Sunday, May 26, 2019

In Living Color!

What a busy month! We've received a few emails checking in on us since we have not created a new blog entry lately -- so here's the scoop!  We've been busy!

Work on the art studio is progressing very well, sheet rock going up this week, railings will be done, and beautiful "Lehua Doors" will be going up soon too.
Lehua Blossom (Lay HU ah)
OK, you say, what are "Lehua Doors" -- well early this year we were surprised by the COLOR of the ohia blossoms as they were such a deep orange/red and were visible from every window in the house.

Phil is making art
out of left over scraps of wood from the building project, and has just finished one of Poliahu -- one of Pele's sisters who is associated with the snow on the volcanoes.

Lunel continues to work in her art journals filled with drawings, illustrations, poems
and quotes. She continues to learn about and work with the effects of on-going PTSD symptoms. Working in a densely packed 4' space for over a year, she's thrilled to know the new art studio will be completed soon.

About the knees, since friends are asking: The plan, for now, is prolotherapy injections that admittedly may or may not work. The MRI images for both knees were graphic and depressingly honest, so surgery may be an eventuality. After the year we have been through, it is understandable that another 6-month "recovery" would not be anyone's first choice.

Designing a new lanai (again) that will be adjacent to the house -- when what we had was so beautiful is a challenge, especially remembering all the amazing art that we had placed so strategically.

Phil is getting bids on installing whole-house solar which will include the latest Tesla storage batteries.

Giant Rhubarb
Younger selves in Santa Cruz CA
Lunel is getting information on replacing the wonderful cedar hot tub that we both will be glad to have again.

And then there's Rhubarb for one of Phil's favorite treats -- grows amazing here at 3500 in Volcano

Both of us have experienced a slowing-down we have to acknowledge and honor. The last year of various kinds of trauma and recovery has taken its toll, and although we are enjoying our new home,  it is still NEW as are all the things we are slowly replacing from wedding rings to underwear, from books to art -- as we also acclimate to new cooler weather, new neighborhood and new colorful opportunities.

This week we also celebrated our 33rd anniversary -- goodness 1986 seems like a LONG time ago -- we were a LOT younger!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

May Day - Lei Day!

We are coming up on some significant anniversaries in May, as most of our friends and blog readers realize. (coma, fire, Leilani lava, homeless, legal fight and slow recovery, AND our 33rd anniversary!)

However TODAY is  Lei Day in Hawaii - Lei Day is a statewide celebration in all of Hawaii. The celebration begins in the morning of May first every year and continues throughout the entire day and even continues onto the next day. Lei day was established as a holiday in the year of 1929 and continues to this day.

This past week we attended a premier showing of a 1-hour documentary created by Hawaii News Now that featured interviews with local Puna residents about their experience. Our story was included and Lunel's interview came up early in the film. 

This LINK will take you to a very short recorded segment and a longer written description. Hawaii News Now - Haysmer Interview

(And, here's a LINK to the FULL version of the film:
  "Pele's Path" - full length story

The room was filled with hundreds of people who, like we, were looking back at last May, but also supporting each other in the present as we move into the future.

Close-up of the Leis we received
After the viewing, we decided to go out for a little lunch. While we were eating, two women we did not know, came over to our table and presented us with gorgeous leis -- saying that they recognized us from the film and wanted to show their aloha and support by presenting us with their own leis! We were a little surprised, but also find that our story has reached a pretty wide audience here in Hawaii.
Phil's latest --  a carving of Pele

"Remember then: there is only one time that is important - NOW! It is the most important time because it is the only time we have any power."  Leo Tolstoy

A year later we both feel we have "aged" -- we are both hoping that like good cheese or fine wine,  we will get better over time. We are also keenly aware that during the whole year, we have been loved and supported along the way by friends, neighbors and even strangers!

Blessed LEI DAY!!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

"A Smallness That Will Be Big Later"

Our team of builders began the work in early March, and except for some days of rain, the work has continued steadily, based on sketches Phil drew way back in February.

The windows go in next week and the roof materials have been ordered for delivery too. As our blog followers know, we each lost amazing art spaces when our home burned, and charming as our new cute pink house is -- there was no art space for either of us.

If all goes well, it looks like we might be able to move in for our 33rd Anniversary!!!

There is a beautiful proverb that describes this process, found in 'Olelo No'eau, Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui.

O Keia 'u'uku e nui ana --  This smallness will be big later. Said of a small child who will grow into adulthood...a small space that may develop into a large one.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What's in a Name?

Nahelenani Street
It was during our 2011 vacation to the Big Island that we first got the idea to retire here. Many of the necessary logistics such as divesting a lot of our "stuff," finding a buyer for our 22-year old gallery, and selling our 1860's Victorian were just plain work. But one of the FUN things was discovering the richness of the Hawaiian language.

Some of the first words we learned were typical vocabulary like 'aina, mahalo, and aloha, or learning the different kinds of lava formation like pahoehoe or a'a. When we made the offer on our first home in Leilani Estates and found out that our street name was LUANA -- of course we looked up that word too: Luana: to be at leisure, to enjoy pleasant surroundings and associates and to enjoy oneself. 

Luana -2012 - Healthy Trees

At that time our lovely one acre of land was thick with Hawaii's native 'Ohi'a trees, but in less than two years most of the trees were dying from a fungus that was spreading rapidly - hence the name "Rapid Ohia Death" or ROD. The photos here show the difference in about 18 months' time.

Luana - 2013-14 - dead trees

That is just one of the reasons we are so delighted with our new street name of Nahelenani, because it means nahele (forest) nani (beautiful.) Once again, we are blessed to be safely snuggled into forest of beautiful 'ohi'a trees that are now bursting with lehua (lay-HOO-a) blossoms.

We loved "Leilani Estates" and are heart-broken over the lost of our home in May 2018. Leilani was a larger subdivision with dozens of streets -- all with beautiful Hawaiian names like Moku (island) or Hapu'u (fern), etc.. Our new subdivision of "Ohia Estates" however, only has two street which makes it easier to get acquainted with our new neighbors.
Trees on our new property

If you are interested in learning 
more about the ROD "Rapid 'Ohi'a Death" 
you can click on this link:

  ROD - great photos and explanation

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Spring Into Spring

Today, standing near where our home was
This week celestial events gave us the drama of a SUPER MOON and the first day of SPRING. Also this week we were invited to do a TV interview about the devastating experience of losing our home last year, the trauma of evacuation, the anxiety of dealing with the insurance claim, the stress of living in four places in less than nine months, and our focus on recovery and starting over -- from scratch.

Given this conjunction of events, we decided to mark our "spring" as a personal "new beginning" by visiting Fissure #8, now a prominent and permanent 200 foot landmark in Leilani Estates.. Of the many lessons we have learned throughout this past year perhaps the most important is to look fear directly in the face, or as Pema Chodron reminds us -- to invite in what scares us.

Lunel placing our offering
Art by Jessica Taruni
Originally created for The Volcano Inn 1999
Standing at the base of the cone, we offered ho'okupu (offering) with a flower lei Lunel had made with orchids from our home. She sang an oli (chant) of gratitude for all we have learned and received. It was our first time visiting the place where our home stood, but we both felt ready.

After the loss of our home, many people asked whether we were going to leave Hawaii -- but honestly that thought never occurred to us as we both feel deeply connected to the 'aina - a Hawaiian word that means not only "the land" itself, but a relationship with the whole island-environment, itself a symbol of destruction and creation. Recently we even bought a beautiful, large stained glass window to place in our new home.

Please listen to this talk by Auntie Pua. It is short but packed with power -- about the changing of seasons, a celebration of the SUN, and our place in this world of reciprocal cycles.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

A Place for Artists!

Coral with pale green trim
Everyone who knows us, knows we are artists who need a place to play. Friends and blog followers also realize that we each lost amazing art-spaces when our home was destroyed in May last year.

Phil had the space of a two-car garage for all his stacks of Hawaiian hardwoods like koa, mango, monkeypod, silkoak, milo -- and, of course all his tools. Lunel had a large art studio with big windows and cupboards and drawers filled with her art journals and supplies.

Our charming new coral-colored home in Volcano was a perfect choice except for the fact that it did not have adequate art spaces. We have been blessed to meet several local builders who are now creating that space where our creativity can bloom again. All three men live aloha and live right here in Volcano. One lives on our street, one actually built our house in 2006 and another has had projects right here on our street too. Talk about good luck!!

Phil sketched the elevation and floor plan, and in just three weeks, the project is well under way. Next came the fun part of selecting colors. We wanted the new building to complement the house, so here's what we came up with. The colors will be reversed: pale green for the outside walls and corals as the trim and deck in rich henna.

As we approach the one-year anniversary of our loss, it will be exciting for us to watch this get built. Phil's space will be in one half and Lunel's will be in the other half. There will also be a large, covered front porch/deck area.

What a great way to celebrate the arrival of SPRING!!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Hawaiian Crow

COME-BACK-CROW!! From extinction in 2002 to a return to its native habitat. One of the wonderful perks about living in Volcano is we are only a couple miles from so many wonderful activities, cultural, scientific, and ecological. Click on links below to learn more:

Info about Volcano Art Center
Volcano National Park Info

Last week we attended a presentation about the reintroduction efforts to return the Hawaiian Crow 'Alala to its original habitat.
Tool User

The ʻAlalā Project with the San Diego Zoo (who introduced their own captive breeding stock} have been working with this unique species. The 'Alala is a highly intelligent bird that is integral to native Hawaiian ecosystems and culture. There are over 100 crows currently being raised in captivity, and over two dozen now living in the forests being monitored to track their territory, feeding habits and interaction.

During the presentation we learned that of the most recent releases to the wild, two pair of male and female birds have begun to defend their territories -- which project members hope means nesting. If this happens, it will be the first crow chicks in a very long time. Article - Return from Extinction