to complete strangers asking if they need
help. I see no signs of fear. Resignation, yes, but fear or panic, no.
They tell us we can expect aftershocks, and even other major quakes, for
another month or more. And we are getting constant tremors, rolls, shaking,
rumbling. I am blessed in that I live in a part of Sendai that is a bit
elevated, a bit more solid than other parts. So, so far this area is better
off than others. Last night my friend's husband came in from the country,
bringing food and water. Blessed again.
Somehow at this time I realize from direct experience that there is indeed
an enormous Cosmic evolutionary step that is occurring all over the world
right at this moment. And somehow as I experience the events happening now
in Japan, I can feel my heart opening very wide. My brother asked me if I
felt so small because of all that is happening. I don't. Rather, I feel as
part of something happening that much larger than myself. This wave of
birthing (worldwide) is hard, and yet magnificent.
Thank you again for your care and Love of me,
With Love in return, to you all,

Friday, March 25, 2011


This morning I woke to the pink glow of the sunrise and a cacophony of bird song. The birds didn’t go silent, they are always there. I just started hearing them again.
I just took the dogs for a walk, they were so good yesterday while I edited this video. For my professional editing colleagues, if you decide to spend three minutes of your life watching this, please remember that I have a consumer camera that weighs about one half pound. Of course this comes with a mic that is permanently affixed to it.  Plus, it’s the first time I have edited on Final Cut Pro, and my first video in 14 months. I know, big build up!
Despite that, I like it. It took me back to the early days of my career and I think the music (from a local band) makes it fun to watch. Dan made some fantastic graphics for it and some great photos. I like his people shots. He gets some great smiles out of people who are usually nervous about getting their picture taken and he captures some intimate, candid moments.
I’m going to relax a bit today. Do some yoga and meditation, maybe watch some more tutorials on Final Cut. I’m saving the restaurant review for tomorrow. It’s Dans one day off and if I’m occupied he’ll have a chance to relax!
Aloha nui loa

Thursday, March 24, 2011


My ten-year-old came to visit this morning. She was hiding in her costume; a chocolate colored velvet flat hat and a dark purple jacket. She is a bully. Withdrawn and angry she pushes people away. She got into some fights leaving fifth grade and going to sixth grade, which was at a new school.
Her profile is silhouetted, she’s hunched in shadow. Closed. I tell her she is loved. I know she is the one who has a difficult time bonding with people, making connections. She drives me to keep busy, keep moving, keep going. I need to release her of this job.
I roll over and ask Dan for a snuggle to show her how much she is loved. She cries lightly. Overwhelmed by the thought that she is loved just as she is. Baxter and Lucy give her snuggles too. 
I thank her for getting me to where I am. For doing the best she can. I can see she wants to draw. I see her on her belly, legs kicked up in the air, her costume intact, happily drawing the hours away.
I tell her everything is ok, all she needs to do now is draw. She can take off the jacket and hat because we live in paradise. It’s warm here. I encourage her to feel the warm sun on her bare arms, the cool trade winds, the moisture in the air. Breathe deep. Fling your arms out. Tilt your head to the sky. Play! Fly! 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesday morning I was driving home from a beautiful morning at the beach. My iPhone was charging and in the cup holder of the jeep. Baxter is sitting calmly in the passenger seat, all tuckered out and Lucy was laying in the back (we removed the back seat). I’m lost in KONG, our local radio station that plays a fantastic variety of music.
I look over at Baxter, mentally note the he doesn’t look to well, and reach out to pet him. My arm rests on the center console and it’s wet. I look down a see puke on the console, the emergency brake and filling up the cup holders! I grab my wet phone and set it on the seat, praying for the best.
When Dan comes home he pronounces it dead. Apple tells us we are one month shy or our contract renewal in which we can upgrade my 3GS to a 4G. So, we head down to the AT&T store to get a new phone. In the middle of going through our options, all depressing, I remember I still have my 3G at home. Last year when we upgraded we kept our old phones to use as iPods. The lady set me up and now I’m using my old phone. Happy ending although I am already frustrated at the smaller storage space!
Isn’t it funny how we fill space up when we have it to fill. All kinds; home space, computer space, phone, iPod, brain. Brain space is a tricky one for me. I notice myself filling up my time so there is no space for reflection. This moment is the crux for me. To balance income with life. We moved here to allow space for life to bloom. To sever the tap roots of work, work, work; fast, fast, fast; and take deep breaths of life.
Doing work we love helps because it’s too fun to seem like work. Today will be productive. Dealing with cleaning the jeep and my phone left no time or desire to write up the restaurant review. I have a shoot tonight at 5. 
I just created this Facebook page for our business. Dan is making our website, in his spare time, so I think this will work for now. The idea came to me this morning. A kind lady found me through the travel blog. Another sign that my dear friend was right, God sent me an email. She thinks she may have some work for me!
Aloha nui loa

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I am on fire! I spoke with the Hawaii Stream guy for about an hour yesterday. We got along very well—he even confided business things to me and said, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this stuff!” The website is a social media site and delivers news mostly via video. They need my help! The videos like this one—in which our Mayor opens the Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole Celebration that is happening all week—need me.
I think this is a huge opportunity (of course I tend to see opportunity in almost everything). I have a lot of energy and an entrepreneurial spirit and have been spending that energy with people who don’t have that same spirit. These guys do. They are a start up company and the two guys running it seem to be good businessmen. They are stretched too thin and doing everything, including the videos. Enter me.
Since they are a start up, they don’t have a lot of cash flow. They do have some and luckily for me, I make an all time low (I made more in high school). It doesn’t take very much money to make me happy now-a-days. I am going to shoot two videos for the celebration this week and see how things go. One is the “Taste of the Islands” and the other, an inaugural amateur boxing championship. Right now, the payment is getting out there, meeting people and getting into the events for free. But, I expect that to change soon.
I have a vision that in a year or so, my videos will have helped the website—I mean if your site is going to be driven by videos they better be engaging! I feel like I could be the local video person and I feel like this could be the work that sticks. What could be better? Working at an island style pace, going to community events (and there are a lot here) from art to music, food, mountain and ocean beauty, sports, fund raisers and Hawaiian culture; meeting people and getting to know the lay of the land. 
I want to be a contributing member of the community. For me, this means not only working but doing something that helps the community. It’s difficult to really know what people are doing here. A lot of folks don’t promote their businesses and mostly rely on the coconut wireless. This website is a way to connect folks and I hope to be a part of it. We’ll see what life has in store for me. It could be another stepping stone.
I am wondering about this extreme bounce back. I hope I’m not diving in too deep again and using it to cover something I’d rather not think about or feel. So I want to continue with the self discovery. I’m going to take the dogs to the beach after I post the coffee article. I’ll come home, make a nice lunch and write the restaurant review from yesterday. Then a little meditation and answering more of those difficult questions from Christena’s book. 
Aloha Nui Loa

Monday, March 21, 2011


“OUCH! Dammit Baxter!” I’m jerked out of a deep sleep as Dan trips over Baxter in the pitch black of 4 a.m. He was on my side of the bed and when Dan got up to go to the bathroom, he’d settled on the floor at the foot of Dan’s side. 
My mind seizes the negative thoughts lurking on the fringes of my half conscious brain. I start to feel despair. An illuminating thought pierces the black hole in my chest, cradled around my heart. Cracking open a sliver of hope, I can remember why we came here. For the adventure, for the unknown.
We took a chance on life, on ourselves. I can stay penned up in the treehouse, all sad and heavy, or I can honor our decision. The thought of being miserable in Kauai strikes me as ridiculous. I take a deep breath and feel myself relax as I surrendered to my higher self, my spirit. I will keep on keeping on and let life work out the details. 
Playing with Baxter and Lucy, singing them silly love songs, I share my morning state of mind with Dan. He feels the hope and is happy for it, he has been deeply concerned all week. I have several new avenues I can try.
First, I need to get out of the house and into nature. Nature restores me, it always has. Thanks to my father, who would take me on hikes and cross-country skiing, I learned to appreciate and crave it’s healing power. I make a vow to get out every morning this week. Today, I’ll walk the dogs at the dog park.
I have a restaurant review due, so I will finish that. I have a blog post for the travel agency that needs to be reworked and resubmitted—the one on the triathlon. I have a blog post due for, that one will be on Kona coffee focusing on the sustainable methods of shade growing and hand picking. 
I will call the web video guys back and see of the need an editor for hire and a writer for free. Then I’ll set up an interview with a local bee keeper for my next post. At 2:30 we are going to interview and sample food for the review that is due next week. 
I am going to post something everyday this week. I realize my last post was pretty scary. I’m ok with that. Sometimes life is scary and I think it’s necessary to look at all the parts, including the uncomfortable, scary parts. I want to share my climb out of the hole. Partly for the investigation of it, but mostly so my folks don’t worry. It’s easy to think that life in paradise, or living your dream is all “butterflies and rainbows” as the band Maroon 5 sings. I’m here to say it isn’t, and that’s ok—it’s just life. We have the choice of how we live it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

School Days Post Script

Based on a dear friend's concern, I thought I’d add a post script to my previous post. Often times I feel hollow writing posts that focus on everything great. Because in reality, even though some remarkable things are happening for us, chasing your dream is sticky business. Instead of only posting the good stuff, I wanted to include the sticky bits as well.
I am an honest person, so I wrote honestly. I don’t know how to sugar coat things although I am getting better at it. I feel like it’s necessary when dealing with people you don’t know. After all, who wants to hear dreary thoughts upon a first meeting? People, including me, want to be around upbeat people. People who are happy in their life, moving forward, striving to be the best mother, father, waiter, chef, scientist, yogi they can. So, even though small talk can be hard for me, sometimes you have to sugar coat things.
I am going though a tough time right now, it’s true. As my dear friend reminded me—a man who has held a full time job, taken loving care of his wife who had a near fatal accident, started a photography career on the side and put extra hours in at his full time job resulting in a management position—”keep moving forward.” It takes hard work, a lot of unpaid work, but eventually when you have given up “The phone will ring and it’s God offering you an opportunity.”
Even though this doesn’t feel good at the moment, I know it will pass. I know I will move forward—the consequences of not doing so are not places I want to go—I will learn from this, get stronger. A couple of years ago, my dear friend turned me onto author Seth Godin. Today I was reading an excerpt from his new book Poke the Box
He talks about taking risk, putting yourself out there, getting embarrassed, failing and trying again, failing again, trying again. The point is to DO something that moves you toward your goals. That failing is necessary because you learn along the way and at some point you expect to fail and it doesn’t bother you anymore, you just keep trying and eventually, it will all pay off. I know this, I have experienced it in my early 20s when I started my video career.
I think the reasons for my current tail spin are an expectation of money sooner than later. Also, since we got here I have been putting a lot of energy into “promoting” myself. I have been constantly putting myself out there, following any idea or suggestion that feels right and not seeing any income from it.There have been so many efforts with no financial gain that I can’t even name them all. I just do my best, put it out there and forget about it. Believing that if it comes back, then I’ll follow that thread to wherever it goes. 
This is part of the journey, I know. Please don’t be scared for me (mom and dad) I’m not going to do anything crazy like kill myself or become addicted to drugs. This is part of life, it’s peaks AND valleys. It’s about the journey. I just need to rest, be easy in my life. Be grateful because like my dear friend said, all of our bills are being paid. Plus, I have a wonderfully supportive husband, parents and friends. It’s just growing pains, which is what I wanted.
As an aside, I printed out the college application and learned that for summer it’s $248 a credit hour! In the Spring and Fall, it goes down to $97. So, I’ll be waiting until then. Who knows what can happen by that time!
I’m good. I have the strength of Dan’s love, family and friends to bolster me through this time and I will come out of it! I’m a fighter baby!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

School Days

Second Place winner and my favorite shot

I learned about an inaugural triathlon while having lunch at Tutu’s Soup Hale. I thought it would be excellent to cover the first triathlon on Kauai and dreamed of submitting it to Triathlon magazine and Senior Living because the man putting it on was 65 and competing in the duathlon. 
Sunday morning we woke at five and got to the Marriott by six. Dan had a wonderful time shooting the competitors, who were pretty much all men, and mostly locals. He quickly garnered their respect and was happy to be included in their ohana when the title bruddah was addressed to him.
First place winner
I, on the other hand, had a difficult time getting any useable information form the founders wife. She spoke on and on of the minute and in consequential details of their lives that only they and maybe family would care about with a tendency toward exaggeration. “Oh, my lord yes,” she said in a Texas accent, “he has competed in triathlons for years. At one point he did one every month.” “Triathlons?” I asked shocked of the possibility. “Oh well, you know 5k’s, 10ks, relay duathlons.” Totally different, but I could use that information.
Her husband, having finished running 4k of the relay duathlon (his partner rode his bike for 20k), didn’t have much to say. I got to interview one triathlete who gave thoughtful answers to my questions and I began to think I might have something. The athletes were frustrated because the course was not well marked and many of them ran farther than they had to, rendering their time useless and the event as an extended form of exercise. 
I also found out there were two other triathlons on Kauai. The first and second place winners, local boys, were modest and didn’t feel comfortable talking about their success. I learned a lot of lessons that day but the futility of it set me into s slump.
I tried to ignore it, push down feelings of failure. I wrote a post for the travel blog and submitted an article for the local paper. I have not heard from the paper.
On Wednesday, I knew I was feeling down so I prepared for my lunch with Christena by watching a motivating documentary that never fails to life me up. Afterward I got all dressed and made up and happily drove to meet my lunch date. Things were going wonderfully until she asked how I was doing. I played off the triathlon with a touch of anger. I bolstered myself by relaying the efforts I am making towards getting work. “Why do you always promote yourself,” she kindly asked. “Because no one here knows me and I need work,” I told her, proud of my industriousness. “I figure if I keep writing, someday someone will pay me for it.”
Tears of frustration welled in my eyes as we sat in a restaurant I frequent, who I have done a restaurant review for, whose owners I know. Embarrassed, I looked toward the door as she got me a napkin.
“How is that working for you?” she asked when she got back. “It’s not,” I said as more tears welled up. “As a matter of fact, my work has decreased.” Then she hit me with a doozy. “Why don’t you stop trying so hard. Stop promoting yourself. Stop looking for work. If your husband supports what you are doing then take this time to figure out what your experiences have in common.”
So, I am on reconnaissance. Her words rang true. I am flat out depressed. I know the only way out is in. I have to wander the murky depths of my sadness and release those negative feelings. 
The next day I laid on the couch, in a fetal position, curled into the dogs and cried. Napped and cried some more. When Dan came home he listened and decided Christena was right. I had permission to be sad and sit with that sadness. He didn’t judge me for it, try to make light of it or change what it was in any way. I love him for that gift.
Thursday Dan went to the North shore to give two computer classes, one was for Christena. She is an avid reader, a former English teacher and a writer. She had given Dan three books for me to read. I spoke with my friend Deb on the phone and soon we were laughing. She is having a rough go at life and I admire her will to keep pushing forward and her ability to laugh at it all.
Friday morning I felt heavy again, weighed down with sadness. After Dan left for work I curled up on the bed with Baxter and Lucy and cried myself to sleep. The phone woke me. I listened to the message. It was someone who wanted me to do a restaurant review. I called him back and easily put on my game face. He was energetic vibration was very high. A happy EMT, restauranteur, husband and father. We spoke for 30 minutes and by the end of the conversation I was lifted. 
I started to slip into a slump so after I meditated I cracked open Christena’s book Prosperity Pie, How to Relax About Money and Everything. Four hours later I had finished the book and took a nap. I woke feeling lighter.
Saturday, I worked on the book some, answering questions. The first assignment was to list all of my worries, anxieties and fears and take a break from it. After the break, I would answer the questions like I would for a best friend. I was feeling tired from it after eight (out of 33!) and decided to read a book for fun. 
I’m happy to say it’s working. I feel much better though I am not raring to put myself out there again, yet. Christena suggested I go to community college. I have wanted to get a degree for years. The other day Dan suggested I do the same. I told her I could only get a two year associates degree so it wasn’t really worth it. She replied that it was better than nothing and I could always finish up online. 
I am in love with this idea, the thought of it gets me excited. So, this week I am going to go down there and apply for the English 100 Composition1 course. After spending $500 bucks (!) on the dogs Monday, we don’t have the money for it. But, mom called earlier today and said her and dad felt like sending $200 I love you bucks so it’ll only cost us $48! I am definitely wealthy in love and friendships!
Ladies, enjoy the pictures!
Aloha Nui Loa

The winners

Local boys after the race

Casey, the triathlete was gave me a great interview

The founders of the triathlon

Casey said this guys is the fastest triathlete on Kauai!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Little Tsunami II

I will never take my washer and dryer for granted again! When I had a nice home with a laundry room and a utility sink, I found it a chore to do laundry. Confession here: I’m not really that into cleaning. I miss my biweekly housekeeper too. If I could, I would hire one to clean the treehouse, hehe. No mom, unfortunately I did not take after you in that way. My home is clean enough...
Now, I have to use precious hours in my day—hours in which I could be writing, reading walking the dogs, taking naps, making meals or doing yoga—shlepping my laundry to the laundry mat down the hill. Collecting quarters along the way. Now, I am grateful that I have the quarters and a place to clean my clothes. It’s all about perspective.
Meanwhile, I have a laptop that I am extremely grateful for and I can write while my clothes take a spin. I suppose since Stephan King wrote Carrie on a child’s desk in the tight quarters of a laundry room in a rented trailer before he made it big, I’m on the right track!
I’m feeling a little discouraged about writing. I know I’m a newbie, I need to learn the ropes. I know I will get a lot of rejection letters before I get an acceptance one. I know I am lucky to have writing jobs that pay as it is. It still frustrates me when I craft a query letter, even send in a sample or two of an idea, and I hear nothing back. I would like a formal rejection please. I will persevere. It will happen someday. And, just like my promise to be kind to new comers on the island, I promise to at least send a formal rejection letter or have one of my people do it!
We have the great fortune of being friends with a wine shop owner. Tuesday he called and asked us if we wanted to come to his house for an impromptu wine tasting. We spent a fun evening with friends old and new, in a beautiful home sampling 4 wines. The most expensive bottle was $1000!!! The rest were $300 to $500!!! Our friend has a client who has a “small” 3000 bottle cellar here and she wants him to tell her what wines need to be drank and when. Tough job!
I am unbelievably fortunate in many ways. I miss my folks dearly. I know this move has been tough on them and I know they miss Dan and I a lot. I hear it in my mother’s voice every time we say goodbye. I’m sorry mom, I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I feel your love and concern thousands of miles away and appreciate all the little things you guys do to show your love and support. From sending me a magazine that I can’t find on this island because we have no longer have a book store and I need to do research, to sending thoughtful birthday cards, my favorite chewing gum, or our down comforter. I really appreciate the countless hours you spend listening to my small triumphs. I am grateful Susan is there to love and take care of you.
I am also grateful for my husband. He works hard, very hard to bring income into this household while encouraging me to stay home and write. He still finds the energy to spoil me with little things. Opening the jeep door for me to get in, getting me a blanket or glass of water, running to the store for chocolate covered macadamia nuts, easing my worried mind with his strength and courage, lightening my load with his laughter.
It seems that stripping away our comforts of money and stuff has unearthed the true gems in my life. The ones that really matter. I also have my health, my dogs and I live in paradise! We may be poor monetarily but we are rich in things that really matter!

Mahi mahi wrapped in prochuitto with pesto, white beans and a saffron broth at the East Side in Kapaa

Speaking about being grateful: Dan and I came home all fat and happy after doing a restaurant review at The East Side. After we watched a movie, we got on Facebook and Dan saw a posting for the tsunami. We spent the night safely tucked in the treehouse and glued to the TV and Facebook watching things unfold. We set the computer up in the bedroom and fell asleep watching about an hour before the wave hit. Thankfully we live high enough no damage was done on Kauai. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers and mom don’t worry! If one hits we’ll be ok—it’s just the following days would be a challenge. The day after our local DJ said, “Lucky we are all alive, breathe it in Kauai.”
I came across this quote and thought I’d share.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
~ Nelson Mandela
Aloha Nui Loa

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Beaches, Beets and Bobs

Dan and I got to do two beachside restaurant reviews and a luau this week. First was the Mediterranean Gourmet, an hour away up on the North shore. Run by a husband and wife team they specialize in Lebanese food, where he is from. We had pita bread with ginger hummus, sun-dried tomato hummus and curry hummus. A bulgur, tomato and parsley salad called tabouleh and watermelon bruschetta with feta cheese. Needless to say we had the leftovers for dinner!

Mediterranean Gourmet has beautiful views and a distinct Middle Eastern decor.

Crispy Spinach Fatayers

 Lahkme Benadora, a Lebanese comfort food made of diced steak, jalapenos and onions on top of ginger hummus.

Two days later we went back because the couple invited us to experience their luau. Fresh exotic flowers embellished coffee tables and a bamboo trellis running the length of a wall. Tourists laughed with glee at the Hawaiian entertainers who sang haunting songs and made silly jokes. We were both mesmerized by the rapid movements of theTahitian dancers and their lusty hips. The Polynesian version of the tango.
A couple of days later we found ourselves at the Beach House, an hour to the South in Koloa; winners of Honolulu magazine’s Hale `Aina (Home Land) award for 2011 Best Restaurant on Kauai (Mediterranean Gourmet came in second). Fresh local fish is their specialty and we enjoyed wasabi and panko crusted uku (Hawaiian snapper) and a watermelon salad with candied macadamia nuts and gorgonzola cheese. I’ve had watermelon three times since we got here, twice in the last week!

The view at the Beach House

Crispy Stuffed Crab Roll with just caught Ahi and soy wasabi sauce flecked with black sesame seeds

I decided I needed a hair cut to represent my new pilgrimage to be the best version of me possible. Plus, what is the point of having long hair if it’s always tied back? I try to wear it down because everyone tells me it looks better, but it always goes back up. The heat and humidity getting the better of me. I really don’t know how the local girls do it!
Right after I got my hair cut

I am trying to make it look as cute as the hair dresser did. I haven't had to style my hair in a long time yea?

I started a Bikram yoga class. For those of you not in the know, it’s where you do yoga in a 110 degree room. Sounds crazy for someone who doesn’t do heat well; someone who turns beet red when my temperature rises above 98.6 (Dan says it’s my Scottish blood). I happen to love Bikram yoga. The heat loosens my muscles and I can go deeper into the poses. Cleansing sweat drips onto my towel covered mat and I imagine my demons leave in those tiny droplets. 
Dan picked up a new client. The travel agency I write for hired him to do their graphics (mahalo Cindy’s Group!). His delight in creating graphics makes for pleasurable afternoons as we work side by side on our office/couch.

Hawaii-Aloha Travel hosts giveaways and contests, play often!!

I made two amazing things this week that I’d like to share. Fresh Thyme Cheddar Scones were inspired by the pouring rain we’ve been having for three days and a care package in the form of soup from our friends at Tutu’s Soup Hale. The Beet-Feta Tart was brought on by the need to prepare beets in a different way. Beets are in abundance at our local farm and this is the third week in a row Dan has brought them home. We are lucky because we get a small refrigerator full of organic produce every week directly from our farmer for 15 bucks!
Aloha Nui Loa

The recipe comes from King Arthur Flour

Cheddar and Black Pepper Scones

I used fresh thyme instead of black pepper because I had some.
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup (4 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper*
3/4 cup (6 ounces) buttermilk or plain yogurt
milk (for glaze)

*This amount of black pepper will make very spicy scones. For less heat, decrease the amount of pepper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter and cheese. Stir in the black pepper. Refrigerate the dough for half an hour. Gently stir in the buttermilk or yogurt. Gather the mixture into a ball with your hands, and on a well-floured surface roll or pat the dough into a 12 x 8-inch rectangle approximately 3/4-inch thick.

Grease a baking sheet. Using a large spatula, or a couple of spatulas, transfer the dough to the baking sheet. Use a dough scraper, baker's bench knife or a knife to cut dough into 1 1/2-inch squares. Separate the squares slightly on the baking sheet. Brush each square with a little milk.

Bake the scones in a preheated 400°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they're very lightly browned. Yield: about 40 small scones.

Beet-Feta Tart
I added fresh dill because it goes well with beets and feta.
half-recipe Martha Stewart’s pâte brisée without sugar (flaky pie dough, enough for one 9” tart)
2 medium-sized red beets, washed, roasted (at 400 degrees in an aluminum foil packet for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until very tender; you don’t want a crunchy beet here), and peeled
2 large eggs
¾ cup milk (I used whole)
4 oz French feta, crumbled
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the pâte brisée into a circle large enough to line a 9” round removable-bottom tart pan. Transfer the dough into the pan, pressing it gently to the edge and up along the sides. Line the dough-lined tart pan with a sheet of aluminum foil, and place enough beans, rice, or pie weights in the aluminum foil to cover the base of the tart pan in a single layer. This will prevent the dough from puffing when you blind-bake it. Place the tart pan in the oven, and bake for 15 or so minutes, until the edges of the tart shell look set and barely golden. Remove the aluminum foil and weights from the tart pan, and continue baking until the tart shell is light golden. Remove the tart pan from the oven and allow to cool.

Turn the oven down to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Meanwhile, cut the roasted and peeled beets into ¼-inch slices. Mix the eggs, milk, feta, and salt in a small bowl or measuring cup.

Arrange the beet slices in the blind-baked tart shell, taking care to cover the base of the shell as well as possible. It is preferable to only have one layer of beets, although you may want to add an extra beet here or there to cover an empty spot. Pour the egg mixture over the beets.

Bake the tart for 40 minutes to an hour, until the filling is set and lightly golden in areas. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Flakey crust tastes like butter, sweet beets and savory feat cheese, YUM!