Thank you, Perrin

9 10 2014
Festa dei Nonni 2014 by Perrin

Festa dei Nonni 2014 by Perrin

DH went to Italy to visit the kids after we both went to his high school class reunion in Pennsylvania, and I returned to the Islands to attend my class reunion. Both granddaughters attend Italian school. One day Miss Marvelous’s younger sister Perrin, almost 3, brought home this darling ornament for her Papa. It was Grandparents Day. Pretty good likeness of Popo and Papa, don’t you think? I like it.

Copyright 2014 Rebekah Luke

Related blog: “Popo Goes to Italy” —



18 01 2014

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. – Matthew 7:7

One’s birthday, the actual date, is when I think most people want something special to celebrate it. Even when you get to my age. It’s true, isn’t it? Admit it. Okay, I thought so!

As my birthday is soon after Christmas and New Year’s, it doesn’t bother me too much that people remember it belatedly. For years now I celebrate all month long. January is my birthday month. 😉

So when the earliest appointment I could get with a cardiologist to learn about some test results was on the 9th, my birthday, I took it.

The cardio tests were done to clear me for surgery the day before New Year’s Eve–the removal of a (thankfully!) benign mass from my colon.

I was “cleared” for the operation that was the priority, but I still wanted to ask what the tests showed because I was given a complete cardio work up and because I had “heart scares” in the past. What did my cardiovascular system look like now?

Bless his heart, the physician spent 60 minutes drawing diagrams and explaining everything. He was passionate about teaching patients about how wonderful the human body is. The bottom line: my heart is A-okay! Don’t worry, just keep active, he said. Oh, boy, that and the fact that my colon was cancer-free was the best birthday present I could have!

After that my Reiki sister and friend Lori took DH and me out for lunch: dim sum at a fancy restaurant. These are the images from her camera.

20140118-212312.jpgIf that wasn’t enough, on the way home DH said we would stop for some new plants for the garden.

It was my idea to renovate the raised vegetable beds at the Studio. I sent out an evite to my friends to join Rebekah’s Birthday Green Team that weekend, explaining that I needed help.

Recovery from surgery takes about 4 to 6 weeks, and my surgeon said I was allowed to ask other people to do things for me. Really?

It was short notice, but several of my buddies adjusted their schedules and showed up. Wow, what a big help they were! What a garden transformation! Below is the “after” photo.

All I had to do was ask. Thank you!

(Pictured below, from left: Pat, Karen, me, and Piʻikea. Tomato, basil, arugula, cilantro, romaine, eggplant, rosemary, garlic chives, mint, turmeric, oregano, pineapple, parsley, Hawaiian chili pepper. – Pete Krape, photographer)


Make a wish, Papa!

20 12 2013

Miss Marvelous, 4, came to DH’s birthday dinner tonight. She’d taken a two-hour nap during the day and was allowed to stay up past her regular bedtime. The surprise treat was an after-dinner show she put on entitled “The Adorable Show” starring the dogs Alice Brown and Pua.

... Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Papa ...

“…Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday dear Papa, happy birthday to you!”

"Now make a wish and blow out the candles!"

“Now make a wish and blow out the candles!”

Copyright 2013 Rebekah Luke

Moms are the best

8 05 2011

Miss Marvelous turns 2. Mom baked a cake. Make a wish!

Moms are the best. They know the importance of celebrations. Let’s celebrate and honor our mothers today and everyday. Send them love and light, wherever they are.

In our family, we’re joining our mothers for brunch. Ivalee, Dee Dee, Julie, and Ari. It’s a rainy day, and we’ll have nice views of the waterfalls in the Koolau mountains on our way to the yacht club.

An extra special cheer to Sue in Tulare. We’re rooting for you!

Happy Mothers Day!

Copyright 2011 Rebekah Luke

Today’s my birthday, I feel like a wreck

9 01 2010

Today’s my birthday, and I feel like a wreck.

Yesterday Pat, Irma, and Becky came to cheer me up. They brought flowers, smoothies, presents, and cupcakes! That did make me feel better, and DH said he hadn’t seen me that lively since we came home from our trip.

That was around Dec. 27. Although home, sweet home, and having had a ball on a once in a lifetime vacation, my body experienced an excruciating  pain that I can’t recall ever having in my life. My body is crooked, and my range of motion limited. I feel weak.

A trip to the emergency room and a follow-up visit to an M.D. pronounced it’s not H1N1 but likely a virus or a combination of things. Viruses last about 7 to 10 days, she said. Today is day 14. So I’m baffled. Not a whole lot of change.

Michael, my neighbor, claims he had the bug, and that Sandra, his wife who is a flight attendant, had it twice. It’s from the airplane, he said. And coming home from Vienna to Honolulu, I was on a lot of planes. Will the pain go away? He promised it would.

Heal thyself, DH reminds me, the Reiki master. Right. My reading of the spiritual CNN says the first half of January will be rough. No kidding!

I’m so grateful for my family and friends and that I’m where the climate is warm.

I do have an appointment with my naturopath today who’s fixed me up before. I am wondering if it could be something mechanical (something of my body physically out of line) or an underlying allergy that might be preventing me from being well. Dr. Burke practices acupuncture, that works with the same energy as Reiki, and Chinese medicine too.

I have my hopes up for some relief to bring me back into balance. That would be a wonderful birthday present.

Copyright 2010 Rebekah Luke

Avos and cocos

11 10 2009
Morning light bathes tree
of avos sunny yellow
against blue-gray sky.
Like miniature
candied eggs hanging from tree
our avocados.
Through second-story
window kukui and avo
part for coco trees.
Fuzzy lollipops
wave in the gusty trade winds
two coconut palms.
As long as the tree
avocado grows and grows
birds will have a home.
Avocado Pear

Avocado Pear

I offer a haiku and a painting to honor and thank the avocado tree.

This year it produced 15-20 fruit, judging by the number of sprouting seeds on the kitchen counter. That’s a bumper crop. Usually we  gather just six, but each weighs three pounds. They’re super good, and I try to reserve a couple for the previous homeowner, Linda, who was a good steward of the aina (land) and planted the tree.

The season is over, and we’re enjoying the last of the fresh guacamole.

If you would like a little avocado tree from ours to plant in your garden, and you live in Hawaii, let me know.

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke

“Avos and Cocos” is from my book From My Window Seat: Views and Song. —RL

Sweet memories and coming home, part 1

7 09 2009

On Friday I had a date with my friend Vinnie. At long last I would see him perform Aldyth Morris’s one-person play Damien, a story about the Flemish priest, Father Damien de Veuster, who unselfishly spent his life ministering to the lepers isolated at Kalaupapa on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Father Damien will be canonized on October 11, 2009, in Rome.

I first met Vinnie at Maui Community College when I worked in university relations. He is one of those colleagues/friends who you see every five years or so, and with whom you can just pick up where you left off. Vinnie has performed Damien more than 60-70 times since 2000—on Maui, in the United States and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Europe. I emailed him I finally would be in the audience. “Stay afterward so I can see you,” he wrote back.

With opening-season football games townside signaling bad traffic, I decided to get to the church in Mililani by going the opposite way along the North Shore of Oahu and down the middle of the island. The distance is longer, but the traffic moves, and I enjoy the scenery along the two-lane Kamehameha highway versus the freeway. The route I like goes through Wahiawa, the town I lived in until I was 13. When we pass the Kukaniloko Birthstone State Monument, I know I am almost there.

Kukaniloko by Rebekah Luke

Rain hides the Waianae Mountains behind the Kukaniloko Birth Stones among the tall trees. The birthing ground of Hawaiian royalty was established in the 12th century, according to Fornander.

Kamehameha Highway runs for just three blocks through the town. I have a habit of reciting the neighborhood places I remember. Some are still there, others are long gone and replaced by fast food joints and nondescript development. Wahiawa served Wheeler Air Force Base and Schofield Barracks on the other side of the singing bridge, and the pineapple industry. The lively little main street had everything.

Annie Uwi’s (18 cents for Love’s Bread), the tofu factory, Doctor De Harne’s, Bank of Hawaii, Pang’s grocery (2-cent deposit refunds for soda bottles), Island Bazaar (drygoods and gifts), Chow Ching’s (gon lo mein, char siu and roast pork on Sunday), Duke’s Clothing, Happy Fountain (high swivel stools, orange freezes, curly saimin with fresh green onions, and the best grilled hot dogs), Elite Market, the stationery store, the barber shop, the taxi stand, Top Hat Bar, Service Motors, the shoe store, the jeweler, the variety store, Benny’s photo studio, Judy’s Florist (big cattleya orchid corsages).

Sometimes before leaving Wahiawa, and if the people I’m with don’t mind, we turn right on Kilani avenue to see my old house. My parents rented it from Uncle Harry who lived next door. He had nine houses amidst a lychee garden. Folks drove all the way from Honolulu to buy lychee. I remember being a baby and playing with Uncle Harry’s earlobes on the chenille bedspread as he tried to get me to nap while he listened to the story on the radio and Aunty Edna fussed in the kitchen . . .

Where I lived 50 years ago. The front porch has been screened in, the mock orange hedge is twice as high, and there's a gate now. Everything else looks the same, including the mother lichee tree that must be older than I!

Where I lived 50 years ago, the front porch has been screened in, the mock orange hedge is twice as high, and a gate makes it look less inviting. Everything else looks the same, including the mother lychee tree that must be older than I!

So, you see, every so often I recall my childhood.

As I grow older and work on ascension, and as I observe our 4-month-old granddaughter, I think back on what it was like to be a baby and how important it is for adults to create happy memories for children. Some of my memories weren’t so sweet. I remember the adults laughing at me when I crawled from my room bringing my socks after they asked me to fetch my shoes, feeling frustrated that I could not talk yet to explain why I did that. But I certainly could think it!

I remember emotional things and times that woke up my senses such as when my mother took me aboard a President Lines cruise ship to dine with her visiting friend, and I burned myself on the baked potato.

I remember when Momma took me to Honolulu by taxi on her Thursdays off from piano teaching (I could walk now) to buy music at Metronome and Thayer’s for her pupils, and before coming home we would go to Woolworth, and she would give me a teaspoon of her coffee to drizzle over my vanilla ice cream. Coffee is still my favorite flavor.

(Darling husband thinks it’s amazing I can remember that far back. “Well,” I suggested, “try it. Don’t you remember the smell of your mom?”)

One time I was at a Hawaiian civic club meeting in Wahiawa where they served a bento box lunch. One bite took me back. “Where did this come from?” I asked. “That’s from Marian’s Catering.” Ahhh … I wasn’t able to identify the flavoring, but the taste that took me home was unmistakably Wahiawa from the 1950s. It hadn’t changed.

And just this past July at a friend’s memorial breakfast, someone brought prune bread from Wahiawa. When I was a kid it was called prune cake, and I have been looking for it my whole life. I ordered a prune cake from Chef Instructor Walter Schiess at Kapiolani Community College for my wedding cake, and, unable to find a recipe, he decided, “If it has prunes in it, then it must be a fruit cake.” The Old English wedding cake, three tiers tall, was gorgeous, but not prune cake. When the woman who brought the prune bread saw how ecstatic I was, she gave me a whole loaf to take home. Now I know my sweet memory is alive and well at Kilani Bakery!

Damien. Oh, yes, I was on my way to the play.  Not surprisingly, Vinnie (correct name: Vincent Linares) was FABULOUS as Father Damien. He portrays the character so very passionately. What with Aldyth Morris’s script and the venue of St. John Apostle and Evangelist Church, it was excellent theater on every level. To quote the program notes, “The play finds Damien, awakened from his deathly slumber, taking a journey through his turbulent and compelling life while answering his detractors and critics, a journey that eventually takes him home again.” Home.

On Saturday evening I attended for the first time the Ka Himeni Ana (Old Fashioned Singing)  event at the Hawaii Theatre. This concert and competition has taken place annually since 1983 to encourage the singing of Hawaiian music in the old-fashioned manner without microphones or amplification, with the exception of the steel guitar. The production was filled with nahenahe (soft, sweet) sound, the festive sight of musicians and concert goers in the beautifully renovated theatre, and the fragrant scent of hundreds of fresh ginger blossoms.  Sweet memories, indeed. I plan to go again next year.

To be continued . . .

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke

Special note: Vinnie Linares’s final performance of Damien will be on October 24, 2009, at an old church at Makena Beach, Maui. When available, the event details will be posted in Comments below.

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